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A Guide To Betting On Horse Racing With The Cheltenham Festival In Mind

The Cheltenham Festival would not be the same without the added interest of having a bet on one or more of the 28 races taking place over the four days. Here is a guide as to the best ways to try and make the 2020 national hunt extravaganza a profitable one:

Placing A Straight Bet On A Horse Race

Nice and simple way of having an interest in the outcome of a horse race. You can back a horse to just win the race or each-way (to win or be placed). An each-way bet would result in double the stake. For example a £10 each-way single would cost £20. £10 to win and £10 to place. The amount of places available depends on the amount of runners in the race. The traditional each-way terms are:

Less than 5 runners – win only
Between 5 and 7 runners – ¼ odds 1.2
8 or more runners – ⅕ odds 1.2.3
12-15 runners in a handicap – ¼ odds 1.2.3.
16 or more runners in a handicap – ¼ odds 1.2.3.4.
Many bookmakers now offer increased places in large fields, although some reduce the each-way terms from ¼ to ⅕ to compensate. The advice is always to shop around for the best value terms.

While a straight bet is the most popular form of wager it is unlikely to result in a life-changing win. So for those looking for a greater return on their investment, the following would be worth considering:

Most Popular Multiples (Exotic Bets)

Double – Two selections, both of which must win for a return. In the case of an each-way double both must be placed.
Treble – Three selections, all of which must win for a return. In the case of an each-way treble all must be placed.
Accumulator – 4 or more selections, all of which must win for a return. In the case of an each-way accumulator all must be placed.
Yankee – 4 selections involved in 6 doubles, 4 trebles and 1 accumulator. A total of 11 bets in which at least two must be successful for a return.
Lucky 15 – same as above but with 4 singles added. Most bookmakers offer double the odds (sometimes treble) for one winner and a bonus is all selections are successful.
Canadian – 5 selections involved in 10 doubles, 10 trebles, 5 four-timers and 1 accumulator. A total of 26 bets in which at least two must be successful for a return.
Lucky 31 – same as above but with 5 singles added. Most bookmakers offer double the odds (sometimes treble) for 1 winner and a bonus if all selections are successful.
Heinz – 6 selections involved in 15 doubles, 20 trebles, 15 four-timers, 6 five-timers and 1 accumulator. A total of 57 bets in which at least two must be successful for a return.
Lucky 63 – same as above but with 6 singles added. Most bookmakers offer double the odds (sometimes 3 or 4 times) for 1 winner and a bonus if all selections are successful.

Tote Betting

While betting with a bookmaker, in a betting shop, online or at a racecourse is the most popular way of having a bet the TOTE can be an excellent alternative. This system, known as the pari-mutuel in other countries is similar to the national lottery in that each market has a final pool into which winning tickets are divided to reach a dividend. Win, place or each-way are the most popular but there are a variety of exotic bets including the following:

Exacta – 2 selections to finish first and second in the correct order.
Trifecta – 3 selections to finish 1.2.3 in the correct order.
Placepot – select a placed horse in the first 6 races at a meeting
Quadpot – select a placed horse in races 4 to 6 at a meeting.
Scoop6 – available each Saturday and on selected days, including all 4 days of the Cheltenham Festival. The 3 elements to the bet are based on 6 selected races and include a win dividend, place dividend with anyone forecasting all 6 winners eligible to play for a ‘bonus’ race which usually takes place the following week.

Betting Exchanges

An exchange is where customers bet against each other, either backing a selection to win or to be beaten. Odd are usually, especially in the case of outsiders, better than with traditional forms of betting but the exchange will charge a commission on winning bets.