Racing jargon

ACCEPTORS

Horses entered at the initial entry stage for the biggest races may then have to accept the opportunity to remain entered for that race by their owners paying further entry fees on certain designated dates, before they pay a final declaration fee to become a definite runner, usually 48 hours before the race. Horses remaining entered after each of these intermediate entry stages are known as ‘acceptors’. (see also ‘Forfeit’).

ACTION

How a horse moves its legs while galloping. A smooth action is preferable, making injuries less likely. A horse’s action is also an indicator of what type of going it may prefer – a high-knee action suggests a soft ground preference, a low ‘daisy-cutter’ action suggests a fast ground preference. A horse may be said to have ‘lost its action’ during a race, meaning that it has lost its rhythm of galloping, sometimes indicative of injury

AGE

All racehorses born in the northern hemisphere have an official birthday of January 1st regardless of the date that they were actually born, hence very few racehorses are born in the second half of the year as that could make them six months behind other members of their age group in terms of physical development. So every racehorse born in 2021 will become a two-year-old on 01/01/2023, a three-year-old on 01/01/24 and so on… Horses can begin to race on the flat from March of their two-year-old season and over hurdles from June of their three-year-old season. Confusingly, southern hemisphere-bred racehorses all have an official birthday of August 1st to allow them to start racing in the spring of their two-year-old seasons.

ALL OUT

The term used to describe a horse that has been pushed to its maximum at the finish of its race. So it could be said that ‘Tiger Roll was all out to win by half a length’.

ALLOWANCE

A reduction to the standard weight carried by a horse in a race, for instance to allow for a horse’s sex (fillies and mares usually get a 5lb allowance) or age, or a rider’s inexperience (in all expect the top races, apprentice and conditional jockeys are allowed 7lbs, 5lbs or 3lbs, depending upon the number of winners that they have ridden). See also weight for age scale.

ALSO RAN

Term given to horses finishing outside the first three places.

AMATEUR RIDER

Jockeys who are not professional and so do not receive a riding fee and are titled ‘Mr’, ‘Mrs’, ‘Miss’ etc. Both on the flat and over jumps there are races restricted to amateur riders where the weights carried are higher than in normal races. Amateurs can ride against professionals in National Hunt races once they have gained sufficient experience against other amateurs and will be able to claim a weight allowance in line with conditional jockeys.

APPEAL

These are objections lodged with the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) by owners, jockeys and trainers following punishments imposed by the race day stewards. The intention is to overturn or reduce these punishments. Appeals are heard at the BHA’s London headquarters in High Holborn by a fresh set of stewards who will decide if the on-the-day punishment was fair.

APPRENTICE

Professional flat jockeys at the beginning of their careers. An apprentice will also be a groom employed full time by a trainer and will remain attached to a trainer (he or she can organise to move to another stable if they wish) until they have ridden 95 winners and therefore are no longer able to claim a weight allowance in races. The trainer is able to claim a percentage of their apprentice’s riding fees but in return should give education and career guidance.

AUCTION RACE

A race for horses (usually two-year-olds on the flat) that have been through the ring at a public auction. The weight that each horse must carry is determined by their purchase price, with the most expensive carrying the most weight. Auction races are completely different to selling races and claiming races.

BACKING

a) Placing a bet on a horse
b) When a young horse is going through the breaking in process, backing is the stage where a horse is taught to accept having a rider on its back. A person will initially balance leaning across the horse, then lie fully on the horse’s back before finally graduating to sitting astride the horse.

BACKWARD

A horse that is immature for its age. See also forward.

BIT

The metal steering mechanism place in a horse’s mouth. The reins are attached to the bit to provide the jockey with control. Most racehorses use ‘snaffle’ bits which are jointed in the middle of the mouth. If a horse hangs or pulls, a variety of other bits are available to help the jockey to steer.

BLACK TYPE

Group, Graded or Listed races are known as ‘black type races’ because should a horse win or be placed in one of these races it will then have those results highlighted in black (referred to outside racing as ‘bold’) type in the sales catalogue when it, or one of its relatives, is sold at public auction. If a horse appears in a catalogue in both black/bold type and in capital letters it means that it is a winner of a Group/Graded race. Gaining black type is particularly important to fillies and mares as their progeny/relatives immediately become more attractive to potential purchasers.

