Your A to Z guide of all things betting



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This list of words, phrases and ‘general terms’ explains some of the obvious (or more confusing!) ways in which various bets and betting activities are refered to.

Some will be familiar, others not so.

And if there’s anything missing from the list… then by all means drop me a line and I’ll add it to the list.

My email is

There’s always some new word that’s being used, a different phrase that’s come into popular usage… or yet another type of bet that’s on offer from the bookies.

A betting dictionary is never finished… it just keeps on growing!

I’ve included most of the terms that are familiar to me but, no doubt, there’s a few more which you know about… so by all means let me know.


Acceptances – Owners and trainers have to decide whether or not to let their horses compete in the race. Once declared as a runner, these horses are known as acceptances for the race.

Accumulators – a type of multiple bet which features any number of selections… with the total winnings from the first successful selection being re-invested on to the next selection, and so on. A way to potentially generate a huge profit from a small initial stake.

The number of bets is also refered to in terms of folds (i.e. five bets would make it a five-fold accumulator).

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.

All-In – When you bet all-in, if your selection is withdrawn prior to the race, you lose your stake.

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 or 7lb, with it decreasing as the young jockey rides more winners.

All Weather Racing – This is Flat racing which takes place on a artificial surface. Commnly known as sand (UK) or dirt (US) racing.

Also Ran – Any selection not finishing out of the places and down the field.

Amateur – A non-professional jockey who does not receive a fee for riding in a race, denoted on the racecard by the prefix Mr, Mrs, Miss, Captain etc. Some races are restricted to amateurs-only.

Ante-Post – Ante-post prices are offered on major sporting events, before the day of the event itself. Sometime days, often months. In return for the chance of better odds, punters risk the fact that stakes are not returned if their selection fails to participate.

Arbitrage – A betting practice where a variation in odds allows a backer to trade two (or more) options simultaneously, in different markets, in order to guarantee a profit.

Asian Handicap – a type of soccer bet, popular in the Far East, which gives teams a notional handicap. Backers can trade teams conceding or receiving a set number of goals. See Asian Handicap section for a full explanantion


Backward – A horse that is either too young or not fully fit.

Banker – Viewed as a strong selection or ‘good thing’. Almost guaranteed to win…a ‘lock’.

Bankroll – Whaetver funds you’ve got in your pocket or betting account.

Bar – Those runners in a race not quoted with a price during early betting shows. The bar price is the minimum odds for any of those selections not quoted.

Bay – Horse colour, any brown horse with a black mane/tail and legs.

Betdaq – Online person-to-person trading website. Main rival of Betfair.

Betfair – Industry leader in terms of punter-to-punter trading. Leads the field in terms of liquidity and market availability.

Betting Forecast – These are the odds for a race as predicted by newspapers, on the internet or in racecards. A guide to prices before the betting opens on course.

Betting Ring – The main area at a racecourse where the bookmakers operate.

Betting Tax – A tax levied on a bookmaker’s turnover by Customs and Excise. Formerly generated by the bookies by deducting tax from returns or allowing punters to pay tax with their stake (and so have no tax deducted from winnings). Scrapped in the UK in 2001.

Between the flags – Refers to racing in Point-To-Point (PTP) events where the course, fences etc are marked out with flags.

BHA / BHB – British Horseracing Association / British Horseracing Board, the governing body of UK racing.

Bismarck – Slang term to describe a favourite which the bookmakers expect to lose or be ‘sunk’.

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.

Blanket Finish – A a close finish involving several horses, when the runners finish so close together that ‘a blanket could cover them.’

Bleeder – A horse that tends to break blood vessels during a race.

Blinkers / Blinds – Some horses are easily distracted, making the use of headgear, such as blinkers, a way of keeping their line of sight limited to nothing other than the racecourse ahead of them.

Bloodstock – the practice of breeding horses, buying and selling racehorses.

Board Price – This is the price relayed from the racecourse. If you take a price, this will remain the odds your selection is settled at, regardless of the final Starting Price (SP).

Book – A bookmaker’s combined record of all the bets on each competitor in a particular market.

Bookmaker – A person or company who accepts bets from the public, usually on racing or sports events. Also known as a ‘bookie’.

