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Horse Racing Terms

Bar

A betting term referring to horses above a price, i.e. 14/1 bar means horses priced above 14/1 will not appear in a betting list.

Ante Post Betting

A term referring to races in the near future where betting can already occur in the run up to the race.

Across The Board

American betting term describing when a horse is bet ‘win, place and show’ i.e. to win, finish in the first two, and to finish in the first three.

Also Ran

A term referring to horses who finish out of the places (e.g. first 4 home).

Allowance

This refers to the weight given to compensate age, sex or inexperience, i.e. a mare will get 7lb from geldings, and jockeys in Britain claim 3lb, 5lb or 7lb allowances as Conditional jockeys until riding up to 75 winners.

All Weather Racing

This refers to racing on a synthetic or sand surface that was introduced to provide racing all year round in Britain to ensure racing could take place in extreme.

All Weather Surface

The surface on which all weather racing is ran. This can be in the form of Polytrack (Kempton, Lingfield and Wolverhampton) or Fibre-sand (Southwell).

Also-Run

Term referring to horses that finish out of the places.

Apprentice Rider/Jockey

This refers to a young jockey during his/her early part of their career. As an apprentice jockey your licence is held by the trainer you work for. Jockeys are apprentices until they reach the age of 26, or ride 95 winners.

At The Post

Term referring to when the horses are at the start before the race.

Bags

This is an acronym for Bookmakers Afternoon Greyhound Service, referring to dog racing.

Bet The Field

A term referring to a betting strategy where you place bets on all runners in order to make a small profit.

Betting Ring

The name for the area on a racecourse where the bookmakers stand their boards offering the odds.

Betting Without The Favourite

A betting term referring to the market where bets are placed on the outcome without the shortest priced horse. With this type of bet your bet is successful if your selection wins or finishes second to the ‘favourite’.

Breeder

A term referring to the person or stud who ‘bred’ the horse through owning the horses ‘dam’ or mother.

Bismarck

A term referring to a bookmakers selection to lay bets against due to them thinking it won’t win. This was made famous by bookmaker Barry Dennis who would promote ‘Barry’s Bismarck’ for the horse he was keenest to take bets on.

Bit

A term referring to the piece of metal or rubber which goes through a horses mouth. This is linked to the bridle and is an aid to jockey when controlling speed and direction of the horse.

Black Type

This term refers to the recognition of a horse winning or being placed in a Listed or Group race. Particularly important with female horses (fillies or mares), this can make a big difference to a horses value and that of its offspring.

Blanket Finish

A finish of a race where many horses are close together. Term comes from ‘being able to throw a blanket’ over a number of horses.

Blowout

A term referring to giving a horse a gallop to clear its lungs before a race.

Boards Prices

A betting term referring to the prices or odds on the bookmakers boards.

Boxed In

A term referring to when a horse gets in a position of being behind rivals or against the rail with no room to improve its position.

Boxwalker

A term referring to a horse that walks or weaves in its stable. This is not a favourable trait.

Bridle

This describes the leather strapping which links the ‘bit’ in the horses mouth to the ‘reins’ held by the rider. This therefore is used to control speed and direction of the horse.

Brought Down

This describes when a horse falls due to another rival impeding it.

Breeze-Up

This describes a sales type where (usually) young horses ‘breeze’ or gallop on the morning before going through the sales ring for people to bid on.

Broodmare

A female horse which is used for breeding new racehorses. These ‘Broodmares’ will either have good from themselves or be related to winners.

Broodmare Dam

The mother of the broodmare.

Broodmare Sire

The father of the broodmare.

Bug Boy

A term given to apprentice jockeys in America where an asterix * (bug like symbol) is placed next to their name to highlight their inexperience.

Bumper

A term referring to a National Hunt Flat race where no obstacles are jumped.

Bumping

A term referring to when horses bump mid-race causing interference. This can result in a stewards enquiry.

Checked

A term referring to when a horses momentum is checked or stopped by another horse being in its path.

Cheek Pieces

A term referring to headgear worn by horses to improve its concentration. This is recognised as the first step before a visor or blinkers.

