Our Horse Racing Terms Glossary | Betting Gods
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Our Horse Racing Terms Glossary
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Our Horse Racing Terms Glossary

Whether you’re new to horse racing or not, you’ll still come across a few horse racing terms that you probably don’t know the meaning of. That’s why we’ve come up with our definitive glossary of horse racing terms.

The Horse Racing Terms

If you’re looking for some help with particular horse racing terms, then go through our list below and simply click on the term you’d like help with. It’ll automatically scroll to the relevant section of this rather lengthy blog post:

Bets: Accumulators, Combination Forecast, Combination Tricast, Each Way, Forecast, Place Only, Reverse Forecast, Tricast, Win Only

Results: Fell, Pulled Up, Ran Out, Unseated Rider, Non-Runner, Withdrawn

Races: Apprentice, ConditionalFlat, Handicap, Maiden, National Hunt, Novice

If you’re completely new to horse racing then make sure you work your way through our whole horse racing terms glossary:

Types of Bets in Horse Racing

The first thing we must cover in our horse racing terms glossary are the many types of bets you can place on the horse racing starting with the basics and working our way through to the complicate tricast bets.

Win Only Bet

You probably don’t need us to explain this bet. A win only bet is when you back a particular horse to win the race. If your horse comes first, then you win your bet. If your horses comes anywhere but first, then you lose your stake.

Place Only Bet

A place only bet involves backing a horse to place in a race. The number of places paid out is dependent on the number of runners in a race. The pay out is also dependent on the number of runners and the type of race:

– Handicaps of more than 16 runners – 1/4 odds on first four places.
– Handicaps of 12-15 runners – 1/4 odds on first three places.
– All other races of more than 8 runners – 1/5 odds on first three places.
– Races of 5-7 runners – 1/4 odds on first two places.
– Races of less than 5 runners – place money goes on to win.

What Happens if there are Non-Runners? The bookies will only pay out based on the number of runners in the final race. Therefore, if you originally placed a bet in a race with 8 runners (with three places) and this then drops to 7 runners due to a non-runner then you’ll only get 2 places.

Each Way Bet

An each way bet is effectively a combination of a win only bet and a place only bet. You therefore see a return if your horse places and you’ll see a larger return if it goes onto win.

Doubles and Trebles…

Although more common in football, accumulators can still be placed on the horse racing. However, with a lot of potential outcomes in a race they can be hard to hit so expect a low strike rate when using accumulators on the races.

Forecast and Reverse Forecast

Now we get to the complicated bets. A forecast bet is where you correctly predict which horse will finish 1st and which will finish 2nd in the correct order.

A reverse forecast is effectively two forecast bets with the same two horses. Your first forecast bet is backing Horse A to come first and Horse B to come second. Your second forecast bet is backing Horse B to come first and Horse A to come second. Reverse forecast bets are particular effective in races where there are 2 joint favourites and not much further competition for them in the race.

Combination Forecast

A combination forecast is much like a reverse forecast but with as many horses as you’d like in the race. For example, if you were to pick 3 horses in a race in a combination forecast, you would essentially be placing 3 reverse forecasts just without the hassle.

Tricast and Combination Tricast

Now you know what a forecast bet is, explaining a tricast should be straight forward. With a tricast bet, you have to correctly predict which horses will finish in the top 3 and in the correct order.

What is a Tricast

For example, in the screenshot above, we are backing Awesome Allan to come first, Roundabout Magic to finish in second place and Ask The Guru to end up in third. The odds, as you can imagine, can often be huge on tricasts even when backing the favourites. The above example involves backing three horses at 9/4, 3/1 and 4/1. The tricast however pays out at nearly 26/1.

Much like the combination forecast, a combination tricast also involves picking multiple horses which are then combined into the relevant tricasts. For example, if you were to use £5 stakes and were to pick 6 horses in a 10 runner race then your total stake would be £300 because of the huge number of combinations.

