Abandoned -A race meeting that has been cancelled due to bad weather. All bets placed on abandoned races are fully refunded.
Accumulator Bet- A bet involving more than one horse/race. Each winning selection then goes on to the next horse (bet). All selections must be successful to win any money back.
Act (on the ground / on the track etc)- Describes a horse’s suitability for different conditions e.g. going, racecourses etc. If a horse ‘acts on soft ground’ it means that horse has shown previous ability to handle soft ground.
Age- All thoroughbreds have their birthdays on 1 January.
All-Weather (AWT)- An artificial racing surface. There are four all-weather racetracks in Britain (Kempton, Lingfield, Southwell, Wolverhampton) and one in Ireland (Dundalk), and they stage race meetings throughout the summer and winter. There are two types of surface – Fibresand and Polytrack.
Allowance- Inexperienced riders (apprentices, conditionals and amateurs) are allowed a weight concession to compensate for their lack of experience against their colleagues. The ‘allowance’ is usually 3lb, 5lb, 7lb or 10lb, with it decreasing as the young jockey rides more winners.
Amateur- A non-professional jockey who does not receive a fee for riding in a race, denoted on the race card by the prefix Mr, Mrs, Miss, Captain etc. Some races are restricted to amateurs-only.
Antepost- For many major races you can place your bet well in advance of the day. In the case of the Classics or big National Hunt races such as the Grand National this could be a year or more before the race takes place. The price of the horse you bet on is usually bigger than you would expect to see on the day as it reflects the fact the horse is not guaranteed to line up in the race. You can place an antepost bet until the final declaration stage of the race.
Apprentice -A trainee Flat jockey connected to the stable of a licensed trainer. Apprentices have a weight allowance when they ride in races against professional jockeys and can compete for the annual Apprentice title, given to the winner of the most races during the season.
At the Post -When all the horses have arrived at the start before a race, they are said to be ‘at the post’.
Auction Maiden -For two-year-olds sold at public auction as yearlings or two-year-olds, for a price not exceeding a specified figure.
Backed / Backed-In - A ‘backed’ horse is one on which lots of bets have been placed. A horse that is backed-in means that bettors have outlaid a lot of money on that horse, with the result being a decrease in the odds offered.
Backstretch / Back Straight -The straight length of the track on the far side of the course from the stands.
Backward -Primarily said of a horse that is still physically immature, though this term might be occasionally used to describe a horse that is also mentally immature. All horses age another year on the first day of the year, so a horse born in April could be more ‘backward’ than a horse born in February. Over the jumps, a backward horse may be five or even six years of age, but has had little racing its life and is still to fill a frame that may be primarily built for jumping fences.
Banker -The horse expected to win – usually a short priced favourite. The strongest selection in a multiple selection.
Beginners Chase-Introduced in 2004, these races are eligible for horses who have never won a recognised steeplechase under rules.
Bit -Metal part of the bridle that sits in a horse’s mouth. The reins are then attached to the bit and used by the jockey to control the horse.
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.
Bleeder -A horse that tends to break blood vessels during a race.
Blinkers -A form of headgear worn by the horse, consisting of a hood with cups around the eyes. They are use to limit a horse’s vision and reduce distractions, with the aim of making it concentrate. A horse wearing blinkers is denoted on a racecard by a small ‘b’ next to the horse’s weight (b1 indicates that the horse is wearing blinkers in a race for the first time).
Bloodstock Sales-The sale of horses at auction.
Blow up- A horse that finishes weakly through a lack of fitness after 'shaping' well. If a horse has not raced for a long time - even if the animal is fit and well and at home - the horse is likely to be tired afterwards and may be reported to have ‘a blow’, or a good pant, after the race.
Boxed In -A horse that cannot overtake another horse because it is blocked by other horses.
Breeze-Up - Type of auction, usually for two-year-olds, at which the horses for sale run for a short distance to allow prospective buyers to assess them.
Bridle, won on the -Won easily, without being hard ridden or challenged by other horses.
Broke Down -When a horse sustains an injury during a race.
Broodmare -Mare kept at stud for breeding, and not usually raced, although likely to have done so when younger.
Brought Down -A horse that falls during a race when impeded by another horse.
Bumper -A Flat race run under Jump Rules, used to educate young prospective jumps horses before they tackle hurdles or fences. Officially called National Hunt Flat Race.
Bumping -Interference during a race where one horse collides with another. Often results in a Stewards’ Enquiry, particularly when interference takes place in the closing stages of the race.
Chaser -A horse that takes part in steeplechase races.
Checked -When another horse or horses momentarily block a horses run during a race.
Cheekpieces -Strips of sheepskin that are attached to the side of a horse’s bridle. They partially obscure a horse’s rear vision, with the aim of getting the horse to concentrate on racing. Horses wearing cheekpieces are denoted on a race card by a small p next to the horse’s weight.
Claimer (jockey) - An apprentice Flat jockey.
Claiming Race / Claimer -A race in which each horse’s weight is determined by the price placed on them by connections. The lower the claiming price, the lower the weight. Horses can be ‘claimed’ (bought) by other owners/trainers for the specified price after the race.
Classic -Group of historic major races for three-year-olds in the Flat season. In Britain the five Classics are (in running order) the 2,000 Guineas, the 1,000 Guineas, the Oaks, the Derby and the St Leger – most European countries have their own versions of these Classics. A Classic contender is a horse being aimed at one of these races or is regarded as having the potential to compete at that level.
Conditional Jockey -A Jump jockey, under 26, who receives a weight allowance for inexperience until he has ridden a certain number of winners. A conditional jockey is licensed to a specific trainer. Some races are restricted to conditionals-only.