Claiming Races

A term describing a race where the horses running in it can be bought or ‘claimed’ for a set amount of money. Where there are more than one claim, lots are drawn.

Clerk Of The Scales

The person holding the role which weighs the jockeys in and out, and ensures that the correct weight is carried for all.

Co-Favourite

A term referring to where there are more than 2 horses at the same price or odds in the betting.

Colours

The ‘colours’ or silks which the jockeys wear, which distinguishes between each horse. The colours are chosen by the owner, and more than one horse can run in the same base colours.

Colt

A term referring to a young male horse that has not been castrated.

Dam

A term referring to the mother of a horse.

Bay (Horse Colour)

A term referring to horses mid-brown coat colour.

Best Turned Out

A term referring to the prize given to the groom of the horse judged to be looking its best through platting its mane/ tail.

Computer Straight Forecast

The ‘CSF’ is a bet where the first two horses in the correct order must be chosen. The winnings paid comes from a pool of all bets placed, and is shared between those with the winning combination.

Conditional Jockey

A term given to a young ‘National Hunt’ or Jump Jockey under the age of 25, until they have ridden 75 winners. The weight they can ‘claim’ off a horses allotted weight starts at 7lb and reduces to 5lb and then 3lb as more winners are ridden.

Connections

A term which describes the trainer and owner(s) of a horse.

Course And Distance

This describes the racecourse or track and length that a race is run over.

Damsire

A term referring to the father of the ‘Dam’, i.e. the Grandfather of the horse.

Daily Double

Betting term referring to when a bet is placed by picking the winning horses of two chosen races.

Dead Heat

The outcome of a race where horses cannot be split at the finishing line, meaning there is more than one winner.

Declarations

A term referring to the final list of ‘declared’ runners in each race.

Derby

The best known ‘Derby’ is at Epsom in England. There are Derby races all over the world, and are predominantly for 3 year old Colts (male horses).

Dividend

A term referring to the amount of money paid out for a winning bet.

Draw

A term referring to the stall number a horse is allotted. This can make a big difference to a horses chance of winning on a turning track, where a higher number means the horse is further from the rail.

Drifter

A term referring to a horse whose price/odds lengthens and therefore is judged to be less fancied by people placing bets.

Each Way Bet

A betting term referring a bet where money is placed both ‘win’ and ‘each-way’. The ‘each way’ refers to a horse finishing in the first two for races of 5-7 runners, first three for races of 8-15 runners and first four in handicap races of 16+.

Exacta

A betting term where the requirement is to pick the first two horses to finish.

Favourite

The most fancied or shortest priced horse in the betting for a race.

Fence

A term referring to the larger of the obstacles jumped in the National Hunt race (the smaller being hurdles).

Fell Or Faller

A term referring to a horse ‘falling’ and therefore exiting the race.

Fancied

A term referring to a horse that is ‘fancied’ or expected to run well or win a race.

Fast Track

A term referring to the track or course conditions being ‘fast’ or firm meaning that race times and distances will appear reduced.

Filly

A term describing a young female horse (the young male horse being a Colt).

First Time Blinkers

A phrase used when a horse is having ‘Blinkers’ applied to it to race in for the first time. This is to aid concentration with the hope of improved performance.

First Time Cheek Pieces

A phrase used when a horse is having ‘Cheek Pieces’ applied to race in for the first time. This is to aid concentration with the hope of improved performance.

First Time Hood

A phrase used when a horse is having ‘a Hood’ applied to it to race in for the first time. This is to provide a calming effect with the hope of improved performance.

First Time Tongue Tie

A phrase used when a horse is having a ‘Tongue tie’ applied to it to race in for the first time. This is to aid breathing with the hope of improved performance.

First Time Visor

A phrase used when a horse is having a ‘Visor’ applied to it to race in for the first time. This is to aid concentration with the hope of improved performance.

Flat Racing

A term referring to racing without obstacles.

Forecast

Betting terms relating to naming the first two home. Straight Forecast require horses in the correct order, whereas Reverse Forecast requires the two chosen horses to finish in either order.