BLEEDER

A bleeder is a horse prone to breaking blood vessels when galloping at top speed. This causes a haemorrhage in the lungs which can then reveal itself by blood appearing in the nostrils. Bleeding severely hinders performance so some trainers will routinely scope their horses a day or two before they are due to run to ensure that their lungs are free from blood or infection.

BLINKERS

Equipment worn on a horse’s head which restricts its field of vision to straight ahead. Employed on horses with a tendency to look around during a race, therefore not fully concentrating on the job in hand.

BLOW UP

‘My horse blew up two furlongs from the finish’ is a common expression from a jockey during the post-race debrief. It means that the horse could not match the pace of the leaders and weakened and is usually associated with a lack of fitness.

BOTTOMLESS

Going that is extremely heavy and wet.

BREAKING DOWN

A horse is said to have broken down when it has suffered a leg injury and gone lame.

BREAKING IN

The process every horse must undergo before it can be ridden. The horse is taught to be receptive to a rider’s hands and legs. The most crucial part of the process is called backing.

BREEZE

An exercise gallop which is slightly short of all-out effort. One step down from a piece of work.

BREEZE UP SALES

An auction at which potential purchasers get to watch each horse up for sale perform a breeze prior to being presented in the sales ring.

BRITISH HORSERACING AUTHORITY (BHA)

Governing body of horseracing in Britain.

BROUGHT DOWN

When a lack of room on landing over a fence/hurdle causes a horse to fall. Usually caused by the fall of a horse in front, but may be caused simply by horses in front not keeping a straight course.

BUMPER

Racing slang for a National Hunt Flat Race. These races are part of the education process of a young horse prior to racing over obstacles but are competitive events in their own right. To be eligible for these races in Britain a horse cannot have run on the flat or over jumps apart from in other bumpers or point-to-points. The term comes from a previous era, when these races were restricted to inexperienced riders who used to bump around in the saddle.

BY and OUT OF

Equine breeding terminology – ‘by’ refers to the sire/stallion (father) and ‘out of’ refers to the dam. Hence Tiger Roll is ‘by’ Authorized (sire) ‘out of ’Swiss Roll’ (dam) and Frankel is ‘by’ Galileo (sire) and ‘out of’ Kind (dam).

CALENDAR

The Racing Calendar is published once a week by Weatherbys and contains exhaustive details of every race that a trainer or owner can enter their horse in during the coming week.

CAST

When a horse is ‘cast’ in its own stable, it means that after lying down it has got wedged against a wall in such a way that it cannot get back up without human assistance. Injury often ensues as horses often panic when stuck.

CHASE

A steeplechase or chase is a race over large birch obstacles. The name comes from the 18thcentury when races were across country from one church, and its steeple, to another, with its steeple acting as the winning post. Riders could choose whatever route they liked between the two churches.

CLAIMING RACE

Races in which all the participants are for sale and their purchase price determines the weight that they must carry. The lower the purchase price, the lower the weight carried. After the race, any runner can be claimed, either in person at the course or over the phone/internet through Weatherbys, for the advertised price plus a buyer’s premium. Should a horse attract more than one claim, lots will be drawn to see who gets to take it home. See also selling races.

CLASSICS

Britain has five Classic races per year, some of the most prestigious and historic races on the flat racing calendar. They are all restricted to three-year-olds and two are also restricted to fillies, the 1,000 Guineas and the Oaks. The other three, open to both sexes, are the 2,000 Guineas, the Derby and the St Leger.

CLERK OF THE COURSE

The most important official on race day. He or she ensures that their racecourse is properly marked, the race distances are correct and that each runner is properly saddled wearing the correct number cloth, among many other things. The Clerk Of The Course is also responsible for the condition of the turf/track and decides whether to irrigate. He or she must provide the public with regular accurate going descriptions in the days/hours leading up to each fixture.

CLIP HEELS

When, during a race, the front legs of one horse come into contact with the rear heels of a horse in front, often causing the horse behind to stumble or fall.

COLIC

A severe pain in the abdominal region suffered by a horse. Colic is very common in horses, is caused by a variety of reasons, and can be fatal as horses cannot vomit.

COLOURS

Every owner must register with Weatherbys his/her/their unique set of colours or silks, to be worn by the jockey every time one of his/her/their horse runs in a race.

COLT

An uncastrated male horse aged less than five years.

