A Dictionary Of Horse Racing Terms – B – Part 2

A Dictionary Of Horse Racing Terms – B – Part 2


There are several subdivisions of bookmaker:

• Some operate spread betting services
• Some operate a telephone credit service or postal betting service
• Some operate betting shops off-course
• Some make a book on the racecourse

Bigger bookmakers will offer two or three of the above activities. At the racecourse bets are agreed with the backer at starting price, and are settled at the quoted price.

Bookmakers activities on or off the course are determined by what is occurring in the market on the racecourse.

Immediately before a race, a betting market is formed. The total amount of money being wagered on a horse causes the price to move up and down.

Significant larger amounts, are signaled by tic tac between the rails, Tattersalls, the silver ring and bookmakers out on the course itself.

The level of this fluctuation within the market depends largely upon the strength of the market.

In the early stage of a betting market being formed, the prices are not generally decided by the amount of money wagered, but rather on what the larger Tattersalls board operators think the price of each horse should be.

Very often the early prices available are somewhat shorter than they should be.

Before the war, the true market price was generally dictated by money on the course, often provided by the bigger backers and professionals, commission agents acting on behalf of others such as trainers and owners, or the owners themselves.

Since the 1960’s there has been an explosion in off-course betting which has considerably changed how the markets function. It’s unheard of nowadays for an owner to go to the rails, command a price about a horse, and so affect the market accordingly.

More money is wagered off-course than on-course nowadays, information regarding these bets is transmitted by phone, and online via the internet to tic tac’s acting for big bookmakers. The on-course market now reacts within seconds.

Off-course money is often referred to as “Office Money”.

Where big bets are placed off-course affecting the market about a horse, this horse is known in the ring as a “betting shop horse”

This concept is crucial to understanding trading on the Betting Exchanges.

It is now the Betting Exchanges and the Betting Shops themselves which affect prices on the course. Not the other way around.

Data from online bookies and live on-course feeds can be used to confirm price movement data, but should not be used to predict it.

Most of the heavy betting nowadays is coming into the market via Betfair and Betdaq.

During the pre-race market, money coming in for a horse will either reinforce the bookmaker’s opinion or go against it; prices alter accordingly with supply and demand.

Watching and learning from the market is crucial to your performance on the exchanges. The market is your bible in respect of what you should or should not back.

Following the market on the course is actually more difficult than off-course nowadays with bookmakers erasing prices and overwriting them as they change. The prices are visible on the boards at the course and the major action is in the 10 minutes prior to the off.

On the exchanges and top websites, or in the betting shop, following the market is made really easy with television, videos and streaming online media.

In the shops and online the major price moves are backed up with commentary and text regarding the likely causes of price moves.

Weak and Strong Markets:

The strongest betting markets of the year are provided by the Cheltenham festival for National Hunt racing and Royal Ascot on the flat.

Less patronized courses where the racing is poor or trainers are “testing” provide considerably weaker markets.

In a weak market a few hundred pounds can causes a price to move dramatically, whereas in a strong market, tens of thousands of pounds would not move the market at all. This should be noted carefully if trying to move a price on an exchange, a tactic reserved only for real experienced punters.

Conversations with Victor Chandler in 1999 revealed some fascinating observations and changes within the betting arena.

“The racecourse punter has never had it so good. To be a punter now is heaven. With no expenses, being a professional punter compared to a bookmaker has to be the best choice” he said.

Chandler continued: “at the Cheltenham meeting last Sunday we did a survey and asked people whether they bet at the races.

Only 37% said yes. The rest either don’t bet or bet in small sums with the tote.”

Victor continues “That confirms that the culture of racing has changed. My on-course business has been decimated in the last two years. For example three or four years ago at the Eclipse meeting at Sandown, we took 200,000 on the big race.

Last year we took £8000…on Sundays, you see an enormous number of prams they are not our punters.”

The on-course bookie is doing less and less business nowadays, however the prices paid for pitches at the auctions is still considerable, demonstrating that they are a long way from going bust.

Box walker

A horse who is unsettled and walks round and round its box. The horse can begin to lose weight and become hard to train. The horse is often found to need a companion and is often given a goat.

Breeze up

When horses are allowed to “breeze up” along a racecourse for a few furlongs in view of prospective buyers for the purposes of bloodstock resale. This gives buyers a better look at a horse as oppose to the conventional method of just being led around the sale ring.

British Horse Racing Board

The administrative and governing body of racing. It came into existence in June 1993 and effectively took over control from the Jockey Club.

This marked a significant watershed in British racing history and provided a much needed shake-up of the existing power base within racing that had been in place for over 200 years.

Racing now had an accountable, democratic, representative governing authority, so giving the industry an executive role in shaping its own future.

The BHB’s principle responsibilities include:

• planning strategy and policy within racing;
• improving the financial position of racing;
• representing racing in dealings with government;
• the fixture list;
• race planning, including the supervision of race programs and the employment of handicappers;
• marketing and promotion of racing;
• nominating racing’s representatives on the horse race bettings levy board;
• liaison with the betting industry;
• encouraging and fostering breeding of bloodstock;
• collection and control of funds required for the administration of racing, including those required by the jockey club for the protection of the sport’s integrity;
• the development and maintenance of programs of training and education within racing;
• the contract under which Weatherbys supply administrative services to racing.

The principal aim of the BHB is to provide leadership towards putting British racing back on a firm financial footing.

In order to do this the BHB must aim to ensure that racing uses its resources efficiently, maximizes income from outside racing and has a single clear voice when airing its views to parliament, the press, amongst the BHB, members and representatives of the racecourse association, the Jockey Club, race horse owners association, thoroughbred breeders association, and industry committee’s.

Bumping and boring

Towards the latter stages of a race when the horses are tiring, a jockey may find his horse veering off the straight i.e. “bumping” and “boring” other horses off their original course. Naturally this is unfortunate for an opponent and in certain cases may prevent a horse wining a race.

There are frequent objections when this happens from the losing rider.

In cases of bumping and boring there will usually be a steward’s inquiry. Evidence will be taken from film provided by the camera patrol and the video re-run.

By and out of

Relates to the parentage of a given horse. i.e. a horse is described as being “by a sire” (stallion), or “out of” the dam (mare). The origin will usually be indicated in pen in brackets giving the name of the stallion.

Example: Commander in Chief by Dancing Brave out of Slightly Dangerous.