Quick Guide to Single and Multi-Horse Bets

Single Horse Bets

UK horseracing Single Bets explained for India

There are a myriad of different betting options available to punters in the ultra-competitive betting industry, but over the course of this series of betting guides we’ll endeavor to explain the options from the very simplest bets to the more complicated bets that might cover several horses in different races.  

Whilst the potential rewards offered by doubles, trebles, four-timers, five-timers and more are almost limitless, the fact is that winning these bets is hard, (but by no means impossible) to achieve.

The two bets that remain the most popular are the Win and Each-Way bets that involve just one horse.

Remember that when you win a bet you always get the amount you staked returned to you along with profit at the odds agreed. For further understanding of how to place successful bets read our horseracing beginner’s guide.

Win Bet

Well, it’s as simple as it sounds. You simply select a horse that you think is going to win a particular race and put your money on it.

If you bet at fixed odds you will know as soon as the bet is confirmed exactly how much money you will receive back from the betting firm if your horse wins – $10 @ 5/1 = $60 (including your $10 stake). If you are uncertain as to whether the odds offered are likely to be higher or lower than at the ‘off’ of the race, you can choose to bet SP (Starting Price).

The SP is calculated by independent monitors of the betting industry who work at the racecourse itself and decide on a Starting Prince that is equally fair to both punters and betting firms. It is a median of the odds offered by not less than six on-course firms at the moment the starting gates fly open and the race begins.

For more than 100 years the SP has proved to be the best system for providing the odds for those people who choose not to take a price earlier on in the day.

Each Way

Many people who fancy a horse to run well but aren’t certain it will win choose to bet on their horse each-way. This is essentially two bets; the first bet is that the horse will win, while the second part of the bet is that the horse will finish in one of the officially declared places.

If your horse wins you receive a payout for both the win and place part of the bet, while if the horse finishes in Place (2nd), you receive the second part of the bet. It’s a kind of betting with insurance to cover your horse failing to reach first place, but still running better than most others in the race.

In British and Irish horseracing the place odds can be used when the race contenders stand as follows:

2-4 runners – Win only
5-7 runners – place betting for 1st & 2nd
8-15 runners – place betting for 1st, 2nd, & 3rd
16 runners or more in a handicap race – place betting for 1st, 2nd, 3rd & 4th

When finishing on Place the bet is paid at 1/5 of the winning odds, except for handicap races of 16 or more runners in which the place is paid at 1/4 of the winning odds.

For example:  if you have $10 each-way (which costs $20) on a horse at 5/1 in a nine-runner race and he wins, you will receive the win odds of $10 @ 5/1 = $60 including your $10 stake, as well as the 1/5 place odds which = $20 return, including your stake. In all you would receive $80 return on your $20 dollar bet.

If you have the same bet and the horse comes 2nd, you would lose the $10 of the win bet but receive 1/5 the place odds, meaning you would receive a return of $20 and end up level on the bet without your horse winning. This is why a lot of people see each-way betting as a kind of insurance.

Obviously, if the odds of the horse are less than 5/1 and he places, you will receive a return but it will be less than your original stake.


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Multiple Bets: Two or Three Horse Bets

Combining selected horses in different races in what are known as ‘Multiple’ bets.



A Double is simply two horses in different races whose odds will be multiplied by each other should they both win.

If however only one of the two wins then the bet is a loser.

This can be a lucrative bet if both your horses win and odds are simply calculated as follows:

$10 double: Horse 1 wins @ 4/1 meaning there is $50 (including the $10 stake) rolled onto the second horse which also wins at odds of 3/1. $50 @ 3/1 gives a total return of $200 (including the $10 original stake) meaning that the double has returned total odds of 19/1.

Because it can be very frustrating to pick a winner in a double then see the other selection lose and you too end up losing, many punters like to also include a single bet on each horse; two singles and a double = 3 bets to your nominated stake. That way you will be paid out if only one horse wins and if they both win you get paid out for the combined odds of the Double as well as the two single bets.


A Treble bet works according to the same principle as the Double but involves three horses.

Using the calculation made for those horses in the Double (above) as an example, should the first two horses have both won at respective odds of 3/1 and 4/1 to your $10 stake, there would then be $200 running onto you third and final selection. If this third horse also wins at odds of 4/1, the total return to the original $10 stake would be $1000.

Again, in order to avoid the disappointment of picking two good winners only to see the third selection lose and you end up with nothing, punters have developed a range of options that cover the three horses to try to ensure some return, even if you only pick one or two winners out of the three selections. Below are two examples of how to cover three horses in a combination bet:


A combination of four bets covering three horses that includes three doubles and a treble. In other words you are betting on doubles for horses A+B, B+C, and A+C, as well as the treble A+B+C, hence the four bets.

So a $10 Trixie bet will cost $40, but of course does not cover you if just one of your three horses wins.


This combination of seven bets covering three selections ensures that if just one of your three selections wins you will still get something back from your bet. A Patent is effectively a Trixie bet that also includes three single bets on horses A, B, & C. So a $10 Patent will cost $70.

In the next section of this betting guide we will look at ways of combining four or more horses in multiple bets that could potentially produce significant winning returns.

Betting on Four or More Horses

Having presented the most popular choices for combining two or three horses in different races in multiple bets, it’s now time to have a look at other popular multiple bets involving four or more horses. These type of bets can turn a bettor into a super rich but cn be really hard to win. In order to cover for losses there is a horseracing  laying method  that helps you cut your losses or break even.



Unlimited Selections – If you fancy four horses in four different races the simplest bet of all is to do an Accumulator (you can also do this with two or more horses), which simply means that all four of your selections have to win in order for your bet to be a winner.

