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Form Guide

What is a Form Guide?

A ‘form guide’ is a list of statistics which show how an athlete, racehorse or other competitor has performed in their recent races or matches. It is used by gamblers and fantasy sports players to determine whether a competitor is ‘in good form’. The term appears most often in horse racing. Updated form guides are published for each horse in that day’s races, showing pundits and bettors what happened in recent appearances.

Form Guide Explained

In sports and racing, ‘form’ means how well an athlete or racer has been performing in recent weeks or months. A footballer who has scored goals in his past five matches or a horse which has placed in the top three for two consecutive races could be said to be ‘in good form’. For gamblers, any competitor who is showing good form can be a great choice to bet on, but this may also be priced into the odds. Similarly, a previously star performer who is suffering bad form, may be given long odds, despite their overall ability.

A ‘form guide’ is a way of easily showing how race entrants or match players have performed recently. Form guides are used by gamblers to select their bets, and by bookmakers to set the odds for upcoming races and matches.

The term is most often associated with horse racing. Form guides are published before each race day showing each horse’s recent record. These guides use a standard set of abbreviations and display the previous form as a code of letters and numbers. They can be used to select strong competitors at a glance.

In form guide notation, 1-9 numbers indicate the horse placed in a race, while initials are used for things like ‘pulled up’ and ‘fell’ to indicate why it didn’t finish. Years and seasons are separated by (-) and (/) respectively. For example, 68-F41 shows a horse that placed 6th and 8th in races last year. This year it fell in its first showing, then placed fourth before making a win.