What is a ‘seller’?

What is a 'seller'? ‘Seller’ is a shortened form of ‘selling race’ or ‘selling plate’ and refers to a type of horse race immediately after which the winner is sold, or at least offered for sale, at public auction. Selling races are run on the flat, over hurdles and over fences and can be level-weights contests, with allowances for age and gender, or handicaps. It would be fair to say that selling races are at the bottom end of the market in terms of quality and prize money, but the entry fees are correspondingly low.

Of course, the owner(s) of the winning horse may lose it at the subsequent auction and any other horse in a selling race, regardless of its finishing position, can be bought for a price specified by its trainer beforehand. However, the winning bid must be at least £3,200 and possibly more, at the discretion of the racecourse authorities, and the winning owner(s) can bid in the auction; if successful, the winning horse is said to be ‘bought in’. Of course, it is still possible that the winning bid his higher than the prize money. Nowadays, as an incentive for owners to run their horses in selling races, racecourses can retain commission up to a maximum of 10% of the sale price of the winning horse.