The winnings from each horse go on to the next horse at the odds declared and should all four win you will receive a handsome payout.

Should just one of the four lose however, you will receive nothing, which is why the following options are very popular with punters in Britain & Ireland wishing to make money should one, two, or three of their selections hit the target:


4 horses – A multiple bet combing four selections including 6 doubles, 4 trebles, and a four-timer, making a total of 11 bets. Therefore a $1 Yankee would cost a total stake of $11. This is a very popular bet but pays nothing unless you get two or more winners. This bet does not cover only one of your four chosen horses winning. To cover a single winner as well most betting firms offer the following alternative bets:

Lucky 15

4 horses – This is essentially a Yankee (see above) with an additional single bet on each of your four selections. Many betting firms will also pay double the odds if you only pick one winner out of your four individual selections, guaranteeing you a return that would not happen with a Yankee. As the name implies, the Lucky 15 is 15 different bets combining your four selected horses and is made up of 4 singles, 6 doubles, 4 trebles, and a four-timer. Therefore a $1 Lucky 15 will cost a total stake of $15.

Super Yankee

Also known as a Canadian  (5 horses) – This is a multiple bet that combines five different horses in five different races and works along the same lines as a Yankee, but with one more selection. It includes 10 doubles, 10 trebles, 5 four-timers, and one five-timer, making a total of 26 bets. Therefore a $1 Super Yankee will cost a total stake of $26. Like a Yankee however there is no payout if just one of your five horses wins.

Lucky 31

5 horses – This is essentially a Super Yankee (see above) but includes an additional single bet on each of your five individual selections. Many betting firms will also pay double the odds if you only pick one winner, guaranteeing you a return that would not happen with a standard Super Yankee. A Lucky 31 is made up of 5 singles, 10 double, 10 trebles, 5 four-timers, and a five-timer. Therefore a $1 Lucky 31 will cost a total stake of $31.


6 horses – So named (like the sauce) because it combines six horses in six different races and is made up of a total of 57 individual bets. It is made up of 15 doubles, 20 trebles, 15 four-timers, 6 five-times, and a six-timer. A $1 Heinz will cost a total stake of $57. There is no payout though if only one of your six selections wins.


6 horses – This is essentially a Heinz (see above) but includes an additional single bet on each of your six individual selections. Again, like the Lucky 15 and Lucky 31 bets you will receive double the odds if you pick just one winner. A Lucky 63 is made up of 6 singles, 15 doubles, 20 trebles, 15 four-timers, 6 five-timers and a six-timer. A $1 Lucky 63 will cost a total stake of $63.

Tote Betting


Most betting firms, not only offer a wide range of betting opportunities at fixed odds but also offer betting into the Tote pools, a different form of betting – known internationally as pari mutuel – that is preferred by some punters.

The Tote works on a pool betting system, a very popular method in the US, Hong Kong, France, Australia, and in many other racing jurisdictions around the globe.

The essential difference to the fixed odds betting that dominates the UK & Ireland market is that you don’t know exactly what odds you will receive should you pick the right horse as the final dividend is not determined until the moment the race starts.

You do however see an odds indicator screen that gives a good idea of the amount (more or less) you will be paid out.

For many people the attraction of placing Tote bets is that they offer a few options that are not available with fixed odds bookmakers, such as the Place only, Placepot, Quadpot, Jackpot, and Scoop6.

Other Tote bets are basically equivalent to those offered by fixed odds betting firms and their dividends always include a one unit stake. The most popular Tote bets are explained below.

Tote Win

Works just the same as a regular win bet in that you select one horse and if it wins you get paid according to a declared divided that includes your one unit stake.

Tote Place

This bet is for your horse to finish in one of the officially declared places and works according to the same number of placed horses in each race as defined earlier on in the fixed odds section of this betting guide.

Tote Exacta

A very popular bet that can reap handsome dividends. To win the Exacta you must pick the first two horses in the correct order. Some punters choose to do a reverse Exacta (amounting to double the unit stake) giving the option of their selections finishing first and second in either order.

Tote Trifecta

Another popular bet with Tote punters that is famed for resulting in very big dividends, sometimes more than 1000 to a one unit stake. The challenge however is to pick the first three horses in the correct order in the nominated race. Like the Exacta (see above), many punters like to cover the options of their three selections finishing in different orders so do a 6-unit perm to cover this possibility.

Tote Jackpot

This is available at one selected meeting each day and requires punters to pick the winner of each of the first six races. Many punters choose to do a perm, selecting a number of horses in each race and multiplying the selections to give the total number of combination bets. For example, in races 1 to 6 selecting 2x3x2x1x2x2 horses gives a total number of 48 bets. If the unit stake is $1 then the bet costs $48.

If the Jackpot is not won the amount in the pool goes forward to the selected meeting the following day and will continue to roll up until someone finds the winning combination.

Tote Placepot

Works on a similar principal to the Jackpot but is available at every meeting on the first six races. You have to select a horse or horses to finish in one of the officially declared places in order to land a winning dividend.

Tote Quadpot

Gives those players whose bet on the Placepot has failed in either of the first two races the chance to gain a consolation by selecting horses to finish in one of the officially declared places in races 3 – 6 at each meeting.

Scoop 6

A very popular bet operated on Saturdays only which requires the player to find the winner of all six selected races from two or more meetings that are usually televised by Channel 4 in England. There have been occasions when this bet has not been won for a number of weeks and the win fund can reach a massive amount. In May 2014 the fund easily exceeded £4 million after punters failed to find the six winners for many successive weeks!

*Now that you know which type of bets you can take you should continue  to understand what market signals are and how to use them.