Bottle – Slang term in betting for odds of 2/1.

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.

Bridge-Jumper – A backer who likes to stake very big amounts on very short-priced bets.

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 – When a horse falls due to colliding with another horse (i.e. it didn’t fall as a result of jumping a fence).

Bumper Races – These are Flat races run under National Hunt rules.

Burlington Bertie – Slang term in betting for odds of 100/30.


Canadian – A multiple bet consisting of 26 bets (10 doubles, 10 trebles, 5 4-folds and 1 5-fold) made up of five selections in different events. Also known as a ‘Super Yankee’.

Carpet – Slang term in betting for odds of 3/1.

Careless riding – where jockeys are found guilty of improper riding, they can be charged by the stewards with this offence. A suspension can result.

Changing legs – when a horse changes its lead leg whilst racing, often allowing it to pick up speed or try to maintain its current rate of gallop.

Cheekpieces – type of headgear that can be used to improve a horse’s performance.

Chestnut – Horse colour varying from light, washy yellow to dark liver orange, and in between are red, gold and liver shades.

Claimer – a rider who receives a weight allowance on account of their inexperience. Alternatively a claimer is a race where each horse is put up to be claimed (bought) win or lose at a set price.

Classic – This term is used to describe the five major 3YO races of the British flat season… the 1,000 Guineas and 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket, the Derby and Oaks at Epsom and the St. Leger at Doncaster.

Clerk Of The Course – The official in charge of all aspects of racing at the course.

Clerk of the Scales – Racecourse official whose chief duty is to weigh the riders before and after a race to ensure proper weight is carried.

Clocker – Person who times workouts and racecourse gallops, often for betting information.

Co-Favourites – Where three or more competitors share favouritism.. have the lowest odds.

Colours – These are the racing silks of the owners, as worn by the jockeys.

Colt – Ungelded (entire) male horse below five years of age.

Conditions Race – A race where horses have to carry weight according to factors including sex, age, type of race, whether they are a previous winner etc.

Connections – People that are related with a horse… commonly the owner and trainer.

Correct Score – This is a bet to predict the final score in a game, based on the number of goals/points/sets scored by each player or team.

Course Specialist – This is a horse which tends to run well at one particular track.

Cover – In sports betting, beating the handicap line by a required number of points. Referred to as ‘covering the spread’.

Cover bet – placing a bet on an alternative runner, or market, to safeguard an initial investment.

Covered up – horse which prefer to come from off the pace, or don’t like to run alone, are often covered up, in the pack, before being delivered for a late run.

Cut in the ground – A description of the ground condition where the racing surface has been softened by rain.


Dam – A horse’s mother.

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 – Where two or more competitors finish tied. Bets are usually settled to the full odds but the stake is a derivative of how many competitors finish together (e.g. two and it’s half the stake).

Decimal Prices – This price system is commonly used for betting throughout Europe and Asia. This provides the simplest way of calculating your total return (winnings plus stake)… for example, 2/1 would be displayed as 3.0.

Disqualified – where a runner is removed from the final result on account of breaking the rules, taking the wrong course, interfering with another runner etc.

Distance – This is the distance of a race… five furlongs (5f) is the minimum and the four and a half miles (4m 4f), for the Aintree Grand National, is the longest. Distance is also the margin by which a horse is beaten. This can range from a short head (shd) to ‘by a distance’ (more than thirty lengths).

Dog – Slang term for a poor horse.

Doll – Hurdle used to mark out course, especially when an area is waterlogged.

Double – A bet consisting of two selections, both of which must win for the wager to be successful.

Double Result – This is a bet on which team will be winning at half time (HT) and full time (FT). This is one bet, predicting the outcome of both halves of the game, and both predictions must be correct to win. The draw is a valid outcome for both halves.

There are nine options… H-H, H-D, H-A, D-H, D-D, D-A, A-H, A-D, A-A

(where H = home team, A = away team, D = draw).

Double Stakes About (DSA) – Like Single Stakes About (SSA)… here the returns from the first winning selection are invested at double the original stake on the second selection.

