Racing Terminology

It could be easy to be put off by the weird and wonderful words and phrases banded around the race course, but in fact its all part of the fun. Like a tourist in a foreign country, the novice race goer soon picks up enough of the language to get by, and then rapidly becomes affluent.

The following terms will provide any new comer, keen to enhance their language skills, with enough of the jargon to sound like a “local”

ALLOWANCE: The weight concession given to a 2-year and 3-year old horses to compensate for their inexperience.

ANTE-POST: Betting posted up before the race is due to take place.

APPRENTICE: Young jockey tied by a contract to the racing fraternity’s academy or to a licensed trainer while they are learning.

APPRENTICE CLAIM: A weight concession given to compensate for the rider’s inexperience. It starts from 4kg for the new Apprentice and ends at 1.5kg for the most experienced based on the number of winners.

BACKWARD: Young horse which needs time to mature.

BOOKMAKER: Person taking bets on fixed odds as displayed on his board situated in front of the grandstands.

COLOURS: The racing silks worn by the jockeys.

COLT: Male, Ungelded horse, up to four years old.

CONNECTIONS: The owner and trainer of a race horse.

COURSE SPECIALIST: A horse which tends to run well at a particular course.

DAM: Mother of a horse.

DISTANCE: The length of a race.

DRAW: Describes a horse’s position in the starting stalls. High numbers are favoured on the straight course up to 1400m and low numbers on the bend from 1450m to 2700m.

FILLY: Female horse up to four years old.

FIRST TIME RULE: If a horse that has not raced before wins a leg of the Pick 4 (jackpot) the first horse to finish of those in the race that have raced before shall also qualify as a winner.

FOAL: Horse of either sex from its birth until 1 st August the following year.

FURLONG: 220 yards (One eighth of a mile/200m)

GELDING: Castrated horse.

GOING: Description of the under foot conditions on course.

HAND: Unit of four inches in which a horse’s height is measured.

HANDICRAPPER: Official who assesses each horse after the race and awards or deducts merit rating points.

HORSE: Male horse, five years and above still to be castrated.

JUDGE: Official responsible for declaring finishing order and distance between horses.

JUVENILE: Two year old horse.

MAIDEN: A horse which has not yet won a race.

MARE: Female horse, five years and over.

OBJECTION: Complaint by connection of one horse against another regarding breach of rules during a race.

ODDS ON: Where a bet’s winnings are less than the stake i.e. winning a $2 bet on a 5/10 wins you $1, so you get back $3.

PACE: Up with the pace means a close to the leaders.

PENALTY: Weight added to the handicap weight of a horse, which has won since the weights were published.

PHOTO FINISH: Electronic photo device which determines minimal distance in a close finish.

PLATE: Shoe worn by a horse for racing known as Steels or Alumites.

SEX ALLOWANCE: Weight allowance given to female horses in certain races (from 2.5kg to 3.5kg depending with the distance of the race).

SIRE: Father of a horse.

SPREAD A PLATE: When a racing plate becomes detached from the animal’s hoof.

SP/ STARTING PRICE: Official price of a horse at the start of a race.

STEWARDS ENQUIRY: Enquiry by panel of men and women responsible for seeing rules are adhered to during the running of a race.

STIPENDARY STEWARD: Official in charge of running the race meeting.

UNDER STARTERS ORDERS: Occurs when the race is about to start.

WEIGH IN/WEIGH OUT: Weighing jockey before and after race to ensure correct weight has been carried.

YEARLING: Horse of either sex from 1 st August to 31 st July of the year following it’s birth.

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