Conditions Race- A race which is neither a Group or Listed-class nor a handicap; conditions races are so-named since the weight a horse carries is dictated by the conditions, such as age, sex races previously won. Older horses carry more weight, while fillies and mares receive an allowance. Conditions races can often be small-field affairs which can mark a stepping-stone for a horse to compete at a higher level.
Covered Up -When a jockey keeps a horse behind other runners to prevent it running too freely in the early stages of a race.
Cut in the Ground -A description of the ground condition where the racing surface has been softened by rain.
Dam -A horse’s mother.
Damsire (broodmare) - The sire of a broodmare; in human terms, the maternal grandfather of a horse.
Dark Horse -A horse regarded as having potential but whose full capabilities have not been revealed. A trainer will plan a horse’s campaign carefully so that it does not carry too much weight in a major handicap. Punters often perceive these types of horses as a ‘dark horse’.
Dead-heat -A tie between two or more horses for first place, or for one of the other finishing positions. In the event of a dead-heat for first place, when a winning bet has been made, half the stake is applied to the selection at full odds and the other half is lost. If more than two horses dead-heat, the stake is proportioned accordingly.
Declared (runner) -A horse confirmed to start in a race at the final declarations stage.
Deductions -When a horse is scratched from a race after the betting market has already opened, deductions are taken out of the win and place bets at a rate in proportion to the odds of the scratched horse.
Disqualification -When a horse is demoted in the finishing order due to an infringement of the Rules following a Stewards’ Enquiry.
Distance -The margin by which a horse has won or has been beaten (e.g. a horse might have a winning distance of three lengths) OR in Jump racing, if a horse is beaten/wins by a long way (more than 30 lengths) it is said to have been beaten/won by a distance.
Double -Consists of one bet involving two selections in different events. Both selections must be successful to get a return, with the winnings from the first selection going on to the second selection. The return is calculated by multiplying the odds on the two selections: e.g. a £10 double on a 2-1 winner and a 7-1 winner pays £240 (£10 on a 2-1 winner = £30, then that £30 on a 7-1 winner = £240).
Draw -A horse’s starting position in the stalls allotted in races on the Flat. Stall numbers are drawn at random by Weatherbys (except in a handful of top races that allow each horse’s connections, having been randomly selected, to choose the stall number for their horse). A horse with a seemingly advantageous draw is said to be “well drawn”. Stalls are used for Flat racing only.
Drifter -A horse whose odds get bigger just before the race due to a lack of support in the market. Often referred to as being “on the drift”.
Drop in Class / Trip -A horse racing in a lower class of race than he has recently run in/running over a shorter distance.
Dwell / Dwelt (at the start) -To start slowly.
Each-way -A bet where half the total stake is for the selection to win and half is for the selection to be placed (usually in the first three, but in big handicaps the places may extend to fourth or fifth). If the selection wins, the win portion is calculated in the normal way, while the place portion of the bet is settled at a fraction of the win odds. This fraction, and the number of places allowed by the bookmaker, depends on the type of race and the number of runners in the race. If the selection is placed but fails to win, the win portion of the stake is lost but, again, the place portion of the bet is settled at a fraction of the win odds.
Ear Plugs -Usually made of cotton, foam or rubber, these aids reduce surrounding noise and are used to better control nervous or 'highly-strung' horses. Ear plugs are now used more widely in British racing given the greater influx of horses from France - particularly over the jumps - where the instruments have been used widely for many years. Ear plugs must not be removed during the race.
Enquiry – Stewards’ Enquiry -Review of the race to check into a possible infraction of the Rules made by the Stewards. If the enquiry could affect the result of the race, an announcement will be made on course.
Entire Horse -An ungelded horse.
Finishing Straight -The last part of the course that runs in front of the grandstand and includes the finishing post.
First String -Where a trainer and/or owner has more than one runner in a race, the horse considered to be the stable’s main fancy is referred to as the stable’s first string. Clues to which horse this is can be whether it carries the owner’s first colours, is ridden by the stable jockey and/or is shorter odds in the betting than a stablemate.
Form -A horse’s race record. Denoted by figures (and letters) next to its name on a race card i.e. 1=first, 2=second etc. The form figures are read backwards from right to left – i.e. a horses latest run is denoted by the figure nearest to its name on the race card.
Front-runner -A horse whose running style is to attempt to get on or near the lead at the start of the race and stay there as long as possible.
Furlong -220 yards (one eighth of a mile). The numbered posts on racecourses count the furlongs back from the winning post.
Gallops -Training ground where horses are exercised. The major training centres in Britain are Newmarket and Malton (mostly Flat), and Lambourn (mostly Jump) with the Curragh in Ireland. Many trainers have private gallops of their own.
Gelding -A male horse that has been castrated. Most male horses that compete over jumps have been gelded, and a Flat horse may be gelded. Geldings are not allowed to run in some of the top Flat races, such as the Derby or the Arc, that are important for identifying potential breeding talent.
Get the Trip -To stay the distance.
Go Through the Card -To have the winner of every race at a race meeting, either as a trainer, jockey, tipster or punter.
Going -The condition of the racing surface. Ranges from heavy to firm.
Going Down -When horses are on their way to the start.
Grakle nose band- The grakle nose band consists of two diagonally crossing narrow straps with their crossover point — usually over a small circular pad of sheepskin or felt — on the front of the horse's nose.The object of a grakle nose band is to prevent or at least discourage a horse from crossing his jaw and opening his mouth to evade the action of the bit. If a horse wearing a bridle with a grackle nose band tries to open his mouth to evade the bit he will feel pressure on bridge of the nose and his chin groove .
Green -Used to describe an immature or inexperienced horse.