Double Carpet – Slang term in betting for odds of 33/1.

Doubling-up – After a loss a backer doubles the size of his previous bet in the hope of winning back the money lost… and make a profit. Also known as a ‘Martingale’ system.

Draw – At the overnight declaration stage, all entries in a flat race are given a stall number from where they will start. Depending on the state of the going, the position of the stalls and the layout of the course, the draw may favour high, middle or low numbers at different tracks. Stalls are not used for National Hunt racing and therefore the draw does not apply.

Draw no bet – where teams can be backed with the added bonus that if the game finishes as a draw, stakes are returned in full.

Drift – When the odds lengthen (get bigger)… they are said to have ‘drifted’ or ‘be on the drift’.

Drop hands (dropping one’s hands) – where a jockey fails to ride the horse out near the finish, letting the reins slacken off. Commonly used when that horse is then beaten on the line by another runner!

Drop in class/trip – A horse racing in a lower class of race than he has recently run in/running over a shorter distance.

Dual Forecast – A bet where the punter has to pick the first two to finish in either order. Also known as a ‘reverse forecast’.

Dutch – Betting on multiple selections, in exact proportions, to guarantee an identical return whichever bet wins.

Dwell – To start slowly.


Each-Way – This bet allows you to place a stake of equal amounts on a selection to either win an event or to be placed, usually in the top three or four depending on the size of the field.

The price for the place part of the bet is usually a quarter or a fifth of the odds for an outright win. See explanation in Ready Reckoner section.

Edge – A punter’s advantage when placing a bet.

Entire horse – An ungelded horse.

Evens – Odds of 1/1.

Exacta – This is a Tote bet operating in races of 3 or more declared runners in which the punter has to pick the first two to finish in either order.


Favourite – The favourite is the shortest priced selection in an event (also known as the ‘jolly’).

When two selections share this position they are named ‘Joint-Favourites’. If three or more share this position they are named ‘Co-Favourites’.

FC – Short for ‘forecast’.

Filly – Female horse four-years-old or younger.

First Goal Scorer – This is a bet on who will score the first goal in a football match.

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.

First Try Scorer – This is a bet on who will score the first try in a rugby league or rugby union match.

Fixed Odds – Fixed odds are prices which are not dependent on the outcome of an event. Unlike ‘spread betting’ you know how much stake you are risking.

Fold – When preceded by a number, a fold indicates the number of selections in an accumulator (e.g. 4-fold = four selections).

Flag – A bet consisting of 23 bets (a ‘Yankee’ plus 6 ‘Single Stakes About’ bets in pairs) on four selections in different events.

Flat Racing – Begins in March and runs through to November on the turf. Races are run over a minimum distance of five furlongs (5f) and a maximum of twenty-two furlongs (2m 6f).

Flat racing now runs all year round and includes races run on all-weather (AW) surfaces such at Lingfield, Kempton, Southwell and Wolverhampton.

Forecast – A wager that involves correctly predicting the first and second for a particular event. This bet can be a straight forecast (FC) or a reverse forecast (RFC).

Form – Past performances used to give an indication of the runner’s chances.

Fractional Odds – These are commonly used for betting in the UK. Fractional odds give you your profit excluding your stake. Your stake needs to be added back on to calculate your total return.

For example, a £10 bet at 2/1 would win £20 (profit) plus your initial stake makes £30 (return).

French Odds – Expression of odds e.g 100 to 8… the term dates back to when the French had a metric money system while the UK used £1 made up of 240 (old) pence.

Full Cover – All the doubles, trebles and accumulators involved in a given number of selections.

Furlong – An eighth of a mile (220 yards).


Gallops – where racehorses are exercised and trained prior to running on course.

Gates – The front section of the starting stalls, which open at the start of a Flat race to release the horses. Used as another term for starting stalls.

Get the trip – To stay the distance.

Going – This is the state of the ground. e.g. firm, good to firm, good, good to soft, soft, heavy.

Going Down – When horses are on their way to the start prior to a race.

Green – Term used to describe an inexperienced horse.

Going In – This is when greyhounds are being put in to the traps or horses into the stalls.

Going to Post – When horses have left the paddock / parade ring and are on the way to the start of a race.

