The A-Z Of Horse Trading: Glossary 

 May 15, 2023

By  Philip Borrowman

Welcome to the ultimate and comprehensive horse racing terminology A-Z glossary for beginner horse race traders. You've come to the right place if you're new to horse racing trading or looking to enhance your knowledge.

I designed this glossary to provide a solid understanding of the key terms and concepts used in the exciting world of horse racing trading. I update this every week to ensure this becomes the best place to reference any racing terms.

As a beginner trader in the horse racing niche, I understand the importance of having a clear grasp of the specific terminology and strategies unique to this market.

That's why I've created this glossary—to demystify the jargon and equip you with the knowledge necessary to confidently engage in horse race trading.

From fundamental concepts like back bets, lay bets, and liquidity to advanced strategies such as scalping and green-up, I've covered it all. 

Whether you're interested in understanding the dynamics of betting exchanges, exploring different trading strategies, or grasping the nuances of market fluctuations, this glossary has got you covered.

I've compiled a comprehensive list of terms specific to horse race trading, ensuring that you have all the necessary tools to navigate the markets successfully.

So, get ready to embark on your horse racing trading journey armed with knowledge and confidence. Let this glossary serve as your go-to resource, guiding you through the intricacies of the horse racing trading world.

Together, we'll unlock the secrets to becoming a successful horse race trader.

Let's dive in and start our exciting journey together.

Ante-Post

These are bets placed in advance of the race day, often with more generous odds, but with the risk that if the horse does not run, the stake is lost.

Arbitrage Betting

Arbitrage betting, also known as "arbing" or "sure betting", is a betting strategy where a bettor takes advantage of the different odds set by bookmakers to guarantee a profit no matter the outcome of an event.

This is achieved by betting on all possible outcomes of an event across multiple bookmakers. The differing odds mean that at least one of these bets will result in a win. If the differences in odds are significant enough, it's possible to make a profit regardless of which bet wins.

Betting Exhanges can also be used to offset bets to ensure a profit.

Accumulator

An accumulator is a single bet that links together multiple individual wagers and is dependent on all of those wagers winning together. For example, you could place an accumulator bet on four different horses to win in four different races. If all four win, you get a much higher payout than if you had bet on each individually.

Back Bet

A "back bet" in horse racing trading on Betfair is when you place a bet on a horse or outcome to win. 

For example, if a horse named "Speedy Gal" has odds of 5.0 to win, you can place a back bet on it. If Speedy Gal wins, you receive a payout based on the odds you backed it at.

  1. You back Speedy Gal to win with a £10 stake at odds of 5.0.
  2. If Speedy Gal wins, you receive a payout of £50, which includes the original £10 stake. (£10 stake multiplied by 5.0 odds).
  3. However, if Speedy Gal doesn't win, you lose your £10 stake.

Bar Price

This refers to the odds of those horses in a race that are not quoted with a price during betting forecasts. The bar price is the minimum betting odds for any selection not quoted. For instance, if the betting forecast is 5-1, 4-1, and 10-1 bar, any horse not listed in the forecast is at least 10-1.

Betting Exchanges

Betting exchanges are online platforms that allow users to bet against each other on various sporting events and other outcomes. Unlike traditional bookmakers, betting exchanges enable users to both back (bet on an outcome) and lay (bet against an outcome) bets.

Here are some examples of popular betting exchanges:

Betfair: Betfair is one of the largest and most well-known betting exchanges, offering a wide range of sports and events for users to bet on.

Betdaq: Betdaq is another popular betting exchange that provides a platform for users to trade bets and participate in peer-to-peer betting.

Smarkets: Smarkets is a betting exchange known for its low commission rates and user-friendly interface.

Matchbook: Matchbook focuses on providing betting opportunities for professional and experienced bettors, with a strong emphasis on sports like football and horse racing.

How betting exchanges differ from traditional bookmakers:

Role of the Operator: In a betting exchange, the platform acts as an intermediary, matching bets between users, while bookmakers set the odds and take the opposing side of the bet.