Group / Graded Races -These races form the upper tier of the racing structure, with Group/Grade 1 the most important, followed by Group/Grade 2 and Group/Grade 3. Group races are run on the Flat; Graded races are run over jumps (the most important Flat races in the United States are also Graded).
Group 1 (flat) / Grade 1 (jumps) -The highest category of race. The Classic Flat races in Britain, as well as other historic races such as the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot, are Group 1. The major championship races, over jumps, such as the Cheltenham Gold Cup, are Grade 1.
Guineas (currency) -A guinea was one pound and one shilling (£1.05 in decimal currency) and, traditionally, the prices of horses sold at public auction were given in guineas. Some sales companies still use guineas.
Guineas (race) -Shorthand for the 1,000 Guineas and/or 2,000 Guineas. A ‘Guineas horse’ is one that is considered capable of running in one of these Classic races.
Hacked Up -Describes a horse winning easily.
Half-brother/sister -When two horses have the same mother (dam), they are half-brothers/sisters. Horses are not referred to as half-brothers/sisters when they share only the same father (sire).
Hand -Unit of four inches in which a horse’s height is measured, at the shoulder.
Handicap -A race where each horse is allotted a different weight to carry, according to the official handicap ratings determined by the Handicappers. The theory is that all horses run on a fair and equal basis – the ‘perfect’ handicap being one where all the runners finish in a dead-heat.
Hands and Heels -Riding without using the whip, either because the race is a 'hands and heels race' or because the jockey does not need to use the whip since his or her horse is going well. The jockey will not be still in the saddle, but may just be nudging the horse at the neck by using the reins and kicking with the ‘heels’ to maintain momentum
Handicap Mark / Rating - Each horse, once it has run a few times (usually three), is allocated an official handicap rating by the BHA or HRI, which is used to determine its weight if it runs in a handicap. If a horse does well, its handicap rating will go up; if it performs poorly, its rating will go down.
Handicapper -Official responsible for allocating a handicap rating to each horse that has qualified for one, and for allotting the weights to be carried by each horse in a handicap.
Hard Ridden -Used to describe a horse whose jockey is expending full effort on the horse, and using his whip.
Hood- A covering for the whole of a horse's head, including the ears, that does not impair vision at all but blocks out noise. Horses have an excellent sense of hearing and hoods are designed to help a horse of a nervous disposition to relax.
Hunter Chase- A race for horses that have been hunted in the previous 12 months. A lot of older racehorses with limited opportunities may gain experience with a countryside hunt and many - including those with high-quality form - can return to go hunter chasing. The Fox Hunters at the Cheltenham Festival is the highest-profile hunter chase in the calendar.
Hurdler -A horse that races over hurdles, which are lighter and lower than fences.
Hurdles -The smaller obstacles on a jumps course. Horses usually have a season or two over hurdles before progressing to fences, though some continue to specialise in hurdling and never run over fences, while some horses go straight over fences without trying hurdles first.
In Running -Refers to events that take place during the course of a race.
Jocked Off -Term used to refer to when one jockey is replaced by another on a horse he usually rides or for which he has already been booked to ride in a particular race.
Judge -Racecourse official responsible for declaring the finishing order of a race and the distances between the runners.
Juvenile -A two-year-old horse. Every horse officially turns two on January 1; at the start of the second full calendar year following its birth e.g. a horse born in 2010 will turn two on January 1, 2012.
Juvenile Hurdler -The youngest category of hurdler – juvenile hurdlers are those that turn four years of age (on January 1) during the season in which they start hurdling.
Left-handed Track -Racecourse where horses run anti-clockwise.
Length -A unit of measurement for the distances between each horse at the finish of a race; the measurement of a horse from head to tail.
Level Weights -When all horses are carrying the same weight. Major championship races, such as the Derby on the Flat or the Cheltenham Gold Cup over jumps, are run at level weights. There are still some allowances for age and sex (e.g. mares receive a 5lb allowance from male horses in the Cheltenham Gold Cup).
Listed Race -A class of race just below a Group or Graded quality.
Longshot -A horse with high odds (an outsider).
Maiden -A horse that has yet to win a race; maiden races are restricted to such horses, though sometimes the conditions of the race allow previous winners (e.g. maidens at closing, i.e. those that have not won a race up to the time the entries close), in which case penalties are allotted for later wins.
Maiden Handicap -For maidens aged three or above that have run at least four times and have a maximum rating of 70.
Mare -Female horse aged five years old or above.
Median Auction Maiden -A race for two-year-olds by stallions that had one or more yearling sold in the previous year with a median price not exceeding a specified figure.
Middle Distances -On the Flat, races beyond a mile and up to 1m 6f are the middle distances. A middle distance horse is one that runs mainly over such distances or is regarded as being suitable for those distances.
Minimum Trip -The shortest race distance: five furlongs on the flat, two miles over jumps.
Names -Horse names have to be registered with Weatherbys, racing’s administrative body, and are subject to approval. Names cannot be longer than 18 characters (including spaces) and must not be the same, in spelling or pronunciation, as a name already registered. In addition, there is a list of ‘protected’ horse names that cannot be used – these include past winners of big races such as the Grand National and the Classics on the Flat.
National Hunt -Racing over fences and hurdles; officially referred to as Jump racing.
Neck -Unit of measurement in a race finish about the length of a horse’s neck.
Non-Runner -A horse that was originally meant to run but for some reason has been withdrawn from the race.
Non-trier -A horse that is prevented by the jockey from running to its full ability. Non-trying is a serious offence prohibited by the rules of racing, and jockeys (as well as the horse and owner) can be banned from racing if they are found guilty, while the horse’s trainer risks a fine and/or a ban.
Novice -A horse in the early stages of its career after it has won its first race.
