A Dictionary Of Horse Racing Terms – A

A Dictionary Of Horse Racing Terms – A


Horses all have the same birthday no matter the exact date of the foaling.

This is set in order to allow the configuration of races according to age groups. The date is set as 1 January each year in the northern hemisphere.

Until 1834, the fixed date was 1 May, in line with the end of the foaling season.

The next year the official date was shifted for New market horses, to the present one, which occurs before the foaling season has properly started.

The majority of races on the flat are for two year olds only, or for three year olds only, with a fair proportion also confined to three year olds and four year olds only, or three year olds and upwards.

A horse of either sex before its first birthday is known as a foal; between that date and its next birthday it is called a yearling.

All Weather:

Not exactly All Weather in that horses still cannot race in fog. The surfaces are synthetic and the courses are currently at Lingfield, Southwell and Wolverhampton. They do provide protection against the frost.

Introduced in 1990 it was mainly aimed at offsetting the losses made by the Levy, which were being caused by the canceling of race meeting through the winter periods.

There was a problem early on with the number of horses killed during hurdles races, but since then it has become well established and has its own set of followers and advocates.

The performances are generally not as good as on turf, but some horses really appear to do well on it.

The surface at Lingfield is made up of hard graded sand which is then covered by a polymer and this produces a sort of cushioning effect. It is known as Equitrack and allows water to run off of it, as oppose to more traditional All Weather surfaces which allow rainwater to run through them.

Ante post betting:

This is a type of betting which occurs days, weeks or months before a big race, as oppose to the traditional sort of betting which takes place only in the few hours before a race.

There have been various suggestions for the origins of the term, but when one looks at early pictures and studies the history of races, one can see that bets were usually struck on New market Heath around what can only be described as “Betting Posts”.

So, to transpose one could say that betting “ante-post” was to make a bet similarly as one would today but before the normal betting which occurs in the few hours before a race.

The sort of races that generate a lot of betting pre race are the big races, the classics, for example the spring and autumn doubles, or the real classics like the Grand National and the Ascot week, big festivals at Goodwood, York, Cheltenham.

Bookmakers put up their prices long before these events and they attract plenty of trade.

With some races such as the Derby or the Guineas, wagers are made up to a year before the race itself. A large attraction is that the odds available can be much longer than what is offered on the day.

It seems however that even though ante-post betting is beneficial to punters, bookmakers still find it a profitable form of betting to employ, despite the losses, otherwise they would not do it.

A new form of ante post betting is where bookmakers offer “early prices” on the day of a big race. Like the more traditional ante post betting the attraction appears to be that a lot of these “early prices” are longer than what are available immediately before the race.

This has given rise to a new form of betting known as arbitrage, whereby, utilizing the lay facilities of Betfair, early back prices can be taken with online bookmakers offering longer odds, and then laid off on the betting exchanges as the price contracts in the immediate pre race offering a risk free bet which can then be greened up.

This strategy tends to work only with strong favorites but can be quite profitable.
It’s a little slow for me.

Apprentice allowance:

Jockeys who have ridden fewer winners are allowed a weight allowance to compensate for their lack of experience. This weight is then removed from the total weight a horse is set to carry in a handicap, except in races which are allocated for apprentices only.

In big handicaps trainers are always on the lookout for talented apprentice jockeys, because they can give a horse a huge advantage. Their inexperience is more than offset by their weight allowance.

They do not do particularly well against senior jockeys on courses that are tricky to negotiate and require a certain level of experience and skill. Race meets at Epsom or Ascot and Goodwood never appear to be great hunting grounds for apprentices.

At the post:

When a horse arrives at the point from which the race is set to be started then the horse is said to be “At the Post”

Auction race:

These races are reserved for two year olds only where they have never yet won a race. They are bought as one year olds from a set of specific public auctions.