If you are new to horse racing, the sport can sound like it has its own exclusive language,
with a host of terms and phrases leaving you scratching your head. So, if you would like to
know your furlong from your accumulator, you can get up to speed with our guide to horse
racing jargon every bettor should know especially when working out bet returns.
Accumulator – also known as a combination bet, an accumulator involves selecting a horse in each of several races run consecutively, with any winnings from the first race used as the stake for the next race and so on, until all the races in the combination are completed.
Banker – this is the horse that’s widely expected to win a race, typically the favorite with
the shortest odds.
Bet to win – this is a wager placed on the horse you think will be the first racehorse past the post.
Bet to place – you bet to place when you wager on a horse to come placed in the race, so
either first, second, or third.
Bet each way – with this wager, you not only bet on a horse to win but also place an equal stake for it to be placed in the top three or four. If the win portion of the bet is lost, but the horse comes placed, the bet is settled at a fraction of the win odds.
Colors – each jockey wears a jacket – also known as ‘silks’ – in colors that identify their
horse’s owner. The owner’s colors are registered with Weatherby’s and will be shown on
the race card against their running horse.
Form – this is the summary of a horse’s race record to help you to decide where you want to place a bet. Details provided in a horse’s form include recent places and wins, as well as any refusals, falls or failures to place.
Furlong – the distance of British horse races is traditionally measured in furlongs, with one
furlong equal to one-eighth of a mile or 220 yards. The word originated from Anglo-Saxon
times and referred to the length of the furrow in an acre of a plowed field.
Handicap – in a handicap race, each horse is allocated a certain weight to carry, based on
handicap ratings. The aim of a handicap is to create an even race in that all horses run on a ‘fair and equal basis’.
Length – the typical length of a horse from the top of its tail to the nose, a length is also a
measurement used to describe the distance between horses as they race and reach the finish line.
Odds – the odds in a race are used as a forecast to help you choose a horse to bet on. Short odds, eg. 3-1, indicates a horse has a better chance at winning, but the return on your stake will be lower. Longer odds give the horseless of a chance to win but the pay-out will be bigger on the same bet amount. An odd-on bet is where the stake is likely to be higher than the winnings if the horse wins (1-2, for example).
Photo finish – horse racing can be unpredictable, and some placings are not always easy to determine, especially if it looks like a dead heat. A photo finish, using cameras on the
finishing line, will be used to examine and decide the winner.