Login Password
Forgot?
Free Trial

You are here : Home - Help & Information - Horse Racing Terms

Glossary of Terms

We all hear a phrase from time to time and wonder what on earth it means. Thats why we have created this list of terms for your convenience. Use the alphabetic menu to navigate.

3ABCDEFGHJKLMNOPRSTUVWXY

Accumulator
A bet with more than three selections where all have to win. The odds of each win 'accumulate' on to the next selection. For example a 10 accumulator with 4 Even money selections that win pays 160. The calculation for each part of the accumulator is Stake * Odds + Stake, with the stake on each part of the bet being carried forward from the last.
  
All Out
A horse who is trying his very best may be described as 'All Out' by a race commentator or on a form guide.
  
All Weather
Flat racing that takes place on an artificial surface. It takes place all year round. At the time of writing there are 5 all-weather tracks in the UK (Great Leighs, Kempton, Lingfield, Southwell & Wolverhampton) and 1 in Ireland (Dundalk).
  
Allowance
Also referred to as the jockeys claim. This is the amount of pounds reduced from the weight carried by a horse if it has an inexperienced jockey on board. Example - a horse weighted to carry 10 stones & 12 pounds with a jockey claiming 7 pounds would in fact only carry 10 stones 5 pounds.
  
Amateur
A jockey who is not yet fully qualified. On a racecard, amateur jockeys will be referred to as Miss or Mr etc
  
Ante-Post
Placing a bet ante-post is when you back in advance of an event. The benefits of this can be obtaining a far larger price, however any ante-post bets that do then not take part (non-runners) will not be refunded as they would be on standard bets. Ante-Post markets are generally for larger events such as the 2000 Guineas or the Cheltenham Gold Cup
  
Apprentice
A trainee jockey apprenticed to a licensed trainer - usually on an annual contract. An apprentice will normally partake in flat races only.
  
Back
Term which means your bet is to win, ie you have 'backed' it to win.
  
Backward
A phrase used by race-goers to describe a horse who is not mature enough or is struggling for fitness
  
Banker
Slang term to describe somebody's opinion that the horse is extremely likely to win.
  
Bar
The lowest price of horses who are not listed in the odds. For example if there are 20 runners in a race and there are 5 displayed on your tv with odds and then 20/1 bar, this means all other horses are a minimum of 20/1.
  
Bets
In HorseRaceBase when you see a column with Bets it refers to the number of qualifying bets matching the stipulated criteria.
  
Betting Exchange
A service where traders can back or lay selections against each other. The most popular betting exchange is Betfair.
  
Birthday
All horses in the northern hemisphere have their official birthday on January 1st irrespective of when they were actually born.
  
Blinkers
A garment fitted over a horse's head with holes for the eyes and ears, one or both eyeholes being fitted with cowls cutting out all vision to the rear but permitting full forward vision
  
Board Prices
Odds currently available and being displayed by on-course bookmakers
  
Bookmaker
A firm/individual who takes bets
  
Bottle
Tic-Tac terminology meaning 2/1
  
Bridle
A bridle is a piece of equipment used to control a horse. The bridle fits over a horse's head, and has the purpose of controlling the horse. It holds a bit in the horse's mouth, or holds on the nosepiece of a hackamore and other type of bitless bridle
  
Bumper
Common description of a National Hunt Flat Race. The purpose of these races is to provide horses with experience of racing prior to entering races with hurdles or fences.
  
Burlington Bertie
Tic-Tac terminology meaning 100/30
  
Carpet
Tic-Tac terminology meaning 3-1
  
Chasing Losses
As it sounds basically this means trying to recoup losses by increasing stakes. Generally regarded as an extremely foolish practice
  
Cheek Pieces
Two strips of sheepskin or any other similar material or device which is attached to the cheek pieces of the bridle
  
Claim/Claimer
Also referred to as the jockeys allowance. This is the amount of pounds reduced from the weight carried by a horse if it has an inexperienced jockey on board. Example - a horse weighted to carry 10 stones & 12 pounds with a jockey's allowance of 7 pounds would in fact only carry 10 stones 5 pounds.
  