Backing and Laying: Betting exchanges allow users to both back and lay bets. Backing is placing a bet on an outcome to happen, just like with a bookmaker. However, laying allows users to bet against an outcome, effectively acting as the bookmaker themselves.

Market Odds: Betting exchanges offer dynamic and fluctuating odds determined by supply and demand. Users can see and request odds offered by other users, and they can also set their own odds when laying bets. Bookmakers, on the other hand, set their own fixed odds.

Flexibility: Betting exchanges provide greater flexibility by allowing users to trade their bets during an event. This means they can adjust their positions, lock in profits, or minimize losses by placing additional bets or closing existing bets before the event concludes.

Commission: Betting exchanges charge a commission on net winnings, usually a small percentage, whereas bookmakers typically build their margins into the odds.

Betting exchanges offer a unique and innovative way for users to engage in betting, providing opportunities for more control, flexibility, and better odds compared to traditional bookmakers.

Blinkers

Blinkers are a piece of horse racing equipment that limit a horse's peripheral vision to help it focus on the race. They are usually made of leather or synthetic materials and are fitted over the horse's head so that they cover the sides of the eyes.

Example: A horse that gets easily distracted by the crowd or other horses may perform better when wearing blinkers.

Board Price

The odds displayed on the racecourse betting boards are known as board prices. These are the official odds used to determine the settlement of bets if a punter has not taken a price.

Breakage

Breakage refers to the rounding down of the amount paid out on winning bets to the nearest nickel or dime, depending on the rules of the racetrack. The excess amount is kept by the track or distributed in other ways, such as contributing to the purse.

Example: If a bet should pay out $10.59 based on the odds, it might be rounded down to $10.50 due to breakage.

Bookmaker

A bookmaker is a licensed individual or company authorized to take bets from the public. They set the odds for various sporting events, including horse races. For example, Bet365 and William Hill are well-known bookmakers.

Chalk

This term is used to describe the favorite horse in a race, the one with the shortest odds. For example, if Horse A is listed at 2-1 and is the shortest price in the field, it is considered the "chalk."

Class

The term refers to the level of competition that a horse has been racing against. Horses move up and down in class depending on their performance. For instance, a horse that has been winning races in lower class levels may be moved up to a higher class of competition.

Claiming Race

A claiming race is a type of horse race where all the horses are for sale for a specified price. Anyone can claim (buy) one of the horses for this price, but the claim must be made before the race starts. The new owner takes possession of the horse after the race, regardless of the horse's performance.

Example: In a claiming race with a $5,000 claiming price, any horse in the race can be purchased for $5,000 before the race starts.

Co-favorite

When two or more horses share the lowest odds in the betting market, they are known as co-favorites. For example, if two horses in a race are both listed at 3-1, they are co-favorites.

Correct Score

This is a bet where you have to predict the exact finishing order of a race. For example, you might bet that Horse A will finish first, Horse B second, and Horse C third.

Coupled Entry

A coupled entry refers to two or more horses running in the same race that are owned by the same owner or trained by the same trainer. In betting, they are usually considered as a single entity, meaning if you bet on one, you're effectively betting on all horses in the coupled entry.

Example: If Horses A and B are a coupled entry and you bet on Horse A to win, you would also win your bet if Horse B wins instead.

Daily Double

The Daily Double is a type of bet where you must pick the winners of two consecutive races. It's a more challenging bet than a single race bet but offers higher potential payouts.

Example: You might bet on Horse A to win the first race and Horse B to win the second race as your Daily Double.

Dead Heat

A Dead Heat in horse racing is when two or more horses cross the finish line at exactly the same time and the judge is unable to separate them. In terms of betting, stakes are usually divided by the number of winners in the Dead Heat.

For instance, if you bet £10 at odds of 5.0 on a horse, and it finishes in a Dead Heat with one other horse, your bet is effectively halved. Therefore, you get a return of £25 (£5 * 5), not the full £50 you would have received had your horse won outright.

Double

A double is a bet where you pick the winners of two separate races. Both selections must win for you to receive a payout. For example, you might bet on Horse A to win the first race and Horse B to win the second race.

