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Betting Glossary of Terms


A bet involving more than one event with the winnings from each selection going onto the next. Accumulators must be placed with the same bookmaker. All selections must win for a return.

A horse that lost !

Betting on an event well in advance. In the case of big horse races or football tournaments, this could be a year or more before the event takes place.

All weather track (fibre-sand).

When a bookmaker takes a lot of money on one particular runner, it is said that it has been heavily backed.

A selection that a punter or tipster feels is a near certainty.

This shows what the lowest odds of horses or competitors not mentioned in the betting forecast are likely to be - '50-1 bar' means those not quoted are 50-1 or bigger.

Best Price Percentage
Price percentages are used to calculate over-roundness. A completely fair book is classified as 100% overround. However the ‘bookmakers’ profit margins mean the figure is almost always above 100%. But, if one aggregates the best prices from different bookmaking firms on any event, the percentages become lower. On some occasions, when odds greatly differ from firm to firm, the best price percentage may even drop below 100% showing that the best book on that event is actually in the punter's favour.

Term used to describe a favourite who bookmakers expect to be "sunk" or lose and are therefore happy to lay.

Board Prices
This refers to the currently available odds displayed on the boards of on-course bookmakers. It is from these that the starting price for horse races is derived.

Bookmaker / Bookies
The organisation / betting shop offering prices for events.

Boxed in
A horse that cannot overtake another horse because it is blocked by other horses.

The outcome of too many losing bets.

Brought Down
A horse that has fell due to another horse clashing with it.

A national hunt race event.

Burlington Bertie
A price of 100/30.

A price of 3/1.

Conditions Race
A race where horses have to carry weight according to factors including sex, age, type of race, whether they are a previous winner etc.

People that are related with a horse. E.g. the owner and trainer.

Dead Heat
A race where there is a tie for the winner or one of the placed horses.

A two-leg accumulator with the winnings from the first selection automatically going onto the second selection. Both selections need to win to get paid out.

Double Carpet
A price of 33/1.

The position of a horse in the starting stalls.

Betting on both a win and a place. A percentage of the win odds are paid for the place that usually ranges from second to fourth depending on the event. For example, you bet £5 each-way on Sinndar to win the Derby at 12/1. The first thing to realise is that your stake is now £10 with £5 on the horse winning and £5 on the horse getting a place. If Sinndar wins, your winnings would be £60 (£5 stake x 12) and your stake would be returned too. As well as that the place section of the bet is also successful (though there is no differential between the horse coming first, second or third). Therefore in addition to Sinndar's £65 for a win, we get a further £20 for being placed (a quarter of 12 multiplied by the £5 stake plus the original stake). If Sinndar came either second or third the win section of this wager would lose but you would still get £20 back for the place bet.

A price of 1/1.

The bookmakers slang for a punter with inside information about horses.

The participant with the shortest odds in the field, who the bookmakers think is most likely to win.

Short for Forecast.

Some bookmakers may well group all the outsiders in a competition under the headline of 'field' and put it head to head with the favourite. This is known as favourite versus the field betting and is common in horse and golf betting.

A female horse about to the age of 4.

Fixed odds betting
Staking a set amount to win a set amount by multiplying the stake by the odds. As opposed to spread betting where the amount you can win or lose on a single bet may vary.

A record of a particular horses previous racing performance.

An eighth of a mile (201 Metres).

A male horse that has been castrated.

Going (the going)
The condition of the race surface.

Going Down
Horses are on their way to the start.

Used to refer to an inexperienced horse.

Home Stretch
The length of main straight track before the finish line.

Independent Betting Arbitration Service. A British organisation who settle disputes with bookmakers for punters.

In-running betting
Some bookmakers offer odds for an event while in progress with prices quoted reflecting the current state of play.

The stirrups.

Joint favourites
When a bookmaker cannot split two runners for favouritism.

Another term for the favourite in a race.

A horse of 2 years age.

When a horse is having difficulty walking or is limping.

An alternative term for a bookmaker, someone who lays or accepts a bet.

Long Shot
A horse with very high odds.

A horse or rider that has not previously won a race.

Bookmakers' slang for £500.

Mug Punter
A member of the public who places ill-considered bets.

A tipster's best bet.

No Offers
When bookmakers are unwilling to offer a price on a participant (N/O).

A horse in the early stages of its career after it has won its first race.

Refers to a price where you have to stake more than the amount you expect to make as profit.

When the amount you win is more than your stake.

A horse with little chance of winning.

In theory, using natural odds, a betting book can be fairly weighted between bookmaker and bettor. However bookmaker profit margins mean that they must alter the odds in their favour. Over-roundness is a means of expressing to what extent the odds are in favour of the bookmaker. An evenly weighted book based on natural odds is expressed as 100%, and the more the odds move in the bookmaker's favour the more that figure rises. Thus a book that is weighted 20% in favour of a bookmaker is expressed as 120% over-round.

Photo Finish
A close race where the use of a photograph is required to determine the result.

Bookmakers' slang for £25.

Pulled Up
A horse that drops out of a race after the off.

The outsider in the field, normally available at a big price.

A measure of the performance of a horse on a scale of 0-140. 140 is the higher rating..

Ready Reckoner
A table showing returns for odds to aid with the calculation of winnings.

Rule 4
A deduction made from the prices of a horse due to the withdrawal of another horse.

Short for Starting Price.

Person responsible for starting a horse race.

A runner whose odds are continually shortened in the face of heavy support.

A race over obstacles.

A jockey club official responsible for checking that the rules of racing are followed.

Stewards Enquiry
An enquiry into whether or not the rules of a race have been broken.

Where horses are bred.

A method of betting that should favour the player.

The 'sign language' with which bookmakers on the racecourse communicate.

A person or company who recommend horses that are likely to win.

Tissue Prices
Early prices offered before a betting market has been formed.

A three-leg accumulator. All three bets need to win with the winnings from the first selection automatically going on to the second and then onto the third.

After each race the jockeys on the winning and placed horses must be weighed to check they are carrying the same weight as at the start of the race.

Win only
Betting markets where no each-way betting is available.

The term used for a bet that consists of four selections, combining them into six doubles, four trebles and one fourfold - eleven bets. At least two selections must win to get a return.

A horse from 1 January to 31 December of the year following its birth.


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