Essential Jargon Buster

1. Antepost

Normally for big races, you can place a bet on a particular race well in advance on the actual day i.e. King George or Cheltenham Gold Cup. This is done before horses have even been declared for the race but means that price is higher than normally expected on the day. Some may not even line up for the race.

2. On the Bridle

This is a term used to refer to a horse which is running with ease and without much pushing/riding effort from the jockey. A horse will remain on the bridle for the majority of the race and towards the end; if ‘hacking up’ with ease, will remain on the bridle unlike most others.

3. Furlong

A measure in racing the equivalent of 220 yards or ⅛ of a mile.  A race will be measured in  miles and furlongs.

4. Going

The going is a reference to the condition of the racing surface; turf. The going can range from anywhere between Heavy to Firm. The going is tested before every race day and a combination of terms is used to provide a more accurate description i.e. Good to Soft. In the case that a course seems to hard underfoot; normally in the summer months, racecourses will decide whether or not to water using irrigation systems. The going is one of the reasons why some trainers decide not to run horses and therefore declare a non-runner.

5. Green

This is a term used for a horse who is either inexperienced or immature in their behaviour. Used more often with young horses. If a horse is playing up and not behaving as it should then you would describe it as being green.

6. Maiden

A maiden is a horse that is yet to win a race. There are many specifications for different maiden races such as a mares maiden and over a variety of distances under conditions with eligibility. The age of a horse also affects which race they will run in.

7. Off the Bridle

The opposite to a horse being ‘on the bridle’. Referred to when a horse is being pushed and ridden along by a jockey thus losing contact with the bit in their mouth. This term would normally be used in the final furlongs of a race.

8. Pacemaker

A pacemaker is as the name suggests. A horse who is a pacemaker, will be entered into a race to act as a pacemaker for another horse with the same connections. This helps the horse behind stay calm and at a steady pace which will provide a better chance of doing well and reserving energy and speed for later in the race.

9. Stayer

If a horse is referred to as a stayer this means that they specialise in racing over long distances. A horse that stays well may not do very well in shorter distances at a faster pace but will go at a slower pace for longer. What we might call stamina.

10. Tongue Tie

A tongue tie is an aid for horses with breathing difficulties. Normally, just a strip of material tied around the horse's tongue to strap it down and stop it from swallowing its tongue during the race.

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