COLTISH

If a male horse is ‘being coltish’ it is getting distracted and aroused by other horses, usually because fillies and mares are at the racecourse and often in the same race. Its concentration may therefore not be on racing.

CONDITION

The muscular shape of a horse. A horse ‘carrying condition’ should be well toned and ultra fit, one ‘carrying too much condition’ should be slightly overweight and therefore unfit. Some horses, however, have a history of running well when ‘carrying plenty of condition’.

CONDITIONAL JOCKEY

The National Hunt equivalent of an apprentice jockey on the flat.

CONFORMATION

The shape of a horse’s body and limbs

COVERED UP

A common instruction from a trainer to a jockey before a race is ‘keep him covered up’, meaning that their mount should be shielded in behind other horses and only exposed at the end of the contest.

CRIB BITER

A common equine condition whereby a horse has a habit of biting solid objects in its stable, such as the door or its feed bowl.

CROSS COUNTRY RACES

Popular in Ireland and around Europe for many decades, this type of National Hunt race only came to Britain at the end of the 20th century and even then only one British course, Cheltenham, stages them. Long distance events over three and a half miles or more, they have a huge variety of obstacles, including banks, rails and hedges.

DAM

The mother of a horse

DECLARATION

The declaration stage is when a trainer confirms one of his horses as an intended (or ‘declared’) runner in a particular race. In Britain, the declaration stage for flat races takes place on the morning 48 hours before each race and, over jumps, usually on the morning 24 hours before each race, although the very biggest jump races are declared 48 hours beforehand.

DISHING

The action of a horse which throws one of both of his front legs to the outside when in motion. Dishing suggests an imperfect conformation but does not necessarily hinder performance

DIVIDED RACES

These take place when the number of horses declared to run exceeds the maximum field size allowed on safety grounds. The race may then be divided into two divisions with equal numbers of runners. Only rarely are races eligible for division.

DOER

A good doer is a horse with a strong appetite which holds its condition/weight well. A poor doer is a picky eater, often a horse of nervous or excitable character which may require a special diet.

DOPE TEST

Blood or urine test required of a horse following a race. Horses are tested at random, though the stewards can choose to test every single horse in a race should they wish.

DRAW

The horse’s position in the starting stalls in flat races, drawn at random by Weatherbys at the time of declaration. An inside draw can be advantageous. Jump races do not use stalls and are started by flag.

EARLY FOAL

An early foal is a horse born in the first three months of the year. Because of extra physical maturity, it may have an advantage over later born horses during its two-year-old season, in particular in the spring.

ENTIRE

An uncastrated male horse of five years of age or more. Also known as a ‘full horse’.

FARRIER

Otherwise known as a blacksmith, the person responsible for fitting shoes to horses’ hooves. A farrier is on duty at every race meeting in case shoeing work is required.

FEELING THE GROUND

A common post-race explanation from jockey or trainer is that their horse was ‘feeling the ground’ which translates as ‘finding it a bit too firm’. See also let down.

FIELD

The entirety of the horses running in a race is known as ‘the field’.

FILLY

Female horse of less than five years of age.

FIXED BRUSH HURDLES

More solid than traditional hurdles, they are employed at some racecourses, such as Haydock Park and Southwell.

FLAGMAN

Racecourse official who stands a short distance from the start with the job of waving the recall flag if the starter deems the race to have had an unsatisfactory start.

FOAL

Horse of less than one year of age.

FORFEIT

Any entry stage for a big race between the initial stage and the declaration stage. Any horse that does not pay the required acceptance entry fee will be deemed to have forfeited its chance to run or, in regular language, no longer be eligible to take part.

FORWARD

A horse that is mature for its age. See also backward.

FREE

When a horse expends energy by not settling, often fighting its jockey, during a race it is said to be ‘free’.

FURLONG

A distance of 220 yards. There are eight furlongs in a mile, which is also 1600 metres.

GALLOPING TRACK

A racecourse with sweeping bends and long straight, favouring long-striding runners. Opposite of sharp track.

GELDING

Male horse that has been castrated, meaning that it will no longer become coltish. Castration usually calms down a horse’s temperament.

GENUINE

A horse that tries hard.

GOING

Condition of the turf. In Britain the only six official going terms are: firm, good to firm, good, good to soft, soft and heavy.