Types of Races in Horse Racing

Experienced gamblers will use these terms quite freely when discussing their bets and what races they are keeping an eye on. But if you don’t know the difference between an Apprentice and Maiden race then we recommend you give these a quick read through:

Apprentice and Conditional

Apprentice races and conditional races are dedicated to new jockeys who lack experience. The difference is that Apprentice races are on the flat and Conditional races are on the jump courses.


As the name suggests, flat races are those without jumps. The flat season generally gets underway in late March or even early April when the Lincoln Handicap officially kicks off. It then continues throughout the summer and officially ends with the Doncaster November handicap in early November.

The most famous flat courses include Newmarket, Ascot, Goodwood and York.


There are races where the weight a horse has to carry is determined by the official handicapper. Essentially, the better the horse, the higher its handicap rating. Horse can only run in races where the max rating is higher or equal to its rating. The idea of a handicap race is to slightly level out the playing field somewhat.


Maiden races, simply put, are for horses that have never won a race. It’s as simple as that.

National Hunt

The National Hunt racing is the jumps season. The National Hunt season begins in October. One of the biggest races at the start of the season is the Old Roan Chase on Aintree’s Mildmay Course. There is a cross over between the flat and national hunt seasons so the Cheltenham Gold Cup in November is often seen as the official moment when National Hunt really starts getting underway.

It then runs throughout the colder months finishing in April at Sandown for the Gold Cup.


Novice races are reserved for horses who are 2 year olds and have not won more than twice in their career so far.

Horse Racing Terms Glossary

Types of Results in Horse Racing

Whether you use your bookies, Sporting Life or Racing Post for keeping an eye on the horse racing results, if you’re new to horse racing you may come across a few abbreviations and horse racing terms that are unfamiliar to you which we’re going to look at below:

1st, 2nd, 3rd…

Don’t worry, we’re going to state the obvious throughout this glossary. However, you can discuss the results without mentioning that the results will include 1st, 2nd, 3rd and so on. Some form stats, such as those used on the Racing Post, will use 0 (zero) for any horse that finishes outside the top 9 so bear that in mind.

Pulled Up / PU

Most results are quite self explanatory. However, at Betting Gods we regularly get asked what does pulled up mean in horse racing? To put it simply, it means that the jockey has given up on the race because the horse is either not responding or because of an error which is unrecoverable. It can be one of the most frustrating results to experience as a punter as generally it comes down to the jockey giving up on the race.

Unseated Rider / UR

As the name suggests, this is when the rider is thrown from the horse and therefore unseated. Unfortunately, for a result to stand the jockey needs to finish on top of the horse.

Fell / F

Another self explanatory result which is more common during the jump season. As you can imagine, it’s when the horse falls.

Ran Out / RO or O

We’re back to another result which can be a little confusing. Ran Out is when the horse or jockey either gets lost, goes onto the wrong course or misses out a jump or hurdle. It might sound a little bizarre but it occurs more often than you’d think.

Non-Runner / NR

A non-runner occurs when a trainer or owner decides to pull their horse from a race in advance. This might be due to the conditions of the race or the ground changing. If a trainer decides that their horse no longer has a chance of winning they’ll likely remove it.

What Happens to Your Bet? If you’ve placed an ante post bet then you will lose your stake. If not, then most bookies will refund your stake in full and then apply rule 4 deductions to the remaining bets on that race.

Withdrawn / WD

Withdrawals are slightly to different to non runners as they occur just before the off of the race and aren’t due to a trainer/owner pulling the horse out of the race. Instead, withdrawals tend to happen when the horse is even being uncooperative and/or refusing to load into the stalls.

What Happens to Your Bet? When your horse is withdrawn from a race, most bookies will refund your stake. If you have a bet placed in a race with a withdrawn horse then rule 4 deductions will be applied.

Still Confused?

If there are any horse racing terms we’ve missed from our extensive list above, then do not hesitate to drop a comment in the comments area below and we’ll personally respond to help you out.

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