Horse Racing is betting’s most popular and exciting sports, and April usually sees the entire country come together and lump their cash on a horse in the hope of winning big.

For many though, finding the best horse racing tips and predictions can be confusing, as can betting on horses in general. Not because of the complexity of the sport, that’s simple, but for the huge amount of jargon and abbreviations within it.

We understand that not everybody knows their ante post from their yieldings, so we’ve put together the ultimate horse racing terms guide so you don’t miss a thing.

Horse Racing Terms

Ante Post

Ante post is a bet on a race taking place in the future. This is usually well ahead of raceday and includes all possible runners.

Blinkers

Blinkers are a piece of headwear fitted to a horse’s head in order to restrict its vision and concentrate on what’s in front of it.

Best Odds Guaranteed

This is an offer from bookmakers that give punters the best price possible. If the start price is better value than the odds you’ve placed a bet on, bookmakers will pay out on the better price.

Betting Ring

The section of a racecourse where the majority of bookmakers set up and take bets from punters.

Boxed In

This happens during a race when a horse is surrounded by others in the field not allowing it anywhere to go.

Bumper

A National Hunt rate that has no hurdles or fences on the track and therefore is run over flat ground.

Course & Distance

This is a term used to highlight that a horse on the race card has already won a race over the same distance on that racecourse.

Dam

The mother of a horse.

Each Way

Each Way is a type of bet that is backing the horse to win or place in a race. It’s a wager that is split into two, win and place, and requires double the stake money.

Fell or Faller

On a horse’s form guide, an ‘F’ signifies the horse fell at a fence during the race.

Favourite

A relatively easy term to understand, the favourite is the horse with the shortest price and tipped to win the race.

Furlong

A measure of distance in a race. A furlong is equivalent to around 200m and there are eight furlongs in the mile.

Gelding

A male horse that has been castrated.

Going

This is a description of a racecourse and signifies its condition, ranging from firm to heavy.

Handicap

Horses are given a handicap during races based upon their official rating. Weights are added to the horse as a handicap.

Nap

The tip of the day from a horse racing tipster or pundit.

Non Runner

A horse that is no longer racing despite originally being declared to race.

Non Runner No Bet

If the horse you bet on is a non runner, a Non Runner No Bet wager will void the bet and return your stake.

Novice

A novice is a horse that hasn’t won a race at the start of the season in its particular field of racing.

Placed

A horse that has placed is one that has finished in the first three. You can bet on a horse to place and the number of places a bookmaker offers varies dependent on the race.

Silks

The outfit a jockey is wearing. A jockey’s silks will usually be described by colour and is representative of the owner of the horse.

Sire

The father of a horse.

Starting Price

The odds of a horse when the race starts.

Unseated

When a jockey falls from the horse without the horse falling itself.

Yearling

A Yearling is in the second year of its life and currently too young to race.

Yielding

Yielding is a popular term in Irish racing and simply describes ground that is soft.

Abbreviations

Below you’ll find some of the more popular abbreviations that appear on a race card.

Ch – Chase
Cls – Class
Gd – Grade 1,2 or 3 (Jumps)
Gp – Group 1, 2 or 3 (Flat)
Hcap – Handicap

Hur or H – Hurdle
NHF – National Hunt Flat
Nov – Novice

You can find a lot about a horse’s form on a race card with a number of abbreviations highlighting performance.

1-9 – The finishing position of a horse in previous races

0 – A signal the horse finished outside the top 10

  – This indicates a new year, so numbers the before are the previous year, the numbers following are the current year.

/ – A slash in between numbers is an indicator of a new season.

B – Highlights a horse was brought down

C – Carried Out
D – Disqualified
F – Highlights a horse fell at a fence previously
HR – Hit rails
L – Left at the start line
O – The horse ran out
P – This means a horse pulled up during a race
R – This highlights the horse refused to start
U – A ‘U’ indicates the horse unseated the rider
V – Void race

The abbreviations below describe the sex or gender of a horse.

b – Bay

bl – Black

br – Brown

ch – Chestnut

c – Cold

f – Filly

g – Gelding

gr – Grey

m – Mare

r – Rig

ro – Roan

wh -White

These abbreviations are what you’ll find on race cards to describe the condition of the track, it’s going.

f or fm – Firm
g or gd – Good
hd – Hard
hy or hvy -Heavy
s or sft – Soft
yld – Yielding (Ireland only)

You’ll also find a number of abbreviations to describe distance on a race card.

dist – Distance (240y from finish)
f – Furling
hd -Head
l – Length
m – Mile
nk – Neck
nse – Nose

shd – Short Head

y -Yards

As well as the above, there are a range of other abbreviations to help punters choose whether to back a horse or not. These include:

BF – Beaten favourite last time out
Btn – Beaten
C – Previously won on the course
C – Co-favourite with three horses or more

CD – Previous winner over the same distance on the same course
D – Previous winner on the same distance
J – Joint favourite with another horse
N/R – Non Runner
OR – Official rating from the BHA

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