Winning Starts with Beginning: Understanding the Racing Post

Winning Starts with Beginning: Understanding the Racing Post Since the demise of the Sporting Life in 1998, the Racing Post newspaper and its website,, have been definitive sources of horse racing information for the British betting public. However, if you’re new to horse racing or unfamiliar with the Racing Post, we thought you might appreciate a brief taster of what to expect when you open its virtual pages.


The Racing Post launched an enhanced online offering, known as the Racing Post Members’ Club, available to anyone willing to pay a monthly subscription, in 2009. However, the good news for horse racing fans is that all the essential features – cards, form, statistics, etc – are still available completely free of charge.


Obviously, it’s difficult to review every single feature available in an article of this length, so we’ll concentrate on how to read the cards and how to drill down to the information you need, whether its form, jockey, owner or trainer statistics, or anything else.


To find the racecard you want, click on “Cards” on the menu at the top of the Racing Post homepage. By default, the cards for the current day’s racing are displayed, meeting by meeting, but if you want to view racecards for the following day, or further into the future, click on “Tomorrow” or one of the other options at the top of the page.


For the sake of this example, let’s say we want to view the racecard for Thirsk on Tuesday, September 16 on the evening of Monday, September 16. We click “Cards”, “Tomorrow” and the name of the race, “Follow Us @Thirskraces Handicap” to display the following racecard.


Most of the information in the race header is self-explanatory and, in this case, we can see at a glance that this is a Class 4 handicap, exclusively for three-year-olds rated between 0 and 85 by British Horseracing Authority (BHA), and due to be run over a mile on good to soft going.


It’s only really when we examine individual horses that some of the letters and numbers on the racecard need further explanation, so let’s have a look at them.


Racecard Number: A sequential number that identifies the position of the horse on the racecard. Typically only used when placing a bet with a bookmaker on the racecourse, or a Tote bet.


Draw: A number that identifies the position of a horse in the starting stalls. Nowadays, on left-handed and right-handed racecourses, the numbering of the stalls always starts on the inside.


Finishing Position: A series of alphanumeric characters indicating the horse’s finishing position in its recent races. The numbers 0 to 9 indicate finishing positions, while you may also see the letters F for “fell”, O for “ran out”, P for “pulled up”, R for “refused”, RR for “refused to race”, S for “slipped up” and U for “unseated rider”. Occasionally, you may also see the letter V for “void”, which means that the result of race in question for declared void for some reason.


Horse: Obviously the horse’s name, but also a figure indicating the number of days since it last ran and an abbreviation for any headgear that the horse is set to wear. Abbreviations you may come across include:


b for “blinkers”

c for “cheekpieces”

e for “earplugs”

h for “hood”,

t for “tongue tie” and

v for “visor”


In all cases, a superscript “1” alongside the abbreviation means that the horse is wearing the headgear for the first time. For example, b1 indicated blinkers first time.


Age: The age of the horse, in years. Regardless of their foaling date, all racehorses have their official birthday on January 1.


Weight: The weight that the horse is set to carry, regardless of any allowance claimed by an apprentice or conditional jockey, or any overweight.


Trainer: The name of the trainer responsible for the horse.


RTF%: An abbreviation for “Ran To Form”; the percentage of the horses in the trainer’s care that ran as well as expected, according to their BHA rating, in the last 14 days.


Jockey: The name of the jockey due to ride the horse in the race in question. Apprentice or conditional jockeys, who claim an allowance, are indicated by a superscript number, usually a 3, 5 or 7, but sometimes a 10, which represents the number of Imperial pounds they claim.


OR: An abbreviation for “Official Rating”; the rating allocated by the BHA that represents, in Imperial pounds, the ability of once horse relative to another. As you can see from the example above, a horse with an OR of 85 is required to concede 2lb to a horse with an OR of 83, and so on, in a handicap.


TS: An abbreviation for “Top Speed”; A rating based on the races times recorded by the horse, as calculated by the Racing Post. The figure displayed is the best rating recorded by the horse, adjusted for the weight it is set to carry in the race in question.


RPR: An abbreviation for “Racing Post Rating”; A rating based on the previous race record or, in other words, a private handicap rating calculated by the Racing Post, rather than the BHA. The figure displayed is the best rating recorded by the horse, adjusted for the weight it is set to carry in the race in question.


Of course, one of the beauties of the Racing Post website is the ability to drill down to the race-by-race record of each horse on the racecard. This, in turn, reveals a whole raft of further information and an explanation of that information will form a later article in this series, ‘How to Understand the Racing Post Part II’.


We hope you enjoyed ‘Winning Starts with Beginning: Understanding the Racing Post Part I’and we will be back soon with another advanced betting guide. In the meantime, we would love to hear your thoughts on ‘Winning Starts with Beginning: Understanding the Racing Post Part I’in the comments section below. If you missed our previous post in this series, ‘Ten Things You Might Not Know About The Racing Post’, you can read it here.

How to Bet on Over / Under 2.5 Goals

How to Bet on Over / Under 2.5 Goals Many football punters like to swerve the Full-Time Result betting market and instead plump for alternative betting selections. After all, the 1×2 football market involves customers having to choose either the home team, draw or the away team. Three possible outcomes can sometimes make it hard to find a winner, especially if you don’t have a strong opinion on the game.

