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Ian Bruce

There are scores of horse betting terms that are used in the racing world. This page provides concise definitions of the terms and phrases that you are most likely to encounter. If you ever want to know what a particular piece of jargon means, it’s a safe bet that the answer is right here.

Horse Racing Betting Terms Defined

The following table of horse race betting terms isn’t exhaustive, but it does explain all the horse racing jargon that most people will ever need. For ease of use, we have made no distinction between pure horse racing terms and more general betting terms. That means you can simply scroll down through our alphabetical list, find the word you’re curious about and read the corresponding definition. If you’re new to racing, our How to Bet on Horses should also be useful.

Horse Betting Terms Explained

Horse Betting Terms and Definitions

Accumulator A single bet on several different events or outcomes. For the bet to succeed, all of those ‘legs’ must win.
Allowance A weight concession given to a horse that will be ridden by a less experienced jockey.
Amateur A jockey who rides for a hobby rather than his or her main profession. An amateur has no professional license.
Ante-Post Ante-post means before the course market has been opened. It can relate to an early betting market or a bet made in it. See our Ante Post Betting guide.
Apprentice An apprentice jockey is one who is on the way to becoming a professional.
Back This is horse racing slang that means ‘to bet’. You can therefore ‘back the favourite’ instead of ‘bet on the favourite’.
Banker A horse that is considered to have an almost sure chance of winning.
Bar Usually followed by a betting price, this word means that all horses not shown are available at the bar price or bigger.
Bet To put money at risk when predicting the outcome of an event. If you are correct, the bet wins. See How to Bet Online.
Betting Exchange A betting platform that allows its users to wager with each other by laying odds and betting on odds laid by others.
Best Odds Guaranteed (BOG) A common promotion that will settle your bet at the higher price, whether it’s the odds at the time of your bet or the SP.
Bookmaker An individual or company that makes a profit by creating markets for people to bet in.
Canadian This is a type of multiple bet that covers 5 selections for 10 doubles, 10 trebles, 5 fourfolds and 1 fivefold. 26 bets in all.
Cash Out A feature that allows you to close all or part of a bet while the event is still running. Used to lock in profits or limit losses.
Colt In UK horse racing, a colt is an ungelded male horse aged up to and including four years old.
Colours The colours of the silks worn by jockeys, as detailed on the racecard, help spectators identify horses in a race.
Co-Favourite A horse priced at the same lowest odds as two or more other horses in the betting market.
Course This is just a shortened version of racecourse, which is where the races take place.
Crop A short, semi-flexible whip that the jockey can use to better communicate with his horse when racing.
Dam The female parent of a horse, also known as a mare.
Distance The length of a horse race. Traditionally expressed in miles, furlongs and yards.
Dividend In Tote pool betting, the dividend is the amount of money that will go to each winning entry.
Double An accumulator bet on two different races. Both selections must win for the bet to succeed.
Draw In flat racing, a draw is held to determine the stalls that the participating horses will run from.
Drifter A horse that has significantly drifted in price (its odds getting bigger) in the betting market.
Each Way A bet that comprises two parts – one for the win and the other for a place. See our guide to Each Way betting.
Even Money (Evens) This is common betting slang for odds of 1/1, which suggest an even chance of something happening.
Favourite The horse that is being offered at the lowest odds in a betting market.
Filly A female horse aged up to and including four years old.
Flat A code of racing in which horses race on flat ground. There are no obstacles to jump.
Forecast A bet on which two horses will finish the race in first and second place.
Form The past performance of a horse. Often abbreviated on racecards. Can be useful when making betting selections.
Frame Any horse that wins or achieves a place is said to have made the frame.
Gelding A gelding is any male horse that has been gelded (castrated).
Going The condition of the ground over which a race will be run. Can be described as firm, good, soft, heavy, etc.
Goliath A multiple bet covering 8 selections for all doubles, trebles and accumulators. Costs 247 bets in total.
Handicap A type of race in which horses carry varying weights according to their ability in an effort to even out their chances.
Hedging Staking money on more than one outcome to maximise the chance of getting a return. See our Hedge Betting guide.
Heinz A multiple bet covering 6 selections in 57 bets for all doubles, trebles and accumulators. See What is a Heinz Bet?
In-Running When a horse race is already underway, it is said to be ‘in-running’. Many of the best horse racing betting sites allow betting in-running.
Jockey The man or woman – amateur or professional – who rides a horse in a race.
Jockey Club The Jockey Club is an organisation that owns racecourses such as Aintree and Cheltenham.
Joint Favourite A horse priced at the same lowest odds as one other horse in the betting market.
Jolly In racing terms, the word jolly can be used to refer to the favourite in the betting market.
Judge In horse racing terminology, the Judge is the official who declares the result of a race.
Jumps A code of racing in which horses must jump over obstacles, such as hurdles or fences.
