On-course betting remains an integral part of a day at the races. Racecourse bookmakers compete with one another for our custom and ensure that punters can get a good-sized bet on, at a competitive price before a race.
How to bet with a bookmaker
Racecourse bookmakers are nothing to be afraid of. Walk into the betting ring, select a racecourse bookmaker and tell them the number on the racecard of the horse you wish to back. Prices and place terms can vary with different racecourse bookmakers, so it is always prudent to shop around the betting ring to find the best possible deal.
For instance, if you wanted to back a horse to win, simply say ‘£4 win number 7, please’, provided the minimum stake is not £5. You will be given a ticket by the racecourse bookmaker with the details of your bet, including the odds and how much you will receive if the horse wins.
To back a horse each-way, say ‘£4 each-way number 7, please.’ It is, of course, two bets – £4 to win and £4 for a place, making a total stake of £8.
Each-way terms vary by bookmaker and you should always check you are getting the best terms. The place part of your bet will be determined by how many runners are in the race and the terms the bookmaker is offering.
A race with seven runners or less will have place terms for the first and second placed horses. A race with eight or more runners will have place terms of first, second and third placed horses. If there are fourteen or more runners in a race and the race is a handicap, then the place terms are increased to first, second, third and fourth-placed horses.
Bookmakers will usually offer place terms of 1/4 the odds, which means if your horse places in a race, then you will receive 1/4 the odds on the place part of your bet. Some bookmakers offer enhanced terms for each-way bets so make sure you compare place terms before placing your each-way bets.
There are two main differences between betting with a racecourse bookmaker and with the Tote. Firstly, Tote bets are pool bets. All the money bet goes into a pool. The Tote takes a percentage and the balance is divided between the winning tickets. The odds are determined by the size of the pool and the number of winning tickets; the bigger the pool and the fewer the number of winning tickets, the higher the dividend. When you place your bet, a screen will show the dividend for each horse at that moment but it might change by the time the race starts.
Secondly, as well as win and each-way bets, the Tote allows you to back a horse just to place.
When placing your bets with the Tote, you simply give the racecard number of the horse you wish to back at the Tote window, as you would with a racecourse bookmaker.
Types of bets:
Exacta – Select the first and second horse to finish, in the correct order.
Trifecta – Select the first, second and third horse, in the correct order.
Placepot – Select a horse that places in each of the first six races.
Jackpot – Select the winner of each of the first 6 races
Scoop6 – Select the winner of each of the six selected Saturday races. There is a consolation dividend if all your selections place, with a bonus for six winners.
Not all of these ‘exotic’ bets are available on every race, nor every day. In the case of some bets, the pool is rolled forward if there are no winners and can produce huge payouts for the Jackpot and Scoop6.
The Placepot is a very popular bet, providing an inexpensive interest throughout the afternoon (or, at least, until one of your selections is unplaced).
Furthermore, you can have multiple combinations of selections, increasing your chances of winning, but also increases the cost, which can be as small or as large as you choose.
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