Dutching

Dutching is a betting strategy used to spread risk across multiple selections in an event to guarantee an equal profit regardless of which selection wins. The effectiveness of this strategy relies on finding odds that are in your favour. Let's take a horse race as an example.

If Horse A is at odds of 3.0, Horse B at 4.0, and Horse C at 6.0, and after your analysis, you think any of these three have a good chance of winning, you might choose to Dutch them. If you want to stake a total of £100, you could use a dutching calculator to figure out the exact amount to stake on each horse to ensure the same return no matter which one wins.

This might result in staking approximately £50 on Horse A, £33 on Horse B, and £17 on Horse C. If any of these horses win, you'll get a return of £150, resulting in a £50 profit. Dutching is a valuable strategy when the odds are in your favour, enabling you to mitigate risk and secure profits.

Drifter

The term "drifter" is used to describe a horse whose odds are increasing. This happens when fewer traders are backing the horse (betting on it to win) or when a a large volume of lay bets are placed, which results in a lower demand and hence a rise in the odds or price.

There can be several reasons for a horse to become a drifter. It might be due to negative news about its form, such as poor performance in recent races, an injury, or even bad behaviour in the paddock. Additionally, a horse may also drift if there is positive news about one of the other horses in the race, causing traders to back the other horse and ignore the drifter.

Each Way (E/W)

This is a bet on a horse to either win or place in a race. The number of places that pay out can depend on the number of horses in the race, and it is typically less than the win payout.

You decide to make an each-way bet of £10 on Thunderbolt. An each-way bet is essentially two bets in one - a £10 bet for the horse to win, and a £10 bet for the horse to place within the top four. So, the total stake for your each-way bet is £20.

Here are the potential outcomes:

  1. If Thunderbolt wins the race: Both parts of your each-way bet win. The win part of your bet returns £210 (£10 stake * 20/1 odds + your £10 stake). The place part of your bet returns £60 (£10 stake * 20/1 odds * 1/4 place terms + your £10 stake). So, your total return would be £270, and your profit would be £250 (£270 return - £20 stake).
  2. If Thunderbolt finishes in the 2nd, 3rd, or 4th place: Only the place part of your each-way bet wins. This returns £60 (£10 stake * 20/1 odds * 1/4 place terms + your £10 stake). So, your total return would be £60, and your profit would be £40 (£60 return - £20 stake).
  3. If Thunderbolt finishes outside the top four: Both parts of your each-way bet lose. You lose your entire £20 stake.

Each-Way Double

An each-way double consists of two each-way bets placed on different races. An each-way bet is a bet of twice the selected unit stake, one bet for the selection to win and one bet for the selection to place.

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Evens or Even Money

This is when the potential winnings are the same as the amount staked. In other words, if you bet £1, you could win £1.

Exacta

An Exacta is a bet where you must pick the first two finishers in a race in their exact order. It's more difficult than a simple win or place bet but offers a higher potential reward.

Example: If you place an Exacta bet on Horse A to finish first and Horse B to finish second, you only win if that exact outcome occurs.

Filly

A filly is a young female horse, usually under the age of four. Fillies often race against other fillies or against both colts and fillies, depending on the conditions of the race.

Example: A race might be designated as a "Filly Stakes," meaning only fillies are eligible to compete.

Forecast

A forecast bet involves predicting the horses that will finish first and second in a specific order. For example, you might place a forecast bet that Horse A will finish first and Horse B will finish second.

Furlong

A furlong is a unit of measurement that is commonly used in horse racing to describe the distance of a race. It is an old English unit that is equivalent to 1/8th of a mile, or 201.168 meters.

The term "furlong" derives from the Old English words "furh" (furrow) and "lang" (long). Originally, it was used to measure the length of a furrow in one acre of a ploughed field in the open field system of medieval England. Over time, it was standardized as a length of 220 yards.

In horse racing, it's a traditional and still commonly used measure of distance. So, when you hear that a race is, say, 10 furlongs long, it means the race is 1.25 miles in length.

