Royal Ascot Horseracing Terms

If you’re new to horse racing the terminology and race descriptions used by pundits and punters can quickly become confusing. On this page we’ll help clear matters up for you with a brief guide to frequently used Royal Ascot horse racing terms.

Flat Race: The Royal Ascot is a flat racing event, as opposed to a national hunt meeting. Flat racing is the summer version of horse racing that sees thoroughbred racehorses take on flat (obstacle free) courses over distances ranging between seven furlongs and two-and-a-half miles.

National Hunt Racing: National hunt racing is the format of horse racing that takes place during winter when Britain’s racetracks tend to be softer. This form of racing requires horses to clear obstacles in the form of hurdles, fences, ditches and water jumps. Race distances range between two-and-a-half and four-and-a-half miles. Horses in national hunt racing tend to retire older than is the case in flat racing.

Furlong: If you haven’t come across this Royal Ascot horse racing term before it is because the term is nowadays used almost exclusively for describing race distances. A furlong is an eighth of a mile or 66 yards.

Stayer: There is massive tactical variation between sprints and races over a mile, and the horses with the breeding, discipline and stamina required to push through to the end of a longer race are described as stayers.

Card: The card can have two meanings. It is often used to describe the race order for a particular day at a race or even for a race meeting. However the most accurate definition of a card is the list of horses that will compete in a specific race. The card contains valuable information on the horse’s stable, owner and recent form.

Short/long odds: Short odds refer to lower odds and are usually descriptive of the lowest odds relative to the other odds given in the race. The shortest odds are typically given in non-handicap events where a winning bet on the favourite earns only a fraction of the amount staked. Long odds are once again a relative term, but generally pays out multiples of the original amount staked.

Going: The Royal Ascot horse racing term ‘going’ refers to the firmness of the turf. The hardness of a racetrack ranges between soft and firm, and can have a significant influence on the outcome of a race.