Racing Lexicon

John Leigh
Date Published
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Why is a favourite always installed? Why do lost stirrups always become irons? Why is a zesty horse good, but a fizzy one bad?

These and many other quandries are solved in the Racing Lexicon – the ultimate guide to the strange and glorious language of horseracing. If you’ve ever been baffled by talk of Burlington Bertie or Major Stevens, or just wanted to understand more of the sport of kings, this is the book for you. No sport generates as much paper or as much talk – and whether in the commentary box or the gambling chatroom, its vocabulary is never dull. Words like doughty and Dulux, jig-jog and jolly may not come straight from the horse’s mouth (much as trainers would love a talking horse), but they capture the passion of everyone who loves the races, from the legendary J P McManus to the humble punter.
‘Everyone says I can’t read or write, which is garbage. I can. I can get through the Sporting Life in about ten minutes.’ Jimmy White

‘This one’s a bit keen – go a little steady to post,’
Translates as: ‘the horse is a complete nutter who’ll pull your arms out until he gets knackered.’

‘Perhaps he needs blinkers just to sharpen him up a bit.’
Translates as: ‘he’s an idle sod who dogs it at the first opportunity and saves something for himself.’