GONE IN THE COAT

A horse’s wellbeing can often be deduced by the state of its skin. If the coat is shiny and bright, the horse is probably fit and well. Less so if the coat is dull, grey and dusty-looking.

GOOD WALKER

If a horse is a good walker, it has a long, precise stride and is likely to be a good athlete too. A horse should overstep the footprint made with its front leg with its back leg. This is known as ‘overtracking’.

GRADED RACES

The jumps equivalent of flat Group races. Categorised as Grade 1, Grade 2 and Grade 3. The top races.

GROOMS

Stable employees who are responsible for riding and caring for the horses on a daily basis.

GROUP RACES

The flat equivalent of jump Graded races. Categorised as Group 1, Group 2 and Group 3. The top races.

GUINEA

 A coin taken out of circulation in Britain in 1813 which was worth £1.05p in today’s money. Still used as the monetary unit in buying and selling horses at some auction houses as it conveniently informs of the auction company’s 5 per cent commission – a successful bid at 1,000 guineas will cost the buyer £1,050 of which £1,000 goes to the seller and £50 (5 per cent) goes to the auction company.

JUMP RACING

See National Hunt Racing.

HALF-BROTHER/SISTER

Horses with the same mother (dam) but not the same father (sire).

HAND

A measurement of four inches – the standard unit of measurement for a horse’s height.

HANDICAP

A type of race that should theoretically finish in a dead heat between all its runners. Each runner will have an official handicap rating, allocated by the BHA handicapper, and for each point below that race’s highest rated horse it will carry 1lb less in weight in its saddle.

HANDICAPPER

a) A horse which races solely in handicaps.
b) The BHA official whose job is to allocate handicap ratings to horses.

HANGING

Veering. Horses will often veer or hang when then become tired at the end of a race.

HOBDAY

A type of wind operation that takes its name from the veterinary surgeon, Sir Frederick Hobday, who refined the operation in the first half of the 20th century. Horses which have a high degree of paralysis in the tissue of and surrounding their larynx (grade 3 or more on a 5 point scale) may have impeded breathing when exercising, characterised by an audible roar or whistling noise made under exertion. The paralysed tissue and the left vocal cord are traditionally removed under general anaesthetic, but recent advancements in endoscopy and the use of laser surgery mean that standing operations can be performed under mild sedation, with shorter recovery times for the horse.

HOMEBRED

A horse bred by its owner.

HOOD

Type of headgear covering a horse’s ears but with eye holes. Employed on horses that may be highly-strung or nervous in crowds, a hood softens the sound of the crowd.

HUNTER CHASE

A race during a regular National Hunt meeting for horses that are qualified to contest Point-To-Point races. Restricted to amateur riders.

HURDLE

Small obstacle, not measuring less than 3ft 6in from top bar to bottom bar of the hurdle. Can be knocked flat if struck hard.

IN SEASON

A filly or mare is said to be ‘in season’ at a certain period in its menstrual cycle when it is fertile. This can affect racecourse performance.

IRONS

Another word for a jockey’s stirrups, the metal attachment to the saddle through which a rider puts his feet, allowing him or her to balance on the horse’s back.

JUVENILE

a) For flat racing, a two year old horse.
b) For jump racing, a horse that was three years old at the start of the current season.

LAMINITIS

An equine condition in which the laminae - tissues which connect the pedal bone in centre of the foot with the wall of the hoof - become inflamed. The inflammation is painful but can be treated by painkillers and dietary adjustments.

LEG (GOT A)

When a horse is said to have ‘got a leg’ it has incurred a leg injury.

LET DOWN

Should a jockey say that a horse was not ‘letting itself down’ it means that the horse was not stretching out properly, probably because it was finding the ground too firm. See also feeling the ground.

LISTED RACE

In effect a Group 4 race, one level below Group Races but still high class, and a race where the winner and placed horses will be awarded black type.

LOT

A group of horses that exercise together in the mornings. Trainers will split their horses into various lots, so that the grooms employed by that trainer can exercise as many horses as possible in one morning. The group that goes out first, often at around sunrise, is called ‘first lot’, the second group ‘second lot’ and so on….

MAIDEN RACE

A race restricted to horses that have never previous won a race.

MARE

Female horse of five years and over.

MICROCHIPPING

Every foal has a microchip inserted under its skin which throughout its life will then cause a scanner to display its unique identification number.