Goliath – A multiple consisting of 247 bets (28 doubles, 56 trebles, 70 4-folds, 56 5-folds, 28 6-folds, 8 7-folds and 1 8-fold) involving eight selections in different events.

Grab the rail – Horses seeking an advantage in-running often head for the inside, the rail, to make if harder for other runners to get past.

Grand – £1,000 GBP.

Group Racing – Better quality racing which features the very best horses. There are Group 1, 2 and 3 races which come above the likes of Class 1, 2 and 3 races etc.


Hacked / Hosed up – Describes a horse winning easily.

Half-Time/Full-Time – Bets which focus on the score at the two stages of a match. Winning bets must get both results at half-time (HT) and full-time (FT) correct. Also see ‘Double Result’

Handicap – A method used by bookmakers to make a one-sided event become a more attractive betting proposition. Teams are awarded a number of points start depending on their calibre. Also known as the ‘spread’ or ‘line’. See Handicap Betting section for a full explanation.

Hands and heels – Where a horse is ridden without the use of the whip. The jockey just using his ‘hands and heels’ to drive the horse forward.

Head in chest – A term to a winner that is successful without trying too hard or getting out of first gear… ‘winning head in chest’.

Hedging – A bet made to offset a liability. Either by a bookmaker or a punter…in order to cut one’s losses if the wrong horse wins. Also known as a ‘laying-off’.

Heinz – A multiple bet consisting of 57 bets (15 doubles, 20 trebles, 15 4-folds, 6 5-folds and 1 6-fold) involving six horses in different races.

Held Up (Hold up performer) – This is restraining a horse behind the other runners in the early stages of a race.

Home Turn – On oval courses, this is the final bend before the runners head down the closing stretch.

House – A casino or gambling centre.

HQ – Slang term for Newmarket.

Hurdles – form of National Hunt racing. Features low obstacles which are jumped at higher speeds than fences. Minimum distance is two miles (16f).


IBAS (Independent Betting Arbitration Service) – This organisation settles betting disputes between bookmakers and punters.

In-running betting – Bookmakers offer odds for an event whilst in progress, with prices quoted reflecting the current state of play.

In The Frame / In The Money – If your selection has finished ‘in the frame’ this means it has finished either first, second, third or fourth (i.e. in the each-way places).

Interference – When horses stray from a straight line, they can impede or hamper other horses, causing interference. This can lead to horses being demoted or even disqualified.

Irons – Slang term for stirrups.


Jockey Club – Founded in 1752, over time the Jockey Club took became the official governing body for horseracing in Britain. It has since widened its influence into all areas of the sport.

Joint Favourites (jt-fav) – When bookmakers cannot separate two horses or teams in terms of favouritism, they are made joint favourites.

Jolly – Slang term for the favourite.

Judge – This is the Course Official / Race Steward responsible for declaring the finishing order of a race and the distances between the runners.

Juvenile – Slang term for a 2YO racehorse on the Flat.


Kick-Back – On the All-Weather, horses can throw up sand or dirt from their hooves, which can effect other horses/jockeys behind (getting in their eyes etc). This material is known as kick-back.


Lay – Taking a bet or betting that a certain horse, team or player won’t win.

Layer – A bookmaker or one who ‘lays’ a bet.

Lay off – Common betting practice by bookmakers where the liability on a bet is offset by taking positions with other firms. Can also be used by backers to safeguard stakes on bets at big prices.

LBO – Acronym for ‘Licensed Betting Office’ in the UK.

Length – This is the length of a horse from the horse’s nose to the start of its 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).

Long Odds – Given to a runner which stands little cahnce of success (e.g. 100/1).

Long Shot – This is a selection at long odds, not given as high a chance of winning as other selections. Also known as an ‘outsider’ or ‘rag’.

Lines – Handicaps, points preads and odds offered by bookmakers.

Listed Races – Better quality races, short of Group class but still a cut above the normal standard of racing.

Lock – Slang term used for an almost guaranteed winner. Also ‘cert’ or ‘banker’.

Lucky 15, 31, 63 – Multiple bets on all possible combinations of 4, 5 or 6 selections.