Novice Auction -A race for novices sold at public auction as yearlings or two-year-olds for a price not exceeding a specified figure.
Nursery -A handicap on the Flat for two-year-old horses.
Objection -A complaint by one jockey against another regarding the running of a race.
Off the Bit / Off the Bridle -Describes a horse being pushed along by his jockey, losing contact with the bit in his mouth.
Off the Pace -When a horse is some distance behind the front-runners in a race.
On the Bridle -Describes a horse running comfortably, still having a bite on the bit. A horse that wins ‘on the bridle’ is regarded as having won easily.
One-paced -Describes a horse that is unable to raise its pace in the closing stages of a race.
Open Ditch -Steeplechase jump with a ditch on the approach side to the fence.
Out of the Handicap -When handicap races are framed, there is a maximum and minimum weight that horses can carry. When a horse’s rating means that its allocated weight is lower than the minimum for that race, it is said to be ‘out of the handicap’. E.g. in a Flat handicap where a horse set to carry the minimum weight of 7st 7lb is rated 65, a horse rated 62 would be allocated 7st 4lb in the long handicap but would have to carry the minimum 7st 7lb in the race – this horse would be described as being ‘3lb out of the handicap’ (i.e. it would be carrying 3lb more than its ‘true’ handicap weight).
Outsider -Long-priced horse in the betting, regarded as unlikely to win.
Over the Top -When a horse is considered to be past its peak due to too much racing/training and needs a rest.
Overweight -When a horse carries more than its allocated weight, due to the jockey being unable to make that weight. E.g. if a horse is allocated 9st in the handicap but carries 9st 2lb, the jockey is said to have ‘put up 2lb overweight’. This is usually a disadvantage, though sometimes the trainer of a horse may decide to accept overweight in order to have one of the best jockeys on board his horse.
Paddock -The paddock is the area which contains the stables, pre-parade ring and parade ring.
Parade Ring - As each horse is ready, they will enter the Parade Ring to be announced to the crowd. Each horse will be lead in number order by their groom, wearing number cloths for you to identify them easily.
Pattern -The grading system for the most important races, introduced on the Flat in 1971 and later for jumps racing. The top races on the Flat are Group 1, followed by Group 2 and Group 3 (the next highest category is Listed, which, while not technically part of the Pattern, combine with Group races under the heading of black-type races). The jumps Pattern has a similar structure, except that the races are termed Grade 1/2/3, rather than Group 1/2/3.
Penalised Horses -Horses that have incurred a weight penalty as a result of previous successes.
Penalty -Additional weight carried by a horse on account of previous wins. In a handicap, a penalty is added to a horse’s original weight if it has won in between being entered for the race and running in it, as the handicapper has not had the opportunity to reassess that horse’s handicap rating. A penalty (commonly 6lb) is shown after the horse’s name.
Photo Finish -In a close race, where the placing’s cannot be determined easily, the result is determined by the judge by examination of a photograph taken by a camera on the finishing line.
Pulled Up -A horse that drops out of a race and does not finish.
Pulling -When a horse is unsettled during the early part of a race and uses too much energy, fighting the jockey by pulling against the bridle.
Pushed Out -When the jockey rides a horse vigorously, but without full effort.
Quarters -The hind parts of a horse, specifically between flank and tail.
Rating -A measure of the ability of a horse on a scale starting at zero and going into three figures. Flat Jump racing use different scales; the highest-rated Flat horse is usually in the 130's and the top-rated jumper in the 180's.
Return -Total amount received for a winning bet (winnings plus stake) OR the result/final odds for a race e.g. the winner was returned at 4-1.
Right-handed Track -Racecourse where horses run clockwise.
Rule 4 - Tattersalls Rule 4 (c): One of the most commonly invoked betting rules, dealing with deductions from winning bets in the event of any withdrawn runner(s) from a race. The rule applies to winning bets struck at prices (e.g. morning prices) laid before a withdrawal (other than ante-post bets, which are unaffected by Rule 4 (c)) and to starting-price bets where, after a late withdrawal, there is insufficient time to re-form the market. The rate of deductions is in proportion to the odds of the non-runner(s) at the time of the withdrawal.
Run Free -Describes a horse going too fast, usually early in the race, to allow it to settle.
Schooling -Training a horse for jumping.
Scope -The potential for physical development in a horse.
Second String -The stable’s second choice from two or more runners in a race.
Selling Plate / Selling Race -Low-class race in which the winner is offered at auction afterwards; other horses in the race may be claimed for a fixed sum. If the winning stable buys back its own horse it is said to be ‘bought in’. The racecourse receives a percentage of the selling price of each horse.
Selling Plater -A horse that is entered in a selling plate because it is not expected to win in any higher grade, or because it can do well against moderate opposition, which may result in a betting coup.
Short Price -Low odds, meaning a punter will get little return for their initial outlay.
Silks- Jacket (‘silks’) worn by jockey to identify a horse. A horse runs in its owner’s colours that are registered with Weatherbys. The colours to be worn by each jockey are shown on race cards.
Sire -Father of a horse.
Soft (going) -Condition of a turf course where rain has left the ground ‘soft’ (official going description).
Spread a Plate -When a horse damages or loses a horseshoe before a race, it is said to have ‘spread a plate’. The horse has to be re-shod by a farrier, often delaying the start of the race.
Sprint Races -Flat races run over a distance of five or six furlongs.
Sprinter -A horse that specialises in running over the shortest distances (five and six furlongs) on the Flat.
Stallion -Male breeding horse.
Stalls Handler -Member of a team employed to load horses into the stalls for Flat races and to move the stalls to the correct position for the start of each race.
Starter -Racecourse official responsible for starting a horse race.
