There are two main types of horse racing in the UK:
Typically run in the summer. A test of speed and stamina.
Commonly referred to as jump racing. Held from autumn-spring over obstacles such as fences and hurdles.
All races are split into classifications designated by class or grade, depending on the prestige of the race.
Handicap races are common and involve each horse being given a certain weight to carry based on their previous form. The amount of weight carried is decided by the handicapper. The Grand National, the UK’s most famous race, is a handicap.
The ‘going’ is a term used to describe the race conditions of a track, which can range anywhere on the scale from firm to heavy. This can change throughout the day depending on weather conditions.
When looking at a race card and a horse’s form, you'll often see a list of numbers and letters such as 6232F12. Each of these characters relates to how the horse performed in previous races. Each number represents where in the race the horse finished, with 0 referring to any position outside the top nine. Here’s a list of the letters and what they mean:
- P - Pulled up
- F - Fell
- S - Slipped up
- R - Refusal
- B - Brought down
- U - Unseated rider
- '-' - Separates years
- '/' - Separates racing seasons
Trainer and jockey
Below the horse’s name will be the names of both its trainer and the jockey. Jockeys can be subject to change throughout the day due to injuries, etc.
In an apprentice or conditional race, the claiming jockey may receive a weight allowance. This will be shown in brackets next to the name of the jockey.
Race and stall number
Next to the name of the horse will be two numbers. They refer to the horse’s race card number and the stall the horse has been drawn in. The stall number will be shown in brackets. If the stall is not drawn yet, the card will show a dash.
Weight and age
To the right of the horse’s name will be its age (for example, displayed as Age: 5) as well as the weight it’s carrying (including jockey and saddle) measured in stone and pounds. (10-4 would be 10st 4lb.)
You’ll also be able to see the silks the jockey will be wearing. Along with the horse’s race number, silks are the best way of identifying your runner.
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