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.

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 -

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.


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