Jargon Buster

Sure thing

A horse that is regarded as having little chance of losing.


A horse that specialises in running over the shortest distances (five and six furlongs) on the Flat.

Sprint races

Flat races run over a distance of five or six furlongs.


Male breeding horse.

Stalls handler

Member of a team employed to load horses into the stalls for Flat races and to move the stalls to the correct position for the start of each race.


Racecourse official responsible for starting a horse race.

Starting price

Often abbreviated to SP. The starting prices are the final odds prevailing at the time the race starts and are used to determine the payout to winning punters, unless a punter took a specified price at the time of placing the bet.


A horse that specialises in racing over long distances (two miles and above) on the Flat.

Staying chaser

A horse that races over three miles or more over fences.

Staying on

When a horse is finishing strongly in a race, possibly a sign of good stamina reserves.

Staying races

Flat races run over a distance of two miles or more.


A race over fences, open ditches and water jumps, run over distances from two miles up to four and a half miles.


One of the officials in overall charge of a race meeting, including disciplinary procedures. The stewards can hold inquiries into possible infringements of the rules of racing, or hear objections to the race result from beaten jockeys. Usually there are three stewards at each race meeting, assisted by a stipendiary steward. The stewards are appointed by the racecourse, subject to approval by the BHA, and are often prominent local figures (much like magistrates).

Stewards’ Enquiry

A hearing held by the stewards into a race to determine whether the rules of racing have been broken.

Stewards’ room

On a racecourse, where stewards hold inquiries. A race is said to have been ‘decided in thestewards’ room’ if the placings are altered by the stewards due to a transgression of the rules of racing.


A jockey’s whip

Stipendiary Steward

Also known as a Stipe. Unlike raceday stewards, Stipes are professionals employed by the BHA and one is sent to each meeting to assist the stewards and advise on the rules of racing. The raceday stewards, not the Stipe, are responsible for decision-making, but the Stipe’s knowledge is often invaluable e.g. in setting an appropriate level of punishment if a jockey or trainer is found guilty of an infringement of the rules of racing.

Straight forecast

A bet where the aim is to select both the winner and runner-up in a race in the correct order.


All the horses in a particular training stable.


A farm where horses are mated. Usually home to one or more stallions.

Supplementary entry

Major races such as the Derby, which have an early initial entry date and several forfeit stages, often allow additional entries to be made in the week leading up to the race, subject to a substantial fee. A horse entered at this stage is known as a supplementary entry and the fee payable is known as the supplementary entry fee. Supplementary entries mean that a major race can have the best possible field, as a horse may not be deemed worthy of a Derby entry as a yearling (possibly on account of its pedigree or because the owner is not among the echelon of the super-rich) but then shows unexpected ability once its racing career has started.


Training a horse for jumping.

Second string

The stable’s second choice from two or more runners in a race.

Selling plate/selling race

Low-class race in which the winner is offered at auction afterwards; other horses in the race may be claimed for a fixed sum. If the winning stable buys back its own horse it is said to be ‘bought in’. The racecourse receives a percentage of the selling price of each horse.

Selling plater

A horse that is entered in a selling plate because it is not expected to win in any higher grade, or because it can do well against moderate opposition, which may result in a betting coup.

Shortening odds

Bookmaker’s reduction of the odds on a particular horse.

Short Price

Low odds, meaning a punter will get little return for their initial outlay.


See ‘Colours’.

Silver ring

A racecourse enclosure, usually the one with the lowest admission price.


The simplest and most popular bet, normally a win bet on one horse in one race.


Father of a horse.

Soft (going)

Condition of a turf course where rain has left the ground ‘soft’ (official going description).


Short for starting price.

Spread a plate

When a horse damages or loses a horseshoe before a race, it is said to have ‘spread a plate’. The horse has to be re-shod by a farrier, often delaying the start of the race.


A horse whose price shortens dramatically.