HOW TO: Read the racebook

12 Oct 2023
Auckland Thoroughbred Racing

If you’re having no luck picking winners based off the prettiest horses or the colours the jockeys are wearing, the racebook should be your next port of call.

​This quick guide gives you the lowdown on what basics you need to know in order to make some sense of the racebook.

Racebook basics

How do I find Ellerslie’s races in the racebook?

The racebook lists all races happening across the country (and sometimes internationally) on a raceday. At the top of each page you will be able to see what racecourse the race is being run at and what race number it is.

The races run here at Ellerslie are those listed towards the front of the book.

Are there any tips on offer?

Our resident tipsters offer up their favourite choices for each race at the top of the page. This is always a good place to start if you can’t decipher anything else.

How can I see if a horse has been racing well recently?

A horse’s ‘form’ (providing it has raced before) can be deciphered via the bold font, consisting of numbers and sometimes letters, at the bottom left of its other details.

By reading the text right to left, you will be able to tell how the horse has performed in its last five races:

  • 0 means the horse was placed further back than 9th
  • X means the horse hasn’t raced for a period of at least three months as in, it could have been taking a holiday
  • F means the horse fell in that race
  • 1 means the horse won!

Then, read the expert comments below each horse’s details, they’ll offer some insight into the horse’s recent form.

There are a lot of numbers in addition to the form – what do they mean?

The big number to the left of the horse’s name is its runner number and is the same number you will see on the horse’s saddlecloth. Use this number to identify the horse when it comes out from the stables and heads to the track for its race.

Depending on the type of race, often the horses with the lower numbers are those that have the better form.

Where a horse is drawn for its race start will also help its chances. Look for the number that’s in brackets to the right of the horse’s name – this is its starting gate position, with number 1 being the spot closest to the inside rail.

Lower numbers tend to be favoured more as the horse technically has less distance to run.

What if I want to pick my horse based on its jockey? Where do I find that?

On the right-hand side of each horse’s listing is the name of who will be riding it.

If all else fails, stick with your favourite jockey colours or the prettiest horse and hope lady luck is on your side.

Racebooks can be purchased from the Raceday Office (Ground Floor, Ascot Stand) however, with the exception of general admission and Ascot Stand tickets, are included in all other ticketing options.

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