An Alphabet Of Horse Racing Terms – B – Part 1

An Alphabet Of Horse Racing Terms – B – Part 1


A more common condition among racehorses than the public generally realize.

To understand it and indeed to appreciate the whole process of racing,and training horses to race, it is necessary to think of the horses as equine athletes which indeed they are.

To continue the analogy, would Seb Coe have shone over 100m?

Would he have raced if he had jarred his legs badly? would he have dreamed of taking part in a contest without first and last using a tracksuit?

To translate these points into equine terms, horses also have ideal distances over which they should compete, a crucial factor when it comes to weighing up their chances in a race.

Horses wear blankets and rugs in the paddock before a race and afterwards, when perspiring, have a string vest thrown over them, and blankets again, and they no less than their human counterparts pull muscles when racing, strain tendons and because of leg trouble, chronic or temporary may break down altogether and be unable to race.

The horse’s forelegs particularly when jumping fences and to an extent when running on hard ground, come under great pressure and it is the forelegs which give trainers the greatest anxiety.

Bad legs as a chronic condition occur for a variety of reasons including heredity. A protective measure consists of bandages, sometimes semi permanent on forelegs


In the member’s enclosure on racecourses, bookmakers are not allowed to make a book. However A high proportion of those who are either annual members or paid on the day for entrance to that enclosure frequently go to the racecourse with the prime intention of having a bet.

To get over this difficulty the leading bookmakers have pitches immediately next to the rails separating the members from Tattersalls ring.

Much of the business is done with credit customers, but some cash is taken.

Rails bookmakers have their own association and they comprise the top end of the racecourse betting markets as well as being a vital to the price shifts of that market but no longer as used to be the case do they dictate those movements exclusively.

This is because 90% of betting today takes place off course.

Heavy support for a particular betting shop horse will force the price down on the racecourse because the money for it finds its way to the race course, and in particular the rails by telephone by tic tac, and now by wireless computer networks. Immediately the shorter price is relayed to the other betting rings on the course.

The interaction between the 3 main betting sources nowadays includes Betting shops, the Betting Ring and the Betting Exchanges.

The use of live websites and Satellite Information Services enables these 3 sources to interact simultaneously, and the experienced trader will have to establish the delicate balance between these 3 sources to succeed at his trade.


Racecourse betting rings are the enclosures where betting takes place.

Mainly, Tattersalls ring where admission charges also cover admission to the paddock and the lower priced silver ring.

So called because originally bookmakers would take bets made with silver coinage.

Some courses no longer have a separate silver ring.

Betting also takes place on certain racecourses in areas where there is free admission and this is known as betting on the course.


The number of betting shops has shown a downward trend since the boom times of the nineteen sixties just after they were legalized. At present in the UK there are about 8500.

In 1993 it was announced that between 1st April and 31st of August betting shops would be able to remain open until 22:00 in order to cater for the evening racing, thus correcting at least an anomaly which has existed since shops were originally legalized in the sixties.

Technology has made big advance is in recent years with prices and commentaries from SIS on view on batteries of screens.


If a horse has been successful in a pattern race or listed race he or she is said to have achieved black type. I.e. in order to draw attention to the horse’s putative importance for breeding purposes his or her name appears in bold black type in pedigrees featured by bloodstock sales catalogs.

Horses who finished fourth in such a race is however no longer entitled to a black type


A device consisting of a hood which fits over a horse’s head with shields at the eye holes which restrict the horse’s peripheral vision. The purpose is to concentrate the horses attention ahead by cutting out what might have been seen on either side.

The fitting of blinkers for the first time is indicated in the more informative race cards published in the morning papers and is always worth noting ,although, while it sometimes secures a dramatic improvement in a horses racecourse performance, it should not be regarded as a sovereign specific for poor form.

Blinkers are used more frequently these days than they used to be and have lost their reputation for being the tell-tale sign for a horse of dodgy character. In other words although there are still unreliable horses who invariably wear blinkers, there are also perfectly genuine animals whose performance is better when wearing them.

Timeform gives good comments on whether a horse is genuine or not and the effects of blinkers on performance. The converse hint to a horse’s capabilities occurs when after being tried in blinkers, he or she races next time without them.

A visor is a pair of blinkers modified with a slit cut in the eye shields so that a horse is given some peripheral vision, allowing, for example, other horses alongside it to be seen. A hood leaves the eyes clear but covers the ears because some horses are adversely affected by noise.

Use of both visor and hood like blinkers will be publicized on race cards.


Nothing to do with went like a bomb, which, self evidently is something quite different. A horse which has blown up or which blew up in the straight is one which without explosion of any kind whatsoever, rather the reverse in fact suddenly loses its place in a race after going well up to that point.

Also known as “stopping to nothing”