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Sunday, 24 April 2011

Origin Of "Hands Down"

This was originally a horse racing term. Jockeys raise their reins on nearing the end of a race to get a final burst of speed out of their horses. However, if a horse coasts to victory by so many lengths that there is no need for the jockey to raise his reins, he is said to have won "hands down". In the 19th century it became a common taunt among trainers to claim their horses would win "hands down", and gradually the expression made its way into mainstream usage, shedding its literal sense, but retaining the meaning of a easily won victory.
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