Weighing in is a fundamental part of horse racing that ensures the integrity of the sport from start to finish. It is a term you will likely hear on race days up and down the country – but what does ‘weighed in’ mean?
In our latest Demystifying Racing guide, Paddy Power explains what weighing in is all about, and why it’s vitally important for the industry…
What does weighed in mean?
When you’re betting on horse racing online or at a UK or Irish racecourse, you’ll likely hear the call “weighed in, weighed in” announced over the speaker systems. This is a confirmation that the competing jockeys have raced at the correct weight.
And this is crucially important. The weight a horse carries on its back in horse racing can make the difference between winning and losing. To ensure a fair race, handicappers decide the racing weight each horse must carry, and which horses are granted ‘allowances’ to reduce their weight.
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So, for example, a race may stipulate all horses carry 10 stone, which covers the weight of the jockey, the saddle, any other equipment and addition lead weights if required. Doing this means one horse isn’t disadvantaged if they carry a heavier jockey and the racing betting odds are more accurate.
Each jockey must prove at the end of the race that they and their equipment amount to 10 stone, and thus have ‘weighed in’ correctly.
How weighed out and weighed in works
Once the race handicapper has determined the weight each horse should carry, a jockey will stand on scales with their equipment. If they weigh under the required weight – let’s say in this instance the weight is 10 stone and the jockey-plus-equipment is 9st 8lbs – lead weights will be added to the saddle in order to bring the scales to the required weight. The jockey has then ‘weighed out’ and hands their equipment over the trainer to saddle up the horse.
Once the race is over, the jockey must go through the same process. They stand on the scales with their equipment and ‘weigh in’. Once this is completed, the horses final racing position is confirmed.
How long must I wait for my bet to pay out?
Usually horse racing betting markets pay out as soon as the jockey has weighed in. This can take only a matter of minutes when a horse wins a low-key race. However, it can sometimes take a little longer during major events such as the Cheltenham Gold Cup, where a jockey and the horse are harangued by adoring fans and connections.
On the very rare circumstance where a jockey weighs in incorrectly then the race stewards may award the result to another runner.
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