Stayer -A horse that specialises in racing over long distances (two miles and above) on the Flat.
Staying Chaser -A horse that races over three miles or more over fences.
Staying On -When a horse is finishing strongly in a race, possibly a sign of good stamina reserves.
Staying Races -Flat races run over a distance of two miles or more.
Steeplechasing -A race over fences, open ditches and water jumps, run over distances from two miles up to four and a half miles.
Steward -One of the officials in overall charge of a race meeting, including disciplinary procedures. The stewards can hold inquiries into possible infringements of the rules of racing, or hear objections to the race result from beaten jockeys. Usually there are three stewards at each race meeting, assisted by a stipendiary steward. The stewards are appointed by the racecourse, subject to approval by the BHA or HRI, and are often prominent local figures (much like magistrates).
Stick- A jockey’s whip
Stipendiary Steward -Also known as a Stipe. Unlike race day stewards, Stipes are professionals employed by the BHA or HRI and one is sent to each meeting to assist the stewards and advise on the rules of racing. The race day stewards, not the Stipe, are responsible for decision making, but the Stipe’s knowledge is often invaluable e.g. in setting an appropriate level of punishment if a jockey or trainer is found guilty of an infringement of the rules of racing.
Stud -A farm where horses are mated. Usually home to one or more stallions.
Supplementary Entry -Major races such as the Derby, which have an early initial entry date and several forfeit stages, often allow additional entries to be made in the week leading up to the race, subject to a substantial fee. A horse entered at this stage is known as a supplementary entry and the fee payable is known as the supplementary entry fee. Supplementary entries mean that a major race can have the best possible field, as a horse may not be deemed worthy of a Derby entry as a yearling (possibly on account of its pedigree or because the owner is not among the echelon of the super-rich) but then shows unexpected ability once its racing career has started.
Tongue Tie -Strip of material tied around a horse’s tongue and lower jaw to keep it from swallowing its tongue, which can clog its air passage. A horse wearing a tongue tie is denoted on a race card by a small t next to the horse’s weight (t1 indicates that the horse is wearing a tongue tie in a race for the first time).
Trainer -The person responsible for looking after a horse and preparing it to race. A trainer must hold a license or permit to be entitled to train.
Triple Crown -In Britain, for colts the Triple Crown comprises the 2,000 Guineas, the Derby and the St Leger; for fillies, the 1,000 Guineas, the Oaks and the St Leger. Winning all three races is a rare feat, last achieved by a colt (Nijinsky) in 1970 and by a filly (Oh So Sharp) in 1985. The American Triple Crown comprises the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes.
Turn of Foot -A horse’s ability to accelerate in the closing stages of a race. A horse with a ‘good turn of foot’ has good finishing speed.
Turned Out- 1) Racecourses often have a ‘best turned out’ award for the horse judged to have been best presented in the paddock.
2) A racehorse that is taking a break from racing/training and is out in the fields is said to have been ‘turned out’.
Two-year-old -Every horse officially turns two on January 1, at the start of the second full calendar year following its birth e.g. a horse born in 2008 will turn two on January 1,2010. Two-year-old horses are also known as juveniles, and this is the first age at which horses are allowed to compete on the Flat (the youngest racing age over jumps is three years old).
Under Starters Orders / Under Orders -The moment a race is about to begin. Once the horses are in the stalls for a Flat race, or have lined up at the start for a jumps race, they are said to be ‘under starter’s orders’ as the jockeys are waiting for the starter’s signal to begin the race.
Unfancied -Not expected to win.
Unplaced -A horse that finishes outside the main placings, which is generally the first three home, depending on the size of the field.
Visor -Similar to blinkers, but with a slit in each eye cup to allow some lateral vision. A horse wearing a visor is denoted on a race card by a small v next to the horse’s weight (v1 indicates that the horse is wearing a visor in a race for the first time).
Walkover -A race involving only one horse. The horse and its jockey must past the winning post to be declared the winner.
Weighed In -The official declaration ratifying a race result.
Weighing In / Out - Each jockey (wearing his racing kit and carrying his saddle) must stand on official weighing scales before and after the race, so that the Clerk of the Scales can check that the jockey is carrying the correct weight allotted to his horse. If a jockey is above the allotted weight before the race, his horse can still compete but must carry overweight. When the weights carried by the winner and placed horses have been verified after the race, there will be an announcement that they have ‘weighed in’. This confirms the race result and at this point bookmakers will pay out on successful bets.
Weight Cloth -A cloth with pockets for lead weights placed under the saddle to ensure that a horse carries its allotted weight.
Weight for Age -A graduated scale that shows how horses of differing ages progress month by month during the racing season, the differences being expressed in terms of weight. This allows horses of differing ages to compete against each other on a fair basis, based on their age and maturity, in what are known as weight-for-age races.
Weights -Lead placed in a weight cloth. When these weights are added to the jockey’s weight and other equipment, the total weight should equal the weight allotted to the jockey’s horse in a race.
Well In -When a horse is considered to be favoured by the weights in a race, it is said to be ‘well in’.
Winners Enclosure -Sited adjacent to the main Parade Ring, you’ll be able to watch the winning owner and trainer accept a memento presented for their horse and listen to their story as they are interviewed by the race day presenter.
Work Rider -A stable employee, not necessarily a licensed jockey, who rides horses in training on the gallops.
Yearling -A foal from January 1 to December 31 of the year following its birth.
Yielding -Irish term to describe racecourse going that is soft.
Irish racing which course should I chose?
Irish Racecourses- There are a total of 26 race courses in Ireland, offering a mixture of Flat and National Hunt racing.
