Must-Know Horse Racing Terminology For Horse Bettors

Betting on the horses is a past-time that has been enjoyed in Britain for centuries. For many of us, it was a mainstay of our childhoods as we watched races on TV or were taken to a meet. For others, horseracing is something that was discovered in later life. Whether you are familiar with racing and like to spend your time looking through those all important free tips from Timeform, or whether you are new to the sport and looking to brush up on your betting knowledge, and lingo, our guide must-know horse racing terminology for horse bettors is here to help. 

Also – ran

This is a term used to refer to a horse that did not finish the race in the ‘money spots’. 


This is a bet that is placed on a race before race day. 


A (supposedly) certain bet. 


Term used to refer to a horse that does not have any specific odds attached to it. 


A Canadian is a type of bet that consists of 26 separate bets involving five selections in different events. The bet is made up of 10 trebles, 5 four-folds and an accumulator. In order for the bet to win, a minimum of two of the bets involved must be successful. 

Cheek pieces

These are usually worn by the horse when racing in order that it remains focused and concentrated. 

Course and distance

Terms used when exploring horses’ form and previous wins and performances on surfaces and tracks. 


A horse whose price increases in the lead up to race day. 


The shortest priced horse in the race. This is normally the starting point for most bettors, and the runner against which other horses and the odds offered on them are compared to. 


This represents the number of bets in an accumulator.


Think of the term – hedging your bets. This is a form of betting where bets are placed on opposing outcomes in order to guarantee a pay out. 


A bet on a horse not to win. 


A horse that has little chance of winning and therefore has less favourable odds. 


The best bet of the day. 

Odds compiler

This is the person who sets the odds offered by a bookmaker for each race. 

On the nose

This is an odd little saying that floats around the sport of horse racing. It is used to describe a close, photo finish. 


This is a type of bet that consists of 7 bets involving 3 selections. It includes a single selection on each, plus three doubles and a treble. A win is secured by just one winning selection. 


Simply refers to the amount of money won as a result of a bet. 

Round Robin

A series of three or more selections on a two fold accumulator. A Round Robin means three selections in different races, in three doubles, one treble and six singles. 

Void bet

A bet that is declared as invalid. 

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