Horse Betting Terms – A General Glossary
If you’re new to horse racing, one of the biggest challenges, even before you’ve started placing any wagers, is getting your head around the different terminologies. There’s a great number of horse betting terms, which are specific to betting on the sport, as well as several more general terms that aren’t necessarily associated with betting, but are nonetheless important for understanding the sport. To make sure that we cover all the bases, we’ve gone ahead and compiled this glossary page where you’ll find all the most important horse racing betting terms explained, along with some more horse betting jargon and general colloquial terms. Keep reading below to find out what’s meant by a Juvenile, a Group Race, a Handicap race or a Lucky 63. To learn about other interesting facts about betting on horses, head over to the facts and figures section on the horse racing main page.
A race that has been abandoned due to bad weather conditions. All stakes that have been placed on abandoned races are refunded by the bookmaker.
A single bet that combines at least four different selections. Each selection has to be correct in order for the bet to pay out.
Across the Board
A combination of the Win, Place and Show Bet. If the horse wins you collect on all three pay-outs, if it comes in second you collect on the place and the show and if it comes in third you collect on the show only.
A type of race that has set conditions and weights for the competing horses. Age, number of wins in past races, amount of money won in past races and gender are examples of some of the conditions.
A weight reduction permitted to females when they are racing against males or when three-year-olds race against older aged horses.
Simply put, Ante Post betting is a bet put at least a day before an event. Usually referring to a horse racing or greyhound racing bet, it refers to a bet that is taken usually before the starting price has been set. It is also offered for big races, such as the Melbourne Cup or the English Greyhound Derby.
A jockey that is still in training.
At The Post
The moment when the competing horses arrive at the staring point of the race.
The name of a race given to horses aged two-years-old.
Another term for betting or wagering on a horse: “I am going to back Lazy Sundays to win.”
A horse on which numerous bets have been placed.
Much like putting your money in a bank, a banker bet requires a lot of money in order to get a good return. Usually placed at odds of 1.40 (2/5) or lower, they can be both singles or multiple bets. A good example would be betting on Floyd Mayweather to win a boxing match seeming as he has never lost a professional bout.
The minimum odds price given to a competitor when an early price isn’t otherwise stated.
The designated area of a racecourse where you’ll find the bookmakers.
A piece of material worn over the horse’s head to restrict its peripheral vision so that it focuses straight in front.
A term for an odds price of 2/1
Also known as a Box Trifector, this bet allows your selections to finish first, second or third in any order.
Also known as a Super Yankee, the Canadian is a multiples bet type consisting of 26 bets: 10 doubles, 10 trebles, 5-four fold accumulators and 1 five-fold accumulator.
Another term for a horse race meeting or fixture.
An odds price of 3/1.
Chalk is primarily an American term that refers to the favourite in a sporting event. The term apparently comes from the race track, whereby the top ranking horse would be drawn in chalk on a blackboard.
A horse that takes part in Steeple Chases.
When a horse is somehow impeded by another competitor, thus affecting it’s speed, momentum or path in a race.
Clerk of the course
The person responsible for managing the track and preparing the course for competitive races.
Clerk of the Scales
The person responsible for making sure the riders carry the correct weight. They weigh the jockeys and their equipment both before and after the race to make sure everything is how it should be. They also check to make sure the horse’s and rider’s colours are correct.
A horse that tends to run better in the latter stages of the race.
A term used to describe a young, male horse normally below the age of four.
When you bet on a selected number of horses to finish first and second in either order.
A bet type where you pick which horses will finish first, second and third in no certain order.
A race in which horses are allocated extra weight to account for factors such as age, sex or past victories.
A horse that has proven the ability to perform well on a certain track in past performances.
When your wager on two different winners in two different horse races comes good.
When two or more horses cross the finish line at exactly the same time.
The position in the stalls from which a horse starts a flat race.
When a horses’ odds get bigger closer to the start of a race.
A wager where you bet on a horse to win and place.
When you wager on horses to finish in first and second position in an exact order. Also referred to as a Forecast.
The favourite is the selection most likely to occur in a betting event. Although by no means guaranteed to win, it is seen a fairly likely outcome. If you bet on this you can’t expect too much of a big return unless you are bringing out the big bucks.
All the horses in a race. Can also mean all the horses bar the favourite.
A female horse under the age of four-years-old.
A race run on a level track with no jumps or obstacles.
When you wager on who will come first and second in a race in that exact order.
A competitor whose strategy is to approach the front, or close to the front, as early as possible and stay there for as long as possible.
Full Cover Bet
A bet that consists of the all the available multiples bet types across a certain number of selections.
A distance equal to 220yd or 201.1680m.
A term for a male horse that’s been castrated.
The state of the race track surface.
Named after the giant of biblical times, a Goliath is one of the biggest bets around. It is composed over 8 selections and 247 bets, including 28 doubles, 56 trebles, 70 four-folds, 56 five-folds, 28 six-folds, 8 seven-folds and one eight-fold. You need a lot of money to do this bet. Betting just 10p on each selection, for example, would still cost you £24.70. If you made 247 £1 bets on the odds offered at the table below you would return £1,814,355.
A term used to classify certain stakes races in the U.S and Canada.
Sometimes referred to as Pattern races, Group Races are the highest level of races for thoroughbred horses.
