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Acceptor – a horse whose connections have paid the acceptance fee for a race.

Age – the Australian horse’s birthday is on August 1st in the year which they were foaled.

All-In - a bet type, usually an early Fixed Odds bet on a feature race such as the Melbourne Cup. The odds on offer will be better than those available once the final field is declared, but your bet may not be refunded if the horse does not start. Available on the Melbourne Cup, Caulfield Cup & Cox Plate from Sportsbet.

Apprentice - junior jockey indentured to a trainer for a four year apprenticeship. An apprentice can claim a reduction of up to 4kgs in the weight carried by the horse. As the jockey wins more races the amount they can claim is reduced. Claim appears next to their name in the racing guides (e.g. a1.5kg)

Asparagus – a punter with lots of late mail (more tips than a tin of asparagus)


Backed off the map – a horse heavily supported in betting.

Back Up – a horse who races for the second time within one week.

Bagman – a bookmakers employee responsible for settling bets on course.

Bailed Up – the horse was racing inside runners and unable to get clear running.

Banker – one horse who is a standout selection in a race. In betting terms for Quinella, Trifecta or First Four the horse who must finish first (Standout) or somewhere in the placings (Roving)

Barriers - the starting gates. Barriers are usually drawn randomly by computer but for some feature races such as the Melbourne Cup the connections are given the opportunity to choose or draw a hidden number to determine their barrier.

Barrier Blanket - assists horses who resent being loaded in the starting gates. The blanket is attached to the back of the stall once the horse is loaded and remains behind when the horse jumps.

Big Note – a person who overstates or exaggerates their knowledge or wealth.

Big Red – nickname for a lot of Chestnut horses, including Australia’s most famous racehorse from the 1930’s, Phar Lap.

Big 6 (Super 6) – Bet requiring the winners of six races in NSW or VIC to be successful.

Birdcage - area of the racecourse where horses are paraded before a race. At most racecourses only people personally connected to the racehorses are permitted. At Flemington during the Melbourne Cup Carnival, the Birdcage Enclosure is an exclusive area for VRC members and their guests.

Bit – part of the Bridle, the metal bar that is placed over the horses tongue. When a horse gets its tongue over the bit (or ‘Chokes Down’), the jockey has less control over the horse and the horse struggles to breath correctly. 

Black Book – reminder service that sends and email or SMS when a selected horse is due to race again. Free to members at Sportsbet.

Black Type - at the sales, the bold black type in a horse's pedigree shows Group & Listed races.

Bleeder - when a horse bleeds from the lungs after running. In Australia, a horse is banned from racing for 3 months after the first Bleeding Attack. If it happens again during a race the horse is banned from racing again in Australia for life. Australian racing is drug free, medication to prevent bleeding is prohibited.

Blinkers - (USA Blinders) hood that fits over the bridle with cups placed around the horse's eyes to restrict vision of other horses to the side and rear. The application of blinkers for the first time is considered a significant gear change that can improve form dramatically. Blinkers can also be one-eyed only.

Blows – when a previously favoured horse is unwanted in betting before the race and the bookmakers increase (or ‘turn out’) the odds.

Bolter - on the track, a horse that is loose or out of control. In the betting ring, a horse at long odds.

Bookmakers/Bookies - a person licensed to conduct betting on or off course. Bookies set their own odds and you can also negotiate with them so they offer serious punters better value for their money.

Box/Boxed Bet - two or more runners to finish in any order in a multiple bet such as Quinella, Exacta, Trifecta and First Four. See our comprehensive guide to all Australian Bet Types

Box Seat – during a race, when a horse is racing just behind the leaders and one horse out from the fence.

Bute - Anti-inflmmatory medication. All horse racing in Australia is drug free, so it must not be present in the horse on race day.


Camel or Cat – a very slow horse

Camel Traders – European horse owners who bring their plodding stayers to Australia (see Dour) and sell them to optimistic locals hoping to win a Melbourne Cup.

Cast – If the horse throws a shoe before the race, either on the course or in the barriers, it may be replaced by the farrier prior to the race. Can also mean the horse has lain down in the barrier stalls.

