Horse Racing Betting Terminology: Key Phrases Every Bettor Should Know

Horse Racing Betting

Horse Racing is often referred to as “The Sport of Kings” and is the oldest and most popular type of racing in Australia. There are horse racing tracks all around Australia with racing held on every day of the year with the exception of Christmas Day.

With a history dating back to the early 1800s, Australians have always loved a bet. A trip to the track or the local pub to watch the races can be overwhelming for newcomers to the sport with horse racing having its own language!

Below is a “cheat sheet” on a number of terms that you are likely to hear:

Understanding Some Popular Horse Racing Betting Terminologies

Win Bet – This is the oldest and simplest way to bet on horse racing. You pick a horse in a particular race to win and bet on it. If it wins, you win. It is that simple!

Place Bet – This is similar to a winning bet but rather than picking the winner, the horse only needs to finish in the first 3 in races with fields with 8 starters or more and in the top 2 in fields of 7 or less. The payout odds aren’t as large but there are more chances to win.

Each Way Betting – When a punter is confident that a horse will run in the first 3 but not as confident that they will win, they can place an “Each Way” bet. Put simply the bet is split with half as a win bet and the other half as a place bet. $10 Each Way equates to a $10 win AND $10 Place and costs $20.

Favourite – This is the horse that the betting public and odds makers think will win the race. The favourite has the shortest odds in the race. A bet on the favourite will return the least amount per dollar invested, but the horse winning is the most likely outcome.

Roughie – This is a term used to describe a horse that is at big odds to win a particular race. The horse’s odds are large because he isn’t fancied and only has a “rough chance” of success.

Cherry Ripe – A term used by racing followers to describe a horse primed and ready to perform well. The galloper is “ripe” to go, in fact, he is so ready he is “cherry ripe”.

First Up – Describes a horse’s return to the race track after an absence, whether from injury or just a “spell”. It is widely believed that most horses perform well first-up as they are excited and enthusiastic about a return to the track and other horses.

Swimmer – Racing takes place in all types of conditions with track ratings varying from “Fast” to “Heavy”. Horses that perform well in heavy conditions are referred to as “swimmers” because they plow through the surface while their rivals struggle.

Stayer – These hoses may not be overly quick but are strong over longer journeys. They “stay” the distance well.

Horse For Courses – With so many race tracks around Australia it is normal for some horses to prefer some tracks more than others. Maybe it is the soft texture of the grass or the familiar surroundings of the track they train at or the long home straight. Whatever the reason, it is prudent to take into account a “horse for courses” approach when doing selections

Who should I bet with? 

Finding a licensed bookmaker to bet with is crucial when betting on racing and sports. The Palmer family are third-generation bookmakers who combine old-school service with the latest technology. They are financially guaranteed by the NSW Bookmakers Co-Operative and licensed by the NSW government.

When you bet with Palmer bet you are betting with an established and trusted bookmaker.

Visit their website at or download the Palmer bet app for horse racing betting odds. It takes less than 2 minutes to sign up. You will be pleased you did!


A trip to the race track is a great day for the family. There is so much to see and do and the racing community is full of interesting characters. Study and use the terms above and you will fit in like a pro!

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About the Author: John Watson

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