Horse Racing Terms – A-Z Glossary Guide To Horse Racing Terminology

Horse Racing can be a confusing world for the beginner with many ‘slang’ terms used throughout the sport. With this in mind we thought it would be useful to bring all these terms together in a simple guide to help you learn all about these terms and their meanings. Our simple A-Z glossary will guide you through the world of horse racing and next time you are at the racecourse will have you enjoying the sport like a seasoned pro!

Accumulator – This is a type of bet that has more than one selection. Usually it will need each selection to win to be a winning bet.

Allowance – This revolves around novice jockeys, because of their lack of experience an allowance is a weight concession given to their horse.

All Weather – All Weather is a type of artificial racecourse surface. It is designed so it can be raced on all round the year including poor weather conditions.

Ante Post This is a bet placed on a race at least a day before the race takes place.

Apprentice – These are young jockeys working for or with a trainer while they learn the ropes and trade of horse racing.

Banker – Term used for the ‘hot’ favourite of the race. This is a horse that most likely should win and usually has short odds to show this (remember there is no such thing as a sure bet).

Bar – These are the lowest odds for the rest of the horses that are not shown in a betting forecast.

Birthday – To standardise horsing events, which are usually sport related all thoroughbred horses share the same birthday which is 1st January in the Northern Hemisphere and 1st August in the Southern.

Board Prices – These are the betting odds displayed by the bookmakers on the racecourse.

Bottle – This is a slang term for the betting odds 2/1.

Burlington Bertie – Another slang term but this time rhyming slang for the betting odds 100/30.

Bumper – A ‘Bumper’ is a flat race ran under National Hunt (jumps) rules. They are for inexperienced horse who haven’t raced under any other forms of racing and aged 7 or younger. They are called Bumpers because it is thought the horse bump into each other a lot due to inexperience.

Carpet – Another slang term for the betting odds of 3/1.

Claimer – This is when an inexperienced jockey takes weight off a horse due to their inexperience. The more races they win the less weight then can take off.

Classics – A term for the 5 biggest flat races in the UK which are the 1000 Guineas, 2000 Guineas, Oaks, Derby and St Leger.

Clerk Of The Course – The person in charge of the whole racecourse on a race day.

Colours – Also known as silks, these are the tops the jockeys’ race in which are unique to each racehorse owner.

Colt – This term means a male horse that has not been castrated and is aged 4 years or younger.

Conditional Jockey – A jockey aged between 16-26 that hasn’t ridden more than 75 winners and still has their ‘claim’.

Co-Favourite – This is when 3 or more horses are priced as favourite with the same betting odds.

Connections – This refers to the owners and trainers of a horse.

Cockle – Slang term for the betting odds 10/1.

Dam – The mother of a racehorse.

Distance – Usually means the length of a race.

Draw – This is in Flat Racing and determines what number stall the horse starts in.

Drift – Means a horse’s betting odds are getting bigger, mainly due to lack of support bit sometimes due to hot support for other horses.

Ear ‘Ole – Slang for the betting odds of 6/4.

Enin – This is actually ‘nine’ backwards and is a slang term for betting odds 9/1.

Evens – Or Even Money is a term for betting odds that receive the same amount of winnings back, bet £10 at evens and win £10 (plus your £10 stake back).

Filly – Refers to a female horse aged under 5 years of age.

Form – How a horse has performed on its last few races and is seen on a racecard next to its name with numbers and sometimes letters.

Furlong – Is a distance unit that is used in horse racing and is 1/8 of a mile which is just over 201 meters.

Gelding – A Gelding is a male horse that has been castrated to help improve its temperament.

Going – Underfoot conditions of the racecourse depending how much moisture is in the ground, ranging from Heavy (very wet) to Firm (dry).

Graded Races – These are the highest standard of races, Grade or Group 1 being the highest with Grade 2 and 3 being of slightly less quality.

Handful – Slang for the betting odds of 5/1.

Handicap – A race where different horses carry different weights determined by their rating, the theory is it gives each horse an equal chance of winning.

Handicapper – The person who decides the weight, or handicap, each horse carries.

Joint Favourite – When the bookmakers have priced 2 horses up the same to be the most likely (favourite) to win the race.

Jolly – Slang for the favourite in the betting in a race, short for ‘The Jolly Old Favourite’.

Judge – The Judge is the person who is responsible for making sure the result as the horses’ finish is correct.

Juvenile – A horse that is aged 2 years old.

Maiden – A horse that has never won a race.

Monkey – Slang for £500.

National Hunt – This is another name that ‘Jumps Racing’ is known by. A form of racing taking place over Fences or Hurdles.

NAP – This is someone’s, mainly tipsters, most favoured bet of the day or meeting.

Neves – Is Seven spelt backwards and is slang for betting odds of 7/1.

Nursery – This is a type of horse race for 2 year olds.

Objection – Is when one jockey makes a formal complaint about another jockey due to a breach of rules in a race.

Odds On – A betting term for odds that return less in winnings than the initial stake i.e. 4/5 would mean bet £5 and get £4 in winnings (plus your £5 stake back).

Off The Bridle – Or the bit, usually means the horse is not travelling, or racing, very well.

On The Bridle – Generally means the horse is travelling well as the jockey is still in contact with the horse via reigns and the bit.

Open Ditch – Is a type of fence in a jumps race with a ditch in front of the fence on the take-off side.

Photo Finish – When a photograph of the finish line is used in a close race to determine the correct result.

Pony – Is a slang term for £25.

Racecard – A programme with the information of all the races at a meeting and all the horses taking part.

Rule 4 – This comes into play when a horse is withdrawn from a race at the very last minute and there is no time to alter the odds. A specific formula is used to reduce the odds to compensate for the withdrawal(s).

Roof (or Rouf) – Slang for the betting odds 4/1.

Schooled – When a horse has been trained for hurdles or fences.

Selling Race – Or a seller is a race where the winning horse is sold at auction afterwards.

Sire – Is the father of a horse.

Starting Price – Also known as the Start Price or the SP are the betting odds of the horse at the point the race starts.

Stewards – These are the group of officials making sure the rules are followed. A Stewards Enquiry means they are looking at a certain aspect or incident in the race.

Tic-Tac – These are traditional hand signals used by bookmakers to communicate the odds of horses.

Walkover – Is when only one horse is in a race.

Yard – Refers the place or stables that a certain trainer is based.

Yearling – A young horse aged between one and two years old.