We have highlighted a few of the most common phrases you’re likely to hear so you’ll be speaking the lingo like a true professional in no time!

Newbury is a dual-purpose racecourse meaning that we stage both Flat and Jump racing:

Flat racing:
as it sounds. No jumps or hurdles, just a flat out gallop from start to finish! Our Flat season runs from April to October and tends to be contested by the youngest horses, bred for speed. Some of these horses may switch to Jumping when they get older, but the majority will be kept to the flat, and probably begin a second career at stud, which can be lucrative for their owners if they are successful.

Jump racing: racing over obstacles which can either be fences (known as Chases) or hurdles.  Jump racing at Newbury takes place from November to April.  Chase fences are 4ft 7 inches high at Newbury and include open ditches and a water jump.  Hurdle races are over smaller obstacles and tend to be of shorter distance, and therefore run at a faster pace than steeplechases. Most horses will start their jumping career in hurdle races before moving up to the bigger obstacles.


Selection regarded as the best bet of the day.

Betting ring
Area of the racecourse, situated on the paved area in front of the Grandstand, from which most on-course bookmakers operate. Also known as the jungle.

A short-priced horse that professionals think will be beaten and the term is derived from the wartime instruction ‘Sink the Bismark!’

The more common name for a National Hunt Flat race for prospective jumping horses giving them the chance to experience a raceday without the inconvenience of having to clear obstacles.

Calling a cab
An expression sometimes used to describe a jockey when he waves his arm up in the air to help maintain his balance as his mount takes a jump, often making a mistake.

The physical make-up of a horse.

Double carpet
Betting slang for odds of 33-1.

Fiddling its fences
Describes a horse which clears the obstacles in a race, but with a muddling jumping action.

One-eighth of a mile (220 yards), originating from the old English ‘furrow long’ and is the distance in which races are measured.

Male horse of any age which has been neutered (castrated).

The official description of the racing surface determined by the amount of moisture in the ground and comprising the seven grades of heavy, soft, good to soft, good, good to firm, firm and hard. For artificial surfaces the official grades are: fast, standard to fast, standard, standard to slow and slow.

Graded/Group race
The top tier of races (Graded 1, 2, 3 over Jumps or Group 1, 2, 3 on the Flat).  The JLT Lockinge Stakes is our only Group 1 race in the summer.  Races rated just below this group are known as Listed races.

At least two of the races on a raceday will be handicaps. A handicap, is a contest in which the weight each horse is to carry is individually allotted (by the official handicapper) according to past performance, the theoretical object being to equalise the chances of all horses in the race. Handicaps often provide thrilling finishes.

Timber-framed obstacle interlaced with gorse and birch and measuring a minimum of three foot six inches high.

Alternative name for the favourite in any race.

Slang for £500.

Morning glory
Describes a horse which works well on the gallops in the morning, but is unable to reproduce that form on the racecourse.

Tipster’s top bet of the day and is derived from the card game Napoleon in which going nap undertakes capturing all five tricks.

National Hunt
The generic name for racing over hurdles and steeplechases and commonly known as Jumping. The programme on any day’s racing can include events known as Graded or Listed races, those designed exclusively for novices and beginners, hunter chases, as well as National Hunt Flat races.

To jump a fence quickly and neatly.

Betting slang for odds of 25-1 or £25.  It also is the name for a small type of horse standing up to 14.2 hands high.

Parade ring
Area of the paddock where the runners in a race are paraded before the public prior to the jockeys’ mounting.

A term which comes from when horses used to race from one village steeple to the next.  A race run over distances of two miles and upwards in which horses are required to jump over a minimum of twelve closely packed birch fences ranging from 4ft 6in to 5ft 2in, a water jump (optional) and open ditch. Also known as ‘over the sticks,’ or a chase.

Persons responsible for enforcing and regulating the Rules of Racing.

A successful gamble, often referred to as ‘landing a touch’.

If you still have further questions you would like to ask, please email us at [email protected]