Classics
Term used to describe the major races on the flat. These are the 1000 & 2000 Guineas, The Oaks, The Derby & St Leger
  
Clerk of the course
The official given responsibility of being in charge of the race and the running of it
  
Co Favourite
Horse sharing favouritism status with 2 or more other horses
  
Cockle
Tic-Tac terminology meaning 10-1
  
Collateral Form
A term used to describe using a third party horse to compare two other horses against each other. For example HorseA may have beat the third party horse by 8 lengths whereas HorseB was beaten by it, this could be used to assume HorseA had the better of HorseB
  
Colours
The silks worn by the jockey. These are chosen by the owners and in some cases can be very recognisable (example J P McManus). It is often thought it is the trainers colours being worn but this is not the case.
  
Colt
Ungelded male horse up to 4 years old
  
Conditional
A trainee jockey apprenticed to a licensed trainer - usually on an annual contract. Similar to an apprentice but able to partake in jumps races.
  
Conditions Race
A race that horses must meet certain conditions in order to be able to participate. Example - for horses who have won a certain quality of race.
  
Connections
All people involved with the horse such as the owners and trainer.
  
Course Specialist
A horse who is particularly successful at a certain track. For example a horse who has only won three times and all of them came at the one track could be described as a course specialist.
  
Dam
The mother of a horse
  
Dead Heat
When a race has had two or more horses cross the finish line at exactly the same time. This would be called when a photo of the finish line can not separate the horses.
  
Dead Weight
The lead in the weight cloth carried by a horse
  
Distance
The actual distance in miles and furlongs that a race is run over. The shortest distance in UK/Ireland is 5 furlongs, the longest is 4 miles 4 furlongs.
  
Distance Beaten
The distance a horse has finished behind the winner. In some results sections (such as horseracebase) the distance beaten is broken down by each runner and how far they were behind the placing in front of them. To calculate the a total distance behind the winner you would add each of the distance beaten amounts up to his gfinishing place. (example - horse finishes 4th, three lengths behind 3rd who was 1 length behind 2nd, who was 2 lengths behind 1st. Horse in 4th place distance beaten is 6 lengths)
  
Double
A bet comprising of two selections where both must win. A winning 10 double on 5/4 and 6/4 selections would pay 56.25 (10*5/4+10=22.50*6/4+22.50=56.25)
  
Double Carpet
Tic-Tac terminology meaning 33-1
  
Draw
The starting stall that a horse has been positioned in following a random selection. Used in Flat and All Weather racing only.
  
Draw Bias
The perceived statistical evidence which would seem to signify a certain position in the starting stalls is better than others.
  
Drifter
When the odds of a horse grow larger due to a lack of support in the market
  
Each Way
Terms of betting which allow your horse to come home in the 'placings'. If you bet each-way your stake will be 2 units, 1 on the win and 1 on the place. See PlaceTerms for more details.
  
Ear'ole
Tic-Tac terminology meaning 6/4
  
Enin
Tic-Tac terminology meaning 9/1
  
Evens
Starting Price which describes odds of 1/1. A 10 single win on a horse at Evens pays 20 (10*1/1+10)
  
Eye Cover
A garment similar to blinkers fitted over a horse's head except that in place of the eye cowls one eye only is completely covered by an opaque cover
  
Eye Shield
A garment similar to blinkers fitted over a horse's head except that in place of the eye cowls both eyes are covered with a mesh or other transparent material
  
Favourite
The horse with the shortest price in the market
  
Festival
A course that holds a number of meetings over consecutive days on an annual basis. Popular examples are the Cheltenham festival and the Punchestown festival.
  
Fibresand
A type of all weather racing surface
  
Filly
Female horse up to four years old.
  
