Racing Terms Glossary ...
ACCUMULATOR bet involving two or more selections in different races:
winnings from one are placed on the next.
ALLOWANCE is the weight concession the horse is given to compensate for
its rider's inexperience.
ALL WEATHER RACING flat racing which takes place on an artificial
AMATEUR (rider) on racecards, their names are prefixed by Mr, Mrs,
Captain, etc., to indicate their amateur status.
ANATOMY OF A HORSE
APPRENTICE young jockey tied by annually renewed contract to a licensed
trainer while he or she is learning the business of race-riding.
BACKWARD used of a horse which needs time to mature.
CLAIMER of a race: a claiming race; of a jockey: an apprentice.
COLT male, ungelded horse up to four years old.
CONDITIONAL JOCKEY the jumping equivalent of an apprentice.
COURSE SPECIALIST horse which tends to run well at a particular track.
DAM mother of a horse.
DISTANCE the length of a race: 5 furlongs is the minimum and the 4 1⁄2
miles of the Grand National the longest. Also, the margin by which a horse wins
or is beaten by the horse in front: this ranges from a short head to 'by a
distance' (more than 30 lengths); a 'length' is measured from the horse's nose
to the start of its tail.
DISTANCE an unmarked point 240 yards from the winning post (thus 'below
the distance' means closer home than that point).
DRAW for flat racing only, describes a horse's position in the starting
stalls, drawn randomly the day before.
EVENS or EVEN MONEY when your stake exactly equals your winnings -
thus £5 at evens wins a further £5.
FILLY female horse up to four years old.
FOAL horse of either sex from the time of its birth until 1 January the
FURLONG 220 yards (one eighth of a mile).
GELDING castrated horse.
GOING the description of conditions underfoot on the racecourse. Official
Jockey Club going reports progress as follows: Heavy - soft - good to soft -
good - good to firm - firm - hard.
GREEN (of a horse) inexperienced.
HAND unit of four inches in which a horse's height is measured, at the
exist as an attempt to level the playing field for horses of varying quality,
thereby ensuring more competitive racing for connections and punters alike.
All animals, from the Gold Cup or Champion Hurdle winner (usually rated in the
170s) right down to the lowliest performer (around 40), possess an official BHA
rating that reflects their relative abilities. The higher the rating, the
bigger the weight the horse has to carry.
JOLLY betting parlance for the favourite in a race - the horse with the
JUDGE official responsible for declaring the finishing order of a race
and the distances between the runners.
JUVENILE two-year-old horse.
MAIDEN horse which has not won a race.
are for horses yet to win a jumps race of any description. Weight is
allocated according to age and sex, with fillies carrying 7lbs less than their
MARE female horse five years and over.
MONKEY betting parlance for £500.
races are generally for younger horses in their first season either over hurdles
or fences. In a novice hurdle, animals that have won a hurdle race prior
to 26th April that year are no longer deemed to be novices and are barred from
this type of event. In theory, this allows the inexperienced horses to
race against each other before graduating to the senior ranks.
Weight is allocated according to age, sex and number of races previously won.
ODDS ON odds where the winnings are less than the stake (which is of course
returned to you): thus a winning £2 bet at 2-1 on wins you £1.
OFF THE BIT/OFF THE BRIDLE describes a horse being pushed along by his
jockey, losing contact with the bit in his mouth.
ON THE BIT/ON THE BRIDLE describes a horse going well within himself,
still having a grip on the bit.
OUT OF THE
HANDICAP - in most National Hunt handicaps there is a minimum weight of 10st
so any animal whose rating would allocate them less than that still has to
shoulder that burden. The horses that fall into this category are said to
be racing from 'out of the handicap' - usually a distinct disadvantage.
OVER THE TOP where a horse is said to have gone if he has passed his peak
for the season.
PACE 'up with the pace' means close to the leaders; 'off the pace' means
some way behind the leaders.
PADDOCK area of the racecourse incorporating the pre-parade ring, parade
ring and winner's enclosure.
PATTERN the elite races, divided in Flat racing into Groups One, Two,
Three and Listed; and in Jumping into Grades One,Two and Three.
PENALTY weight added to the allotted handicap weight of a horse which has
won since the weights were originally published.
PHOTO FINISH electronic photographic device which determines minimal
distances in a close finish.
PLATE shoe worn by horse for racing.
PONY betting parlance for £25.
RULE 4 betting rule covering deductions made from winning bets if a
horse is withdrawn after the betting market has been formed but before the
'Under Starter's Orders' signal; the amount deducted depends on the price of the
RUN FREE describes a horse going too fast, usually early in the race, to
allow it to settle.
SCOPE the potential for physical development in a horse.
SIRE father of a horse.
SPREAD A PLATE when a racing plate or horseshoe becomes detached from an
animal's hoof, this sometimes causes a delay while the horse is re-shod.
SPRINGER/STEAMER a horse which shortens dramatically in the betting.
SP/STARTING PRICE the official price of a horse at which bets are settled
in the betting shops.
STEWARDS the panel of men and women - usually a total of four - who are
responsible for seeing that the Rules of Racing are adhered to.
STEWARDS' ENQUIRY enquiry by the stewards into the running of a race.
TIC-TAC the bookmaker's method of relaying odds information on the
racecourse, by means of hand signals.
WEIGH IN / WEIGH OUT weighing of jockey before and after a race to
ensure that the correct weight has been carried; the announcement 'weighed in'
signals that the result is official, and all bets can be settled.
YANKEE combination bet involving four selections in different races:
six doubles, four trebles and one four-horse accumulator - eleven bets.
YEARLING horse of either sex from 1 January to 31 December of the year
following its birth.