There’s nothing quite like the adrenaline kick of a closely contested horse race. There are two main forms of horse racing in Ireland and Great Britain.
Flat racing – which is run over distances between 5 furlongs and 2 miles 5 furlongs 159 yards on courses without obstacles.
National Hunt racing – which is run over distances between 2 miles and 4 1⁄2 miles, where horses usually jump either hurdles or fences (races known as steeplechases).
There is also a category of National Hunt races known as National Hunt flat races, which are run under National Hunt rules, but where no obstacles are jumped. There is another form of racing which is run on an altogether more informal basis, known as point-to-point racing. Point-to-point is a form of steeplechasing for amateur riders.
The racing of horses has a long history in Ireland, it is one of Ireland’s most popular sports. Ireland is one of the strongest producers and trainers of Thoroughbred horses in the world.
Which Races Can I Bet On?
There is a wide choice available at BetXS.
We host a great selection of all of the top race meetings on our betting terminals.
The main races in the Irish horse-racing calendar are the Irish Derby, the Irish Champion Stakes, the Irish Oaks, the Irish 1,000 Guineas and the Irish 2,000 Guineas.
The major races in the British horse-racing calendar are Cheltenham, the Grand National, the Derby and Royal Ascot.
Cork Easter Festival
Fairyhouse Easter Festival
Punchestown National Hunt
Killarney Spring Festival
Down Royal Ulster Derby
Killarney July Festival
Killarney August Festival
Longines Irish Champions Weekend
Down Royal Festival
Punchestown Winter Racing Festival
Fairyhouse Premier Jump Racing Weekend
Leopardstown Christmas Racing Festival
Limerick Christmas Racing Festival
Horse Betting Glossary
Whether you’re a beginner just starting out or an experienced bettor looking to freshen your knowledge, our easy-to-read guide has got you covered!
Accumulator: An accumulative bet that involves more than one horse, usually requiring all your horses to win in order to be successful.
Allowance: To compensate for their inexperience, novice riders may be allowed a weight concession for their horse.
All-Weather: Horse racing slang for an artificial track that can be raced on throughout the year, including in adverse weather conditions.
Ante-Post: This is when you place a bet on a race ahead of the race day.
Apprentice: This is a horse racing term applied to young jockeys who work for/with a trainer while they gain valuable riding experience.
Banker: A term used to describe a favoured horse in a race. If they are a ‘banker’, they are the horse that’s most likely to win, and their odds will reflect that.
Bar: Where you can find the lowest odds for horses that have not been published in betting forecasts.
Birthday: All thoroughbreds in the Northern Hemisphere celebrate their birthday on New Year’s Day, regardless of when they were actually born.
Board Prices: A horse racing betting term for the prices displayed by official bookmakers, from which prices are then decided.
Bottle: Horse racing slang for a horse with 2/1 odds.
Burlington Bertie: Horse racing jargon for a horse with odds of 100/30.
Bumper: A flat course race that inexperienced jump horses need to complete before they go hurdling or chasing.
Carpet: Horse racing slang for a horse with 3/1 odds.
Claimer: Refers to a race in which a horse has been purposefully handicapped by its owner.
Classics: A word used to describe the 1,000 Guineas, 2,000 Guineas, Oaks, Derby, and St. Leger races. All the races are open to horses as young as three years old, while only mares can compete in the 1,000 Guineas and Oaks.
Clerk of the Course: The person that’s in charge of running the entire race day.
Colours: The shirts worn by the trainers, jockeys, and owners. Each team has their own unique colours.
Colt: A young male horse (usually younger than four years old) that hasn’t been castrated.
Conditional Jockey: A horse racing term for someone at the same level as an apprentice, but is allowed to jump.
Co-Favourite: The title given to a horse or horses that are equally likely to win a race and have the lowest odds.
Connections: This generally refers to the owner(s) and trainer(s) of the horse in question.
Course Specialist: A horse that has either won or set a good time at a specific race before.
Cockle: Horse racing jargon for a horse with odds of 10/1.
Dam: The mother of a horse.
Distance: Usually refers to the length of a race or the amount of ground covered by a horse.
Draw: In flat racing, this refers to the horses’ starting position in the stalls.
Drift: When a horse is ‘on the drift,’ it’s price increases due to a lack of support.
Ear’ole: Slang for a horse with odds of 6/4.
Enin: Slang for a horse with odds of 9/1.
Even Money: A horse racing betting term for a stake that brings equal money back.
Filly: A young female horse of up to four years old.
Furlong: 220 yards.
Gelding: A male horse that has been castrated in order to be easier to train.
Going: A term that describes the condition of the race course, ranging from heavy to firm.
Green: An inexperienced horse.
Handful: Horse racing slang for a horse with odds of 5/1.
Handicap: Where horses are allowed to carry different weights from each other, leading to an even race.
Joint Favourite: Two horses that the bookmakers cannot choose between.
Jolly: The favourite horse in any given race.
Judge: The person who decides the finishing order of the race.
Juvenile: A two-year-old horse.
Maiden: A horse that hasn’t won a race.
Monkey: Slang for £500.
National Hunt: Another name for jumps racing.
NAP: Usually the best bet from a tipster on any given day.
Neves: Slang for odds of 7/1.
Nursery: The name given to a handicap for horses under the age of two.
Objection: When one jockey makes a formal complaint about another rider.
Odds On: A horse racing betting term for when the winnings of a bet are less than the initial stake put in.
Off the Bit / On the Bit: A term used to a describe whether the horse still has the bridle in its mouth when racing.
Open Ditch: A jump with a ditch in front of it, facing the jockey.
Photo Finish: A photo taken at the end of the race that is used to determine the winner if two horses are too close together.
Plate: A horse’s racing shoe.
Pony: A slang term for £25.
Racecard: The programme of the day’s races.
Rule 4: This is only enacted if a horse is withdrawn without sufficient time to change the odds of the rest of the race. Essentially, all other odds are reduced via a specific formula to compensate for the horse leaving.
Roof: Slang for odds of 4/1.
Schooled: A horse that has been trained for jumping.
Scope: A horse’s potential.
Selling Race: At the end of this race, the winner is sold at an auction.
Sire: The father of a horse.
Spread a Plate: When a horse loses its shoe.
Starting Price: The estimated odds when a race is about to begin.
Stewards: A group of officials who ensure that rules are adhered to. A Steward’s Enquiry is when the stewards look into a particular aspect of a race.
Tic-Tac: Hand signals used by bookmakers to converse with each other.
Under Order: Refers to the start of the race, while ‘they’re off’ refers to the horses leaving the stalls.
Walkover: A race with only one jockey and one horse.
Xis: Horse betting slang for odds of 6/1.
Yearling: A horse under the age of one, with its birthday on the 1st January.