When first getting involved in horse racing the terminology, among other things, can be extremely daunting. If it’s not John McCririck roaring his ‘tic-tac’ betting terms it can be our chat about our ‘NAP’. We’ve put together our guide to get you started!
Amateur – An amateur rider is one who obviously doesn’t ride professionally, their names on racecards are prefixed with Mr,Miss or Mrs. Amateur jockeys aren’t entitled to a share of the prize-money and most have outside interests in the sport which allows them to pursue their passion of riding and maintaining an income. Nina Carberry & Jamie Codd are probably 2 of the most well-known amateurs in the sport.
Accumulator – A type of bet with more than one selection to win a big pot. Often punters combine some short-odds horses to boost the returns.
All-weather (AW) – An all weather track is that with an artificial surface which allows for racing all-year round. These surfaces can vary including but not limited to Tapeta, Polytrack and Fibresand.
Apprentice – An apprentice rider is a rider who is still learning his/her trade under the stewardship of a recognised licensed trainer, these riders receive a weight allowance of 3, 5 & 7lbs against their fully-fledged professional jockey counterparts to even the playing field. These ‘claims’ as they’re called can be of utmost important, if an apprentice jockey is already riding like a pro and has a claim it can make all the difference in handicaps.
Backward – A term to watch for when trainers describe a horse, this means the horse took a long time to mature and will be better with age. Lots of top National Hunt and middle-distance flat horses can be ‘backward’ simply because of how they’re built.
Banker – If someone believes a horse can’t lose, they’ll describe it as a banker as it’s literally like getting money from the bank by backing it!
Best Turned Out – This is a term for which horse looks the best in the paddock prior to the running of the race. Prizes and such can sometimes be awarded to the groom of the horse who may choose to use stencils etc. for that extra touch.
Bookmaker – A person who lays bets.
Black-type – Term used by the bloodstock industry to denote a horse that has won or been placed in a Pattern/Listed race. Horses ‘going for black type’ are attempting to win or be placed in a Pattern/Listed race to improve their breeding value, this can be extremely important for Mares & Fillies.
Blinkers – A piece of equipment used by trainers to help a horse focus on racing and not what may be around him/her.
Breeze-Up – Quite an important term these days, a breeze is a piece of work done in-front of potential buyers who may choose to bid at the auction which usually follows. Horses will run a specific distance as fast as they can usually between 2-3 furlongs.
Broodmare – A female horse who is kept at a stud with a view to breeding from her in time.
Bumper – A national hunt flat race is deemed a bumper, this name comes from the fact that it is often common practice for Apprentices to ride in these races. These races are for inexperienced horses and are used as an in introduction to racing.
Colt – A male horse under the age of 5, on the flat most useful horses will retire as colts with a view to a career as a stallion.
Chasing – Jumping fences, significantly bigger than hurdles.
Cheekpieces – An aid to help horses focus on racing. You can often identify your horse by looking for these, they’re often white & wooly!
Cut in the ground – This refers to how the ground in riding, if there has been rain on the ground and it is riding deep it is said to have some cut.
Dam – The mother of a horse, this can go back to 2nd dam for grandmother and so on. This can be vital to see what can be expected of a horse, i.e will they like some cut in the ground.
Draw – The stall number a horse will break from, very important if there is a draw-bias, which is when it will be more difficult if a horse is drawn in a higher stall. Chester is one of the most infamous tracks fro draw bias.
Drift – When the betting market goes against a horse it will drift, the price will get bigger, signalling the market doesn’t think the horse will win.
Each-Way – When you back a horse to both win and place, your winnings will be based on how many runners in the race i.e. 12 runners will pay 1/4 odds on the first 3 places.
Filly – A female horse under the age of 5.
Furlong – 220 yards, the measurement used for racing.
Gamble – When a serious amount of money comes for one horse causing the price to decrease. Famous gambles include the Byrnes’ Roscommon Gamble and Barney Curley’s gambles.
Gelding – A horse who has been castrated, can be a good betting angle for horses having their first run since being gelded. This helps them concentrate on the job in hand without playing up.