NAP

A tipster’s best bet is called a ‘nap’ selection.

NATIONAL HUNT RACING

Also known as Jump Racing. Racing over hurdles, fences (chases or steeplechases) and bumpers (National Hunt Flat Races). All races, apart from a few bumpers, are over a distance of at least two miles. Hurdles are 3ft 6in tall and can be knocked to the ground if hit hard. Fences are larger, wider and more solid so require a bigger jump and more respect – unlike hurdles, they will not give way.

NON-RUNNER

A horse declared in the final field for a race but subsequently withdrawn, usually because the horse is not fully healthy or because the going has changed and is no longer suitable. The trainer of a non-runner must report the reason for its withdrawal to the stewards.

NOVICE

a) A two-year-old flat horse which has not won more than two races.
b) A National Hunt horse which had not won in that particular discipline before the start of the current season (though horses that win after March 1st retain their novice status until October 31st). For example, a horse which has one career win, in a hurdle, is eligible to run in novice hurdles for the rest of that season. If a horse starts a season without a career win over hurdles, it can revert to novice hurdles even in the seasons following a win or wins over fences. Many Graded Races are restricted to novices.

NURSERY

A flat handicap restricted to juvenile (two-year-old) horses.

ON THE BRIDLE

A horse moving easily and keeping up with the others without needing to be pushed by its jockey is said to be ‘on the bridle’.

OPEN DITCH

The most difficult form of steeplechase fence, which has a ditch outlined with orange paint in front of it. Every chase must include at least one open ditch for every mile of its distance.

OUT OF THE HANDICAP

When a horse taking part in a handicap is set to carry less than the minimum allowed weight in that race according to its handicap rating. It will still be allowed to take part, but must carry the minimum weight and is said to be ‘out of the handicap’.

OVER THE TOP

Slang for a horse that is no longer able to repeat its peak form because it has been training and racing for a long period and needs a rest to recovery its zest.

OVERWEIGHT

When a jockey has too much body weight to enable him or her to ride a horse at the weight allotted by the race conditions. Any amount of overweight will be made public over the racecourse tannoy by the Clerk Of The Scales (see Weighing Out).

PASSPORT

At birth, every thoroughbred's physical characteristics and pedigree are recorded, then transcribed into a passport issued when the horse is named. The passport confirms the horse's foaling date, sex, coat colour, name and any distinguishing marks.

PENALTY

Extra weight to be carried by a horse in certain races because of a victory registered since the initial entry date for that particular race.

PERMIT HOLDER

A National Hunt trainer who has a secondary type of training licence, allowing him or her to only train horses that are also owned by the trainer (or by members of his/her immediate family).

PIPE-OPENER

A short sharp gallop, used to clear a horse’s airways in the few days preceding it taking part in a race.

POINT-TO-POINT

Amateur steeplechase meetings organised by the local hunt, the fences are slightly smaller than on professional courses and most races are contested over a distance of three miles. Prize money for any race cannot exceed £1,000 and all horses must be partnered by amateur riders. A fertile breeding ground for future National Hunt stars, particularly in Ireland where most horses that race in point-to-points are for sale.

PULLED UP

If a horse gets exhausted, tailed off, injured or is jumping very poorly during a race, its jockey may decide to pull out of the race, in which case the horse is deemed to have pulled up.

PUSHED OUT

A horse that wins ‘pushed out’ has done so comfortably, without the jockey needing to resort to the whip.

QUARTERS

The body of muscle around a horse's pelvis, which is often decorated on race day by grooms, who brush the coat into patterns, known as 'quarter marks.'

RACECARD

Handed out at racecourses on race day to owners and on sale to members of the crowd, this large pocket diary-sized publication lists all the details of that afternoon/evening’s race meeting, from the names of all the officials to the colour of the flag that is raised to start each race.

RAN OUT

A horse that deviates from the allowed course during a race is said to have ‘ran out’ and should then be pulled up by its jockey. More common in National Hunt racing where an errant horse may veer past an obstacle.

RANGY

A horse with a long frame (back, limbs etc) that should fill out (become much stronger) as it mature.

RATING

A horse will earn its first handicap rating once it has either won a race or run at least three times and finished in the first six on at least one occasion. Only then will it become eligible to take part in handicap races. The rating is calculated by the handicapper.