Lucky 15 – This is four selections split into 4 singles, 6 doubles, 4 trebles and 1 accumulator = 15 bets. Also known as a ‘yap’.


Machines – The Pari-Mutuel computers/calculators.

Maiden – A horse or rider that has not previously won a race.

Make all – A horse which leads the race from start to finish, never headed at any stage.

Martingale – Betting system based on doubling stakes after every loser. Also known as ‘doubling-up’.

Match Bet – This is a bet between two teams or players, to predict who will get the best score/finish highest in a competition. The teams or players may not physically play against each other but the winner is calculated at the end of the competiton… a golf tournament, F1 motor race, football season.

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.

Miss the break – At the start of a race, horses can sometimes fail to leave the stalls at the same time. Any which is slow to race, or is left behind, is deemed to have missed the break.

Moneyline – This is a bet to predict who will win a NFL, basketball, baseball or ice hockey match outright (i.e. without a spread).

Monkey – £500 GBP.


Nailed On – The selection which is considered to be a racing ‘certainty’ or a ‘banker’ is also considered to be ‘nailed on’ to win.

Nap – This is the selection that racing correspondents and tipsters nominate as their major selection of the day or meeting. Allegedly derived from ‘Napoleon’.

Neck – Measurement by which a race is won… nose, neck, short head, head, half a legth etc.

No Offers – When bookmakers are unwilling to offer a price on a runner, team or player (N/O).

Novice – A horse in the early stages of its career after it has won its first race.

Non-Runner – This is a selection that does not take part in a race or event for which it is entered.

Nose – Measurement of winning distance in horse race, see ‘neck’ above.

Not Under Orders – When a race starts (at the off) the flag is raised, and any runner withdrawn before the signal is deemed not to have come ‘Under Starter’s Orders’. Your stake on such a selection would be returned but any winning bets may be subject to a ‘Rule 4’.

Nursery – A Flat racing handicap for 2YO (or juvenile) horses.


Objections – Where a jockey or trainer objects to the conduct of a participant in a race and an investigation is carried out. Rather like a Steward’s Enquiry.

Odds – Odds are the bookmaker’s view of the chance of a competitor winning (adjusted to include a profit). Also known as ‘price’.

Odds-against – Where the odds are greater than evens (1/1)… such as 6/4, 7/2 or 10/1 etc.

Odds Compiler – The person working for the bookmaker who sets the odds following data research, market study and, less so these days, his own personal opinion.

Odds-on – Where the odds are shorter than evens (1/1)… such as 10/11, 4/7 or 1/3 etc. Where if the selection wins, the amount won is less than the amount staked.

Off The Bridle – This is when the horse has to be urged on by its jockey when it may be struggling to maintain its pace or catch the leading runners.

On the Nose – A bet that a horse will win.

One-Paced – This is a horse that cannot produce the extra pace required and just keeps on at the same speed.

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’.

Outsider – A horse at big/long odds in the betting market, standing little chance of winning. Also known as ‘rag’.

Over bet – When a bet is subject to more money, or support in the market, than it really deserves. It can therefore offer little value, and so is deemed to be ‘over bet’.

Over-Round – In theory, using natural odds, a betting book should be fairly weighted between bookmaker and bettor (i.e. a 100% book). However, to provide a profit margin for the bookmakers, they alter the odds in their favour.

The ‘over-round’ expresses to what extent the odds are in favour of the bookmaker. An evenly weighted book based on natural odds is expressed as 100%, and the more the odds move in the bookmaker’s favour the more that figure rises. Commonly 5%-10%.

Over / Under – This is a bet on whether the total points, goals or sets scored/played by the two players or teams will be over or under a specified number.


Pace – This is the speed at which races are run at different stages… ‘up with the pace’ means close to the leaders and ‘off the pace’ means some way behind the leaders.

Pacemaker – A horse that is entered in a race with the intention that it will set the pace for another horse with the same connections.

Paddock – Area of the racecourse incorporating the parade ring (where horses are paraded prior to the race) and winner’s enclosure. Connections of the horses gather in the centre of the paddock before each race and jockeys mount before taking the horses out onto the racecourse.

