Horse races are run daily all over the world, from the UK to the US, and Honk Kong to Australia. But horse racing betting is equally frequent in volume; as well as simply picking the winning horse, there are multiple different ways to bet on a horse race.
While you can keep things straightforward with a traditional single win wager, horse racing betting involves numerous different bet types, from Trixies to Yankies and Super Flags.
The most common type of wager, a straight win bet is as simple as it can get in horse racing betting. If you think a horse will win a race, whatever the odds, placing a single bet on that horse to win will only be successful if that horse finishes first.
To soften the win or bust nature of a straight win bet, bookmakers also offer each way betting. This acts as an insurance policy, as you are effectively doubling your stake and are still rewarded if your horse doesn’t win but finishes within the top few places.
For instance, a £5 bet on a horse to win a race would lose if that horse finished second. However, a £5 each way bet would reward you at lower odds if they finished runner up.
How it works: A £5 each way bet on Tiger Roll to win the Grand national at 1/5 odds, paying up to 5 places. If the original odds of Tiger Roll winning were 5/1 (6.0) and he finished fifth, your £5 win bet would not be successful.
However, with each way betting you double your stake and end up betting £10. With a fifth-place finish, your each way bet would win at 1/5 of the original odds (evens, 2.0).
So, having bet £10 in total, you would cover your bet – with your £5 each way stake returned and £5 each way winnings. Each way fractions and the amount of extra places vary depending on the bookmaker and race.
In addition to betting on a race winner, if you are confident about who will win and also finish second, you can place a Forecast – also known as an Exacta Bet. This is a very specific bet, however, and you are only rewarded for two perfect picks.
With a Reverse Forecast, you have slightly more leeway, as you bet on which two horses will finish first and second – but in no particular order. So a reverse forecast involves picking the first two finishers without specifying their position; the odds would be shorter here as the bet is not as exact.
A Trifecta Bet applies the same concept as a forecast but involves betting on which horses will finish first, second and third, adding an extra layer of difficulty to your bet.
With so many races run per day and per event, horse racing betting provides the perfect opportunity to bet on multiple races at once. So, as part of your horse racing experience, you can bet on a double, treble, or accumulator, which involves four selections or more. Just like in football betting, each selection must win for your bet to be successful.
A Union Jack bet consists of eight trebles from nine selections. The trebles are calculated by laying out the selections in a 3×3 grid, with three horizontal trebles, three vertical trebles and two diagonal trebles.
With long odds very frequent in horse racing, due to the number of runners – many fields hold a number of horses that’s well into the two-digit mark – there are plenty of ways to cover multiple outcomes in horse racing betting. A Trixie bet is a perfect example.
A Trixie involves three selections and four bets, so three doubles and a treble. A minimum of two selections must win to generate a return, with a £2.50 Trixie equalling a £10 stake and a £2.50 each way Trixie equalling a £20 stake.
A Patent bet varies things up even further but with added cost. A Patent bet involves three selections and seven bets: three singles, three doubles and one treble. A £2.50 Patent would cost £17.50.
A Yankee bet comprises four selections and 11 bets: six doubles, four trebles and a fourfold accumulator. Again, a minimum of two selections must win for the bet to make you a return – and a £1 Yankee would cost £11.
You may have noticed a pattern of an increasing number of bets within each bet type; there is no shortage of horse racing bet types that involve many different combinations. However, with each new combination comes an additional cost to your stake.
A Lucky 15 bet includes four selections and 15 bets: four singles, six doubles, four trebles and a fourfold accumulator. Only one selection must win to guarantee you a return but a Lucky 15 naturally multiplies its cost by 15, so a £1 Lucky 15 would cost you £15.
This bet involves five selections and 26 bets. A Canadian involves 10 doubles, 10 trebles, five fourfold accumulators and one fivefold accumulator. This type of bet is also known as a Super Yankee.
The principle here is similar to a Lucky 15 bet, with a Lucky 31 involving five selections and 31 bets: five singles, 10 doubles, 10 trebles, five fourfold accumulators and one fivefold accumulator. A £1 Lucky 31 would cost £31 and only one selection must win to earn you some kind of return.
The Heinz bet may remind you of the company that makes the beans – and that’s because it’s actually named after it, with Heinz having ‘57 varieties’ as its slogan. This bet involves six selections consisting of 57 bets: 15 doubles, 20 trebles, 15 fourfold accumulators, six fivefold accumulators and one sixfold accumulator.
Another ‘lucky’ bet, a Lucky 63 wager features six selections and 63 bets: six singles, 15 doubles, 20 trebles, 15 fourfold accumulators, six fivefold accumulators and one sixfold accumulator.
As the echelons and stakes get higher, a Super Heinz bet involves seven selections and 120 bets. This wager, staggering in size, needs two winning selections to ensure a return. It consists of: 21 doubles, 35 trebles, 35 fourfold accumulators, 21 fivefold accumulators, seven sixfold accumulators and one sevenfold accumulator.
From the name, you can tell this is going to be a big one. Indeed, a Goliath bet involves 247 bets on eight selections, from which two selections must win for some kind of return. These include:
When placing an alphabet bet, you need to already be familiar with some of the bet types from earlier. This is because it involves six selections and 26 bets: two patents, one yankee and a sixfold accumulator.
Another type of horse racing bet involves using one bet to fund another, with several of the bet types below containing up-and-down bets as part of their selections. There are two main types of Up-and-Down bet:
A Round Robin bet involves three selections and 10 bets. These are: three doubles, one treble and three SSA pairs.
A Flag bet takes this concept further, involving 17 bets. These are: six doubles, four trebles, one fourfold accumulator and six SSA pairs.
With a Super Flag bet, you are wagering on 36 bets. These involve: 10 doubles, 10 trebles, five fourfold accumulators, one fivefold accumulator and 10 SSA pairs.
Combining the Heinz and Super Flag concepts, a Super Heinz Flag bet is another mammoth horse racing bet type. It involves: 21 doubles, 35 trebles, 35 fourfold accumulators, 21 fivefold accumulators, seven sixfold accumulators, one sevenfold accumulator and 21 SSA pairs.
Like the Goliath bet type, a Goliath Flag involves an extraordinary number of combinations. A Goliath Flag contains: 28 doubles, 56 trebles, 70 fourfold accumulators, 56 fivefold accumulators, 28 sixfold accumulators, eight sevenfold accumulators, one eightfold and 28 SSA pairs.
As you can see, then, there are a huge number of different bet types in horse racing, with some types more suited to smaller bankrolls and others far more suited to much larger bankrolls.
To find out more about horse racing betting strategy, read our comprehensive guide on how to bet on horse racing, while you can also read up on the rules of the sport and the biggest horse racing events of 2020, right here on BetCompare.