RETAINER

The leading owners or trainers may pay a particular jockey a retainer (fee) to ensure that they have first refusal on that jockey’s services. For instance, Oisin Murphy is retained by owners Qatar Racing.

RIDE OUT

Riding out is the term used to describe ridden morning exercise. Most grooms will ride out at least three or four lots a day.

ROUGH OFF

When a trainer decides to give a horse a rest and a break from full training, that horse can be said to have been ‘roughed off’. The horse can also be said to have been ‘put out to grass’, meaning that it is grazing in a grass paddock and not being ridden.

RUN-IN

The stretch of track between the final obstacle and the winning post.

SCHOOLING

An important part of the National Hunt training regime is teaching horses to jump, so all trainers will have access to practice fences and hurdles over which they conducting schooling sessions. In flat training, horses may do stalls schooling, when they get used to breaking from practice starting stalls, or paddock schooling, where they are taken around the paddock at a racecourse to get used to the atmosphere and travel.

SCOPE

a) A horse has 'scope' if it looks likely to mature further and improve during his career.
b) A jumps horse may be said to 'have scope' or be 'scopey' if it has a powerful jump and tends to make a good shape over obstacles.
c) Endoscopic examination of a horse. A check for blood or mucus in the lungs to help ensure they are in peak condition.

SEASON

The flat racing season runs from January 1st to December 31st but turf racing only takes place between March and November and all the biggest races are held between May and October. The National Hunt season runs from late April until late April of the following year – its final day is marked by the running of the Bet365 Gold Cup (formerly Whitbread Gold Cup) at Sandown Park, usually on the final Saturday in April.

SELLING RACE

A low quality race after which the winner is sold by an auctioneer before leaving the winner’s enclosure. Similar to a claiming race, all the other runners in the race are also up for sale at a price published in the racecard.

SHARP TRACK

A racecourse with tight bends and short straights, favouring well-balanced, agile horses. Opposite of galloping track.

SHEEPSKIN CHEEKPIECES

Worn on each side of a horse’s head, piece of equipment that encourages a horse to look ahead and concentrate. Similar to blinkers. Often simply known as ‘cheekpieces’.

SHEEPSKIN NOSEBAND

Worn on a horse’s nose. A piece of equipment that encourages a horse to look down and stretch out his feet.

SIRE

Father of a horse. Also known as ‘stallion’.

SOFT PALATE CAUTERISATION

A wind operation in which a displaced soft palate is treated under local anaesthetic, by application of thermocautery (heat, via cauterising irons or a laser) to stiffen the palate tissue, and thus help to prevent it from becoming displaced and blocking the airways during exercise. The symptoms of a displaced soft palate generally include a gurgling noise made by the horse during exercise and loss of performance.

SORE SHINS

Sore shins are most common in two-year-olds in training when they start cantering or working. Their shins can become sore as a natural way of telling their trainer they need a break from exercise.

SPLINT

A splint is a bony growth or enlargement of one of the splint bones, which are small bones between the knee/hock and fetlock (horse's equivalent of the ankle). Splints can be caused by kicks or by stress to the bones or ligaments in the affected area. ‘Throwing a splint, as it is called, is a relatively minor injury.

SPRINTER

Horse at its best over the two shortest flat race distances, five furlongs and six furlongs.

STARTING STALLS

Apparatus used in flat racing to house and then release runners simultaneously at the start of the race. Consists of a large metal frame with individual berths or stalls for each horse, normally with padded partitions to the sides to protect the horse and rider, and keep each separate from the other runners. Each berth has a pair of doors that open to the rear, to load the horse and jockey immediately before the race, and a separate pair of doors at the front of the berth which open under direction from the official race starter, and release all the runners at the same time. The stalls are mounted on wheels, as they need to be towed to different starting points around the track for each race, according to the varying race distances.

STAYER

Horse at its best over long distances. In flat racing, staying races are any contested over a mile and a half and beyond, while over jumps the term refers to races of three miles plus.

STEWARDS

Listed in the racecard, the job of the race day stewards is to ensure that the rules of racing are strictly adhered too. Can disqualify horses and change the finishing order of a race. Their decisions are subject to appeals, which are heard at a later date.

