This handy guide explains all the different betting options on horse racing, from singles and each-way bets to combination tricasts and Goliaths.
<p>Betting is deeply woven into the very fabric of horse racing and it is the punters that keep the sport of kings alive and well. A race is far more exciting to watch when you have money riding on the outcome, but newcomers are often unaware of the various options available to them. Your good friends at OddsMarket have put together a handy guide designed to debunk industry jargon and explain how to bet on horse racing. These are the key bets you can choose from:</p><h2>Single</h2><p>This is a straight bet on which horse will win a particular race. The bookmakers will assign a different set of odds to each runner based on their perceived relative strengths and weaknesses. There will be a favourite and the odds will then get progressively longer until you get to the rank outsider. If you bet £10 on a horse priced at 4/1 to win a race and it wins, you will make a £40 profit. You also get your stake back when your bet is successful, so you would be returned £50 on this bet.</p><h2>Each-way</h2><p>This is a popular betting option among punters that think a horse might win a particular race, but they are concerned it may finish behind one or two rivals. An each-way bet sees half of your stake go on the horse to win the race, and half go on the horse to place. Placing means finishing in either the top two, three, four or five, depending on how many runners there are.</p><p>Each-way bets are only applicable on races where there are five or more runners. If there are between five and seven runners, bookmakers will pay out on the top two horses on the place part of an each-way bet. If there are eight or more runners, they will typically pay out on the top three horses. If there are 16 or more runners in a handicap, you will see them pay out on the first four places. Bookmakers will give you a quarter of the odds on the place part of a bet.</p><p>Let’s say you place a £10 each-way bet on a horse at odds of 9/1 in a race featuring 10 runners. A £10 each-way bet means you lay down £20 (£10 on it winning and £10 on it placing). If it wins you will make a profit of £112.50. This is because you get £10 at odds of 9/1 on the win, earning you £90, and £10 at 9/4 (a quarter of 9/1) on the place, earning you £22.50. You get your stake back too, returning you £132.50 in total.</p><p>If the horse finishes third, your £10 bet on it to win is a loser, but your £10 bet on the place pays out. That earns you £22.50. You also get back the £10 you staked on the place, leaving you with a return of £32.50. If a bookmaker is paying out a quarter of the odds on the place, look for horses with odds higher than 4/1. If you go each-way and they place, you still make a profit. Horses with odds shorter than 4/1 typically are not worth an each-way bet, as you incur a loss even if they place. Each-way betting is a great option if you fancy a long shot to do well in a race.</p><p>In the Grand National, when there is a massive field of 40 runners, you will see some bookmakers pay out on the first five or even the first six runners to finish the race. However, instead of paying punters a quarter of the odds, they will typically only pay a fifth of the odds.</p><h2>Forecast</h2><p>A straight forecast sees you pick which horse will win the race and which horse will finish second. This is a lot harder to pull off than simply predicting the winner, but as a result you get much higher returns.</p><h2>Reverse forecast</h2><p>This involves picking two horses to finish first and second in either order. It is essentially two bets: one on Horse A to win and Horse B to finish second; and the other on Horse B to win and Horse A to finish second.</p><h2>Combination forecast</h2><p>This sees you pick three horses and one of them needs to finish first and another needs to finish second in order for you to generate a return. It is essentially six bets: Horse A to win and Horse B to finish second; Horse A to win and Horse C to finish second; Horse B to win and Horse A to finish second; Horse B to win and Horse C to finish second; Horse C to win and Horse A to finish second; and Horse C to win and Horse B to finish second. If you place a £2 combination forecast, your total stake will be £12. You need to pick some horses with longer odds in this bet to make it worthwhile. If the three horses you choose all have low odds, your return is unlikely to exceed your stake even if you are successful.</p><h2>Tricast</h2><p>This involves predicting which horse will finish first, second and third in the exact order. This is much harder to predict than a forecast, but the payout will be a lot higher if you succeed.</p><h2>Combination tricast</h2><p>This sees you pick three horses, and they need to finish first, second and third in any order. Once again it is essentially six separate bets, so a £1 combination tricast would require a £6 stake.</p><h2>Double</h2><p>This involves picking the winner of two separate races. You might think that Sparklesilver will win the 2.30pm at Cheltenham and Stormy Weather will win the 3.15pm race. Instead of betting on each horse individually, you can combine them into one bet, known as a double. Both horses must win in order for your bet to pay out, but if successful you will get much higher returns than you would if you simply divided your stake in half and placed two single bets on them to win.</p><h2>Treble</h2><p>The same principle applies, but it requires choosing the winner of three separate races.</p><h2>Accumulators</h2><p>You can keep combining as many selections as you like into a single bet. Once you go past three, the bet is typically referred to as an accumulator, or an acca. You can have a four-fold acca, a five-fold acca, a six-fold acca and so on. The more you add, the more stratospheric your potential winnings can become. These accumulators are a great option if you fancy a few short-priced (low odds) favourites to win their races, as it allows you to enjoy more value.</p><h2>Trixie</h2><p>This sees you choose three horses to win different races (e.g. Sparklesilver at 2.30pm, Stormy Weather at 3.15pm and Shadow Ranger at 5.15pm). Your selections do not have to be on the same day or at the same venue, but they need to be in different races. A Trixie consists of four bets: a treble and three doubles. You are essentially betting on Sparklesilver and Stormy Weather to both win, Sparklesilver and Shadow Ranger to win, Stormy Weather and Shadow Ranger to win, and all three to win. This is a great option if you are worried that one selection will let you down.</p><h2>Patent</h2><p>A patent sees you pick three horses at different events, and you get singles on each of them, plus three doubles and a treble. That means you place seven bets in total, so a £10 patent requires a stake of £70.</p><h2>Yankee</h2><p>This sees you pick four horses in different events and it includes six doubles, four trebles and a four-fold accumulator. It is 11 bets in total, so a £2 Yankee sees you lay down £22. Two or more horses need to win for you to see a return.</p><h2>Lucky 15</h2><p>This is the same as a Yankee, except you also place a single bet on each of the horses, so there are 15 bets in total, hence the name.</p><h2>Lucky 31</h2><p>This is similar to a Lucky 15, but you make five selections in total and you get five singles, 10 doubles, 10 trebles, five four-folds and a five-fold. A £1 Lucky 31 would see you stake £31 and the more horses that win, the better the return you generate.</p><h2>Lucky 63</h2><p>This involves picking six runners in separate races and placing six singles, 15 doubles, 20 trebles, 15 four-folds, six five-folds and a six-fold accumulator.</p><h2>Heinz</h2><p>A Heinz is similar to a Lucky 63, but without the singles. There are 57 bets in total and two or more of your selections must win for you to generate a return.</p><h2>Super Heinz</h2><p>This features 120 different bets on seven selections: 21 doubles, 35 trebles, 35 four-folds, 21 five-folds, seven six-folds and a seven-fold accumulator.</p><h2>Goliath</h2><p>This bet lives up to its name by featuring 247 bets on eight different horses: 28 doubles, 56 trebles, 70 four-folds, 56 five-folds, 28 six-folds, 8 seven-folds and an eight-fold accumulator. A 10p Goliath would result in a £24.70 stake.</p><h2>Match betting</h2><p>This sees you bet on one horse to beat another horse in the same race, regardless of where they finish overall. Your selection could finish second from last, but as long as it beats the horse it is in a match bet against you win.</p>