As is the case with most things, the more you understand betting on horse racing, the more you can expect to get out of it. While there’s no concrete way of guaranteeing success every time, getting to know how it all goes down is the key to both enjoying betting and making the right decisions.

Horse racing can come across as somewhat complicated and daunting to those who are unfamiliar with the terminology. Nevertheless, you really only need to learn a few bits and pieces to stand every chance of both having a great time and perhaps even taking home a win or two. Focusing on the subject and doing plenty of homework will certainly help, but for the time being we’ll be focusing on the bare essentials of betting.

So for those looking to give horse racing betting a try for the first time, here’s a quick look at just a few of the basics you’ll benefit by knowing:

While odds may appear to be complicated on the surface, they are in fact pretty easy to grasp. The long and short of it being that odds tell you exactly how much you can expect to get back, should your bet be successful. In the United Kingdom, you will normally come across fractional odds – 2/1, 8/1, 6/5 and so on. In the case of 5/1 odds, this basically means that if you bet £10 and win, you’ll receive 7X £10 plus the £10 you bet, meaning £80. Decimal odds are slightly different as they include your stake. Which means that 7/1 fractional odds would be written as 8.000 in decimal – £10 returning £80 in total if you win.

Tips and Punditry


While it’s a good idea to pay at least a passing attention to what the pundits have to say, it’s also important to remember that they do not work for you and nor do they necessarily have your best interests at heart. If you are looking for the best shot at winning at least something, take note of where everyone else seems to be placing their wagers and consider following suit. It can be tempting to place small bets on horses with explosive odds, but your chances of coming home successful will be significantly reduced. But at the same time, don’t forget that even the lowest odds don’t guarantee the horse in question will deliver on the day.

To win
When getting started, chances are you will stick with the simplest type of bet that can be placed on a horse race which is ‘to win’. As the name quite rightly suggests, this is where you choose any horse in the race and predict that it will come in first. If it does, you’ll be paid in accordance with your wager and the odds. If it comes in any position other than first, you lose.

Each way
Another example of an extremely popular type of horse racing bet is each way – often abbreviated to E/W. Generally considered to be a good idea if the odds on your horse are particularly high, each way betting means you bet on your horse to win, but will also receive a payout if it finishes in a ‘placed’ position – usually second or third. This will mean winning to the tune of ¼ the odds on the horse winning, meaning you’re effectively making two bets at the same time.

At a slightly more advanced level, you may wish to place a single bet that predicts the three horses that will finish in first, second and third positions in a specific order. For obvious reasons, this is an extensively more difficult bet to be successful with and requires plenty of insight…perhaps even a good deal of luck. Nevertheless, get it right and you could be set for a quite enormous payout.

Double, treble, fourfold etc.
What differs in the case of these multiple bets is the way in which you are betting on the outcome of horses taking part in different races. If you wish to go for the double, for example, you will bet on two horses in two different races and predict the outcome of both. You will only win if you are correct in both instances and win nothing if any of your horses are unsuccessful. The more horses you bet on across different races, the higher the potential payouts.

Taking things another step further, Yankee betting gives you the opportunity to bet on four horses – a wager that includes six doubles, four trebles and a fourfold accumulator. You must be correct in at least two of your predictions in order to win a prize at all, so this kind of betting take things into much more complicated territory.

Super Yankee


If you’re not satisfied with a standard Yankee, the Super Yankee could be for you. This is where five horses are involved and includes 10 doubles, 10 trebles, 5 fourfolds plus a fivefold accumulator, meaning a total of 26 separate bets. Once again, you need at least two of your horses to be successful in order to win and must be aware that with 26 bets to make, even a modest £5 bet would cost you £130.

And right at the top of the ladder we have the Goliath – a bet you probably won’t be going near anytime soon. The reason being that what you are looking at here is 28 doubles, 56 trebles, 70 fourfolds, 56 fivefolds, 28 sixfolds, 8 sevenfolds and an accumulator, meaning a total of 247 bets with eight horses running different races. Even if you only wanted to place 50p on the line, the sheer number of bets would mean handing over more than £120. On the plus side, get it right and payouts tread well into six-figure territory.

But if you’re just looking to test the waters, you’re really better off sticking with the simplest bets of the bunch. One of the best ways of seeing how it all goes down these days is to sign up with an online bookie, where you’ll find all the tutorials and resources you’ll need to place your first bets and take your first steps into the exciting world of horse racing betting.









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