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A

Act in the dip

To put on a spurt at the dip in the ground at Newmarket, after which the track rises to the winning post.

Aids

Signals used by a rider to pass instructions to his mount. Artificial aids include the whip and spurs. Natural aids include hands, legs, voice cues and weight cues.

Apprentice jockey

Young jockey contracted annually to a specific trainer, compensated by a weight allowance when riding against professional jockeys.
B

Back end

The last few weeks of the Flat racing season; sometimes offering late-maturing horses a chance to win a race

Bay

Deep reddish-brown coloured horse. Has black mane/tail and legs.

Below the distance

Before the end of the race; see 'Distance, the'

Blaze

A white mark covering much of the horse's face

Bleeder

A horse which tends to break blood vessels during a race

Boils

Same as suffering from boils in humans

Broodmare

Mare kept at stud for breeding, and not usually raced, although likely to have done so when younger

Bumping and boring

Interference in which one horse collides with another

By a neck

The third shortest winning distance after short-head and head.
C

Champion National Hunt Jockey

Jockey with the greatest number of NH wins in a season

Champion owner

The owner whose horses have won the most prize-money in a season

Champion sire

The animal who has sired horses earning the most prize money in a season. Has sometimes been calculated in terms of number of wins.

Champion trainer

Trainer whose horses have won the most prize money in a season

Chaser

A horse which takes part in steeplechase races

Chief Apprentice

The apprentice jockey with the greatest number of wins in a season

Classic

A Classic race is one of the five tests for three year olds on the flat - the One Thousand Guineas, the Two Thousand Guineas, the Derby, the Oaks, and the St Leger.

Conformation

The shape and relative proportions of a horse

Crack amateur

A non-professional, top-class jockey

Cup races

Long distance races on the flat. A cup horse is one capable of running in top company in such races (a mile and three-quarters and more).
D

Dam

The mother of a foal

Dead heat

To come equal first. This was much more common before the days of photo-finishes. A horse which has won 10 1/2 races has won 10 and dead-heated one.

Distance, A

Officially, a measure in excess of 30 lengths (see 'Length')

Distance, the

An undentified spot 240 yards (ie just over a furlong) from the winning post. This derives from match races where a horse finishing more than 240 yards behind the horse in front was disqualified from further heats, so that riders were discouraged from giving their horse an easy race in order to keep it fresh for later heats; a 'distance judge' was placed 240 yards from the finish.
E

Entire horse

An ungelded horse

Ewe neck

Where the neck looks as if it has been put on upside down
F

Favourite

The horse on which most money has been wagered

Featherweight

The lightest weight a horse can carry in an handicap race, or a jockey able to do this weight

Fetlock

The lowest joint in a horse's leg.

Field

The number of horses in a race; in betting, all of them except the favourite

Fillies' Triple Crown

The One Thousand Guineas, the Oaks and the St Leger, for three-year-olds

Fired forelegs

Legs to which hot irons have been applied to increase the blood flow and healing. No longer allowed in England

First jockey

The Stable's first choice; usually paid a retainer to ensure availability

Frog

V-shaped area found on bottom of horses' hooves.

Furlong

220 yards (one eighth of a mile). The numbered posts on British racecourses count the furlongs back from the winning post.
G

Gassy

Highly strung and 'silly' with it

General Stud Book

Register of all genuine Thoroughbred horses, maintained by Weatherbys

Guineas

Either the One Thousand Guineas or the Two Thousand Guineas; a guinea was one pound one shilling (£1.05) and the name reflects the prize money irrespective of the number of subscribers. Bloodstock sales at Tattersalls are still conducted in guineas.
H

Hack canter

In a hack canter means easily; a hack is any horse used for ordinary riding so the horse is not at full racing pace because it is so far ahead of its rivals

Half brother

Half brothers or sisters share the same dam (mother)

Handicap

In a handicap race, each horse carries a weight dependent on the handicapper's assessment of its ability, usually based on previous form

Hanging

Veering to one side in a race rather than keeping in a straight line; probably used because the horse's head tends to hang to one side. Some courses (famously Epsom) have a camber which causes horses to hang towards the rails, or it can be caused by tiredness.

Hard mouthed

With little sensitivity in the mouth, so hard to restrain

Hock

The joint in the horse's leg between the knee and the fetlock, corresponding to the human ankle

Hurdler

A horse that races over hurdles, which are lighter and lower than fences. Many ex-Flat racers take to hurdling, but they do not have to be thus bred to excel.
J

Jocked off

When a fashionable jockey takes the already booked mount of a lesser rider

Juvenile

A two-year-old racehorse
L

Length

The unit of measurement for the winning margin; the measurement of a horse from head to tail

Level weights, at

All carrying the same weight

Lop eared

With long ears, which sometimes flop sideways. Horses with lop ears are usually honest and good-natured.
M

Maiden

A horse which has never won a race; maiden races are for such horses
N

Navicular disease

Degeneration of the bone behind the horse's heel causing acute lameness. Incurable.

Nomination

A breeding right to have your mare covered by a stallion at stud; the paperwork associated with this
O

Odds-against

The backer wins more than their stake, eg 6/4

Odds-on

With an odds-on bet the backer stands to win less than the amount staked (plus the stake as well), eg 4/6, which is 'six-to-four on'.

Outsider

Long priced animal in the betting, viewed as unlikely to win

Own sister

Filly with the same sire and dam as another
P

Pacemaker

A stable companion put into a contest to set the pace for another

Pastern

The part of the horse's leg between the fetlock and just above the hoof

Pick up the bit

Take an interest in the race

Pink eye

Conjunctivitis in horses

Placed

Finished in the first three

Pulled

A horse which is pulled is deliberately restrained, either to fool the handicapper or to avoid winning as a result of a bribe! Now of course results in horrible recriminations from The Jockey Club.

Putting up overweight

Carrying more weight than that allocated by the handicapper
Q

Quarters

The hind parts of a horse, specifically between flank and tail
R

Racing plate

A light-weight horseshoe used for racing, as opposed to the heavier iron work plate. Now made of aluminium.

Roarer

A horse which makes a noise when it gallops because of a problem with its wind or breathing; a tracheotomy may cure the problem
S

Second String

The Stable's second choice from two runners in a race; a string is the Trainer's horses

Selling plater

A horse which is entered in a selling plate (see below) because it is not expected to win in any higher grade, or because it can do well against moderate opposition, which may result in a betting coup

Selling plates

Selling Plates are races in which the winner is offered at auction afterwards; other horses in the race may be claimed for a fixed sum. If the winning stable buys back its own horse it is said to be 'bought in'. Racecourse put on these races because they receive a percentage of the selling price of each horse.

Shelly feet

Slightly concave and brittle hooves. Se Crepello's foot in the Museum

Short-priced

A price which comes in for example from 3/1 to 2/1. The favourite will be short-priced

Splints

A bony growth on the tendon

Stayer

A horse which succeeds over a long distance appropriate to its age

Sway back

Long, weak back
T

Tap root mare

A mare who is ancestor on the female side of many winners.

Triple Crown

For colts, the Two Thousand Guineas, the Derby and the St Leger; for fillies, the One Thousand or Two Thousand Guineas, the Oaks or Derby and the St Leger. A winner of the appropriate three Classic races for three year olds is a hero or heroine of the Turf.

Tucked up

Tightly drawn up around the abdomen, possibly having passed its peak for the season
W

Welter burdens

Weight carried in a handicap race

Wind infirmity

Breathing difficulties

Work rider

An employee, not necessarily a licenced jockey but good enough to ride a horse being tested or prepared on the gallops

Wrong in the wind

With breathing difficulties

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