Caulfield Cup - Feature race of the Melbourne Racing Club. Run at Caulfield Racecourse in mid October, a 2400 metres race run with Handicap conditions. Considered an important lead up race to the Melbourne Cup, the Caulfield Cup is a prestigious Group One event offering over two million dollars in prize money.

Check - interference suffered by a horse during a race. If the interference is considered severe enough to have cost them an opportunity to win, they are entitled to lodge a protest against that runner if it finished ahead of them in the placings.

Cherry – in greyhound racing, the number one dog which carries a red cloth.

Choked-Down – when a horse partially swallows its tongue during a race, making it difficult to breathe. Often improved with the application of a ‘Tongue-Tie’.

Claim - reduction in the amount of weight carried by a horse being ridden by an apprentice. If the race is non-claiming (as in Group races), the apprentice cannot use their claim.

Class - the grade of the race. A brief summary from lowest to highest: Maiden, Class 1 to Class 6, Mares, Welter, Flying, Quality, Open, Stakes, Handicap, Listed, Group 3, Group 2, Group 1.

Clerk of the Course - official often dressed in hunting red, sometimes riding a grey horse. Duties include leading runners out to the start, assisting with difficult horses and capturing runaways. One of Melbourne's most popular clerk's horses was 1992 Melbourne Cup winner Subzero, who retired in June 2008 after 15 years service with Clerk Graham Salisbury.

Coat-Tugger – someone who offers a punter a tip then demands a percentage of their winnings.

Colours (silks) - owners or trainers coloured jacket and cap worn by the jockey. When the horse's colours are unavailable for any reason, the jockey wears the club colours which in Melbourne are all white.

Colourful – someone whose language is profane or whose behavior is slightly less than ethical.

Colt - a male horse 3 years and under which has not been gelded.

Connections - a horse's owners and their representatives. Can also include anyone personally connected to the horse such as the jockey and training staff.

Cop a Minty – the winning jockey receives a small consideration from the owners (green & white cash, similar to a Minty wrapper) also know as a ‘Sling.’

Correct Weight - signaled by the Head Steward when the jockeys have weighed in correctly and no protests have been lodged. This is the all clear for bookies and tote to pay out on winning tickets.

Cox Plate - Feature race of the Moonee Valley Racing Club. Run in October between the Caulfield Cup and the Melbourne Cup, the Cox Plate is run with Weight for Age conditions over 2000 metres.

Cricket Score Odds – very long odds, 100-1.

Cross-over Noseband - gear that prevents a horse from opening its mouth during a race.


Daily Double - two races nominated by the TAB, in Victoria usually the third to last race and the last race.

Dead-Heat - two or more horses that cannot be separated in a photo finish when they cross the line. If the dead-heat is for first, there is only one remaining place dividend for third. If the dead-heat is for second, there is no third dividend.

Deductions – reduction on the odds on offer when a horse is a late scratching just before the race.

Dish Lickers – racing greyhounds.

Dogs are Barking – a tip which has become common knowledge.

Dividend - Places are paid for First (Win & Place), Second & Third (Place only). A fourth place getter is included for betting on the First Four only, no place dividend is paid on the fourth place getter.

Dour - an unexciting, plodding horse. Often a stayer.

Duet - a TAB bet for two more runners to finish anywhere in the first three.

Duffer – a horse that is slow or unable to run well on certain track conditions (a duffer in the wet)


Each-Way – a wager for both the win & place.

Emergency - Additional nominated runners are accepted but will only gain a run if others in the field are scratched. Many Melbourne races are permitted Emergency runners, but there are no Emergencies allowed for the Melbourne Cup.

Emu – a person who picks up discarded betting tickets in the hope of finding a live bet. Often seen on course or at the TAB after a successful protest.

Entire – a male horse which has not been gelded.

Evens/Even Money - 2/1 or when the stakes match the winnings. ($20 return for $10 invested)

Even Time - 200m in 15 seconds during training workouts. Under race conditions the average time for 200m is 12 seconds.

Exacta - the two horses to finish first & second in exact order.

Exotics – a multiple bet such as Quinella, Exacta, Trifecta, First Four & Quaddie.


Farrier – a specialist in equine hoof care (a blacksmith)

Fast - the firmest track rating but rarely seen in recent years, mainly because a Fast track in Australia is like concrete and racing clubs are working hard to ensure the tracks always have a little bit of give.