Fourfold

A betting term referring to a bet with four aspects, where all four need to win in order to collect from it. The money from leg one runs onto leg and so on.

Front Runner

A term referring to the running style of a horse, i.e races up with the pace or leads its races.

Furlong

A term referring to the measurement of distance. Eight furlongs make up one mile.

Genuine

A term referring to the nature of a horse based on its performance. A horse can either be judged to be ‘genuine’ or ‘ungenuine’ if it is felt that it is not giving all its effort.

Going

A term referring to the ground conditions that a race is run on. This can vary from Firm to Soft, and horses will mostly prefer and perform better on one extreme or another.

Goliath

A betting term referring to an 8 selection wager consisting of 247 bets. This includes 28 doubles, 56 trebles, 70 four-folds, 56 five-folds, 28 six-folds, 8 seven-folds and an eight-fold accumulator.

Good Track

A term referring to ground/ going conditions between the extremes of Firm and Soft. Most horses will be able to perform near their best on a ‘Good Track’.

Grandsire

A term referring to the father of the ‘sire’ and therefore the Granddad of the horse in question.

Green

A term referring to horse being a novice or not knowing how to race. This term is used for horses in their early careers.

Hood

A term referring to the headgear increasingly worn by horses to aide calmness and reassurance. Often coupled with earplugs, this mask like ‘hood’ has no eyecups like blinkers or visors.

Heavy Track

A term referring to the ground or track conditions when very wet. This will extenuate distances and horse stamina, and many horses find a Heavy track too difficult to perform on.

Hampered

A term referring to when a horse impeded or slowed by rival affecting its performance or progress in a race. In extreme cases this can result in a Stewards Enquiry and places can be revered if judged to have affected the result.

Hand

A term referring to the unit of measurement that a horse’s height is measured, at the shoulder. A hand is four inches.

Handy

A term referring to a horses position in a race. ‘Handy’ means close to the pace.

Hanging

A term referring to a horse moving either left or right in a race. The ‘Hanging’ can be away from the whip hand of a jockey. Also horses may hang back to the direction from which they came, towards the stables, paddock etc.

Head

A term of measurement of winning distance. A ‘Head’ is when a horse wins by that amount from its closest rival.

Heinz

A betting term which refers to a 6 selection wager consisting of 57 bets. This includes 15 doubles, 20 trebles, 15 four-folds, 6 five-folds and a 1 six-fold accumulator.

Hunter Chase

A term referring to a race for horses that hold a ‘Hunters’ Certificate. This is confined to horses that are qualified by going out with a local hunt and pack of hounds or dogs. This is the basis of National Hunt racing.

Hurdle

A term referring to the smaller of the two obstacles jumped in National Hunt races (the larger being Fences).

In Foal

A term referring to when a Mare (female horse) is pregnant and is therefore ‘In Foal’.

Joint Favourite

A betting term referring to when a horse is the joint shortest price odds for a race.

Juvenile

A term referring to when a horse is in its first season. In Flat racing this is at 2 years old, in Jump racing this is 3 years old.

Last Time Out

A term referring to the previous run of a horse. For example, it may be that ‘last time out’ a horse won.

Left-Handed Track

A term referring to a racecourse that is anti-clockwise. Many of the best known tracks in England are ‘Left-handed’, including Cheltenham and Aintree.

Lucky 15

This is a 4 selection bet consisting of 15 bets: 4 singles, 6 doubles, 4 trebles and a four-fold accumulator.

Lucky 31

This is a 5 selection bet consisting of 31 bets: 5 singles, 10 doubles, 10 trebles, 5 four-fold and 1 five-fold accumulator.

Lucky 63

This is a 6 selection bet consisting of 63 bets: 6 singles, 15 doubles, 20 trebles, 15 four-fold, 6 five-fold, 1 six-fold accumulator.

Maiden

A ‘Maiden’ horse is one that is yet to win.

Maiden Race

A term referring to a race for non-winners only.

Maiden Handicap

A term referring to a race for non-winners only where the weights are decided by previous performance, i.e. a horse judged to have more ability with carry more weight than a rival.

Mare

A term referring to a female horse. The term for a younger mare is a ‘filly’.

