Horseracing Jargon Explained
Do not be put off by the unusual terms you may hear on the racetrack. Our Jargon Buster will help new race goers keen to enhance their language skills.
Bet involving two or more selections in different races: winnings from one are placed on the next.
Used of a horse, which needs time to mature.
Clerk of the Course:
Official in charge of running the racing programme.
The racing silks worn by the jockeys.
Male, ungelded horse up to four years old.
The owner(s) and trainer of a racehorse.
Mother of horse.
The length of race: 5 furlongs is the minimum and 2 miles, 5 furlongs the longest. Also, the margin by which a horse wins or is beaten by the horse in front: this ranges from a nose to ‘by a distance’ (more than 30 lengths); a ‘length’ is measured from the horses nose to the start of its tail.
An unmarked point 240 yards from the winning post (thus ‘below the distance’ means closer home than that point).
Describes a horse’s position at the start, drawn randomly the day before.
Evens or Even money:
When your stake exactly equals your winnings – thus £5 at evens wins a further £5.
Female horse up to four years old.
Horse of either sex from the time of birth until 1 January the following year.
220 yards (one eighth of a mile).
The description of conditions underfoot on the racecourse.
Betting parlance for the favourite in the race – the horse with the shortest odds.
Official responsible for declaring the finishing order of a race and the distances between the runners.
Horse which has not won a race.
Female horse, five years and over.
Betting parlance for £500.
Complaint by one jockey against another regarding breach of rules during a race.
Odds where the winnings are less than the stake (which of course is returned to you): thus a winning £2 bet at 2-1 on wins you £1.
‘Up with the pace’ means close to the leaders; ‘off the pace’ means some way behind the leaders.
Area of the racecourse incorporating the pre-Parade Ring, Parade Ring and Winners’ Enclosure.
Weight added to the allowed handicap weight of a horse, which has won since the weights were originally published.
Shoe worn by horse for racing.
Betting parlance for £25.
Describes a horse going too fast, usually early in the race, to allow it to settle.
The potential for physical development in a horse.
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.
A horse which shortens dramatically in the betting.
The official price of a horse at which bets are starting in the betting ring.
The panel of men and women usually a total of four – who are responsible for seeing that the Rules of Racing are adhered to.
Enquiry by the stewards into the running of a race.
‘Race’ with only one runner.
Weigh in/weigh out:
Weighing of a 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.
Horse of either sex from 1st January to 31st December of the year following its birth.