Many casual horse racing punters will, rather than read the form book in detail, simply look at a horse’s ‘form figures’ before deciding on a bet.
What has confused many in the past is that those figures contain not only numbers, i.e., a finishing position, but letters too.
Some form figures are simple to recognise. 1 of course means the horse finished 1st, 4 means it was fourth and so on. The letters are a different story.
F for fell is pretty well recognised, as is P or PU for pulled-up.
Spotting B or BD on a card however is new to some and this means ‘brought down’.
A horse being brought down is one of a number of ways that it may not finish the race, we explain exactly what that means and how it differs from ‘fell’ and ‘unseated’.
‘Brought Down’ Defined
Anyone who has seen Run Fatboy Run will know that falling down during a race may not be your own fault at all! Occasionally a runner, in this case a horse, may simply be in the wrong place at a crucially bad time.
Through no fault of their own or their jockey, a horse may well end up on the deck mid-race. Often, this is due to the mistake of another horse or even simply circumstance.
Horses can be brought down on the Flat or over jumps. It is still more prominent in the latter, where horses often jump right next to or behind other runners who may themselves fall at an obstacle, creating a moving impediment to the horse in question who can then be tripped and made to fall.
As the fall wasn’t due to the horse’s lack of skill or stamina, it goes down as ‘brought down’ rather than ‘fell’.
Horses are sometimes brought down on the Flat too. In this case, no jumping is needed but the sheer speed of the field can cause interference which, if bad enough, can cause heels to be clipped and horses to be brought down.
Other Types of Non-Completion in Races
Brought down, with its B or BD symbol in a race card, is one way to describe why a horse didn’t finish a race. There are others to remember, namely:
- Fell (F) – the easiest to understand. When a horse falls during a race, it doesn’t finish. The fall is independent of others runners, differing from being brought down.
- Unseated Rider (U or UR) – when a horse falls and the jockey comes off, or even if the horse stays up and the rider is unshipped, this is an ‘unseated rider’ and a non-finisher.
- Refused (R) – sometimes a horse won’t have the chance to fall at a fence or hurdle, or unseat its rider as they simply stop and refuse to jump it. Whether or not the jockey can stay on board, when a horse refuses to jump its race is over and in the form book this is recorded as an ‘R’.
- Pulled Up (P or PU) – in longer races or when a horse has a problem owing to fatigue or injury, the jockey may well decide to simply bring the horse to a stop, classed as ‘pulling up’.
- Ran Out (RO or O) – much like in Formula 1, participants in a race must all follow the correct course. Should they fail to do this, they won’t count as a finisher. Horses, due to being spooked or owing to the jockey making a mistake, may go around a hurdle instead of over it or cross over onto the chase track from the hurdle track for example. This is classed as ‘running out’.
- Slipped Up (S) – much like being brought down, slipping up is usually due to no fault of the horse in question or their jockey. A slippery patch of ground for example can cause this extreme bad luck.
Faller Insurance: What Counts?
Despite some perceiving trainers, jockeys and owners to be occasionally up to some form of skulduggery, being brought down can never be planned and it leaves those connected to a horse without any prize money.
In a similar vein, punters having an interest on said horse also end up without winnings or, more crucially, a full run for their money.
These days, there are insurances offered for such events. In some ‘specials’ or ‘promotions’ sections, bookmakers will offer you your money back if your horse falls.
While not all non-completions are covered by such insurance promos, such as pulling up or running out, any time a horse hits the deck it is likely to be considered as a ‘faller’. So, if your horse is brought down, it should be covered by faller insurance if your bookie is offering it.