Money Rider

A term referring to a rider who excels in rich or valuable races.

Muddy Track

A term referring to the deep conditions of a ‘Dirt’ racetrack after being
soaked with rain or water.

Mudder

A term referring to a horse who races well on muddy tracks.

Nap

A term often used by racing tipsters to highlight their advice of the ‘best bet’ of the day. The term NB refers to their ‘next best’ tip.

National Hunt Racing

A term given to ‘Jump’ racing over the obstacles of fences and hurdles.

Next Best (NB)

the term NB refers to a tipsters ‘next best’ tip of the day. The term ‘NAP’ is often used to highlight their advice of the ‘best bet’ of the day.

Neck

A term referring to a distance measurement by which a horse may win or be beaten at the finishing line.

Gelding

A term referring to a male horse that has been castrated. This can be to improve performance of a wayward horse.

Handicap

A term referring to the weight system used with the aim of levelling horses’ ability through a better horse carrying more weight. The best known ‘Handicap’ race is the Aintree Grand National.

Non Runner

A term referring to a horse that is declared to run, but is then withdrawn and does not race.

Non Runner No Bet

A betting term where a bet can be placed in the knowledge that if the horse does not run, the stake or money bet is refunded.

Nose

A term referring to a distance measurement. A ‘Nose’ is the shortest winning margin and is shorter than a ‘Short Head’.

Not Travelling

A term referring to how a horse is going in a race. If a horse is ‘Not travelling’ it is suggested that it is being pushed to keep up with the pace.

Novice

A term referring to a horse in its first season over either Fences or Hurdles. A horse stays a ‘Novice’ for one season (May to April).

Nursery

A term referring to a Juvenile or 2 year old ‘Handicap’ race.

Odds On

A betting term referring to a horses odds.

For example, if the odds are 4/6, you need to put 6 on to get 4 back.

Off The Bridle

A term similar to ‘not travelling’ suggesting that the horse is being pushed to keep up with the pace of a race.

On The Bit

The opposite of ‘off the bridle’, this suggests that a horse is travelling well and comfortable at the pace.

On The Nose

A betting term referring to a win only bet.

Out Of The Money

A term referring to when a horse finishes out of the places where money is won.

Overweight

A term referring to a horse carrying more weight than it is allotted. This may be through a jockey not being able to do a weight.

Patent Bet

A betting term referring to a 3 selection wager consisting of 7 bets: 3 singles, 3 doubles and a treble.

Parade

A term referring to when horses circle ahead of a race, often in racecard order. ‘Parades’ are usually restricted to high profile races.

Penalty

A term referring to when a horse is given extra weight for winning a race after the weights are announced.

Photo Finish

A term referring to a close finish where a ‘photo’ or digital image of the finish is required to split horses at the finishing line.

Place

A betting term referring to a horse finishing in the first 2 of 5-7 runner fields, first 3 for 8-15 runner fields, i.e. ‘win and place’ covers both the winning and the placed angles.

Placed

A term referring to a horse finishing in the first 2 of 5-7 runner fields, first 3 for 8-15 runner fields.

Place Market

A term referring to the betting market for the places in a race. The bet is won if the horse wins or finishes in the required places (same as the place part of an each-way bet).

Placepot

A type of bet where you have to choose a horse to win or place in the first six races on a racecard. This is a ‘totaliser’ bet where winning tickets share the overall money bet.

Plates (Racing Plates)

These are the shoes which horses wear. The ‘Racing plates’ are usually made of aluminium.

Precocious

A term used to describe a horse which is forward or ready to run early in a season, i.e. ‘precocious 2 year old’.

Prominent

A term used to describe a horses running style or position in a race that is up with the pace.

Pulled Up

A term referring to a horse that does not finish in a race, being ‘pulled up’ before completing.

Purse

A term referring to prize of money to which owners do not contribute, which is put forward by the racecourse and sponsor.

Quirky

A term referring to a horse which shows temperament when racing. These horses often have blinkers or other headgear applied to concentrate them better.

Racecard

A booklet style publication that includes all the runners, riders and information that can be purchased at the racecourse.