Parade – Before major races, the horses often line up in racecard order (numerical order) and led in front of the grandstands to allow racegoers to see them. At the end of the parade the horses are released to canter down to the start.

Pari-Mutuel – A means of gambling on races in which all bets are pooled and winners are paid according to size of pool and the number of other winners.

Parlay – Term for an accumulator bet in horse racing. Also, a wager on two or more teams in which both must win or ‘cover’ for the bet to be profitable.

Patent – A multiple bet consisting of 7 bets involving 3 selections in different events. A single on each selection, plus 3 doubles and 1 treble.

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 re-assess that horse’s handicap rating.

Permutations / Perm – It is possible to ‘perm’ bets or selections. To put them together in a series of multiple bets e.g. 4 selections, including all the possible doubles, could be ‘permed’ to make 6 bets (AB, AC, AD, BC, BD, CD).

Persuader – Slang term for whip.

Photo-Finish – This is a method of determining the result where there is a close finish using photographic evidence.

Picks – The selections chosen by an expert to bet on. Also known as ‘tips’.

Pilot – Slang term for a jockey.

Pipe Opener – Giving a horse a run in order to get it race fit for a future engagement.

Pitch – The position where a bookmaker conducts his business on a racecourse.

Placepot – UK Tote bet where your selection in the first six races of a meeting has to be placed to receive a share of the pool.

Places reversed – When horses are deemed to have gained an unfair advantage due to breaking the rules (e.g. interference) the stewards can reverse the placings and so change the result.

Place Terms – In non pari-mutuel betting, the returns for place bets are calculated as a proportion of the win odds. This varies between sports and the number of competitors etc.

Plate – Slang term for a saddle.

Plater – A poor quality horse that tends to run in lesser events.

Point spread – The start that the favourite gives the underdog. Also known as the ‘line’ or ‘handicap’.

Point to point – A form of amateur horseracing over fences for hunting horses. Leads to the expression of racing ‘between the flags’.

Pony – £25 GBP.

Pool – Total amount bet for win, place or show, or in a daily double.

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.

Punter – UK term for someone who has a bet.


Quinella – A bet in which the backer predicts the horses that will finish 1st and 2nd, regardless of order. Rather like a reverse forecast.


Racing Post – Leading daily trade paper in the UK.

Rag – The outsider in the field, normally available at a big price or long odds.

Rails (racecourse) – White plastic rails are used to mark out the track on a racecourse. The stands rails are those nearest the grandstand and the far rails are those on the opposite side of the track from the grandstand.

Rails (betting) – This refers to the fence separating the Members area on a racecourse from the Tattersalls area. Bookmakers are not allowed in the Members area, but some bookmakers are allowed to set up their pitches on the Tattersalls side of the rails, allowing them to accept bets.

Ran Out – Where a horse deviates from the specified course or dodges a fence etc. As such the horse would be disqualified.

Rating – A measure of the performance of a horse. Used for form study purposes but also at the entry stage for certain races (to deem which horses qualify to run).

Ready Reckoner – A table showing returns for odds to aid with the calculation of winnings.

Refused – When a horse either fails to start a race (refued to race) or, more commonly, will not jump a hurdle or fence in a National Hunt race.

Return – This is the total amount you receive for a winning bet (your winnings plus your stake).

Reversed Forecast – This bet involves two selections in one race finishing 1st and 2nd in either order.

Ringer – A horse (or greyhound) entered in a race under another’s name – usually a good runner replacing a poorer one.

Roundabout – A bet consisting of three bets involving three selections in different events (i.e. a single any to come and double stake double on remaining two selections, three times).

Round Robin – A bet consisting of 10 bets (three pairs of ‘Single Stakes About’ bets plus three doubles and a treble) involving three selections in different events.

Rule 4 – A deduction made from the prices of a horse due to the withdrawal of another horse.

Run-In – This is the distance from the home turn (or last obstacle) to the winning post.


Schooling – Training a horse for jumping.

Score – £20 GBP.

Scratch – The withdrawal of a competitor.

Scratch handicap – Where the line from the bookmaker gives no advantage to either team or player. The handicap line is effectivly (0) and the bet is settled solely on the result, with no adjustment.

