Horse Racing Race Cards Explained

Horse racing is one of the biggest sports to bet on globally and every year even the most casual punters get involved with bets on the likes of Cheltenham and the Grand National.

Where people do come a little unstuck however is when selecting horses and trying to read race cards can be incredibly confusing.

With dozens of abbreviations, numbers and more, many people avoid them, despite the fact they can offer some serious insight. 

Luckily, we’re here to help at Betting Apps and below you’ll find all you need to know about racecards and how to read them…

Racecard Abbreviations

You’ll find abbreviations and meaning behind absolutely everything on a racecard and they can be hugely influential in how you place your bets. 

We’ve broken them down into the various categories in which the abbreviations represent…


Naturally, form is one of the most important things punters look for when placing their bets. On a race card the following abbreviations are representative of form: 

  • 1-9: The position a horse has previously finished from one to nine.
  • 0: A horse that finished outside of the top nine in a race.
  • – : This represents the separation of a year.
  • / : This represents the separation of a season. 
  • P: The letter P signals a horse pulled up in a race.
  • R: The letter R represents that the horse refused to take a fence or race. 
  • F: This letter means that a horse fell during a race.
  • BD: BD signifies that a horse was brought down by another horse in a race.
  • U: The letter U highlights that the rider became unseated during a race. 


You’ll also find further details about the horse and how it has performed across the same course distance and more. 

  • C: The horse has won on the same course previously.
  • D: The horse has won over the same distance previously. 
  • CD: The horse has won over the same course and distance previously. 
  • BF: The horse was previously a favourite and lost, ie beaten favourite.
  • OR: This stands for Official Rating, as given by the British Horse Racing Authority. 

Horse’s Headgear

Many horses will wear headgear and that is also noted on a race card. 

  • h: The horse is wearing a hood.
  • b: The horse is wearing blinkers.
  • p: The horse is wearing cheekpieces.
  • v: The horse wears a visor.
  • t: The horse wears a tongue-tie.
  • e: The horse wears an eye guard.
  • Ht: The horse has a hood and tongue-tie.
  • e/c: The horse is wearing an eye cover. 
  • e/s: The horse is wearing an eye shield. 


Alongside details relating to the horse, you’ll also find information on a course’s condition. 

  • f or fm: Firm ground
  • hd: Hard ground
  • hy or hvy: Heavy ground
  • g or gd: Good ground 
  • s or sft: Soft ground
  • stand: Standard all weather surface

Race Types

Every race will have a particular class or type and these are also noted on a race card. Below are some of the common abbreviations.

  • AW: All Weather
  • Ch: Chase
  • Cls: Class
  • Div: Divisional
  • Gd: Grade 1, 2 or 3 in jump racing
  • Gp: Group 1, 2 or 3 in flat racing
  • Hcap: Handicap
  • H: Hurdle
  • List: Listed
  • Mdn: Maiden
  • NHF: National Hunt Flat
  • Nov: Novice