Understanding the Racing Post

Launched in 1986, the Racing Post has been widely regarded as the number one publisher for all things horse racing. Understanding this wide range of information when studying a race can be of huge benefit.

So, we are going to explain how to interpret the facts and figures, whilst providing you with a few tips and tricks along the way, all to enhance your racing experience.

When assessing a race, the layout (as shown above) remains the same. The race is clearly advertised in bold, with the time and place alongside. Directly underneath the time, will be the distance of the race, the name of the race and the quality of the race.

If you go further to the right, you can see how much prize money is up for grabs, followed by the number of runners, the ‘going’ meaning how hard or soft the ground is and the number of fences the horses must jump. EW terms are displayed on the bottom line, informing us how many places are available if you back your horse each way and at what fraction of the odds.

Moving down the page, on the immediate left-hand side is the number of the horse in bold, followed beneath by its previous racecourse form. On many occasions, you will see letters on the form – which are explained below.











The dash shown in the form separates racing seasons and the backslash indicates the horse has had a long break from racing.

Moving right, the jockey silks are shown. The colours are chosen by the owners, and it can be useful to remember the more powerful owner’s silks, as you will recognise them when they run again.

Further right, you have the name of the horse in bold, and underneath the name, you have some symbols which are explained below.

Lightbulb – Shows the comment directly under the horse as opposed to the bottom of the screen.

Piece of paper – The piece of paper allows you to view the horse’s previous runs in more detail.

Cross – The cross button allows you to remove the horse from the list if you have disregarded it.

TIP – If the horse has been tipped by the experts, it will appear in this section.

Four important symbols to note in this section are shown below:

BF – beaten favourite last time out

C – previous course winner

CD – previous course and distance winner

D – previous distance winner

The number in grey, will show how many days it was since their previous run. Obviously, if they have never run before there will be no number there.

Above this number, there will be a lower-case symbol, showing us if the horse is wearing any extra equipment to help.

h – hood
b – blinkers (if being worn for a first or second time a 1 or 2 will be beside the letter)
p – (sheepskin) cheekpieces
t – tongue-tie
v – visor

Next, we see the weight the horse must carry, followed below by an OR number. This is the rating that has been given to the horse by the handicapper.

TIP – Using the paper symbol as previously explained, it is useful to see the previous ratings this horse has been given, to see any improvement, decline or if the horse consistently running to the same mark.

The jockey and trainer are shown next, with the RTF% shown next to the trainer’s name. This means the percentage of horses that have run to form over the last 16 days for that trainer.

TIP – This is an excellent indicator to see if the trainers are in good form so pay attention to it.

Perhaps the most unknown section of this page is the TS and RPR column. TS stands for Top speed and shows us how fast this horse can run. RPR stands for the Racing Post Rating, which shows us how well the racing post thinks the horse will run, taking in the conditions of the race.

Finally, on the furthest right section, you have the odds of the horse. You can select different bookmakers to see who provides the best odds.

To see the opening odds, the betting forecast shows us what the bookies think the horse’s price will open at.

Down the page, the Racing Post provides a verdict, informing the reader who they think will win the race. This horse is written in bold and capital letters.

TIP – Don’t just listen to the verdict. Make your own selections and use this column merely as an assistance.

Further down, each horse has their own individual comment. Perhaps, in my opinion, the most useful section of the website, as every comment outlines the horse’s chances and often explains any potential quirks or queries the horse may have.

The stats section provides form in three key aspects of racing. Firstly, how the trainer and jockey has performed over the last 14 days and overall.

They provide a strike rate of how many races the trainer has won, shown as a percentage.

The number of winners they have had in comparison to their runners, shown as 3-24 for example.

The next number shows how you would be doing, if you backed every horse to a £1 level stake.

Finally on this section, you can see the horse’s individual statistics running on the going at the track, the horse’s previous performances at the distance of the race and the record the horse has at this course.

The final section of interest is the Overall Rating column, shown by OR. This shows us the rating the horse is running at on the day and the previous rating the horse has run at. This is helpful as it shows us if the horse is on an incline or decline.

Hopefully this guide allows you to understand the Racing Post in all its glory and will help you pick out more winners in the future!


By Jake Wilkes