Glossary of Horse Racing terms

Accumulator – A bet involving more than one horse with the winnings from each selection going onto the next.

Allowance –
When a rider is inexperienced the horse is given a weight concession to compensate.

All-Weather –
The name given to the artificial surface tracks. These offer racing throughout the winter regardless of weather conditions.

Ante-Post –
placing a bet during a period in advance of the date of a race, although not including the date itself.

Apprentice –
Young jockey tied to a trainer whilst gaining race-riding experience. When racing against professional jockeys apprentices receive weight concessions to compensate for their relative inexperience.

Banker – A selection that is fancied very, very strongly indeed. Will often be the cornerstone of combination bets.

Bar –
This shows what the lowest odds of the horses not mentioned in the betting forecast

Birthday – All northern hemisphere thoroughbreds have their official birthday on January 1st regardless of their original day of birth.

Board Prices –
This refers to the currently available odds displayed on the boards of on-course bookmakers. It is from these that the starting price is derived.

Bottle – The ‘tic-tac’ term for 2/1

Burlington Bertie – The ‘tic-tac’ term for 100-30.

Bumper –
The informal term for a flat race for jump horses, in which they gain racing experience before going hurdling or chasing.

Carpet –
The ‘tic-tac’ term for 3-1. Double carpet is 33-1.

Claimer – Race where a horse is handicapped by its trainer, with the weight relating to the amount of money the horse would cost should someone claim it afterwards.

Classics –
The collective term for the 1,000 Guineas, 2,000 Guineas, Oaks, Derby and St Leger. These races are only open to three-year-olds, with the 1,000 Guineas and Oaks just for the female of the species.

Clerk of the course – The person in overall charge of running the race

Colours –
Refers to the silk shirts worn by the jockeys. Each trainer/owner/jockey will have their own colours.

Colt –
Ungelded, male horse up to four years old.

Conditional Jockey – Same as apprentice but it also allowed to jump.

Co-favourite – A horse that share its position at the head of the market with at least two other horses.

Connections – Usually refers to the owner and trainer of a horse, but also applies generally to anyone involved.

Course Specialist –
A horse which is used to a track, and has either won or made good time on previous races.

Cockle –
The ‘tic-tac’ term for 10-1.

Dam – The mother of a horse.

Distance – Can refer either to a) the length of a race; or b) the distance by which a horse has won or is beaten by a horse in front that has won.

Draw – Refers to a horse’s placing in the starting stalls. For flat racing only. Stall numbers are drawn at random.

Drift – When the price of a selection gets bigger, due to a lack of support. That selection is said to be “on the drift”.

Ear’ole – The ‘tic-tac’ term for 6-4.

Enin – The ‘tic-tac’ term for 9-1.

Even Money or 1:1 bet – When your stake brings equal winnings.

Filly – Female horse up to four years old.

Foal – In racing the term foal is more complicated than simply a ‘baby’ horse. It usually refers to either a male or female horse from birth to January 1st of the following year.

Furlong – 220 yards

Gelding – A male horse that has been castrated.

Going – Describes the condition of the racecourse. Ranks as: heavy – soft – good to soft – good – good to firm -firm.

Green –
Refers to an inexperienced horse.

Guineas – Horses are still bought and sold at public auction in the UK in Guineas. A Guinea is the equivalent of £1.05.

Hand –
Unit in which a horse’s height is measured, at the shoulder. A hand is four inches

Handful –
The ‘tic-tac’ term for 5-1.

Handicap – A race where each horse is allocated a different weight to carry, the theory being all horses then run on a fair and equal basis

Hunter Chase –
A race restricted to horses that have hunted during the present hunting season. Not clear how this will evolve in a post-hunting world.

Joint favourite – When a bookmaker cannot split two selections for favouritism.

Jolly – The favourite in a race

Judge – The official who determines the finishing order of a race.

Juvenile –
Two-year-old horse.

Listed – A race just below group standard but above that of handicap and conditions races.

Maiden –
A horse that has not won a race.

Mare –
Female horse aged five and above

Monkey: –

National Hunt – The traditional name for jumps racing.

NAP – The best bet of the day from a particular tipster

Neves – The ‘tic-tac’ term for 7-1.

No offers – When bookmakers are unwilling to offer a price on a horse.

Nursery –
A handicap for two year old horses

Objection – A complaint by a jockey against another.

Odds On – Betting odds where the winnings are less than the stake.

Off the bit/Off the bridle – Describes a horse being pushed and losing contact with the bit in its mouth.

On the bit/On the bridle –
Describes a horse pushing himself, still having a bite on the bit.

Open Ditch –
Steeplechase jump with a ditch on the side facing the jockey.

Penalty – A weight added to the handicap weight of a horse

Photo Finish – A photo is automatically taken as the horses pass the winning line and when the race is too close to be judged the photo is referred to

Plate – Racing shoe worn by a horse

Pony – £25.

Racecard – A programme for the day’s racing.

Rule 4 – If a horse is withdrawn and there is insufficient time to form a new market the remaining horses in the race are subject to a deduction if they win or are placed. These are calculated according to the starting price as follows: 3/10 or longer odds – 75p in the ?, 2/5 to 1/3 – 70p, 8/15 to 4/9 – 65p, 8/13 to 4/7 – 60p, 4/5 to 4/6 – 55p, 20/21 to 5/6 – 50p, Evens to 6/5 – 45p, 5/4 to 6/4 – 40p, 13/8 to 7/4 – 35p, 15/8 to 9/4 – 30p, 5/2 to 3/1 – 25p, 10/3 to 4/1 – 20p, 9/2 to 11/2 – 15p, 6/1 to 9/1 – 10p, 10/1 to 14/1 – unchanged.

Roof –
The ‘tic-tac’ term for 4/1.

Schooled – A horse trained for jumping

Scope – The potential in a horse.

Selling Race – A race where the winner is sold by auction immediately afterwards

Sire –
Father of a horse.

Spread a plate – When a horse loses a shoe

SP/Starting Price – An estimation of odds available when the race starts.

Stewards –
The group of people (usually 4) who make sure the rules are adhered to.

Stewards Enquiry –
An enquiry by the stewards into a race.

Tic-Tac – The hand signals, or sign language, used by bookmakers to converse with eachother.

Tissue – The betting forecast of how an on-course bookmaker thinks the betting on a race will open.

Under Starters Orders or Under Orders –
Refers to the starting of a race. They’re off refers to the horses leaving the stalls.

Walkover –
A race involving only one horse and jockey.

Weigh In / Weigh Out –
Where a jockey is weighed to make sure he is the required and stated weight.

Yearling – A horse of either sex during 1 January to 31 December following the year of its birth.

Xis –
The ‘tic-tac’ term for 6/1.