Different Bet Types – What They Actually Mean

To the uninitiated, the sheer variety of bet types you can make in horse racing is utterly confusing. Whether you want to play it safe, have a wild punt or opt for something more ‘exotic’, there is a bet type for you! Below, we provide you with an overview of your betting options in horseracing along with a short and (hopefully) clear explanation.

Basic Bets


This is the most basic bet and one which all punters understand; it simply means you place a bet on a horse to win the race. If it finishes second, third, fourth etc., you lose the bet. So if you place £10 on Vautour at 3/1 and it wins, you receive £40 for a total profit of £30.

Each Way

This is a favourite of punters seeking value and is often used for horses with long odds. When you bet Each Way (e/w) you are actually placing two bets; win and a place. Typically, the ‘place’ portion of the bet pays out at 1/4 or 1/5 of the odds depending on the race and number of runners.

The number of placed positions available also depends on the total runners in a race:

  • No e/w Betting: If there are 4 runners or less.
  • First 2 Places: If there are 5-7 runners.
  • First 3 Places: If there are 8+ runners.
  • First 4 Places: If there are 16+ runners.

For example, if you bet £10 e/w on Cue Card at 8/1 in a race with 13 runners and the bookie offers ¼ odds on a Place, you are betting a total of £20 (£10 win and £10 place). If Cue Card wins the race, you end up with a total of £120. £90 comes from the win part of the bet and £30 comes from the Place (2/1 is ¼ odds).

If Cue Card finishes second or third, you receive £30 for a profit of £10; you win nothing if it finishes fourth or worse.


On the Betfair Exchange for example, you can place a bet on a horse to Place only at the assigned odds. You win nothing extra if the horse ends up winning the race.



This is a relatively straightforward bet; it involves betting on two horses and both bets must win in order to get a return. Like all multiples, it is a high risk bet but it also carries the potential for big returns.


This involves betting on three horses to win; again, all horses must win to get a return.


This is the term given to a bet where there are 4+ selections. Once more, all bets must win in order to get money from the bet. It is rare for punters to bet on accumulators in horseracing given the long odds available; these bets are generally associated with football where punters select a number of heavy favourites and back them all to win.

Full Cover Bets

Horseracing punters tend to choose one of the following bets in lieu of accumulators as they enable you to win money even if one or more of your selections fails.


Punters tend to enjoy placing Trixie bets as it involves making 3 selections for a total of 4 bets; the full bet includes 3 Doubles and 1 Treble. However, at least 2 of your horses need to win in order to get a return.

For example, if you bet on horses A, B & C, your selections are AB, BC, AC or ABC. The potential winnings are huge if you take a chance on longer odds horses.


A Patent bet involves 3 selections and has 7 bets in total. It is basically a Trixie bet with 3 singles included. You only need one horse to win for a return but it is an expensive bet; if you want to place £10 on each outcome, the total cost is £70.


This bet is another punter favourite and involves 4 selections for a total of 11 bets; 6 doubles, 3 trebles and 1 four-fold. You need a minimum of 2 horses to win in order to get a return; if 3 horses win, the return can be significant.

Lucky 15

As the name suggests, this is a total of 15 bets. It is basically a Yankee bet with 4 additional singles.


This bet is sometimes known as a Super Yankee and consists of 5 selections for a total of 26 bets; 10 doubles, 10 trebles, 5 four-folds and 1 five-fold. You need at least 2 horses to win for a return.

Lucky 31

Again, this is self explanatory as a Lucky 31 gives you 31 bets from 5 selections; it is essentially a Canadian with 5 additional singles.


This bet is named after the slogan for H.J Heinz Company which states it has 57 varieties. As such, the Heinz bet involves 57 bets across 6 selections; 15 doubles, 20 trebles, 15 four-folds, 6 five-folds and 1 six-fold. It is a monster of a bet but we’re not done yet!

Lucky 63

This is a Heinz bet with 6 additional singles to bring it to a total of 63 bets.

Super Heinz

This involves an unbelievable 120 bets across 7 selections; 21 doubles, 35 trebles, 35 four-folds, 21 five-folds, 7 six-folds and 1 seven-fold.


This is the Big Daddy of multiples and involves 8 selections; 28 doubles, 56 trebles, 70 four-folds, 56 five-folds, 28 six-folds, 8 seven-folds and 1 eight-fold. It comes to a grand total of 247 bets!