Front Runner

A front runner is a horse that typically runs best when leading or running near the front of the field from the start of the race. These horses are often fast starters that strive to get ahead of the pack early in the race.

Front runners have a particular racing style. They go out fast from the gate, get to the front, and attempt to "wire the field," meaning they lead the race from start to finish. This strategy can sometimes benefit the horse by avoiding getting boxed in or experiencing traffic problems in the pack. However, it can also be risky if the horse uses too much energy at the start and then tires before the end of the race.

In betting and trading, identifying potential front runners can be valuable. For instance, in in-play betting, the odds of a front runner may shorten (get lower) at the beginning of the race because it's in the lead, creating potential trading opportunities. But remember that not all races are won by front runners, and many factors can influence the outcome of a race.

Gelding

A gelding is a male horse that has been castrated. Geldings are often calmer and easier to manage than stallions. They can compete in most types of horse races but are not eligible for breeding.

Example: A horse might be gelded to improve its temperament and focus on racing.

Greening Up

"Greening up" in Betfair trading refers to the act of placing additional bets to secure a profit or minimize potential losses regardless of the final outcome of an event. 

It involves creating a balanced position by strategically placing bets on different selections.

For example, let's say you have placed a back bet on a horse named "Clear Hope", and its odds have significantly decreased since your initial bet. 

To green up and guarantee a profit, you can place a lay bet on Clear Hope at the current lower odds. 

By doing so, you create a situation where you will make a profit regardless of whether Clear Hope wins or loses the race.

Greening up allows traders to manage their risk and ensure a predetermined profit by adjusting their betting positions based on changing odds or market conditions. 

Going

The term "going" refers to the condition of the racecourse surface. Conditions can range from heavy to soft to good to firm. Knowing the going is essential for punters as some horses perform better on certain types of surfaces.

Hand Ride

A hand ride refers to a situation where a jockey urges the horse forward using only his or her hands and arms, without using the whip. It's often seen as a sign that the horse is running comfortably and doesn't need additional encouragement.

Example: If a horse is leading comfortably in the final stretch, the jockey might give it a hand ride to the finish line, saving energy for future races.

Handicap Races

A handicap race in UK horse racing is a type of race in which horses carry different weights, allocated by the official handicapper. The purpose of a handicap race is to create a level playing field and to give all horses an equal chance of winning.

The theory behind handicap races is that a horse carrying less weight should find it easier to run faster than a horse carrying more weight. Therefore, the weight a horse carries in a handicap race is directly linked to its previous performances.

In the UK, every horse aged three years and above that has raced three times in Britain is given an official rating. This rating can go up or down depending on the horse's subsequent performance in races. The better a horse performs, the higher its rating will be, which means it will have to carry more weight in future handicap races.

The handicapper’s aim is to have every horse in the race cross the finish line at the same time. This never happens in practice, but it’s the theory behind the system. Handicap races are the most common type of horse racing in the UK and they offer the opportunity for some of the most competitive and exciting races.

Hedge

Hedging in betting refers to placing bets on different outcomes to secure a profit or minimize a loss, irrespective of the result. The goal is to either 'green up' (guarantee a profit) or lessen the potential loss. For example, let's say you've backed a horse at 5.0 with a £10 stake.

Closer to the race, the horse's form impresses many and its odds drop to 3.0 due to increased backing. Seeing this opportunity, you could then lay the horse at these new lower odds for a stake calculated to ensure that, whether the horse wins or loses, you make a profit. This is called hedging, a popular strategy amongst traders for managing risk and securing profits.

In-Play Trading

Trading "in-play" is when a trader places back/lay bets on horse after the race has started. 

The trader can make trading decisions based on how the horse is running.

For example, if a longshot horse starts off strongly, a trader might place a back bet in-play at a higher price, then sell if the odds shorten within the next 30 seconds, securing a profit regardless of the final result.

However, in-play trading also has risks. The rapid pace of live racing means odds can change swiftly, and there can be a delay in broadcasting, which means decisions might be made on outdated information. If not careful, a trader could end up with a losing position.

