What are some slang terms for the favourite in a horse race?
Of course, the favourite in a horse race is the horse offered at the shortest odds by the bookmakers; if two, or more, horses share favouritism, they are referred to as joint-favourites, or co-favourites. In betting parlance, alternative terms for the favourite in a horse race include ‘jolly’, ‘chalk’ and ‘sponk’. ‘Jolly’ is simply derived from the phrase ‘jolly old favourite’. ‘Chalk’ dates from the days when bookmakers wrote, and rewrote, odds on a blackboard; if a favourite attracted money, its odds needed to be erased and rewritten over and over again, clouding the blackboard with chalk dust. ‘Sponk’ is British public school slang for ‘infatuated’ dating from the Forties; the term apparently became obsolete by the late Sixties, but still occurs, in the same sense, in horse racing circles. Of course, not all favourites win; a favourite considered unworthy of heading the betting market, for whatever reason, may be referred to simply as a ‘false favourite’ or, colloquially, as a ‘Bismarck’, after the German battleship scuttled off the coast of France during World War II.