Foal
A horse that is one year old or younger
  
Forecast
When you try and correctly pick the first 2 horses home in the exact correct order
  
Form
The information of a horses previous races and performance which is used to decide selections
  
Front Runner
Term meaning that the horse has gone/will go in to the lead early in the race and try and stay there
  
Furlong
Distance used in racing. 1 furlong=220 yards. There are 8 furlongs in a mile, so a race over 12 furlongs can also be referred to as a mile and a half.
  
Gelding
A castrated male horse.
  
Going
The description used to indicate the condition of the ground that will be raced on.
  
Grade 1/2/3
A high quality National Hunt race with Grade 1 being the highest
  
Green (running green)
A term used to describe an inexperienced horse who is running with signs of immaturity
  
Group 1,2,3
High Quality standard of race with Group 1 being the highest
  
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
Tic-Tac terminology meaning 5/1
  
Handicap
A race where each horse is allocated a different weight to carry by the handicapper, the aim being to give each individual horse a fair and equal chance of winning.
  
Hedging
Term which describes transferring part of the liabilty of a bet to a third party. Example - if a bookmaker has taken a bet of 100 at odds of 50/1 and is uncomfortable with the liability, he may back 50 at 50/1 with another source so as to reduce his liability should the horse win.
  
Held up
Term meaning that a horse is being kept at the rear of the other horses and will deliver its challenge at a later point in the race
  
Hood
A garment similar to blinkers fitted over a horse's head, incorporating ear covers but without eye cowls
  
Horse
An ungelded male aged 5 years or older
  
Horses for courses
Slang term meaning that certain horses perform better at certain tracks
  
Hunter Chase
A race restricted to horses that have hunted during the present hunting season.
  
Jackpot
A type of bet where you must correctly select the winner in a number of specified races as set out by the bookmaker
  
Jockey
The rider of the horse
  
Joint Favourite
Horse who is sharing favouritism with one other horse
  
Jolly
Slang term to describe the favourite in a race
  
Judge
Race official who confirms the final finishing places following completion of a race
  
Juvenile
Type of race for younger horses. In jumps races 3 years old, in flat 2. Also used to describe a young horse.
  
Key Race
Term used to describe a race which is considered to be particularly important, often when many good horses are running in it or if previous runnings of that race have proved to be a good guide for the forthcoming months.
  
Kick Back
When part of the ground surface is dislodged and is flying back on to oncoming horses this is referred to as kick back
  
Lay
Term which means taking a bet that a horse will lose. If you hear someone say they have 'layed it', this means they feel it will lose
  
Liability
The total amount which will be lost should the worst scenario occur. So for 30 layed at 25/1 your liability is 750
  
Listed
A race quality that falls short of group or graded standard but is better than handicap or conditions races.
  
Long
Term used to describe odds of a horse who is unfancied in the market.
  
Lucky Fifteen
A type of bet used when making four selections. It is made up of fifteen parts - four singles, six doubles, four trebles and an accumulator
  
Maiden
1 - Horse that has never won a race. 2 - Type of race for horses who have never won
  
Mare
A female horse aged 4 years or older.
  
Market
The name given to the list of betting prices available for each horse
  
Monkey
Slang term to describe 500.
  
Nap
The most fancied selection of the day. Often used in newspapers by tipsters etc.
  
National Hunt
A category of racing that includes bumper races, hurdles and chases. It takes place all year round however the majority of races occur between November and March.
  
Neves
Tic-Tac terminology meaning 7/1
  
No Offers
Means that bookmakers are unwilling or unable to offer a price for a certain horse. Example - if a horse has been backed so heavily that it is consider an absolute certainty it will win, the bookmaker may declare 'no offers'
  
Nursery
A handicap race for 2 year old horses
  
Objection
An appeal made by a jockey following a race if he feels he was unfairly treated by another rider. For example a jockey may lodge an objection if he feels another jockey deliberately impeded him and affected his finishing position.
  
Odds
The price being offered to back or lay a horse
  
Odds On
Term used to describe odds of a horse who is heavily fancied in the market. Examples are 4/5 (0.8/1) and 1/5 (0.2/1). A 10 winning bet on a 4/5 shot will return 18 (10*4/5+10=18)
  
Off the bit/Off the bridle
Term used (often by commentators) to describe a horse being pushed by the jockey and losing contact with the bit in its mouth.
  