Inquiry

An inquiry is an official review or investigation conducted by the race stewards to determine if there were any rule violations during a race. This can include checking for interference, illegal maneuvers, or whether a horse was carrying the correct weight. The outcome of an inquiry can lead to disqualifications, changes in the order of finish, or other penalties.

Example: After a close finish between two horses, an inquiry might be initiated to review if the leading horse impeded the trailing horse's path, thereby affecting the outcome of the race.

Jockey's Claim

This refers to a weight allowance given to less experienced jockeys, also known as apprentice or conditional jockeys. The aim is to compensate for their lack of experience compared to professional jockeys.

For example, an apprentice jockey might have a 5lb claim, meaning they can ride horses that are 5lb lighter than the weight determined by the race conditions.

This is intended to level the playing field, giving less experienced jockeys a chance to compete against their seasoned counterparts. In the betting markets, a significant jockey's claim might cause a horse's odds to shorten if bettors believe it gives the horse a competitive edge.

Juvenile

In horse racing, a juvenile refers to a two-year-old horse. These young horses often participate in races specifically designed for their age group, known as juvenile races. The term is used to differentiate them from older horses and to indicate that they are generally less experienced.

Example: The Breeders' Cup Juvenile is a prestigious race in the United States for two-year-old thoroughbreds, often serving as an early indicator of potential stars in the making.

Key Horse

A key horse is one that a bettor believes is a near-certain winner and is therefore included in multiple combination bets. By "keying" a horse, the bettor can create various betting scenarios that hinge on that particular horse's performance, such as in exactas, trifectas, or parlays.

Example: If you're confident that Horse A will win, you might use it as a key horse in multiple exacta bets, pairing it with different horses for the second-place finish. For instance, you could have exacta bets like A-B, A-C, and A-D, where A is your key horse.

Late Double

A Late Double is similar to a Daily Double, but it involves picking the winners of the last two races on the card for the day. This type of bet is popular because it gives bettors one last chance to make a significant win, often with the benefit of having observed the earlier races.

Example: After watching the performances in the earlier races, you might feel more confident in picking Horse X in the penultimate race and Horse Y in the final race as your Late Double.

Lay Bet

A "Lay Bet" is when you bet against a horse or outcome, believing it will not win. It is essentially acting as the bookmaker.

For example, let's say there is a horse named "Bobby" with odds of 5.0 to win. Instead of backing Bobby, you can place a lay bet on it. 

  1. If you lay Bobby with a £10 stake at odds of 5.0, you are offering odds to other bettors who back Bobby.
  2. If Bobby does not win the race, your lay bet is successful. In this case, you keep the backer's stake (minus any commission) as your profit. 
  3. However, if Bobby wins, your lay bet is unsuccessful, and you have to pay out the backer's winnings based on the odds you laid.

For instance, if someone backed Bobby with a £10 stake at odds of 5.0, you would be liable to pay them £50 (their stake multiplied by the odds).

Lay bets allow you to profit from horses or outcomes not winning, providing an alternative approach to trading on Betfair where you can take on the role of the bookmaker.

Liability

"Liability" refers to the potential loss or amount of money you are at risk of losing if your bet does not win. 

It specifically applies to lay bets, where you act as the bookmaker and are liable to pay out the winnings to the backer if the selection you laid goes on to win.

For example, let's say you place a lay bet on a football team to lose with a stake of £50 and odds of 3.0. If the team wins the match, your liability would be £100 (£50 stake multiplied by the odds of 3.0). 

This means you would need to pay out £100 to the backer who placed a corresponding back bet.

Liability is an important concept to consider when laying bets on Betfair as it determines the potential risk and financial exposure associated with your bets.

Liquidity

"Liquidity" refers to the availability of money or funds within a market, specifically the betting market on Betfair. It represents the volume of money that is being matched or traded on a particular selection or market.

High liquidity means that there is a significant amount of money being matched, resulting in a more active and efficient market. This is beneficial for traders as it allows for easy execution of bets and quicker entry and exit from positions.