Going – The description of how the ground is riding, i.e soft if it has rained, or firm if the sun has been out.
Green – A term to describe a horse who isn’t fully aware of his/her job when they hit the racecourse, the horse may hang across the track or not quicken immediately when asked as they’re still learning their trade.
Grade/Group Races – The elite races which attract the biggest and best stars, a Group race on the flat or a Graded race for National Hunt.
Handicap – A race where the horse’s mark in partnership with the conditions of the race will determine what weight they carry in the race.
Hurdles – Smaller obstacles than fences, can be referred to as timber.
Jockey – The man or woman who steers and guides the horse around the track.
Jockey Championship – The jockey who rides the most winners is eligible for a Champion Jockey bonus and not to mention bragging rights in the weighing room!
Juvenile – A two year old horse on the flat or a four year old horse over the jumps can be referred to as juveniles.
Length – Helps calculate the margin of success for punters who may wish to back a horse to win by X amount of lengths.
Lead – Used in the weight-cloth to ensure the horse is carrying the correct weight.
Lucky 15 – A bet made up of 4 selections and 15 bets, Singles, Doubles, Trebles and an Accumulator.
Maiden – A horse who is yet to win a race.
Mare – A female horse who is 5 or older. Mares can often get an allowance in big races to allow them to compete with the opposite sex, one example of this is the Arc, which Found won in 2016 making full use of the claim. Another example is Annie Power, who got 7lbs in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham and destroyed the field.
NAP of the Day – The best bet of the day, similar to Banker. The term is said to come from the card game Napoleon which was the best hand.
National Hunt – The opposite to the flat, National Hunt is jumping i.e Hurdles & Fences.
Noseband – Another piece of equipment to help the horse concentrate, once again these can help identify your horse as they are often sheepskin.
Novice – A Horse who is still very-much learning their job, there are specific races for these horses over jumps. The Arkle at Cheltenham is for novice chasers’.
Odds–On – When a horse is odds-on it means your profit will be less than your stake. An example of this is 1/2, to win £10 you would have to stake £20.
On The Bridle – When a horse is travelling well without having to be urged by the jockey. On-the-bit is another way of saying on the bridle. Paul Carberry was a master at producing his mount at the perfect time while still on the bridle.
Pedigree – The pedigree or page of a horse is a breakdown of the whole family, this can help determine what going the horse may like or what distance they’ll like.
Point-to-point – A type of racing that is often used before horses reach the racetrack proper, this can be called between the flags rather than under rules which is the most common racing the public watch and bet on.
Pulling – When a horse is keen to go faster it is said to be pulling the jockey. This can result in the horse being unable to sustain a finishing challenge.
Rule 4 – A rule 4 is a deduction when there is a horse withdrawn. The deduction will coincide with the price of the withdrawn horse. Horses with odds bigger than 12/1 will not incur a rule 4 if withdrawn although it may alter the number of places. You can read our guide on by clicking the heading.
Sire – A horse’s father. Galileo is one of the most successful sires, he currently stands at Coolmore stud in Ireland. Frankel, Minding & Found are just 3 examples of his progeny.
Stewards Enquiry – When there has been some interference or something similar in the race the stewards can call an enquiry to view what happened. An infamous example of this is when Bondi Beach was awarded the race in the Steward’s room at the expense of Simple Verse, this was later overturned on appeal.
Tic-Tac – A sign language that on-course bookmakers use to signal prices. Tic-tac isn’t all that common at racecourses anymore but can still be seen occasionally
Turn of foot – When a horse can quicken very quickly that is called the horses turn of foot.
Weighed In – When a jockey weighs themselves in after a race to ensure they were riding at the correct weight during the race. Bookmakers wait for the jockey to weigh in before settling bets to ensure there will be no Steward’s Enquiry.
Well-In – If a horse is turned out under a penalty they may be seen as being well in as they may be due to go up more than penalty depending on how the handicapper rules.
Want horse racing tips for today? Check out our NAP of the Day, our best bet of the day, updated every morning!