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.

Selling Race – This is a race in which the eventual winner must be offered for sale by auction.

Settler – A bookmaker’s assistant who calculates payouts.

Sheepskin Noseband – Works by obstructing a horse’s vision so they have to hold their head lower to see over the top of it. Used to improve their performance.

Shoo In – A supposed certainty or guaranteed winner.

Shortening the Odds – A bookmaker’s reduction of the odds offered in the face of heavy betting. To offset their liability.

Single – A bet on one selection to win one race or event.

Single Stakes About (SSA) – A bet consisting of two bets on two selections (one single on each selection, any to come one single on the other selection reversed).

Sire – Father of a horse.

Smart Money – Bets from backers who are ‘in the know’ about a certain horse, player or team.

Special /Speciality Bets – Bets on all manner of different markets, outside of the usual win market or correct score bets etc. These bets have their origins in the spread markets, and it is only through the availability of online gambling that fixed odds bookmakers have been able to break into this market. Bascially used to increase turnover.

Sporting Life – Formerly a leading industry newspaper, now represented by an online website.

Spread Betting – A bet where the returns, or losses, are calculated in proportion to the accuracy of a backer’s prediction of the outcome. Winnings, or losses, aren’t fixed by pre-set odds or stakes (as in conventional betting) but are based on degree of accuracy multiplied by initial stake.

Spreads – Also known as handicaps.

Stake – This is the amount of money invested on a bet.

Stalls – Stalls are a row of compartments designed to give all the runners in a flat race an even start.

Starter – Person responsible for starting a horse race.

Starting Price (SP) – This is the price/odds at which a bet is settled. Determined by taking the average available in the betting ring on the racecourse, shortly before the race starts.

Steamer – This is a selection backed significantly on the morning of a race, causing its odds to shorten markedly.

Steeplechasing – Steeplechasing is a form of National Hunt racing run over distances of two miles (16f) up to four and a half miles (4m 4f).

Steward’s Enquiry – If there are any suspected infringements of the ‘Rules of Racing’ the Stewards hold an investigation. These are carried out in a similar manner to objections.

Straight Forecast – This is a bet where the punter has to pick the first and second to finish in the correct order.

Stud – Where horses are bred.

Super Heinz – A Super Heinz consists of 120 bets involving 7 selections in different events. The bet includes 21 doubles, 35 trebles, 35 fourfolds, 21 fivefolds, 7 sixfolds and an accumulator. A minimum of 2 of your selections must be successful to get a return.

Super Yankee – Alternative name for a multiple bet known as ‘canadian’. This is a ‘yankee’ bet with five selections instead of four. Therefore, it consists of 10 doubles, 10 trebles, 6 fourfolds and an accumulator. Two of the selections must win to gain a return

Suspension – Jockeys can be suspended for a number of offences. Most commonly careless riding, dropping their hands, taking the wrong course or over-use of the whip.

System – This is a method of betting, usually mathematically based, used by a backer to create an advantage and return a profit.


Take – Money deducted from each Pari-Mutuel pool for track revenue and taxes.

Take the wrong course – This can happen in National Hunt races, over longer distances, where racecourse layouts aren’t clear to the jockeys. Horses taking the wrong course are disqualified, their jockeys usually face a suspension.

Tattersalls’ Rule 4 – If a horse is withdrawn without coming under starters orders, and there is insufficient time to re-form the betting market, backers of the withdrawn horse are entitled to their stakes back. However, deductions are then made to winning bets, depending upon the price of the withdrawn runner.

Three Ball Bet – This is a bet on a single round of golf between three players, to predict which of the three players will score the lowest. There is no draw option as ‘dead heat’ rules apply.

Through The Card (TTC) – This is when a jockey, a particular number, a punter, the favourites, or a racing tipster etc, has been successful at every race at a meeting. They are described as having gone ‘through the card’.

Tic-Tac – The code of hand signals by which UK oncourse bookmakers relay information on current odds and betting around the course (e.g. ‘top of the head’ means 9/4).

Tiercé – This is a French combination bet where the backer predicts the horses that will finish 1st, 2nd and 3rd.