However, we have been specialising in Over / Under 2.5 Goals tips for this exact reason. This is a preferred market when it comes to football betting accumulators due to the fact that we’re dealing with a two-way betting market where you either go “Over” or “Under” with each pick.

Don’t be confused by the 2.5 part of the bet. When you place a bet on Over / Under 2.5 Goals, you are either betting:

  • Over 2.5 Goals – three or more goals to be scored
  • Under 2.5 Goals – two or less goals to be scored

There are no possible alternative outcomes. It keeps football betting really simple and it’s great if you have an opinion about whether a football match is going to be high-scoring or low-scoring.

For football matches where a higher number of goals is anticipated, then you might find it makes more sense to bet on Over / Under 3.5 Goals instead. That would mean a bet on the “Overs” would require four or more goals to be scored, while the “Unders” means you get three goals or less as part of the bet.

Place an Over / Under 2.5 Goals Accumulator Bet

We’re big fans of placing football accumulators and Over / Under 2.5 Goals is definitely a good football betting market when it comes to an acca. You might want to pick out a handful of matches where you’re predicting Over 2.5 Goals and bet accordingly.

Alternatively, you might sniff out a few low-scoring games and go for an Under 2.5 Goals acca instead. Indeed, there’s nothing to stop you having a football accumulator with a combination of selections and our Over / Under 2.5 Goals tips can help to guide you into the best possible bet.

The good thing about Over / Under 2.5 Goals betting is that you can often win quickly should you bet Over 2.5 Goals seeing as three first-half goals could conceivably win your bet without having to wait for the second half to be played.

Similarly, you might back the Under 2.5 Goals and know that with the scoreline at 0-0 with twenty minutes left, your bet is very likely to result in a winner.

Serial Losers

Serial Losers There are no winners without losers, so it stands to reason that for anyone involved in the sport of horse racing losing is a fact of life. Even so, every now and then a horse comes along that, for whatever reason, makes losing not so much a fact of life as a way of life.

In Britain, the granddaddy of them all in that respect was Quixall Crossett, trained by Ted Caine, who made 103 starts under the Rules of Racing between February, 1990 and November, 2001 without once visiting the winners’ enclosure; he troubled the judged just eight times, finishing second twice and third six times, and his career earnings amounted to just £8,502. Towards the end of his career, Ted Caine said of Quixall Crossett, ‘He is one-paced and hasn’t got a lot of gears’, while the Racing Post was less forgiving, describing the horse as ‘a seriously slow maiden’.

In fairness, Quixall Crossett cannot be blamed for his innate lack of ability and a similar comment applies to the likes of Elsich, a.k.a. ‘The Arkle of Awfulness’, in the Forties and Polly’s Pet in the Sixties, who racked up 50 and 94 consecutive losses, respectively, under Rules. However, in the Eighties and early Nineties, Amrullah turned losing into an art form, not through lack of ability, but through lack of resolution. Described as a ‘crafty character’ by his trainer John Bridger, Amrullah failed to win all 74 starts and, for much of his career, bore a badge of shame, in the form of the infamous ‘§§’, or ‘double squiggle’ alongside his Timeform rating. Even so, his career earnings amounted to over £26,000, so what he might have done if consenting to put his best foot forward is anyone’s guess.

Folkestone: The Slow, Agonising Death of a Racecourse

Folkestone: The Slow, Agonising Death of a Racecourse Folkestone Racecourse, in the village of Westenhanger, about eight miles west of Folkestone town centre, closed on Tuesday, December 18, 2012, just three days after Hereford Racecourse – also operated by Arena Racing Company (ARC) – suffered the same fate. Notwithstanding the debacle of Great Leighs Racecourse, which had its licence revoked less than a year after opening, in 2009, they were the first racecourses to close since Stockton Racecourse, a.k.a. Teesside Park, in 1981.

At the time, the closure of Hereford was billed as ‘permanent’ and that of Folkestone ‘temporary’, subject to negotiations with Folkestone and Hythe District Council, formerly Shepway District Council, regarding planning permission for houses which would, a spokesman for ARC said, fund the redevelopment of the track and facilities. However, four years after closing its doors, supposedly for the last time, Hereford fully reopened, much to the delight of local trainers and permit holders.

Folkestone, though, remains closed; a dilapidated, unkempt shadow of its former self. A draft plan for 820 houses, submitted to the planning inspectorate in 2013, was withdrawn after initial public hearings, leading Shepway District Council to abandon any provisions for the racecourse. That was, of course, until the Council purchased nearby Otterpool Manor Farm in nearby Sellinge, for a reported £5.2 million, and subsequently announced plans for ‘Otterpool Park’, a ‘garden town’ covering 700 hectares, including the land occupied by Folkestone Racecourse, with up to 12,000 new houses.

That’s life, you might say, with some justification. After all, Teesside Park is now a shopping centre. What is harder to swallow, though, is the fact that Otterpool Manor Farm was bought as designated agricultural land and Shepway District Council said, in as many words, that it would ‘not be developed’. Nevertheless, the Council has already compulsory purchased hundreds of acres of arable land to make way for a secondary school, so what was the only racecourse in Kent looks gone forever.