Rag

A slang term for the horse deemed to have the least chance of winning on form.

Round Robin

An American betting term referring to 3 selections in 3 races, in 3 doubles, 1 treble and 6 single stake bets.

Router

A term describing a horse who performs well at distance races, and shows good stamina.

Rule 4

A rule which outlines the deductions to be taken from winning bets when a horse is withdrawn not under starters orders. Deductions based on withdrawn horse odds, and range from 90p in the £ for horses at odds of 1/9, through to no deduction for horses priced over 14/1.

Savage

A term referring to a horse that bites another horse or a person.

Schooling

A term referring to the practice jumping of obstacles done by horses. This can take place either at the racecourse or at the horses stables.

Scratch

A term used in America to describe a horse that is a ‘non-runner’ and does not run in the race it was declared for.

Selling Race

A term describing a race where the winner is put up for sale after the race. Bids can be made to buy the horse or the horse can be ‘bought in’ by the current owner.

Short Head

A term describing a distance measurement used in close or photo finishes. A ‘Short Head’ is the measurement between a ‘Head’ and a ‘Nose’.

Show

An American term used to describe a bet in horseracing that you collect if a horse comes first second or third. This is like place betting in the UK.

Silks

Term like ‘colours’ to describe the coloured jacket a jockey wears.

Sire

Term given to the father of a horse.

Steeplechasing

A term describing the National Hunt discipline of jumping fences. This is the old name for ‘Jump’ racing, where races were run from church steeple to the next steeple, jumping hedges that lay between.

Soft (Going)

A term describing the ground conditions when they are wet. The ‘softest’ ground is described as ‘Heavy’.

Sloppy Track

An American term used when the ‘Dirt’ surface is wet to describe the nature of the going or track conditions.

Sprint Races

A term given to short Flat races over five or six furlongs, usually run on straight courses.

Stallion

A term describing a male horse that ‘covers’ mares and fathers horses. These are usually the best performing horses on the track.

Starter Race

A term describing an allowance or handicap race restricted to horses who have started for a specific claiming price or less.

Starting Price (SP)

A term describing the price or odds at which a horse is in the betting when the race starts. Many bets are placed at ‘starting price’.

Staying Races

A term referring to long distance races where horses need more stamina to cover extra distance.

Stewards

A term describing the officials who regulate raceday activity. They hold enquiries into any foul play and decide on any fines or suspensions in the event of trainers and jockeys being found in breach of the rules.

Stewards’ Enquiry

A term given to the investigations into any perceived or actual breach of the rules. This can result in fines or suspensions, or the changing of places in a race where it is judged that interference has affected the result.

Stewards’ Room

A term given to the place where ‘Stewards Enquiries’ take place. This room is out of bounds to non-officials.

Stud

A term used to describe the breeding farm when Stallions cover Mares, and Mares have their Foals.

Super Yankee (Canadian)

A betting term referring to a bet consisting of 26 bets involving 5 selections. The bet includes 10 doubles, 10 trebles, 5 fourfolds plus an accumulator.

Super Heinz

A betting term referring to a bet consisting of 120 bets, involving 7 selections. The bet includes 21 doubles, 35 trebles, 35 fourfolds, 21 fivefolds, 7 sixfolds and an accumulator.

Thoroughbred

A term used to describe the breed of horse that is used in Professional Horseracing. Other breeds like Arabs are used in different forms of the sport.

Tic-Tac

A betting term referring to the arm movements of bookmakers and their clerks to signal the shortening or lengthening of horses odds.

Tissue

A betting term given to the first odds put up on a race.

Tongue Tie

A term referring to an aid which ties down a horses tongue to ensure it can get as much air into its lungs when running in races.

Top Weight

A term describing the highest weighted horse in a race. In a ‘Handicap’ the top weight is allotted to the horse judged to have the best ability.

Tote (Company)

The ‘Tote’ is the company that runs the bets like the ‘Placepot’ and ‘Jackpot’. A % profit margin is taken from all bets through the Tote.