Favourite - the most popular horse in betting and therefore the one who starts at the shortest odds.

Feature Race - The highest rated race on the card, determined by the category of the race and the prize money.

Filly - a female horse 3 years and under.

Firm – a horse is supported in betting and the odds have shortened.

First Up - resuming from a Spell (a break of 90 days or more.) In the form guide, indicates how many times the horse has been placed when First Up.  

Fixed Odds - a bet where you agree to accept the odds at the time of placing your time, available from Sportsbet. Early Fixed Odds betting on the Melbourne Cup is popular, as the odds on offer are bigger before the final field is declared. See "All-In".

Fleeced - lost everything, had everything taken away, shorn like sheep.

Flexi-Betting – to invest a smaller amount than the full dollar value of the bet to receive a reduced percentage of the final dividend. Available from Sportsbet.

Fluctuation - the movements of the odds up or down in the betting ring. See "Top Fluc".

Fresh - a horse that is resuming from a brief rest from racing (more than 28 days but less than 90 days) has been 'freshened up'.


Gelding - a male horse of any age which has been castrated.

Get Out Stakes – the last race of the day.

Giddy Goat - The Tote (on and off course Totalisator)

Golden Slipper - one of the highlights of Australian autumn racing, the premier event of the Sydney Turf Club held at Rosehill Gardens. It is the world's richest race for two year old horses.

Good - the ideal racing surface in Australia, not too firm or soft. When the weather is fine, most tracks are rated Good.

Good Sort - a filly with nice conformation. Also a racehorse.

Gorilla – One thousand dollars (also a “G”).

Glue-on shoes - for a horse with hoof problems, a light aluminium shoe that is attached with tabs to the outside of the hoof. Horses generally do not race as well in glue-on shoes as they do in racing plates.

Green - a horse that shows inexperience during the running of a race.

Greet the Judge – when a jockey returns to the mounting yard after winning a race, they acknowledge the judge by touching their cap.

Group Race - There are four types of Black Type races in Australia: Group 1 (the highest), Group 2, Group 3 and Listed.

Grew another leg – the horse suddenly improved.

Gunner – a horse which is reluctant to win (always looks like he's gunna' win, but he doesn't.)


Hand – standard measurement of a horse’s height, taken from the ground to the withers (at the base of the neck).

Handicap - a race where weights are assigned by the handicapper according to a horses past performances in an effort to give every runner an equal winning chance. The Melbourne Cup is one of the most well known Handicap races in the world.

Hang -  the horse holds its head to one side during a race, also known as ‘Lugging’. Can be improved by the application of blinkers or a different bit.

Hands & Heels - riding the horse without using the whip.

Hold All Tickets – punters are advised not to throw away their bet slips until correct weight has been notified.

Heavy - the slowest track rating in Australia. There are 3 levels of Heavy but once the rating is worse than Slow assume the conditions are very wet and muddy.

Hoop – a jockey.

Horse – term for an entire (not gelded) male horse 4 years and over.


Impost – the weight allocated for the horse to carry.

In the money – the horse finished in a stakes paying position.

In the red – odds in the bookies ring are very short, less than even money.


Jackpot – surplus money from the pool from a previous race or an additional bonus added by the Tote.

Jigger – an illegal electric device designed to shock a horse making it sprint faster.

Journo – a journalist


Knocked Up – the horse stopped racing the straight.

Knuckled – the horse stumbled and almost fell on its knees.


Late Mail – last minute tips that take scratchings, jockey changes and track conditions into consideration.

Late Scratching – a horse that is withdrawn from the race after 8am on race day. If the horse is withdrawn after betting on the race has commenced, there may be deductions in the final dividends.

Lay – when a bookmaker offers better odds because they believe the horse cannot win. 

London to a brick on – very short odds, an extremely likely outcome. A punter would have to bet the whole of London to win one brick. A brick used to be a term for an Australian ten pound/dollar note due to it's red colour.

Long Shot – a horse a long odds, unlikely to win.

Length - approximately the length of a horse from nose to tail, used to determine the distance between runners in a race. Winning margins can also be measured by a Neck, Head, a Half Head and a Nose.

