Cheltenham Festival Betting Gllossarry D-G

Cheltenham Betting glossary part 2


A dam is the mother of horse in question. This is a valuable piece of information as breeding is a key indicator to a horse’s preference for going conditions (such as firm, soft or heavy) and also best race distance – as ‘dams’ invariably pass on their own traits to their offspring.



Every race on the flat and over jumps has a defined ‘distance’. This is advertised in the racecard and in all publications. The minimum distance on the flat is 5 furlongs and the longest is a one-off 2-mile 6-furlong race at Royal Ascot. 

Over jumps the minimum distance is just shy of two-miles and the maximum is the Grand National’s four-and-a-half miles.



In flat racing horses always start from starting stalls (or starting gates). Their position in the starting stalls is designated by a draw and where a horse is drawn can have a big impact on the outcome of the race. At some tracks, such as Chester, a ‘low draw’ (in other words starting close to the inside rail) can be considered invaluable.



Horse races are priced-up several hours before their scheduled off time (a day beforehand in many cases) and consequently there is always significant fluctuation in their prices. A runner which goes out in price (increases) is known as a ‘drifter’ as its price has drifted.



A term used amongst punters as part of their betting slang, a ‘drifter’ is simply a horse or greyhound which has drifted in the betting. Even if a horse’s odds has gone out from 4/6 to even-money it will still be referred to as a ‘drifter’ which is conceived as being bad news by serious punters – despite the runner still being a healthy favourite.



Technically the ‘favourite’ is the runner which is conceived to have the best chance of winning because it is the shortest priced horse in the field. The term is derived from being the most ‘favoured’ amongst punters whose weight of money have made it the betting ‘favourite’. You can bet on ‘unnamed favourites’ with most online bookmakers with your money going on the horse which officially started the SP (starting price) favourite.



The ‘Field’ is the term used to describe all the runners in a race. But, on occasion, it can also be used to describe horses other than the principles similar to the way the word ‘Bar’ is used. For example you could say: “The favourite is 6/4, the second favourite is 3/1 and it is 8/1 ‘the field’.” 



A classic piece of betting slang, ‘flip-flop’ refers to the horses at the head of the betting changing position whereby the favourite is demoted to second favourite and the second favourite goes to the head of the betting as the new ‘favourite’. It is a basic reversal of the top two horses in the betting and how they appear in the betting lists.



Form is the simple listing of a horse previous performances which punters study to assess the chances of a horse winning. Few people ‘read’ (or interpret) form in the same way and even if everyone was in agreement as to which horse has the best ‘form’ it does not guarantee it will win, but will probably lead to it starting the race as ‘favourite’.



A unit of distance which is used almost exclusively in horse racing. A furlong is exactly 201.168 metres, or 0.125 miles – so there are eight furlongs in a mile.  The old imperial measurement is always rounded up at the point of eight furlongs so a 22 furlong race is referred to as: two-miles-six-furlongs. Many racing professionals consider the ‘final furlong’ to be business end of a race and so its most decisive part of the contest.



A delicate one here guys… But a gelding is a horse which has had its wedding tackle removed! It’s a common procedure in horse racing and most male horses who do not have a potential career at stud ahead of them will be gelded (or castrated). Form students will tell you a horse having its first race following a gelding operation can often show improved form. Remarkably the operation is now considered ‘procedural’ and horses will only miss a few days of exercise and can be racing again within a month.


Get The Trip

With a race distance commonly called ‘the trip’, to get the trip simply means to see out the full race distance. Horses being transferred from flat racing to jumps racing for the first time are always subject to such speculation as their stamina has probably never been tested at the minimum jumps race distance of two-miles.



There are many descriptions used to describe the racing surface in British and Irish horse racing. Soft, heavy, good, firm and all such similar descriptions and these are collectively known as ‘the going’.



A horse which is ‘green’ is one that looks or actually is inexperienced. He/she may not have raced before or are having their first experience of racing over obstacles and have shown distinct greenness or immaturity.