STEWARDS’ ENQUIRY

A three-chime bell, similar to those employed at airports and train stations, will be sounded over the racecourse public address system, preceding an announcement that the previous race is subject to an official stewards’ enquiry. Tote and bookies bets will not be settled until the result of the enquiry is announced.

STIFF TRACK

A racecourse that puts the emphasis on a horse’s need for stamina, usually featuring an uphill finish.

STORE HORSE

A young, untried National Hunt horse, yet to be raced in flat races, point-to-points or bumpers.

STRING

The total number of horses under a trainer’s care. John Gosden has a string of over 200 horses.

STRUCK INTO

When one horse’s hooves come into contact with another horse’s legs, often causing a laceration, the second horse is said to have ‘been struck into’.

SUPPLEMENTARY ENTRY

In the biggest races, when the initial entry stage is some weeks before race day, there is usually a provision for a fast-improving horse, who was not of the requisite quality to merit an entry on the initial entry date, to be supplemented at a date much closer to the race date, albeit at a prohibitively high cost. Just to recover the supplementary entry fee, a horse will usually have to finish in the first three or four places.

TAILED OFF

A horse that has fallen back and lost contact with the main field of runners during a race is said to be ‘tailed off’.

TIE BACK

A wind operation, often used on horses with grade 4 or 5 paralysis in the tissue of and surrounding their larynx, where a suture is used (sometimes when combined with laser surgery) to tie back the left side of the larynx so it is permanently open and doesn’t interfere with the flow of air.

TIE FORWARD

A wind operation in which the larynx is moved forward via surgical intervention to hold soft palate tissue in place, using sutures on each side of the larynx. Otherwise, the soft palate tissue may become displaced during hard exercise and impede a horse’s breathing. Thermocautery (application of heat via cauterising irons or a laser) is often also applied to the soft palate under local anaesthetic to stiffen the palate tissue and help to prevent it from becoming displaced during exercise.

TONGUE TIE

An elastic tie holding a horse’s tongue flat in its mouth, keeping its airways open. This stops the horse from swallowing its tongue.

TRIP

Distance of a race. In post-race debrief, jockey and trainer can often say: ‘this horse needs a shorter/longer trip’.

TURN OF FOOT

Burst of speed or finishing kick.

TURN OUT

The process of turning horses out in paddocks, rather than keeping them in their stables. Turn out offers physical and mental benefits to the racehorse, through increased exposure to fresh air (improved respiratory health) and having more space and light (more relaxing for the horse so more likely to retain condition).

UNFURNISHED

A weak, immature horse, yet to fill out its frame. In need of more muscle.

UPSIDES

When two or more horses are alongside one another.

VISOR

Type of headgear, very similar to blinkers except allowing a slightly larger field of vision.

VIRUS

Catch-all term for a sickness affecting a trainer’s string.

WARN OFF

A person that fails to pay fees in the horseracing industry, or has been guilty of severe wrong-doing, will be 'warned off' by the BHA. They will be unable to attend any race meeting or set foot on Jockey Club property until their period of exclusion has lapsed.

WEATHERBYS

The secretariat of the BHA. Weatherbys produce all BHA publications, and it is at their offices in Wellingborough that most of the processes of the administration of British racing take place.

WEIGHED IN

Once signalled at a racecourse, the result of the race is confirmed. This is announced after the time for objections has lapsed, stewards' enquiries have been considered and jockeys have weighed back in, to ensure that they have carried the correct weight during a race. See also weighed out.

WEIGHED OUT

A practice that every jockey must undertake before being allowed to race. The jockey must present himself and all of his equipment to the Clerk of the Scales, who will check that he is carrying the weight published in the racecard.

WEIGHT FOR AGE SCALE

A scale is published by the BHA to determine how much weight allowance younger horses will receive from older horses at a particular time of year. The weight gap between generations reduces as the season progresses, as younger horses mature through the season.

WIND OPERATION

A surgical procedure aimed at improving a horse’s breathing and therefore performance on a racecourse. See also tie back, tie forward and soft palate cauterisation.

WORK

A strong exercise gallop, at full race pace, is called a piece of work. Professional jockeys will usually only ride out at a trainer’s premises on mornings when horses are working or, in National Hunt yards, when the horses are schooling over obstacles.

YEARLING

A one-year-old horse. All foals become yearlings on January 1st of the year following their birth. Then, on January 1st 12 months later, they become two-year-olds.