Low liquidity, on the other hand, indicates that there is less money being matched, resulting in a thinner market. This can make it more challenging for traders to execute their desired bets at desired prices and may lead to higher price volatility and potential slippage.

Liquidity is an essential factor for traders as it affects the ease of trading, the speed at which bets can be matched, and the ability to enter and exit positions without significantly impacting the odds or market prices.

BetAngel, as a trading software, provides tools and features that allow traders to monitor and analyze liquidity levels within different markets. By understanding liquidity and its impact, traders can make more informed decisions and adapt their strategies accordingly to take advantage of market conditions.

Long Odds

This is when the odds are high, typically because the horse is not expected to win. It's the opposite of being odds-on.

Maiden

A maiden is a horse that has not yet won a race. Maiden races are events where all the participating horses are maidens. These races often serve as a starting point for many horses' careers.

Market Movers

A term used in betting to denote a selection whose odds have significantly shortened or lengthened. These shifts in odds could be due to a variety of factors, including changes in track conditions, significant amounts being bet on a particular selection, or insider information coming to light.

For example, if a horse's odds were originally 5.0 (a 20% implied chance of winning), but substantial betting on this horse causes the odds to shorten to 3.0 (a 33% implied chance of winning), it's considered a 'Market Mover.'

This substantial change in odds is often an indication for traders to reassess their positions. Traders who can accurately predict or quickly respond to market movers often secure favourable positions in the market.

Market Volume

Market volume in horse race trading on Betfair is the total money wagered on a particular market, encompassing all bets on all outcomes. It's an indicator of liquidity and market activity.

High volume indicates more liquidity, allowing for larger bets without significant market price impact. It also implies more bettors, leading to efficient market pricing. Low volume markets may experience big odds swings from small bets.

Market volume can influence trading decisions. Higher volume markets offer better liquidity, making trades easier, though they might be more competitive and challenging for profitable opportunities.

Money Back Special

This is a type of bet where your stake is returned under certain conditions, such as your horse finishing second. For example, a bookmaker might offer a money-back special if your horse loses by less than a length.

Morning Line

The Morning Line is an estimated set of odds released by the track's official handicapper before betting begins. These odds are meant to predict how the betting public will wager but are not a guarantee. They serve as a useful guide for bettors in assessing the value of different horses.

Example: If the Morning Line lists Horse A at 4-1 odds but you believe the horse has a better chance of winning, you might see this as a good betting opportunity.

Non-Runner

A Non-Runner is a term used in horse racing to denote a horse that was initially scheduled to race but has subsequently been withdrawn. The reasons for a horse becoming a Non-Runner can vary from injury, illness, unsuitable ground conditions, or a decision by the trainer or owner.

For example, if you placed a bet on Horse A at 3.0, but later it was declared a Non-Runner due to an injury, your bet would be void, and your stake returned. Non-Runners can significantly affect the betting markets, causing odds for remaining runners to adjust due to the altered race dynamics.

Odds-On

This means that a horse is considered so likely to win that a successful bet on that horse will pay out less than the original stake. For example, if a horse is at odds of 1/2, you would need to bet £2 to win £1.

Overlay

In betting, an overlay occurs when the odds offered for a particular outcome are higher than its perceived or actual probability of occurring.

Essentially, you are getting a price that's better than its true odds. For instance, if a horse's real chance of winning a race is 50%, the fair odds should be 2.0. However, if a bookmaker or a betting exchange offers odds of 3.0 for the horse to win, that's an overlay.

In this case, if you were to back the horse, you would stand to gain more profit than the horse's actual chances of winning warrant. Overlays represent potential value for a bettor and spotting them can be a key part of a profitable betting strategy.

Overround

The overround is the bookmaker's theoretical profit margin on a betting market. It's calculated by converting the odds for all possible outcomes into percentages and then summing these percentages. An overround greater than 100% means the bookmaker has an edge.

Pick Six

A Pick Six is one of the most challenging and potentially lucrative bets in horse racing. It involves selecting the winners of six consecutive races. Due to the difficulty of hitting all six winners, the payouts can be enormous, often reaching into the hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars.