On Course
As it sounds this is when a bookmaker or other person is actually at the track
  
On the bit/On the bridle
Term used (often by commentators) to describe a horse comfortable in itself and not requiring heavy urgings from the jockey
  
On the nod
Description used when a race has been won by a tight margin and where the horses head bobbing movements have had an outcome in the race. Ie - he won 'on the nod'.
  
On The Nose
Slang term meaning a win-only bet
  
Open Ditch
Type of fence used in chase races where a ditch faces the jockey
  
Outsider
A horse who is unfancied in the market and is a long price
  
Over Round
The percentage of total stakes which the bookmakers will net as profit.
  
Over The Top
Term used to describe a horse who may have reached its potential for that season
  
Pace Setter
A horse tactically employed to inject pace into a race in order to benefit one of his stablemates. Also this term is used by commentators just to describe a horse who is setting the pace
  
Pari Mutuel
French equivalent of the tote
  
Patent
A type of bet used when making three selections. It is made up of seven parts - three singles, three doubles and a treble
  
Penalty
An additional weight added to that carried by a horse. Often this can be based on previous form - for example a penalty of 3 pounds may be applied to a horse who has won a race in a certain timeframe.
  
Photo Finish
Used by the stewards to decipher the winner of a closely contested outcome. A photo of the finish is automatically taken in all races but would only be referred to when the outcome is to close to call.
  
Place
In HorseRaceBase when you see a column with Place as the heading it refers to the number of selections matching stipulated criteria that finished within the placings in the race. The number of places paid varies depending on field size and race type (see Place Terms).
  
Place%
In HorseRaceBase when you see a column with Place% as the heading it refers to the percentage of selections matching stipulated criteria that finished within the placings in the race. This is also commonly referred to as the placed strike rate. The number of places paid varies depending on field size and race type (see Place Terms).
  
Place Terms
The number of placings paid out when betting to each-way terms. These vary depending on the number of runners and whether it is a handicap or not. In many bookmakers now they offer 'specials' with increased place terms.
General place terms (and those used for calculation in HorseRaceBase) are -
Any Race with 4 or less runners - Winner only
Any Race with 5,6 or 7 runners - 2 places
Any Non Handicap with 8 or more runners - 3 Places
Handicaps with 8-15 runners - 3 places
Handicaps with 16 or more runners - 4 places
  
Placepot
Type of bet where you must pick a certain number of horses that all must place in order to win
  
Plate
Shoe worn by a horse for racing
  
Pony
Slang term meaning 25
  
Pulled Up
If a horse is not responding to the jockeys urgings and is considered to have no chance or if something has gone wrong it may be stopped - this is referred to as being 'pulled up'. In a racecard this may be shortened to PU.
  
Racecard
The programme of events for a days racing which will include details of all runners and riders etc
  
Rating
A score given to a horse based on certain tests carried out about its past performance and any other criteria which the compiler sees appropriate
  
Retainer
Fee paid to a rider who is employed by a trainer specifically to ride his/her horses
  
Reverse Forecast
Bet comprising 2 parts. You choose two horses and they must come home 1st and 2nd but in either order
  
Ring
Part of the course where bookmakers are located
  
Roof
Tic-Tac terminology meaning 4/1
  
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.
  
Run Free
Term used to describe a horse is running too fast, also sometimes when a horse breaks free from its rider and runs off.
  
Schooled
When a horse has been specifically tutored to go jumping by its trainer
  
Scope
The perceived potential of a horse
  
Score
Slang term meaning 20
  
Seller
A race where the winner is offered for sale in an auction immediately after the race
  
Sheepskin Cheek Pieces
Two strips of sheepskin or any other similar material or device which is attached to the cheek pieces of the bridle
  
Short
Term often used to describe odds which are perceived to be underpriced. For example if you feel a horse should be 2/1 but is in fact 4/5 you may say "I would back it but the odds are too short"
  
Short Head
Term used to describe a horse's beaten distance compared to the runner directly in front of him. A horse only beaten by a short head will have got extremely close to the runner in front.
  