Tote (Betting)

A betting term referring to pool betting, where winning tickets share the winning pool which is decided upon by how much is bet. For example if the pool is £100 and there are 10 winning ticket holders, the Tote take 10% and the rest is shared between the winners.

Track

A term describing the course on which racing takes place.

Trainer

A term given to the person who stables and exercises a horse to be fit to run in races.

Treble

A betting term referring to when three horses win in an accumulator. ‘Treble’ also refers to a jockey or trainer having three winners on a day.

Trip (Distance)

A term referring to the race distance that horses run over.

Triple Crown

A term describing the three main races in an three year olds season. In the UK this is the 2000.

Tricast

A betting term referring to bet where the first three horses home have to be predicted.

Trixie

A betting term consisting of 4 bets, involving 3 selections. The bet includes 3 doubles and 1 treble.

Best Odds Guaranteed (BOG)

A betting term referring to an offer where if you take a shorter price than the returned starting price, you get paid at the bigger odds.

Blinkers or Blinds

A term given to headgear which is used to focus a horse and limit it looking around when running in a race. They narrow the horses field of vision with the idea of making it give more effort.

Held Up

A term referring to a horses position in a race. ‘Held up’ means towards the rear in a race.

Ran Out

A term referring to a horse that omits an obstacle by ‘running out’ or off the course. This can be by hanging.

Refused To Race

A term referring to a horse that plants itself at the start and refuses to run.

Reversed Forecast

A betting term where two horses are chosen with money placed on them to finish in the first two in either order.

Rouge

A term referring to an ill-tempered horse that is unpredictable or doesn’t exert its effort.

Steamer

A betting term given to horse that is well supported in the betting, where its odds shorten appreciably.

Turf Course

A term referring to a grass course where races are run.

Unseated

A term given to a horse where the rider is dislodged but the horse does not fall.

Unexposed

A term given to a horse that is open to improvement, this may be due to running over a new distance.

Unfancied

A term given to a horse that is sent off at big odds and is therefore judged to be ‘unfancied’ by people placing bets.

Visor

A term given to headgear like ‘Blinkers’ that have eyecups to narrow the horses field of vision. A Visor has slits in the eyecups whereas Blinkers are full cup.

Walkover

A term used where there is only one horse that competes in a race. In this circumstance the horse just has to pass the winning line to be called the winner and does not need to complete the full course or distance.

Yankee

A betting term referring to a bet consisting of 11 bets involving 4 selections. The bet includes 6 doubles, 4 trebles, and an accumulator.

Weighed In

A the term used and announced once all jockeys have drawn the weight they were allotted and ‘weighed out’ at. This is to ensure the correct weight was carried during the race.

Weight Cloth

A term given to the leather part of a saddle which carries the lead weights when a jockey is lighter than what the horse is due to carry.

Yearling

A term describing a horse that is between one year old until it reaches its second birthday. Horses younger than a ‘yearling’ are classed as Foals.

Yielding

A term used mostly in Ireland to describe ground or going conditions that are around Good to Soft when compared to UK descriptions. Wetter ground than ‘Yielding’ is called ‘Soft’.

All Out

A term referring to a horse being ‘all out’ to win a race, i.e. being ridden to give all of its running and therefore not doing it easily or within itself.

Backward

A term referring to how the horse looks in either its coat (may look dull or starry suggesting it is not in top health) or fitness (suggesting the horse may not be fully fit).

Fire Sale

A term given to horses that are dropped many grades into a seller or claimer, ‘Fire Sale’ refers to the selling of a horse usually with a problem.

Group Races (UK) Or Graded Races

Group races are the European equivalent to North American graded races.

Group races are graded by their importance or class (3 down to 1), with Group 1 races including The Derby

Drifting (Drift, On the Drift)

As above this refers to a horses price/odds lengthening.

Permutations (Perms)

A betting term referring to combinations of selections into multiple bets.

Rail Runner

A term referring to a horse who prefers to run next to inside rail.

Right-Handed Track

A term referring to a racecourse that is clockwise in configuration. The best known Right-handed track in England is Ascot.

Starting Stalls

A term describing the mechanism in Flat racing from which all horses start.

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