Ballinrobe - Slightly elevated oval track of about 1 mile 1 furlong. Run right-handed offering both Flat and National Hunt racing. Ballinrobe Racecourse is ideally situated in a natural amphitheatre set before the picturesque vista of Lough Carra. It has all you could ask for in a country racecourse, beautiful setting, lively atmosphere and the laid back relaxed attitude that Ireland is famous for. With eight meetings in the summer (including seven evening meets) it is the ideal place to go to switch off and unwind. Ballinrobe is a racecourse that you will return to again and again. The racecourse is host to competitive Flat and National Hunt meetings. Race meetings have been recorded in the area since 1773. Racing has been held on the current course since it was purchased in 1921. Dorans Pride, a former Cheltenham Stayers Hurdle winner and twice placed in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, won his first race at Ballinrobe in 1993. Owned by Mayo man Tom Doran and trained by Michael Hourigan he went on to win €1 Million on the track. Traverse, the horse owned by the irrepressible Hector O'hEochagain and star of the series "Only Fools Buy Horses" also won his first Irish race at Ballinrobe in 2003.
Bellewstown - Bellewstown Racecourse is beautifully situated with magnificent views of the Mountains of Mourne to the north and the Irish Sea to the east. The tradition of Summer Racing dates back centuries and the first record of racing here appears in the August edition of the Dublin Gazette and the Weekly Courier in 1726. This superb one mile one furlong left handed course, in a truly unique location, features both flat and hurdle racing. Bellewstown Races are synonymous with top class racing and glorious summer evenings.
Clonmel - Racing all year round, Clonmel is best known for its hosting of top-class National Hunt (jump) racing in the autumn and winter months. The Clonmel Oil Chase, run every year in November, has attracted many top horses, including old favourites Dorans Pride, War Of Attrition, Sizing Europe and Imperial Call, to Clonmel racecourse. Located just 2kms from Clonmel town, the racecourse is also known as Powerstown Park and is a well-regarded, undulating, right-handed racecourse with a noted stiff uphill run to the winning line. The racecourse is dual-purpose and caters for Flat racing in the spring and summer months.
Cork -Flat and National Hunt race course. It is a flat, oval track of about 1 mile 4 furlongs, run right-handed, with a 6 furlong sprint track. Cork Racecourse is situated close to the town of Mallow on the main Killarney road. Racing throughout the year, the racecourse is a fine galloping track on the banks of the River Lee and is a venue for top-class National Hunt and Flat racing. It is home to the Cork Grand National Handicap Chase and the Grade 2 Hilly Way Chase over fences and its major Flat events include the Group 3 Munster Oaks and Group 3 Give Thanks Stakes. It is one of only three racecourses in the country that can boast a straight six furlong course. The annual three-day Easter Festival is the highlight of the racing year at Cork.
Curragh - A right-handed, undulating, horseshoe-shaped course of 2 miles in length. It has an adjoining chute that feeds into the home straight for races races of up to 1 mile. The word "Curragh" means place of the running horse. The historic Curragh Racecourse is the home of Flat racing in Ireland and the venue for all five Irish Classic races and the second day of Longines Irish Champions Weekend. The Irish Derby, which takes place at the height of summer, is the richest race in the Irish calendar. Located just off the M7, the main Dublin/Cork road, in the heart of County Kildare, the Curragh racecourse has a busy schedule of race meetings between March and October every year. The big early season event is the Guineas Festival in May followed by the Summer highlights of the Irish Derby Festival and Irish Oaks weekend. The Curragh racecourse is also the focal point for the Irish Thoroughbred Trail, one of the highlights of Longines Irish Champions Weekend in September. The Curragh Racecourse is also home to the Curragh Training ground which has seen many starts of the track including Sea The Stars, Vintage Crop, Hardy Eustace and Sinndar. The Curragh Training Grounds provide trainers with the opportunity to prepare their horses on approximately 1,500 acres of world-class training facilities. The standard and range of gallops on offer is really quite remarkable and led to Dermot Weld describing the facilities as "unquestionably one of the finest training grounds in the world".
Down Royal - Undulating course of 1 mile 7 furlongs, run right-handed, with an uphill finish. The venue for the first Grade 1 steeplechase of the Irish National Hunt season, Down Royal is a thoroughly modern racecourse with a rich history. Situated close to Belfast and just off the A1, the main Belfast/Dublin road, the racecourse races throughout the year and hosts both National Hunt and Flat racing. The two-day Festival of Racing in late October boasts a number of graded races and is the highlight of the year and recognised as the start of the jumping season. The three-day Ulster Derby meeting is the focus of the summer season at Down Royal where high-class Flat racing is the name of the game. Other significant race days at Down Royal include the bank holiday meetings on St. Patrick's Day, May Day and St Stephen's/Boxing Day.
Downpatrick - Downpatrick Racecourse has a long and interesting history. The first race meeting was originally held over 300 years ago in 1685 at the old grounds a few miles down the road from where it is situated today. Racing has continued to take place throughout the years with few interruptions since the first race. The current Racecourse is situated one mile away from the centre of the historic town of Downpatrick and racing has been held on the present course for more than 200 years.Like many other Irish racecourses, Downpatrick boasts a great local following and crowds flock to the attractive venue whatever the weather. The racecourse itself is a tight undulating right handed track of 1 1/4 miles. Over the years, a number of high-class horses have raced at Downpatrick, including the 1947 Aintree Grand National winner Caughoo and Rhyme And Reason who won the same race in 1988.
Dundalk - Flat left handed all-weather polytrack of 10 furlongs it was Completely remodelled and reopened in 2007, Dundalk Stadium is Ireland’s first all-weather racecourse and the first with floodlights. It is a combined horse and greyhound racing facility and is in regular use throughout the year. Dundalk comes into its own during the winter months when staging Flat racing on at least one occasion each week from late October to mid-March. Ideally situated on the outskirts of the Dundalk town, the racecourse is only minutes from the M1, the main Dublin/Belfast road. The racing surface at Dundalk is known as ‘polytrack’ which is a wax-coated synthetic surface. A feature of the venue is that it also hosts greyhound racing on a dedicated track.
