When betting on horse racing in New Zealand, it’s important to understand the terminology. Our NZ horse racing terms guide helps you to understand what we’re talking about when it comes to betting on horse racing. Betting sites use lots of jargon within each horse race, so try to get used to each term.
Check out our glossary of NZ horse racing terms to be better informed when betting on horses in the Melbourne Cup in Australia as well as other major events.
Glossary of Racing Terms
We will explain the most important NZ horse racing terms.
Back Straight – the straight part of the race track furthest away from spectators and the winning post.
Barrier – the ‘gate’ or ‘stall’ racehorses stand in before the race. The barrier draw is conducted when the final field is known, which sometimes affects bets due to track advantage.
Blinkers – headgear fitted to a horse’s head. This helps horses to keep the focus on what is happening ahead of them in a horse race rather than to the side or behind them.
Bookmaker – bookmakers offer bet odds within horse racing. This can be at the track as well as on online betting sites. Bookmakers and betting sites offer win odds, each way odds and many other bets. Also, bookmakers give free bets for horse racing.
Boxed In – when a horse is trapped on or near the rails, surrounded by other horses. When they are full of running but are held in, this can affect the result and, therefore, your bet.
Card – a horse racing fixture or ‘meeting’.
Colt – a male horse of three years of age or under.
Correct Weight – horses get a weight before all races. Jockeys are weighed in after each horse race finish. Correct weight has to be signalled before bets are paid out.
Dead Heat – a dead heat is called when two or more runners cannot be separated at the line after a photo finish. In this case, win bets are paid out on both runners, with half of the odds on each bet.
Other Popular Terms
Declaration of Weights – the publication by the handicapper of the weight that each runner carries in a horse race. In the case of the Melbourne Cup, the racing weight can greatly affect the odds. This is one of the more important NZ horse racing terms.
Enclosure – an area for horse racing runners to gather before and after the race.
Field – all runners in a horse race. Bookmakers and betting sites give odds to win on all runners.
Filly – a female horse of three years old or under.
Form – the most important of all the NZ horse racing terms. A form guide shows each runner’s horse racing history and performance. This is how a punter can pick the right horse to win with betting sites.
Free Bets – from time to time, bookmakers give free bets for horse races. These involve a punter making a bet for free, with returns not including the ‘stake’.
Gelding – a castrated male horse of any age.
Handicap – a horse race in which each horse carries weights depending on its official rating.
Home Turn – the final turn in a horse race. The runners take the final turn into the home straight before heading for the finish line.
Inquiry – a meeting the stewards call when there has been interference in a horse race. The outcome could mean a change of result, something affecting win and place bets for the punter.
Maiden – a horse that has not yet managed to win. A Maiden Race is for such horses only.
Mare – a female horse of four years old and over.
Margins – the distance between horses at the finish of a race.
Nominations – the list of horses for a race.
More Popular Terms
Odds – betting odds represent the chances a horse has of winning. Bookmakers and betting sites set out odds. A punter can then choose whether or not to bet, depending on the win and place odds.
Photo Finish – a close finish that requires the judge to see a photo in order to separate horses. This is common in horse racing. This is vital for delving out prize money and for settling win and place betting.
Prize Money – win and place prize money is available in each horse race. The owners give prize money, with a percentage going to the winning jockey and trainer too.
Scratching – a horse that was due to race, but they pulled it out.
Stakes – there are two meanings. A ‘stakes’ race is a top-class, weight-for-age event. Stakes are also what a punter bets with a bookmaker, i.e., a NZ$10 bet at 2/1 means a return of NZ $30 (NZ$10 x 2 plus stakes in return).
Stayer – in horse racing, a stayer is one that can race over long distances. Understanding stayers helps win and place betting in events such as the Melbourne Cup. That makes this one of the key NZ horse racing terms.
Trainer – the person or persons responsible for looking after horses and preparing them. A trainer must hold a licence to handle runners in horse racing.
Winning Post – the winning post marks the finish line of a horse race.
NZ horse racing terms don’t need to be scary. A basic understanding of each horse racing and betting term can help you when you have a bet.