The big day has arrived – the cooler is packed, the umbrella is packed and you have a wedge of notes in your back pocket: it’s time for a day at the races! There is an enormous amount to enjoy about a day at the races. The social occasion is something that many people love as it provides an opportunity to meet with friends, to enjoy some good British weather and, in the case of prestigious events like Royal Ascot, the chance to dress up and act like a lord and lady for the day. However, at the heart of the races is the horse racing itself and whether you are there as a casual bettor or a more experienced one, the day is not enjoyable unless you are armed with information. Luckily, you will be given a race program for the event, and this will tell you all that you need to know. Like many things in the world of horse race betting, the race program can be a little confusing and intimidating to those who are not savvy and ware, so let us show you how to read your horse racing program when at an event so that you can make the most of your experience and the tips that you read in read TWE’s racing news.
In the program you will see race cards for each of the races, and these provide you with information about the race. This information will include information about the horse, the jockey and the track.
The key things to look at on the race card are the following:
Form – this gives you an idea of how the horse has performed in its previous races. One of the things to consider here is which races the stats are being drawn from. It may not be the case that the horse raced in similar conditions to those that you are standing in front of and about to bet on. Use this form information as a starting point for some further research.
Handicapping – this will tell you whether the race is handicapped. If it is, take a look at the weight that the horse is carrying as this will give you a good idea of the handicapper’s assessment of the horse’s chance of winning a race.
Age – the horse’s age is an important thing to take into account as this will tell you where in their career the horse is. Knowing this will give you a good idea of the horse’s experience of how likely they are to win a race. For example, an older horse may not fare well in a speed race against younger horses who are fitter.
Jockey – look at the name of the jockey who is riding the horse. A little bit of research will tell you whether the jockey usually rides the horse and how experienced he is. Also, take note of the colour of the jockey’s silks as this will help you track the progress of the horse and jockey as they make their way through the race. There’s nothing worse than cheering as you think your horse and rider have crossed the line to win and then realising that you have been watching the wrong horse for the entire race!