How Studying the Form Can Help You Back a Winner

If you know someone who is into horse racing and likes a bet on the action, you may have heard them say, “I am studying the form”. But what exactly does that mean?

There are lots of factors to consider in racing when it comes to making your selection. Here is a look at some of the most important one you should look out for.

How Studying the Form Can Help You Back a Winner


Arguably, distance is the most important factor of them all. If a horse is running beyond or short of its ideal distance, they are most likely going to struggle.

In flat racing, horses generally fit into three different categories: sprinter, middle-distance or stayer.

It is very important to look at how a horse has done previously over the distance they are set to race over. If a lot of its best form has come at that trip, this is likely to be their optimum distance.


Like the distance of a race, the going at a course that day can have a big impact on who comes out on top. This is even more important when the going is on the extreme side.

If there has been a lot of train at a track, the ground may be ‘soft’ or even ‘heavy’. Some horses enjoy the juice in the ground. On the flip side to this, if the sun has been shining, the ground will dry up and may be ‘firm’.

Take a look through a horse’s results to see what type of ground their best performances have come on before deciding on your selection.

Recent results

Although recent results don’t always paint the full picture, a horse which is good form is a big plus. This is particularly the case with sprinters who often go through purple patches.

When you take a browse through all the horse racing results, look out for horses which are showing signs of returning to their best. These are likely to build on those positive showings in the near future.
How Studying the Form Can Help You Back a Winner

Jockey booking

Many punters in horse racing like to follow a particular jockey. This may be one of the leading names in the sport, such as 2020 Champion Jockey Oisin Murphy, or a rider who has given them success before.

A particular jockey booking can say a lot about a horse’s chances. If a trainer or owner believes their horse is a strong contender for a race, they are likely to secure the services of one of the best jockeys to ensure they are under a good pair of hands.


In handicap racing, the weight of a horse is likely to go up or down depending on the class of race they are in or how well they have been performing.

The more weight a horse carries, the tougher the task is likely to be for them. This is particularly the case in National Hunt Racing and none more so than the Grand National. In 2019, Tiger Roll carried 11st-5lb to victory at Aintree in an impressive weight-carrying performance in the world’s most famous steeplechase.

Good luck the next time you are having a bet in horse racing. Hopefully, the above tips will help you find some winners.



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