Tips – The selections chosen by an expert.

Tipster – A person who gives or sells information to backers… giving his bets for a race, game or event.

Tissue Prices – Early prices offered before a betting market has been formed.

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.

Top Batsman / Bowler – This is a cricket bet to predict which batsman will score the highest number of runs for your chosen team, or which bowler will take the most wickets. This applies either to the first innings of a match or over an entire Test Match series.

Tote / Horserace Totalisator Board – A body in the UK set up to operate pool-betting on all racecourses.

Tote Returns – Returns from a tote pool, also known as a ‘dividend’. This is calculated by taking the total stake in each pool (after the take out) and dividing it by the number of winning tickets.

Tote Board – A racecourse information board that displays approximate odds, betting totals, payout prices and other information necessary to the punter.

Tournament Bets – Effectively betting on which player or team will win a tournament. Each-way bets are also offered for coming in the places (can be just 2nd place in some sports but in others, like golf, it can go down to 5th or even 6th place).

Treble – A bet consisting of 3 selections, all of which must win for the wager to be successful. This can be a win bet or an each-way treble.

Tricast – A bet which involves correctly predicting the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place in an event. Also known as a ‘trifecta’.

Trip – Slang term for the race distance.

Trixie – A Trixie consists of 4 bets involving 3 selections in different events. The bet includes 3 doubles and 1 treble. A minimum of 2 of your selections must be successful to get a return.

Two Ball Bet – This is a bet on a single round of golf between two players, to predict which of the two players will score the lowest. Here the draw is a valid bet (dead heat rules do not apply).

Turf Accountant – Official term for a bookmaker.

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.


Underdog – The team that receives a point start in a handicap.

Under (Starter’s) Orders – When the official starter of the race is satisfied that all the runners in the race are at the start (in flat races, in the stalls) and ready to race, a flag is raised signalling that the field is under orders. Bets on any runner failing to start after this signal, are lost.

Union Jack – This is a bet consisting of 8 trebles on 9 selections. These are settled as trebles in the formation of a ‘Union Jack’… A to I.



Value – Getting the best odds on a wager.

Visor – similar to blinkers in which one or both cowls have holes cut in them permitting limited side or rear vision. In order to stop the horse being distracted and so perform better.

Void Bet – This is a bet which is declared invalid. The stake is returned without deduction.


Walk-Over – When only one participant runs in the race. In order to collect the prize money the participant must go through the normal procedure of going onto the racecourse and trotting across the line.

Weigh-In – After each race the jockeys on the winning and placed horses must be weighed to check they are carrying the same weight as at the start of the race.

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.

Well in – When a horse is considered to be favoured by the weights in a race, it is said to be ‘well in’.

Welsh/Welch – To fail to pay a gambling bet.

Whip / Whip Ban – Used by jockleys to both keep their horses ‘up to speed’ but also to make sure they don’t stray off line. Increasingly legislated against, over-use of the whip by jockeys can, and does, result in lengthy bans. Also known as ‘stick’.

Win – The term used to describe a 1st place finish.

Win only – Betting markets where no each-way betting is available.

Winning Margin – A bet to predict the winning margin of one team or player over another.

With the Field – Having one horse linked with all the other horses in an event. It can apply to forecasts or in doubles.

Workrider – A member of the stable staff who assists in the training of a horse… riding it out on the gallops.


“X” – Taken to mean a ‘draw’ on a soccer betting coupon.


Yankee – This is a multiple bet consisting of 11 bets (6 doubles, 4 trebles and 1 4-fold) on 4 selections in different events.

Yap (Yankee Patent) – The same 11 bets as a ‘Yankee’ but with singles on each of the 4 selections as well, making 15 bets in all. Also known as a ‘Lucky 15’.

Yard – Training establishment where racehorses are stabled and trained for racing.

Yearling – A horse from 1 January to 31 December of the year following its birth.

Yielding – Irish term to describe racecourse going that is soft.


Zero – The value of most betting systems and tips!

That’s all I know…

But you might know a few more words and phrases…

So if you’ve got anything else to add to the list by all means get in touch.

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