Phrases and terms that you possibly hear quite often that are closely linked to the world of horseracing

It might come as a bit of surprise to you, but there are certain phrases and terms that you possibly hear quite often that are closely linked to the world of horseracing. Here’s a quick rundown of some of the sayings you might already know.


Chomping at the bit

A reference to being keen. You might hear someone say they’re ‘chomping at the bit’ to start their new job for example.

The bit is a piece of metal that is connected to the bridle and reins and allows the jockey to steer the horse and get it to respond.

It can also be referred to as ‘champing at the bit’ and is a reference to the noise made while the horse is playing with the bit.


Straight from the horse’s mouth

If you hear something straight from the horse’s mouth it means it came

from a direct source. Your bestie telling you all about that guy she met

on Tinder would be considered as coming straight from the horses’s



In the running

There’s the chance to be promoted at work and it’s between you and one

colleague. Both of you are considered as being ‘in the running’ to be

given the new role.


In racing, you might hear a reference to a horse needing luck in running

which means that certain things need to happen in order for the horse to

have a realistic chance. For example a horse might need a certain pace

to suit him or for a gap to open up at the right time.


Home stretch

It’s 3pm on a Friday afternoon and you’re stuck behind your desk. But

don’t worry you’re in the home stretch for the week and then it’s two

days of not having to worry about the goings on at the office.

In racing, the home stretch is considered as the last portion of a race

as the horses come around the final bend and things start to heat up and

get exciting.


Give them a run for their money

You and your opposition are both pitching for the same client. But it’s

OK because you’ll give them a run for their money with a kickass



In racing, if you are given a run for your money it means that a horse

you placed a bet on was in with a chance throughout the race. Usually

results in plenty of screaming, shouting and a massive thrill.


Hitting your stride

When you lace up those running shoes in the mornings and hit the tarmac

it takes you a while to get going. But after a while you suddenly find

yourself moving easily and that early start is made worthwhile. Because

endorphins right?


When a horse is considered to be hitting its stride it means that it is

moving freely and well and using its full action.


Pick up the pace

Those early morning runs have led you to that 10km race on the weekend.

You trundle through the first bit and then realise that you might beat

your record time. So you pick up the pace.


When used in a racing context, the commentator might refer to the field

as picking up the pace. Especially pertinent in longer distance races,

jockeys and their mounts might pick up the pace as they round the turn

and head for the winning line.


Take the reins

As mentioned earlier, the reins are what is used by the jockey to hold

onto the horse and steer it around the track. If you take the reins

you’re thought to be taking control.


Long Shot

You’re out with your mates for drinks on a Friday night and the most

beautiful woman you’ve ever seen walks into the bar. You immediately

think that there’s no way she’ll look twice at you but you still pluck

up the courage to go say hi and offer to buy her a drink. It’s a long

shot but you’re hoping it pays off.


A long shot in racing is a horse that hasn’t been given much of a chance

and the betting boards will offer generous odds should it win or even

place. But even the long shots win sometimes.


Dark Horse

The unknown quantity. There’s a bit of mystique here given that the

horse is not considered as one of the favourites but is also not totally

out of it. Has the ability to surprise.


In life you might have heard the new guy in the office referred to as

something of a dark horse. Not much is known about him but he has the

ability to pitch in with big ideas and bold moves.


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