Fairyhouse - A right handed course of 1 mile 6 furlongs, for both Flat and National Hunt racing. A historic and traditional venue, many of the most famous races of the National Hunt (jump) season are held at Fairyhouse. The popular County Meath venue is the home of the Irish Grand National, one of the biggest sporting events in the country, which is run on Easter Monday each year. Another major festival at Fairyhouse is the Premier Jumps Racing Weekend which features major Grade 1 events including the Hatton’s Grace Hurdle and Drinmore Chase. Race meetings are held at Fairyhouse throughout the year and many of the summer highlights are on the Flat, including the Group 3 Brownstown Stakes and the Listed Belgrave Stakes. Fairyhouse Racecourse is just 23kms form Dublin city centre, close to the village of Ratoath.
Galway - Flat and National Hunt course of 1 mile 2 furlongs. Run right handed, with a dip where the last two fences are situated, followed by a sharp uphill finish.For many, the undoubted highlight of the busy summer racing schedule is the week-long Galway Festival which traditionally runs into the August Bank holiday weekend. The seven day meeting attracts the biggest crowds of the year and Thursday’s Ladies’ Day is the best attended race day anywhere in Ireland. The famous Galway Plate dates back to in 1869 and is the feature race on the Wednesday while the Galway Hurdle is the big one the following afternoon. National Hunt racing and Flat racing go hand-in-hand at Galway. The racecourse also stages a three-day meeting in September and two-day affair over the October Bank Holiday weekend. Galway Racecourse is situated 6kms from the city centre and not far from the M4 motorway.
Gowran Park - a right-handed undulating track of 1 mile 4 furlongs. Best known for staging the historic Thyestes Chase in January of each year, Gowran Park is renowned as one of the most scenic racecourses in the country. Situated close to many famed training and breeding establishments in the heart of County Kilkenny, Gowran Park hosts regular high-profile races over the jumps and on the Flat and is in use all year round. The Thyestes is the most valuable event at the course and attracts the biggest crowds to the picturesque venue. Trials for the bigger National Hunt festivals at home and abroad take place at the course in mid-February and a number of stars of the Flat have also graced the turf there. Gowran Park plays its part as the new National Hunt season gets into full swing every year with a major two-day festival in October. The race course is also home to a highly-regarded 18-hole golf course and is located just outside the village of Gowran on the old Dublin/Waterford road.
Kilbeggan - Situated in the heart of the Ireland, Kilbeggan is one of four National Hunt racecourses. As popular a racing venue as there is in the country, Kilbeggan is very much a summer track and the valuable Midlands National Handicap Chase is a recognised trial for the Galway Plate and other major festival races. It is a tight right-handed track and the runners are nearly always on a turn, presenting quite a challenge for the jockeys who ride there. The vast majority of race meetings are held in the evening time which only adds to the attraction of the course which is located close to the town of Kilbeggan, itself a popular tourist venue in County Westmeath.
Killarney - Racing on a left-handed oval track of 1 mile 100 yards. The town of Killarney is renowned as the premier tourist destination in Ireland and Killarney racecourse is one of its major attractions. All meetings at the scenic location are incorporated into three summer festivals in the months of May, July and August. Primarily, racing is held in the evening time making the racecourse the ideal venue to round off a day of local sightseeing. Located on the outskirts of the town just off the Killarney/Kenmare road, the racecourse attracts high-class racehorses for races like the Kingdom Gold Cup, the Cairn Rouge Stakes, the Ruby Stakes on the Flat and a number of valuable races over hurdles and fences.
Laytown - Racing on the beach at Laytown takes place just once every year and the spectacle draws crowds from all over the world. Laytown races occupies a unique position in the Irish racing calendar as it is the only racing event run on a beach under the Rules of Racing. As the tide recedes in the morning of race day, the race course is quickly set up allowing for six races of between six furlongs and one mile. The majority of racegoers watch the action from an elevated field above the strand which is set up for the day with temporary marquees which act as the weigh room, the jockeys’ room, bars and restaurants. Access to the beach is restricted while racing is underway.
Leopardstown - Left-handed oval track of 1 mile 6 furlongs with an uphill finish. The only racecourse in Dublin, Leopardstown plays host to many of the biggest races in the calendar, on the Flat, over hurdles and over fences. Racing throughout the year, Leopardstown is the venue for the opening day of Irish Champions Weekend, the Leopardstown Christmas Festival, the Irish Champion Hurdle and the Stan James Gold Cup. A number of recognised Classic trials are held at Leopardstown each April and May and are as popular as the summer series of race meetings which feature live music in the enclosures once the action on the track has come to an end. The Group 1 Irish Champion Stakes and the Group 1 Matron Stakes are the major Flat events at the venue and both are run as part of Longines Irish Champions Weekend in September.
Limerick - Flat and National Hunt racing on a right-handed oval track of about 1 mile 3 furlongs. Opened as recently as 2001, Limerick Racecourse is situated just outside the city and the modern facility is clearly visible from the N20 motorway. The racecourse is in use all year round but is best known for its summer evening meetings which feature live music after racing and the annual four-day Christmas festival which runs from St. Stephen's Day. Its biggest 'stand-alone' meeting is the Munster National Day in mid-October which features the €100,000 Munster National Handicap Chase. On the Flat, the Listed Martin Molony Stakes in April is the most valuable race.
