A Dictionary Of Horse Racing Terms – C – Part 1

A Dictionary Of Horse Racing Terms – C – Part 1

Used in the formbook, this phrase is used to indicate when a horse renews its effort after dropping back in a race.

Introduced officially 30th June, 1960 at Newmarket.

Originally, cameras just photographed the latter stages of a race from varying different angles, often head on. Later the coverage was extended to provide a complete visual record of a race using a mobile camera.

The objective is to obtain evidence for use when an objection is filed, or when there’s a Steward’s inquiry. There is now extensive usage of closed circuit television on race courses, and the video replay is used to back up the evidence from the camera patrol.

The combination of the two has been instrumental in recent years in reducing underhand practices at race meets, that had been occurring for many years.

Short for race card, the official runners and riders program which is on sale at race courses.

The “Card” also appears in newspaper headings, for example “The Chepstow Card” or the “Card for Uttoxeter”.

Phrases may read for example “The best bet on the card” or “going through the card”, which refers to selection or association with all the winners on the card.

For anyone who doesn’t understand John McCririck’s presentation of betting on C4, specifically the slow motion tic tac, and odd betting terms he uses, the phrase “carpet”, a favourite of his, is derived from convict slang for a three month prison term.

In other words “carpet” is three to one in the betting. John O Neill (RIP) had a huge repertoire of betting terminology and his return of the starting prices in the press room at the Northern race courses is badly missed.

Sometimes when a horse lays down in their traveling horse box or stable loose box, they can have problems getting up again off the straw. They are said to be “cast in the box”. This is obviously not very beneficial on race day.

Until a rider is successful i.e. has ridden a few winners, they don’t justify having their name painted onto the jockeys and riders boards, which fit into the numbers board at the racecourse.

Therefore their names are chalked or whitewashed onto a blank board and they are referred to as a “Chalk Jockey”

The number of winners ridden, or the biggest amount of prize money won in a season determines Trainer and Jockeys championships.

There is no real recognition of championships, in fact these titles are purely a remnant of tradition, although it is still possible to wager on the outcome of these championships.

Otherwise known as steeplechase. The derivation is from an event in Ireland, 1752, when Mr. O Callahan accepted the challenge from Mr. Edmund Blake to race four and a half miles from Buttevant Church to St. Ledger across country, with the steeple of the latter representing the winning post.

This was the origin of National Hunt Racing, which is now the basis for modern steeplechasing, except obviously without the steeples.

Todays chases are races over fences between two and four miles, usually around three. The fences are made from birch, and are open ditches, water jumps or plain fences.

The water jumps are often considered rather dangerous nowadays, but provide great spectacle. However their days may be numbered due to frequent deaths.

Horses are not supposed to be raced over fences until July of the year in which they are four years old, by law. Usually such horses do not appear in public till they are five or six, usually after having had a career in hurdles.

These races allow the horses to be “claimed” post race, for an advertised sum of money. Often known as “a claimer”.

If a horse’s owner requires it to race with less than the maximum weight then the claiming price is reduced accordingly. The racing rules determine that the median price at which a horse can be claimed out of a claimer is the amount published next to the horses name on the race card.

The weight carried by a horse during a race is dependent on the minimum amount for which in may be claimed, so therefore it is the trainer who in effect handicaps his own horse.

Post race, all claims have to be made in writing. All claims have to be equal or higher to the race “claiming” amount.

Friendly claims may be proposed by a runner’s connections in a race. This is usually an effort to keep a charge by making a bid which is in effect higher than the competing claims. Claims must all be sealed and placed into the claims box on the clerk of the scales table, no later than ten minutes after the ok signal has been given by the Stewards.

Claims cannot be altered or withdrawn with the horse going to the individual who submits the highest claim above the minimum price. In the event of a tie, lots are drawn.

The owner takes 15% of any surplus over the published minimum claiming price plus 90% of that minimum. The racecourse receives the remaining 85% of the surplus and 10% to a published minimum.

Connections who submit a “friendly” claim have to pay 85% of the surplus and 10% of the minimum to keep the horse if their bid is successful.