Example: You might choose Horses A, B, C, D, E, and F to win races 1 through 6, respectively. If all these selections win, you hit the Pick Six and stand to win a substantial payout.

Punter

A punter is someone who places a bet. The term is commonly used in the UK to describe people who bet on horse racing. For example, a punter might place a £10 bet on a horse to win at odds of 5-1.

Quinella

A Quinella is a bet where you pick the first two horses to finish, but unlike an Exacta, they can finish in any order. If either of your chosen horses finishes first or second, you win the bet. It's easier to win than an Exacta but usually offers a smaller payout.

Example: If you place a Quinella bet on Horse A and Horse B, you win if Horse A finishes first and Horse B second, or vice versa.

Resistance Point

In horse race trading, think of a resistance point as a ceiling that the price (odds) struggles to break through due to significant backing/laying activity.

Some commonly observed points (price levels) are at decimal odds of 2.0, 3.0, 4.0, 6.0, etc., and sometimes at fractional points like 1.5, 2.5, etc. These points are often round numbers or fractions, which are psychologically appealing to traders and hence see a high level of activity.

For example, many traders might set their betting strategies around these points, placing lay bets if the price falls below a certain level (say 2.0) or back bets if the price goes above that level. This can create "resistance" or "support" at these points, with the price often fluctuating around them.

Rollover

A rollover in betting refers to the process of reinvesting the profit from a winning bet into another bet. The entire original stake and profit become the stake for the next bet.

For example, if you back a horse with a £10 bet at odds of 3.0 and win, you would then take the full £30 (your original £10 stake plus £20 profit) and place it all on another bet. This strategy is often used in attempts to maximise profits, but comes with a higher risk as all the winnings can be lost on the next bet.

Rule 4

Rule 4 is a deduction applied to winning bets if a horse is withdrawn from a race after your bet was placed. The amount of the deduction depends on the odds of the withdrawn horse. For example, if a 2-1 favorite is withdrawn, a 10% Rule 4 deduction might be applied to all winning bets.

Scalping

A scalper will place bets on both sides of the market (back and lay bets) in an attempt to exploit small price movements for a profit. It's a form of short-term trading, where the objective is not necessarily to predict the outcome of the race, but to take advantage of these small, frequent price changes.

It's important to note that this strategy requires speed, discipline, and a good understanding of the betting markets. The fluctuations in horse racing markets can be rapid and significant, so scalping can carry risk.

Short Odds

These are low odds where the potential payout is less than that of a high-odds bet because the outcome is viewed as more likely.

Show Bet

A Show bet is a wager on a horse to finish in the top three positions. It's considered one of the safest bets in horse racing but also offers a lower payout compared to Win or Place bets. It's often recommended for novice bettors as a way to enjoy the race with a lower risk.

Example: If you place a Show bet on Horse A, you win if Horse A finishes first, second, or third in the race.

Starting Price (SP)

This is the price of each horse at the start of the race. It's often used as the official odds if no other odds have been selected.

Steaming

The term "steaming" is commonly used to refer to a situation where there is a significant and persistent decrease in the price (odds) of a horse. This is usually due to a large number of traders backing (betting on) the horse, which drives the price down.

This can happen for a variety of reasons. For instance, a horse might steam if there is positive news about its form or if it performs well in the paddock, leading traders to believe that the horse has a higher chance of winning than previously thought.

Recognising a steaming horse can be a useful indicator for traders, as it signals a strong market sentiment towards that horse. Traders might choose to back a steaming horse early and then lay it off later at a lower price for a profit.

Steeplechase Racing

Steeplechase racing, a popular form of National Hunt racing in the UK, involves horses racing over a long distance and jumping over a variety of obstacles. The name "steeplechase" originated from early races in Ireland where competitors raced from one church steeple to another, hence the term "steeplechase".

In the modern context of horse racing, a steeplechase is a race in which horses jump over fences and ditches. The distance of these races varies but can be up to four miles. The obstacles include plain fences, water jumps, and open ditches. One of the most famous steeplechase races is the Grand National, which is held annually at Aintree Racecourse in Liverpool, England.

