The simplest type of bet is a single win bet, in which you wager a certain amount, known as your ‘stake’, on a single selection, which must win for you to make a profit. If horse wins, you receive winnings equal to your stake multiplied by the winning odds, plus your stake back. If the horse does not win, you lose your stake in its entirety.
Alternatively, an each-way bet is, in effect, two bets, one on a selection to win and another on the same selection to finish placed or, in other words, second, third or fourth, depending on the ‘place terms’ offered on the race in question. Standard place terms are, for handicaps with 16 or more runners, one-quarter the odds for the first four places, for handicaps with 12-15 runners, one-quarter the odds for the first three places, for all other races with 8 or more runners, one-fifth the odds for the first three places and, for all races with 5-7 runners, one-quarter the odds for the first two places. If your horse wins, both your ‘win’ and ‘place’ bets are winners, if the horse does not win, but is placed, your ‘place’ bet is a winner and if the horse is unplaced, both bets are losers.
If you want to bet on more than one horse in more than one race, you can combine your selections in win, or each-way, doubles, trebles and accumulators. In the case of a double, both selections must win, or be placed, to guarantee a return, in the case of a treble, all three selections must win, or be placed, and so on. Combination, or multiple, bets of this type are inherently more risky than win or each-way single bets, but do offer the potential of a huge return for a small initial outlay.
Aside from these basic types of bet, bookmakers also offer a whole host of ‘exotic’ bets, such as forecast and tricast bets, which invite you to attempt to predict the first two, or the first three, horses home in certain races. Once again, these bets offer the potential for a huge return, but involve betting at multiple odds, so the bookmakers are giving nothing away.