This glossary will help you to understand all the racing terminology which can sometimes be confusing. You are 'odds-on' to be transformed from an 'amateur' to 'best turned out' in no time.

  • Amateur jockeys mostly ride in bumper races. Their name is always prefixed by Mr, Ms or Mrs. They can claim a weight allowance of up to 7lbs depending on the number of winners they have ridden
    Young professional jockeys on the Flat who can also claim a weight allowance of up to 10lbs, dependent on the number of winners they have ridden.
    Slang word for a horse that is guaranteed to win: i.e. money in the bank. A mythological concept, preached by dedicated but misguided believers because there is no such thing. Anything can happen in horse racing. That's what makes it so exciting.
    This is a prize given to the groom of the horse that is judged to look the best in the parade ring before the race.
    A piece of equipment that goes over the horse's head to restrict its vision and help it concentrate in a race
    Sheepskin bands on each side of the bridle which restrict the horse's vision and help keep the horse focused in a race.
    There are five colours. B = Bay. Bl = Black. Br = Brown. Ch = Chestnut. Gr = Grey
  • Male horse aged up to four-years-old
    In Flat races that are started from stalls, the draw number designates which stall each horse runs from. Stall number one is always on the inside. The draw is random and is made by Horse Racing Ireland when final declarations for the race close.
    Female horse aged up to four-years-old
    1/8 of a mile. Equal to 220 yards or 200 metres. Each racecourse has furlong markers placed around the track.
    A male horse that has been castrated because it is not required for breeding purposes.
    Used to describe a horse that is very inexperienced
    The designated Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board official who declares the winner and placed horses in a race. Also responsible for the winning distances.
  • Additional weight carried in the saddle to make up the difference between the jockey's bodyweight and the weight the horse is assigned to carry.
    The approximate length of a horse, about eight feet. Winning margins are measured in lengths, ranging from half a length and upwards. Smaller winning margins are a nose, a short-head, a head or a neck
    Female horse aged five years or over

    In non-handicap races, fillies and mares get a weight allowance. 3lbs or 5lbs on the Flat depending on the type of race and 7lbs over jumps and in bumpers.


    A sheepskin band around the horse's nose to help it concentrate
    A horse going the pace seemingly without much effort is said to be "on the bridle".
    A horse being pushed along by its jockey to keep up with the pace is said to be "off the bridle".
  • This is the odds a betting operator is offering on a particular horse, i.e. 4/1
    In theory, the horse that starts a race with the shortest odds has the best chance of winning and is the "favourite". If two horses share the shortest odds, they are described as "joint-favourites". If three or more horses share the shortest odds, they are described as "co-favourites"
    A fixed-odds bet is one where you get the odds advertised by the betting operator at the time you placed the bet
    This stands for Starting Price and is the official odds a horse started the race with. You can ask to place an SP bet with a bookmaker, but not the Tote. Some people do this if they believe the horse they wish to bet on will start at a bigger price than is being advertised at the time.
    When a horse is a strong favourite to win their price may be odds-on. This means you will make a profit of less than €1 for every €1 you bet. If the betting operator displays fractional prices, a horse that is odds-on will have a price where the larger number is on the bottom of the fraction, i.e. 1/2.
    This means a horse is expected to have a low chance of winning the race, but if they do you will receive many multiples of your stake back as winnings if you have bet on it. For example, a horse priced at odds of 50/1 would be described as having long odds.
    This means a horse is expected to have a high chance of winning the race, but if they do you will make a relatively small profit on your stake if you have bet on it. For example, a horse priced at odds of 6/4 would be described as having short odds.

    A horse is deemed to be ‘withdrawn’ when it becomes a non-runner for any reason during the course of a race meeting. Often a horse will be withdrawn due to deteriorating ground conditions on a wet day or if it refuses to enter the stalls. If a horse is withdrawn from a race for which a betting market has been formed, bookmakers may deduct an amount from winning bets placed before the time of withdrawal. The amount deducted is based on the price of the horse at the time of withdrawal.

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