Racing Terms You Want to Know

Apprentice Jockey

A jockey who has not yet fully qualified by riding a set number of winners or reaching a certain age. Apprentices, often after a period of initial training, usually work for a trainer from whom they receive instruction, advice and support. They are also frequently referred to as ‘claimers’, as horses ridden by apprentice jockeys in a race receive a weight allowance, also sometimes known as a claim, with the weight reduction dependent on the experience of the jockey. The claim is listed in the racecard in brackets after the jockey’s name. They’re also called “bug” riders because a little asterisk appears next to the weight assigned to their horse. After they rack up a certain number of wins, they “lose the bug” and become full-fledged jockeys.

Bloodstock Agent

Person who purchases horses for other people as a business, charging a commission for his/her services.


The owner of a mare at the time she gives birth to a foal.

Black type

In a sales catalogue, the form of any horse who has won a Group race or a Listed race is written in bold type – a horse’s connections might aim to “get some black type”, which would thus improve that horse’s value at stud.

Conditions Races: A notch below Listed standard. There are certain conditions for qualification. For example, the age or sex of the horse, winner of one race or more, etc…

Group 1, 2 & 3 races:The most valuable and prestigious races (Group 1 being the best) in which the best horses race. These races are sometimes referred to as pattern races.

Handicap: All horses carry weights based on their ability which is assessed by the official handicapper. The horses with the highest handicap rating carry the most weight with all other horses carrying weight relative to their individual handicap rating. The idea being that this handicapping system means that all horses theoretically have an equal chance of winning. Many handicap races are limited to horses of a particular rating.

 Horses Birthday

Every horse celebrates a birthday on January 1, regardless of the actual day of birth. Two-year-olds race only against other two-year-olds. Three-year-olds usually compete among themselves during the first half of the year, and then begin to challenge older horses as they gain experience.

Listed Races:This level of race just below Group Races

Maiden: For horses that have never won a race before

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