In a steeplechase race, the skill of the horse and jockey to navigate these obstacles at high speed is of paramount importance. The combination of endurance, speed, and jumping ability makes steeplechasing a thrilling and highly demanding equestrian sport.

Superfecta

A Superfecta is a highly challenging bet that requires you to pick the first four horses to finish in exact order. Due to its difficulty, the Superfecta often offers extremely high payouts, sometimes reaching into the thousands of dollars for just a $1 bet.

Example: If you place a Superfecta bet on Horses A, B, C, and D, you win only if Horse A finishes first, Horse B second, Horse C third, and Horse D fourth in that exact sequence.

Swing Trading

This is a type of trading strategy where a trader seeks to capture gains by holding a position for a period ranging from several minutes to several days.

In the context of Betfair horse racing markets, a swing trader might back a horse at odds of 4.0 early in the day, expecting the odds to shorten as the race approaches. If the odds drop to 3.0, the trader can lay the same horse at these shorter odds to secure a profit before the race even starts.

Tick

In betting exchanges like Betfair, a tick is the smallest possible increment between the odds. It's the unit by which odds rise and fall. For example, if a horse's odds move from 3.0 to 2.99, that's a movement of one tick. Traders attempt to profit from these small movements in odds by backing and laying at different prices.

Tick Size

Tick size refers to the increment at which the odds increase or decrease. In Betfair, the tick size varies depending on the odds range. For example, between odds of 2.0 and 3.0, the tick size is 0.02 (i.e., the odds move in increments of 0.02), while for odds between 3.0 and 4.0, the tick size is 0.05. Understanding tick size is crucial for traders as it impacts the potential profit or loss from each trade.

Tic-Tac

Tic-Tac is the sign language used by bookmakers on the racecourse to communicate odds and other betting information. For example, touching the top of the head might signify odds of 9-1.

Tote

The Tote is a form of pool betting where all the stakes are pooled and then divided among those who backed the winning horses. The Tote offers various types of bets like Placepot, Quadpot, and Jackpot.

Trading Range

This term refers to the range between the highest and lowest odds that a horse's price has moved within a particular period. For instance, if a horse's odds over the course of a day have fluctuated between 3.0 and 4.0, then the trading range for that horse for the day is 3.0 to 4.0. The trading range provides insight into market volatility and the level of confidence among traders, helping to inform trading decisions.

Treble

A treble is a single bet that links together three selections in three different events. All three selections must win for the bet to be successful. For example, you might place a treble on Horse A to win the first race, Horse B to win the second, and Horse C to win the third.

Trifecta

A Trifecta is a bet where you must pick the first three horses to finish in their exact order. This type of bet is more challenging than a Win, Place, or Show bet but offers a higher potential payout. Some racetracks also offer "Boxed" Trifectas, where the three horses can finish in any order among the top three.

Example: If you place a Trifecta bet on Horses A, B, and C, you win only if Horse A finishes first, Horse B second, and Horse C third in that exact order.

Weight of Money

It refers to the total amount of money waiting to be matched on each side of the market, i.e., the back and lay sides.

It is often used to predict future price movements. For example, if there is a large amount of money waiting to be matched on the lay side compared to the back side, it might indicate that the price is likely to rise, as there are more people looking to lay (bet against) the horse at the current price. Conversely, if there's more money on the back side, the price is likely to fall, as more people want to back (bet on) the horse at the current price.

Win Bet

A Win bet is the most straightforward type of horse racing bet. You're simply betting on a horse to win the race. If your chosen horse crosses the finish line first, you win the bet. The payout is determined by the odds at the time you placed the bet.

Example: If you place a Win bet on Horse A at odds of 5-1 and Horse A wins, you would receive 5 times your stake plus your original stake back.

Philip Borrowman


I am a full-time marketer and part-time Betfair trader. I have over 10 years of experience in the pre-race and in-play horse trading markets and spend my days writing guides, tips and tricks to help beginner Betfair traders find their way to a profitable second income. Read my story of trading on Betfair.

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