Listowel - National Hunt and Flat racing on a left-handed oval of just over 1 mile. The Harvest Festival at Listowel remains one of the most important weeks in the racing calendar. The seven-day meeting takes place each September and like all major Irish racing festivals, it draws huge crowds from far and wide. The Kerry National Handicap Chase is the biggest race of the week and is run on the Wednesday. Friday is Ladies Day and it attracts the largest attendance, often in excess of 26,000. The Listowel Supporters Club Lartigue Handicap Hurdle is another highlight of the week and the Listed Listowel Stakes is one of the bigger Flat races at the Festival. There is also a two-day meeting at Listowel on the June Bank Holiday weekend.
Naas - A left-handed, undulating course of 1 mile 4 furlongs, with a stiff uphill finish. Sprint races are run from a chute that joins on to the straight. Set in the heart of County Kildare, easily accessible from the M7 motorway, Naas Racecourse hosts a mixture of top-class National Hunt and Flat racing throughout the year. Many of the biggest equine names come to race at Naas as the course is home to the Grade 1 Naas Novice Hurdle in January and a number of important trial races for the biggest National Hunt racing festivals are held at the course during the winter and spring months. On the Flat, the Group 3 Blue Wind Stakes and the Group 3 Lacken Stakes are two of the most important races held at Naas.
Navan - A left handed course of 1 mile 2 furlongs. It’s an undulating track with a stiff uphill finish. Navan Racecourse stages both Flat and National is home to many top races over hurdles and fences and is at its busiest in the autumn, winter and spring months. The historic Troytown Handicap Chase, the Fortria Chase, the Lismullen Hurdle, the Boyne Hurdle and the Monksfield Novice Hurdle are the big races on the National Hunt side of things, while the Group 3 Vintage Crop Stakes and the Listed Salsabil Stakes are the feature Flat events at Navan. Navan Racecourse is situated on the outskirts of the town on the Kingscourt road.
Punchestown - Right handed undulating track. Punchestown is renowned the world over as the home of National Hunt racing in Ireland. The five-day Irish National Hunt Festival at the end of April each year is the culmination of the National Hunt season and the meeting features no fewer than 12 Grade 1 races. Throughout the season, Punchestown showcases the best of jumps racing beginning with the Grade 1 Morgiana Hurdle in November and the Grade 1 John Durkan Memorial Chase the following month. Races such as the La Touche Cup and the Ladies Cup provide great spectacle as they are run over Punchestown's cross-county course, unique in Ireland, which is often referred to as the banks course. The Punchestown season runs from mid-October to June and caters for National Hunt racing only.
Roscommon - Right handed course of 1 mile 2 furlongs, with an uphill climb to the finish. Roscommon Racecourse is a hugely popular and well attended venue in the west of Ireland. Primarily a summer track, the course hosts both Flat and National Hunt racing between the months of May and September. The majority of meetings are held in the evening time and are popular with locals and tourists alike. The Listed Lenabane Stakes is the stand-out event on the Flat and the Kilbegnet Novice Chase and the Connaught National Handicap Chase are just two of the top jump races at Roscommon. The racecourse is situated only minutes from Roscommon town centre on the Castlebar Road.
Sligo - Right handed course of 1 mile, with a steady incline from halfway to the finish. Although situated remarkably close to Sligo town centre, Sligo Racecourse is a particularly scenic racing venue in the northwest. Traditionally a summer venue, the majority of meetings at Sligo are held in the evening time making the racecourse a huge hit with locals and tourists alike. Many of the bigger races at the course are on the Flat and over hurdles and are often fiercely competitive affairs. The two-day meeting in early August comes hot on the heels of the Galway Festival and are the track's busiest days.
Thurles - Regardless of the weather, it is a rarity to see Thurles Racecourse losing a race meeting, even in the depths of winter when many of the track's meetings take place. An undulating right handed oval course of 1 mile 2 furlongs, with an uphill climb to the winning post. Thurles is the only privately-owned racecourse in the country and is located on a few kilometres from the town centre. It plays host to a number of top-class National Hunt races early in the year including the Grade 2 Kinloch Brae Chase and the Grade 2 Michael Purcell Memorial Novice Hurdle. Thurles is one of four all-National Hunt race courses in the country.
Tipperary - Racing from April to October and offering a mixture of top-class National Hunt and Flat racing, Tipperary is at its busiest at the height of the summer but hosts its biggest meeting of the year on the first Sunday of October. The "Super Sunday" meeting is the only race meeting to stage Graded National Hunt races and a Group race on the Flat on the same card. It draws the largest crowd of the year to the racecourse which also hosts a number of popular summer evening meetings. A left handed course of 1 mile 2 furlongs that includes a chute for five furlong sprint races. Tipperary is situated adjacent to Limerick Junction railway station and is only a matter of kilometres outside Tipperary town, on the main Limerick road.
Tramore - A popular racing venue all year around, Tramore Racecourse comes into its own during the busy summer season. The annual racing festival takes place over four days in mid-August and attracts bumper crowds. Another busy day at the track is the New Year's Day meeting which attracts many big equine names for the listed steeplechase run over two miles and six furlongs.A Right handed, undulating track of 1 mile, with an uphill climb to the finish. The racecourse is situated just above the town of Tramore and boasts fine panoramic views of Tramore Strand.
Wexford - Racing from March to November, Wexford Racecourse is best known for its popular Friday evening meetings during the summer months. In May 2016, Wexford became an National Hunt-only racecourse a year after switching from being a right-handed to a left-handed course. The venue continues to attract large and competitive fields of runners. Wexford racecourse has been widened and realigned in recent years making the venue more attractive for owners, trainers and jockeys. Wexford Racecourse is located on the outskirts of the Wexford town, close to all major roadways.