A race where each horse is given a different weight to carry depending on the rating it’s been allocated by the British Horse Racing Authority.
Taking its name after the Heinz brand, the bet consists of a whopping 57 selections. These include 15 doubles, 20 trebles, 15 four-folds, 6 five folds and 1 six-fold. Here, if 2 or more of your selections win, you are guaranteed a return. Therefore a total outlay of £57 could win you £4020.
A horse that races in hurdles races.
In The Money
Finishing in the top 3 places in a race.
When the bookmakers are unable to determine which competitors are the most likely to win a race. The selection that are chosen become joint favourites.
Another term for the favourite in a race.
A race in which horses must jump over fences and ditches. There are two kinds of jump races: steeple chases and hurdles races.
Another term for a two-year-old horse.
The measurement used to quantify the distances between each competitor at the end of a race – approximately three metres.
A horse that’s believed to be an almost certain winner.
A horse with high odds that’s perceived to have a small chance of winning a race.
A multiples bet type with 4 different selections in different events consisting of 15 bets.
A multiples bet type with 5 different selections in different events consisting of 31 bets.
A multiples bet type with 5 different selections in different events consisting of 31 bets.
A race for horses that have not yet won a race.
A horse that has not won a race.
A female horse over the age of three
The nap is considered the finest bet of the day from a tipster. It comes from the French card game Napoleon, whereby the top trumping card is the Napoleon. It usually applies to horse racing.
A type of race in which the horses must jump over fences and ditches before they reach the finish line. A National Hunt Race could refer to a hurdle race or a steeple chase.
The action of a horse dipping its head and protruding it’s nose to try and cross the finish line ahead of a close competitor.
A non-runner simply refers to a horse or greyhound that isn’t running that day. If you place an antepost bet on a horse that doesn’t run, you usually get your money refunded.
The most marginal distance by which a horse can win a race.
When a jockey makes a complaint against another competitor for an action(s) that took place during a race.
Odds on is another way of calling something the favourite. If something is odds on to win, that means that it is the most likely to succeed as it has the most people putting their odds on it.
On The Bridle
When the horses pushes itself, keeping the bit inside its mouth.
On The Nose
When a horse is pushed and loses its bit.
When the odds offered on a horse are deemed to be better than they should be.
A horse showing low odds – deemed unlikely to win the race.
Another term for tote betting.
A parley bet is a single bet that combines two or more individual bets and depends on them all winning together. For example, you can depend on three different teams to win a game. If a single bet on a parley doesn’t come through, then you lose the bet. It is also known as an accumulator.
A patent bet is one of the least complicated of the combination bets. It consists of 3 selections of 7 bets. These are three singles, taking selections 1, 2 and 3, three doubles, taking selections 1 and 2, 2 and 3, and 1 and 3, and one treble, taking in all three selections. This means that only one winning choice is needed to win. The potential return from 7 £1 bets on the table below is £119.
Another term for a straight forecast bet.
Permutations or perms
A permutation bet is like that or a multiple or accumulator except that you don’t need every single bet to be correct in order to have a return. Examples of permutation bets are Lucky 15s, Heinz and Goliath bets. This is considered smart bets for people to take, especially on horse racing.
When two or more horses cross the finish line so close together that the only way to distinguish the winner is by examining a photograph taken at the exact moment of the competitors crossing.
Betting on a horse to finish first or second.
When the punter chooses a race meeting and then selects one or more horses from the first six races to place.
The designated time at which the competitors in a race must be at the starting post.
The total amount of money shared among the competitors that finish in the top four or five positions.
Another term for a combination forecast bet.
Another term for a combination forecast.
Another term for a combination tricast.
A low odds price offering.
Betting on a horse to finish first second or third.
Father of a horse
The odds price given to a competitor just before the race begins.
A race over a distance of less than a mile.
A male breeding horse.
The steward/person responsible for starting a race.
When you bet to win only.
A horse that can run long distances or that only competes in distance races.
A race in which the competitors are required to clear ditches and fences.
The final straight part of the race before the finish.
Another term for a Stallion.
Named a super Heinz as it is even bigger than a Heinz, this is one of the largest bets out there. It consists of 120 bets over seven selections. That includes 21 doubles, 35 trebles, 35 fourfold bets, 21 five fold bets, seven six fold bets and one sevenfold bet. If you bet £1 on each selection, this bet would cost you £120.
When you bet on a number of horses to finish in first, second, third or fourth place.
A horse whose pedigree can be traced back to one of the three founding stallions of the 17th and 18th century – The Darley Arabian, Godolphin Arabian or the Byerley Turk.
Either refers to the Wigan-based bookmaker solely responsible for running pool bets on horse racing, or the type of bet in which a dividend is paid out from a betting pool.
Where you bet on a number of horses to finish first, second and third place in that exact order.
Another term for a Tricast bet.
In England, the Triple Crown is a term given to the horse that wins the 2,000 Guineas Stakes, the Epsom Derby and the St Leger Stakes.
A Trixie bet consists of four bets over three selections. These are three doubles and one treble. This is a full cover bet as each selection appears in at least two doubles and the treble. Two bets are needed to guarantee a return. Four bets of £1 at odds of 2/1 will return you £50.
A horse that seems to have been under-priced.
A horse that is one year old dating from January 1st of the year in which it was born.