The bad news is that even a £1 Goliath costs £247; the good news is that you may be able to purchase a new house if all 8 selections win!

For fun, I went to find out the total winnings from a £1 Goliath bet (total stake = £247) at the following odds; 2/1, 5/2, 3/1, 11/4, 6/4, 9/4, 9/2 and 4/1. The total return was a cool £247,971.94 if all 8 horses won!

You can find out the potential returns for the bets mentioned above on this Free Bet Calculator.

Super Goliath

You rarely hear about this particular bet but it involves 9 selections; 36 doubles, 84 trebles, 126 four-folds, 126 five-folds, 84 six-folds, 36 seven-folds, 9 eight-folds and 1 nine-fold for a total of 502 bets!

Permutation Bet

If you don’t fancy a £247 bet, you can mix n’ match to reduce your stake while still enjoying the possibility of a big win. For example, you could pick 4 horses and perm all the possible doubles; in this instance, you would be making 6 bets.

Another example would be choosing 8 selections but instead of going for a Goliath, you could decide to choose doubles and trebles only; this makes 84 bets instead of 247.


Forecast bets are extremely tricky as they involve predicting the exact finishing order in a race; usually the first 2 or first 3 places. The returns are calculated by computer software that looks at the starting price of the runners; the amount is usually declared to a £1 stake.

Straight Forecast

This is a basic bet where you try to predict the winner and runner-up in a race.

Reverse Forecast

This is a handy bet if you fancy two horses but don’t quite know the order they will finish in. A Reverse Forecast involves predicting the winner and runner-up in any order; it is effectively two Straight Forecasts; BA and AB so it is 2 separate bets.

Combination Forecast

This involves 3 selections with any 2 of the 3 to finish as winner and runner-up in any order; this is a total of 6 bets.

Straight Tricast

This is a very difficult bet to win as you are trying to predict the horses that will finish first, second and third in an exact order.

Combination Tricast

This involves picking 3 selections to finish first, second and third in any order for a total of 6 bets.

Hopefully, your head will stop spinning for long enough to go and pick your favourite horseracing bet. Best of luck!

Patrick Lynch

Patrick graduated from the National University of Ireland, Galway with an MA in Literature and Publishing but decided he would rather have the freedom of a freelance writer than be stuck in a publishing house all day. He has enjoyed this freedom since 2009 and has written thousands of articles on a variety of topics but sports betting is his passion. While his specialty is finding mismatches in obscure football leagues, he also likes to use his research skills to provide punters with detailed winning strategies in horse racing. You can check out his personal blog on or Twitter @pl1982 where he writes content to help small businesses achieve success.


  1. The best bet of all is the ALPHA BET. This is 6 selections,the top 3 are a patient,the bottom 3 are another patient and the middle 4 are a Yankee .26 bets in total.
    Being an old boy I do a ten pence win and a twenty pence each way Accra..Total £3
    Have had plenty of wins with this.. I think this only available on line with Bet365 and in Coral Shops.

  2. A good List and explanation but what about the Round Robin bet which offers far better value than the Lucky 15.

  3. The round robin is a 3 selection wager consisting of 10 bets: 3 doubles, 1 treble and 3 up-and-down single stakes about pairs. This is an any to come if-cash bet that can be thought of as a trixie with 3 up-and-down single stakes about pairs added, also very similar to a patent.
    You need three goods bets and if possible odds of 4/1 or over as usually one win bet will return your stake as long as odds not too short. This gives great value.
    You often have to phone the bookie as not on their web pages but no problem to get on I use Bet365.
    Hope this helps.

  4. You can’t beat singles for long-term profit, but for those who love a multiple – as I do – the (win) Lucky 15 using a bookie who offers double odds on a single winner (Bet 365 or Bet Victor for me) gives you your stake back with a 7/1 winner whilst still giving you all the potential upside of big payout. Just had Myfiftythreedotcom finish second at a taken price of 20/1 after the first came in with Pacolita at 12s for guaranteed profit. Wish me luck on the remaining two (Little Stampy 11/4 and Jolly Red Jeanz 9/2).
    Fred’s offer three times your stake for a single winner, but don’t go BOG, which cost me £500 when three came in for me last year…they still restricted me lol.

  5. Very disappointing as most interest will be in the more exotic. The any to come bets and the double stakes about and if any profit guarentees can be incorporated. The William Hill press representative lost a small bet with a systems provider that they could back the winner of a race after it had been run on the dsa bet!

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