Lugging Bit - for horses that hang out to one side (or 'lug') this bit is applied to make them more tractable.


Maiden - a horse of any age or sex who is yet to win a race. Also a race restricted to horses who have not won a race.

Mare - a female horse 4 years and over.

Melbourne Cup - The pinnacle of racing in the southern hemisphere, and the highlight of the Spring Racing Carnival at Flemington Racecourse. Australia's richest handicap race offering six million dollars in prize money, run over 3200 metres on the first Tuesday in November at 3.00pm AEST. Go to for free tips in all the feature races for this years Melbourne Cup Carnival.

Monkey – Five hundred dollars.

Moral – an absolute certainty.

Mounting Yard - the area near to the racecourse where the horses are paraded before a race and jockeys take their mounts.

Muck Lather – white foam appearance caused by the horse sweating up before the race.

Mudlark – a horse who is most comfortable on rain affected going.

Mug Punter – a person who is not very good at betting.

Multiple - any bet requiring two or more runners to be successful.


Near-side - left-hand side of the horse from which the jockey mounts and dismounts. The other side is the Off-side.

Noseroll - a sheepskin roll attached to the bridle on the horses nose to keep the head in line with the body.


Odds-Against – the odds in the betting ring are longer than even money (e.g. $3 for $1 invested.)

Odds-on - the odds in the betting ring are shorter than even money (e.g. $1.90 for $1 invested)

On the Nod – a bet where a bookie has agreed to take a bet on credit.

Overs – the horses odds are good value as it has a chance of winning.


Pacifiers – hood with gauze eye covers to restrict the vision of an excitable horse. Stewards often ask for these to be removed in rain affected conditions as they can be clogged by mud.

Paddock - before the race the clerk of the course leads the horses from the saddling paddock to the mounting yard. 

Parlay – a bet requiring two or more winners or place-getters to be successful. The bet can be placed over consecutive or non-consecutive races.

Penalty - additional weight that must be carried by the horse as a result of wins since the initial weights were allotted.

Penetrometer - reading taken from a special instrument designed to measure the softness of the track. Many readings are taken from all areas of the course, then an overall figure is determined to indicate the condition of the track.

Pig-root – the horse bucks and tries to throw the jockey.

Pool – total amount of money invested on the tote.

Possied Up – got a good position during the race.

Plunge – in the bookies ring, a sudden rush of money for a particular horse.

Proppy – the horse is walking stiffly, suggesting it might be sore.

Protest – an objection lodged by the jockey, connections or the stewards regarding the outcome of a race. In Australia and New Zealand, the conditions of a protest are they must convince the Stewards they would have finished ahead of the horse who caused the interference. They are also permitted to protest if they finished or had the potential to finish in any stakes bearing position. E.g. stakes places are paid up to the tenth place-getter in the Melbourne Cup.

If the protest is accepted it is ‘Upheld’, if not, the protest is ‘Dismissed.’ The Australian Rules of Racing are when a protest 2nd against 1st is upheld, the 2nd horse will become the winner and the other horse will be relegated to 2nd. If a protest is successfully lodged by the 3rd, 4th or 5th place getter, the horse they have protested against is relegated to the position of the protestor and all place getters behind the relegated horse are promoted one place.

Pulling – a horse is over-racing.

Punter – a person placing a wager.


Quinella - the first two horses to finish in a race in any order.


Racing Plates - while horses are usually trained in shoes, for race-day they are fitted with lightweight racing plates.

Rails – the prime position in the bookmakers ring.

Ridden Cold – the horse was dropped back in the field and saved for one last run at the end of the race.

Ridden upside down – the horse did not race in the way that suits it best, e.g. a front-runner that was ridden at the back.

Ring-In – a horse that has been illegally substituted for another acceptor in a race. The most infamous ring-in case in Australia was the Fine Cotton Affair.

Roughie – a horse at long odds with a small chance of winning.


Saddlecloth Number - the horse allocated the number one saddlecloth can be carrying the highest weight and/or has won the most amount of prize money or won in the highest class. It does not indicate which Barrier the horse will start from.