Sire
The father of a horse. Commonly used phrase in breeding terminology
  
Skinny
See Short
  
SP/Starting Price
The official starting price of a horse
  
Special
A bookmakers promotion to try and entice yo to place your bets with them. Example paying 6 places on the Grand National.
  
Spread a Plate
When a horse has lost a shoe
  
Springer
A horse whose odds in the market have significantly shortened. Example if a horse opened at 10/1 and was backed in to 3/1 he would be desacribed as a 'springer in the market'
  
Stable
Normally means the trainer who is in charge of the horse
  
Stable Jockey
A rider who is employed by a trainer specifically to ride his/her horses
  
Stake
The total amount of money you have bet on the race
  
Stall
Box in which horses are placed prior to most flat races.
  
Standard
A going description used for all weather tracks. More often than not the going is described as Standard which as it sounds suggests going conditions are normal.
  
Stewards
Race officials who monitor a race to ensure it is run in a fair manner, if an enquiry or complaint is lodged following a race, it is the stewards who will investigate and decide the outcome.
  
Sticks
Slang term used to describe National Hunt racing
  
Super Yankee
Bet type comprising 26 parts.
  
System
Term meaning following horses matching a certain criteria. For example backing all Frankie Dettori's rides at Newmarket is following a system
  
Tailed Off
When a horse is some distance away from the leading contenders in a race and seemingly going nowhere
  
There Off
Commonly used phrase which signifies that the race has begun. It is at this point that officially all bets must stop and any trading becomes 'in-running',
  
Tic-Tac
Hand signals and sign language used by bookmakers to converse with each other
  
Tissue
Early prices inicating expected prices, these are created before the official market is created
  
Tongue Strap/Tongue Tie
A device used to tie down a horse's tongue.
  
Tote
Computerised betting system found on and off course
  
Trainer
The person who has the horse in training at their yard
  
Treble
A bet comprising of three selections where all must win. A winning 10 treble on three Even money selections would pay 80 (10*1+10=20*1+20=40*1+40)
  
Tricast
When you try and correctly pick the first 3 horses home in the exact correct order
  
Trixie
Bet type comprising 4 parts. Three doubles and a treble
  
Under Orders
When the horses are at the starting point of a race and are awaiting instructions to begin
  
Unfancied
When the horse is not expected to win and is a large price
  
Up in the Van
Slang term meaning that the horse is being ridden prominently
  
Visor
A garment similar to blinkers fitted over a horse's head in which one or both cowls have holes cut in them permitting limited side or rear vision
  
Walkover
A race involving only one horse
  
Weigh In
A measure of the jockey to ensure he is the required and stated weight
  
Weight Cloth
A felt cloth with leather pockets where lead weights are placed as dictated by the race terms. This is placed under the saddle on the horse's back.
  
Weight For Age
Weight for age races are non handicaps in which the weights are based on the weight for age scale. There may be penalties for horses who have won certain types of races or a specified amount of money.
  
Win%
In HorseRaceBase when you see a column with Win% as the heading it refers to the percentage of selections matching stipulated criteria that finished first. This is also commonly referred to as the strike rate.
  
Wins
In HorseRaceBase when you see a column with Wins as the heading it refers to the number of selections matching stipulated criteria that finished first.
  
Win P/L
In HorseRaceBase when you see a column with Win P/L as the heading it refers to the total profit or loss you would have made had you backed all the selections matching stipulated criteria at the official starting price.
  
Xis
Tic-Tac terminology meaning 6/1
  
Yankee
A type of bet used when making four selections. It is made up of eleven parts - six doubles, four trebles and an accumulator
  
Yearling
Horse of either sex during 1 January to 31 December following the year of its birth.


This page loaded in 0.09 seconds.

Coming together is a beginning, Keeping together is progress, Working together is success.
Henry Ford
HorseRaceBAse on Twitter