Jargon Buster

Hacked up

Describes a horse winning easily.

Half-brother/sister

When two horses have the same mother (dam), they are half-brothers/sisters. Horses are not referred to as half-brothers/sisters when they share only the same father (sire).

Handicap

A race where each horse is allotted a different weight to carry, according to the official handicap ratings determined by the BHA Handicappers. The theory is that all horses run on a fair and equal basis – the ‘perfect’ handicap being one where all the runners finish in a dead-heat.

Handicap mark / Rating

Each horse, once it has run a few times (usually three), is allocated an official handicap rating by the BHA, which is used to determine its weight if it runs in a handicap. If a horse does well, its handicap rating will go up; if it performs poorly, its rating will go down.

Handicapper

Official responsible for allocating a handicap rating to each horse that has qualified for one, and for allotting the weights to be carried by each horse in a handicap. Employed by the British Horseracing Authority.

Hard ridden

Used to describe a horse whose jockey is expending full effort on the horse, and using his whip.

Headquarters

Newmarket, traditionally seen as the home of Flat racing, is often called Headquarters.

Home straight

The length of straight track, from the final bend to the finish line.

Hurdler

A horse that races over hurdles, which are lighter and lower than fences.

Hurdles

The smaller obstacles on a jumps course. Horses usually have a season or two over hurdles before progressing to fences, though some continue to specialise in hurdling and never run over fences, while some horses go straight over fences without trying hurdles first.