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Your Guide to Horse Racing Lingo


As you gear up for Spring Carnival, Melbourne Cup or another big horse racing event, make sure you're speaking the right language trackside.

Age of the Horse: All racehorses celebrate their birthdays on the same day, in the Northern Hemisphere it's the 1st of January, and in the Southern Hemisphere it's celebrated on the 1st of August.

Backed Off the Map: This is what you want after you've placed your bet, a ton of money is coming in for your selection which suggests it's there to run a big race.

Boxed Seated/Taking a Seat or Smoking a Pipe: This is when a horse has started well and is settled in just off speed in preparation to strike at the finish.


Correct Weight: One of the more important calls, is when the weight carried by the jockeys is checked and 'correct weight' is the signal that means bets can be paid to the winner and runners up.

Dead: Not a bad phrase, it just means the favoured runner has drifted in betting before disappointing in the race.

Dead Heat: This is when two or more horses finish in an exact tie at the finishing line. For a dead heat the odds of a horse are divided in half to pay out each of the two winners evenly.

Dwelt: This horse has hesitated at the start of the race and is slowly getting into stride.

First Starter: This is a horse making its track racing debut.

Fractious: This means the horse is highly aroused and unsettled, if it happens in the barriers there's a good chance it will bungle the start.


Get Out Stakes: Also known as the 'Desperation Stakes', this is a bet on the last race of the day and the final roll of the dice. It never ends well.

Hard Held: This is when a jockey is attempting to slow down the horse and not win by a huge margin and incur a hefty weight penalty in the next race.

Heavy Track: A rain-affected track, a heavy 10 is the worst track rating in Australia.

Knocked Up: No the horse is not pregnant, this is when a horse becomes noticeably tired towards the end of a race.

Long Shot: A horse paying big odds.

Maiden: This is a horse that is yet to win a race.

Mudlark: A horse that excels in wet conditions.

Pig Root: This is the act of horse bucking which often results in the jockey becoming dislodged and the horse losing ground.

Ridden Out: This is when a horse has been vigorously ridden by it's jockey without the use of a whip.

Salute/Greet the Judge: This refers to when the winning horse passes the finishing post in first position.


Under Double Wraps: A horse who is travelling well down the track without any urging from its jockey.

Did we miss one? Let us know in the comments or on Facebook.

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