back the wrong horse

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Related to backing the wrong horse: Back to square one, bark up the wrong tree

back the wrong horse

To support a person or an effort that fails. This expression refers to betting on horse races. You really backed the wrong horse when you picked that swimmer to win the race—he didn't even medal! Politicians who backed the wrong horse in the election are now trying to curry favor with the winning candidate—without much success.
See also: back, horse, wrong

back the wrong horse

Fig. to support someone or something that cannot win or succeed. I don't want to back the wrong horse, but it seems to me that Jed is the better candidate. Fred backed the wrong horse in the budget hearings.
See also: back, horse, wrong

back the wrong horse

Also, bet on the wrong horse. Guess wrongly or misjudge a future outcome, as in Jones garnered only a few hundred votes; we obviously backed the wrong horse, or Counting on the price of IBM to rise sharply was betting on the wrong horse. Transferred from wagering money on a horse that fails to win the race, a usage dating from the late 1600s, this term is widely applied to elections and other situations of uncertain outcome.
See also: back, horse, wrong

back the wrong horse

If you back the wrong horse, you support someone or something that fails in business or in a contest, election, etc. He backed the wrong horse in the recent Tory leadership contest. The PM has wasted no time in sending the pro-euro camp a signal that they've backed the wrong horse. Note: Verbs such as bet on or pick or phrases such as put money on can be used instead of back. Betting on takeovers can backfire if you pick the wrong horse.
See also: back, horse, wrong

back the wrong horse

make a wrong or inappropriate choice.
See also: back, horse, wrong

ˌback the wrong ˈhorse

(British English) support the person, group etc. that later loses a contest or fails to do what was expected: I certainly backed the wrong horse when I said United would win the Cup Final.Many people who had voted for the party in the election were now feeling that they had backed the wrong horse.
In horse racing, if you back the wrong horse you bet money on a horse that does not win the race.
See also: back, horse, wrong

back the wrong horse

Make a wrong guess about a future outcome. The term comes from horse racing and is occasionally put as bet on the wrong horse, and has been used in this context since the late seventeenth century. It has long been applied to other situations, especially politics, where it means supporting a candidate who loses. Charles L. Graves used it in Punch’s History (1922): “Lord Salisbury made his remarkable speech about our having backed the wrong horse, i.e. Turkey in the Crimean War.”
See also: back, horse, wrong
References in periodicals archive ?
Someone has been guilty of backing the wrong horse and perhaps also convincing the bankers they could do business with this man.
The 66-year-old, who had kidney cancer, was a racing punter with a record for backing the wrong horse.
The LG Super Multi Blue Player BH100 is the first device to play both of the DVD style movie formats on your HD TV and could prevent customers wasting money by backing the wrong horse, Betamax style.
The races were class 7, sums exceeding pounds 1,100 but not quite reaching pounds 1,200 were credited to the accounts of winning owners, and one forgets that regardless of the quality of runners, you can still lose serious dosh backing the wrong horse. I did.
The 66-year-old, who had kidney cancer, was a racing punter with a track record for backing the wrong horse - yet wanted her to stick pounds 250 on an outsider in the Grand National.
AIDAN WALSH'S desire to see the adoption of the continental coupling system (December 12) is another example of short-sighted punters seeking compensation for backing the wrong horse.
Other wags have pointed out Mark Douglas Home has made few friends at Newsquest by backing the wrong horse!!
He has been tipped as a future Lib Dem leader, but has acquired a reputation for backing the wrong horses at Westminster.