Howden Australian Guineas Day 2024 2 Mar 2024

My Notebook

Schedule Tips Tickets

A list of common words/phrases associated with Horse Racing. 

Acceptances: The final field of horse’s who have accepted a position in a particular race.

Apprentice: A jockey that is in training and has not graduated to professional status. An apprentice is normally associated with one stable.

Barriers: The starting point in a race. 

Blinkers: A device that a horse will wear to ensure he focuses on what’s in front of them instead of looking out to the side.

Checked: During a race, a horse may incur some interference from another horse or jockey.

Claim: An apprentice jockey is able to claim a reduction in weight carried for that particular race.

Class: The grade of the race.

Colt: A male horse that is 3 years or under and has not been gelded.

Correct Weight: At the completion of a race, the jockey will be weighed to ensure he was carrying the required weight given to him as a handicap.

Dam: The female parent of the horse. 

Dead Heat: Two or more horses that cross the finish line at the exact same time. Officials are unable to determine a sole winner due to it being so close.

Dividend: The amount paid out for your bet. 


Farrier: Someone who specialises in the care of a horse’s hoof.  They can be required at times, to tend to a horse prior to the start of a race.

Favourite: Determined by the market odds (betting) for that race.  The shortest odds will be referred to as the ‘favourite’.

Field: The collective of horses in a particular race.  The Melbourne Cup field is made up of 24 horses.

Filly: A female horse that is generally under 3 years old.

First Up: Refers to a horse who is coming back to racing after a spell (break) from racing – generally longer than 2months.

Front Runner: A horse who normally settles at the front of the field during the race.  

Furlong: A race is made up of several furlongs.  A furlong is approx. 200m.  You will occasionally hear the race commentator mention furlong during the race call.

Gallop: Faster than a canter.

Good Track: A track that is firm underfoot with little moisture.

Group Races: 4 classifications – Group 1, Group 2, Group 3, and Listed Races (Group 4).  These are the best horses in the country as decided by the racing authority.

Handicap Race: Weights are assigned to each horse in a race to ensure an even race.

Heavy Track: A track that has sustained considerable water/rain and is very soft underfoot.  A heavy track is not suited for most horses as it can be heavy for the horse and isn’t able to run as fast.

Lame: A horse can be called lame due to pain in its limbs. Called by a Vet, this will result in a horse being scratched from the race or requiring attention post-race.

Late Mail: Prior to the horses jumping from the barrier, a tipster will sometimes declare this to be the horse to watch.

Late Scratching: A horse that is removed from the race at a late stage.

Maiden: A horse race for horses that have not yet won a race in their career.

Mare: An adult female horse generally 4 year old or older.

Middle Distance: A race that is approx 1600-1800m in distance.

Mounting Yard: A designated areas where horses are paraded around prior to a jockey on board before a race. 

Nose Roll: Piece of equipment, normally sheepskin, attached to the bridle of a horse which helps it keep the head in line with its body.

NTD: No Third Dividend.  If a race has less than 8 horses, third place will not be paid by betting outlets due to the low number of horses in a race. 

Place: When a horse comes 1st, 2nd or 3rd in a race.  Generally used in betting references.

 Plunge: A last minute rush of money from one person on a particular horse.

Rails: The fence line around the track.  A track manager will sometimes move this rail out to protect the track throughout the racing season.

Scratched: When a horse is withdrawn from a race.

Silks: The colours/material worn by jockeys. 

Sire: A male parent of a horse. 

Spell:  The time a horse has from not racing.  A spell is normally longer than 90 days.

Stayer: A horse that would participate in a race that is longer than 2000m in distance.

Stewards: The officials responsible for governing the race and enforcing the rules.

Strapper: A person responsible for the well being of a horse.  Sometimes a strapper is referred to as a Groom.

Swooper: A horse that has late speed and will head to the finish line faster than most of the field.

Yearling: Considered to be a younger horse that is a 2 year old.