Racing Bets Explained: All You Need to Know

by ANNIE DALE For beginners, horseracing betting may seem to be a complicated endeavour. This is more so when you are presented with the racecards and form full of numbers. You may think that you need to be more of a maths wHizz, but all that’s needed is basic calculation. The numbers on racecards and form are rather easy to understand and once you do, you’ll realise that horseracing betting is one of the easiest forms of betting in the world. If you are not a big fan of numbers, you can visit the several horseracing betting sites or turn to the experts for tips and guides.

To help you with your betting journey, we explain the most popular racing bets below:

Straight Wagers (Bet On One Horse)


This is the simplest bet to place. On most occasions, there are several horses in each race, which means you have to select one horse depending on luck, recent form or based on previous stats.


When you choose the ‘Place’ option, you are essentially betting on a horse to finish either in first place or in second place. This betting market is not as lucrative as the ‘Win’ market, but it has some sort of security in that if your horse fails to finish in first place, and finishes in second place, you can cash out.


In this betting market, you choose a horse that you think will finish among the top three places. As you have more of a better chance of winning in this market, the bookmakers tend to give you much-reduced odds.

Across the board

In Across the board (Combo Straight Wager), you can place three different bets on a single horse on one ticket. Since you are placing three bets, it is does require a larger budget, however if your selected pick wins the race in this market, you get the ‘Win’, ‘Place’, and ‘Show’ money. If your pick finishes in second position, you get the ‘Place’ and ‘Show’ money and if it finishes in third position, you only receive the ‘Show’ money. Across the board has more profit potential if your horse wins in all three categories.

Exotic Wagers (Bet on Two or More Horses)


Skilled horse handicappers prefer this betting style due to its lucrative nature. In this market, you have to choose two runners to finish in first as well as second place. If for instance, you choose horse 5 and 6, and to achieve a win, horses 5 and 6 have to finish in position 1 and 2 respectively.

There is also an option of boxing your horses in the Exacta market. If you box your horses, it means you will still be able to cash out if horse 5 and 6 inversely change their finishing positions. However, one thing to note is that if you want to box your horses, you have to pay double the wager.


Quinella is technically the same as Box Exacta, in that you select two horses and the two horses should finish in first and second position in no particular order. The difference between the two is within the wagers.  For a Quinella, if a wager is £2, you’ll pay £2, but in Box Exacta, if a wager is £2 you’ll pay double i.e. £4. The payout for a Box Exacta is relatively more than on a Quinella.


In Trifecta, you have to choose three horses that will finish in the best three places in the exact order. Thus if you choose horse 5, 1 and 6, for example, horse 5 has to finish in first position, horse 1 has to finish in second position and horse 6 has to finish in third position. Trifecta also comes with an option of a Box Trifecta market. In Box Trifecta, your three horses can finish in no particular order in the top three and you can still collect your payout. However, as pointed out before, a Box significantly increases your wager. Thus if the Trifecta wager is £1, you’ll pay £6 for a Box Trifecta and if it is £2, you’ll pay £12 and so on.


In Superfecta, you have to choose four horses to finish in the first four positions in their correct order. You also have the option of a Box Superfecta, but you will have to pay more for this option. It essentially works in the same way as a Box Trifecta, but only requiring 4x the wager.

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