Scratching - a horse that is withdrawn before a race starts. If the horse is withdrawn after 8am on a typical race day, it is regarded as a Late Scratching.

Second Up - next run after a First Up run, following Spell of 90 days or more.

Slaughtered – the horse was not given every opportunity to win due to a bad ride.

Slow - a track rating between Dead and Heavy.

Smokey – a horse at longer odds which has better chance of winning than most punters think.

SP Bookie - For a long time in Australia, placing a bet anywhere outside of a racecourse was illegal, so Aussies would place their bets with an 'SP' at the local pub or milk bar and receive whatever odds were offered on course at the time the race started (the Starting Price). The introduction of the TAB (Tote) was in part intended to end this practice and while it is now legal to bet with a bookmaker off course, betting with a non licensed bookmaker is still illegal.

Spell - a break of 90 days or more since a horse last raced.

Spot – One hundred dollars.

Spread Betting - a betting agent such sets the "spread" of scoring for a sporting or racing event. If you believe the spread is too low (or too high) you can buy or sell points above or below the predicted score.

Spring Racing Carnival - a festival of around 50 days involving all the country and metropolitan race clubs in Victoria. A unique celebration of racing, fashion and social events.

(Stipendary) Steward - official appointed to oversee that all races are run in accordance with the rules of racing. Stewards have the power to suspend, fine and/or disqualify any licensed person for contravening the rules. The Head Steward or their Deputy is responsible for issuing the result of all protests and announcing Correct Weight.

Stone Motherless – the horse was last.

Strapper - the Groom, a person employed by the trainer to attend to a horse. Duties may include feeding, grooming, riding at training and leading in the mounting yard.

Suspension - the period of time a jockey is suspended from riding due to an infraction of the rules of racing.

Sweep/Sweepstake - a group bet where everyone places a stake and randomly draws a horse's name. The person to draw the winner 'sweeps' the pool. Most Australians like to bet on the Melbourne Cup, so this is a popular alternative to going to the track or the TAB on Cup day.

Swooper – a horse that likes to finish on from the tail of the field at the end of the race.


TAB (Totalisator Agency Board) - Offers on and off course Tote betting where the remaining amount of money wagered on the event is distributed to those with winning tickets after a deduction has been made by the Agency to cover administration and taxes. The first Australian TAB opened in Victoria in 1961. It was government owned and operated until 1993, when the Victorian government decided to privatise the business. Tabcorp now controls Tote betting in Victoria and New South Wales. South Australia & Queensland Totes are operated by Unitab. Other Australian states still have their own government run TAB's.

Tip – Bart Cummings says be good to your mother.

Thumps - similar to human hiccups, can occur when the horse is exhausted or dehydrated.

Tongue-Tie - a device for restricting the horses tongue to prevent it moving over the bit.

Top Fluc – a bet accepting the odds which are the highest fluctuation in the betting ring. Available as a Fixed Odds bet from Sportsbet.

Toppy – the horse carrying top weight.

Track Conditions - the rating given to a racetrack on race day. In Melbourne this can have a significant effect of the pattern of racing, se our
Track Report for more information.

Treble – a bet involving three consecutive races nominated by UniTAB. Available to everyone from

Two-Up – a gambling game played by tossing two coins in the air. Traditionally played at Flemington racecourse on ANZAC Day.


Unders – a horse whose odds are too short in relation to its chances of winning.

Under Double Wraps – the horse won easily without extending to its full ability.


Warned Off – a licensed person is forbidden from entering a racecourse or associating with other licensed people.

Wager – a bet.

Walk Over - A race with only one runner. In these races, the horse horse must be weighed out, mounted and ridden past the judge's box. The horse will be liable to carry extra weight as the winner of the race and only half the prizemoney is awarded.

Weight For Age - usually Group races where the horses are allocated weight according to their age and sex, in an effort to make it possible for them to compete on equal terms.

Well-held – the horse won easily without being fully extended. 

Winkers - sheepskin which attaches to the cheek straps of the bridle to keep the horses attention forward. Offers more side vision than Blinkers.

Write your own ticket – the horse is so unlikely to win a bookie would give you any odds you asked for.


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Australian Punters Dictionary:

Definitions of Official Horse Racing Terms & Aussie Racing Slang.

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