Juvenile A horse that is two years old.
Lay The act of offering odds about a horse at a betting exchange. If the selection you lay loses, you keep the bettor’s stake.
Lucky 15 This is a multiple bet covering four selections for four singles, six doubles, four trebles, and one fourfold accumulator. There are 15 bets in total.
Lucky 31 This is an expanded version of the Lucky 15, covering five selections for doubles, trebles and accumulators in 31 bets.
Lucky 63 An expanded version of the Lucky 31, covering six selections for doubles, trebles and accumulators in 63 bets.
Maiden A maiden is a horse that has yet to win a race of any type.
Market This refers to a betting market. It offers odds about each of the horses in a race so that you can make a bet.
Monkey Horse racing slang for £500.
Multiple A type of wager that covers several selections for multiple bets, such as doubles, trebles and accumulators.
Nap The term ‘nap’ is used by tipsters to designate their best selection of the day.
Non-Runner A horse that was entered into a race but was withdrawn before the race got started.
NRNB Acronym for Non-Runner No Bet. With this feature, your stake is refunded if your selected horse doesn’t run.
Objection An objection is a complaint made about a race by a jockey or official.
Odds The price at which a bet is struck and a winning bet is settled. See Betting Odds Explained.
Odds-Against Odds bigger than 1/1 that will pay more in profit than the amount staked.
Odds-On Odds smaller than 1/1 that will pay less in profit than the amount staked.
Overround The percentage that bookmakers build into their markets to ensure they profit over the long term.
Patent A multiple bet covering three selections for three singles, three doubles and one treble, making seven bets in all.
Place A horse that finishes a race in a position that pays with an each-way bet is said to have placed.
Photo Finish When two or more horses finish so closely together that the Judge needs to call on photographic evidence to separate them.
Pony Horse racing slang for £25.
Price The price at which a bet is struck and settled. Another word for Odds.
Return The total amount of money you get back from the bookmaker after a successful bet, including the original stake.
Reverse Forecast Two forecast bets in one that allow you to pick two horses to finish first and second in either order.
Rule 4 A Rule 4 deduction applies to winning bets in a race where one or more horses fail to run.
Score Horse racing slang for £20.
Shoe Short for horseshoe. It doesn’t happen often, but a horse can lose a shoe when racing.
Silks The outfit worn by a jockey when riding a horse. The colours of the silks help spectators to identify horses.
Sire The male parent of a horse, also known as a stallion.
Sprint A sprint is a flat horse race covering a distance of seven furlongs or less.
Starting Price (SP) The odds available about a horse when a race gets underway. See SP Meaning in Betting.
Stake The amount of money you put at risk when you place a bet.
Stall The compartment from which each horse starts a flat race. Used to ensure a fair start for all runners.
Steamer A horse that has significantly contracted in price (its odds getting shorter) in a betting market.
Steward A steward is a racing official who has the job of making sure that races are run fairly.
Steward’s Enquiry An enquiry that can be called by a steward to determine if a horse racing rule has been broken.
Straight Forecast A forecast bet on two horses to finish a race in first and second place, in that exact order.
Super Heinz An extended version of a Heinz bet that covers seven selections for doubles, trebles and accumulators. 120 bets in total. See What is a Super Heinz Bet?
Super Yankee An extended version of a Yankee. This wager covers five elections for doubles, trebles and accumulators in 26 bets.
Ton Horse racing slang for £100.
Tote A pool betting company that gives winners a share of the prize pool (dividend) instead of fixed odds.
Trainer The person who trains a horse in an effort to win races.
Treble An accumulator bet with three selections or legs. All three legs must win for the bet to succeed. See What is a Treble Bet?
Tricast A bet on three horses to finish first, second and third in a race, in the exact order stated.
Trixie A multiple bet covering three selections for three doubles and one treble, costing four bets in total.
Void Bet A bet that the bookmaker has cancelled for some reason, such as when a race meeting is abandoned. Stakes are refunded.
Void Race A race that has been declared void. Any bet on the race will also be declared void.
Wager Another word for bet.
Weighed In When all jockeys and their equipment have officially been weighed after a race has been run.
Withdrawn A horse that a trainer decides to withdraw from a race in which it has been entered is said to be withdrawn.
Yankee A multiple bet covering four selections for six doubles, four trebles and a fourfold. It costs 11 bets in total. See What is a Yankee Bet?


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Ian Bruce

Ian Bruce joined Safest Betting Sites in 2024 as Senior Sports Editor to oversee the quality and usefulness of its gambling content. He originally developed an interest in betting after landing a winning Yankee on his first attempt. He then spent years figuring out how to replicate that success. Along the way, he became one of the UK’s leading writers on the topic of betting and gaming. Ian’s career has now spanned more than three decades, and his enthusiasm for systematic and responsible betting hasn’t waned one bit. However, his preferred approach to winning these days is Dutching, for the simple reason that “It’s a lot easier than landing Yankees.”