UK Horse Racing Form Handicap Races

What are the key form variables for handicap horse racing in the UK


When I study a UK handicap horse race I use the racing post on the internet and pay for this so I have all the horse form stats and data readily available to me. I look at the races for the day on the race card and highlight handicap races only, not novice handicap races. I normally focus on the higher class of horse race like class 3 or 2 with class 2 being a better class than 3 and more prize money to the winner on offer. The better horses shine through in these types of class of horse races. Horse racing form analysis is very difficult trust me I have been doing this for 25+ years picking one winner is difficult on any given horse racing day. After many years of studying form I did write bespoke software to remove some of the intensive data mining tasks when studying a horse race. I encapsulated this into a ‘how to study horse racing form UK’ to video course which I have put a link to in this article. I have also written many books on this subject and attack horse form studying from a number of angles.

So my starting point when studying horse form is the penalty value of the horse race. A £3K race at Wolverhampton on a Friday night has little appeal to me. Many of the horses will be running in a class 6 or 5 race with low BHB OR – Official ratings and horses are not consistent. These races are tight handicaps with little room for identifying potential winning horses. If I do back in these types of horse races I will normally only back horses whose decimal odds are double figures like 16/1 or more.

Once I have a UK handicap horse race with a decent penalty value and class I then start my horse form analysis of each horse in the race.


Horse racing form guide symbols


I am only interested in two horse form guide symbols ‘C’ and ‘D’ that is ‘C’ meaning the horse is a course winner and ‘D’ meaning the horse is a distance winner. I use these symbols as a last check when I have completed my horse form studying to provide more form conviction. There are many horse form symbols but you do not need all of these to pick winning horses.


Horse form weight and class


The weight carried in a race is very important for horse form studying as horses will have their weight increased or decreased as they move up and down horse race classes more often than not. So for example if a horse has run its last race in a class 2 and now it’s dropping to a class 3 a lower standard of race it will have its weight increased for the race. If all the horses in the race have run in the same class for their last race it makes it easier. Just because a horse is being upped in class that means it is running in a better race does not mean to say it cannot win it.


Horse racing form last race position


This last race position is very important as we need this current horse form indicator along with the class of the last race and the weight it raced with in its last race. So we have a number of horse form variables I have mentioned as follows,


Today’s race class

Last race class

Last race position

Last race and today’s race weight

‘C’ and ‘D’ variables


Today’s betting position in the Betfair market


This is an area where you need to focus on the top 4 in the betting, yes winners come from out of this strip but not many. This gives you an immediate advantage as you can concentrate on these horses at the top of the betting market. I use the Betfair betting exchange to do this as it normally reflects what the market is feeling.




Be under no illusion studying horse form is intensive work but can be made easier by automation. You need a good understanding of horse form and how to link the dots together but do not be put off it is fascinating.


UK Horse Racing Form


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