Tenterfield Star

Horse racing bets explained

Horse racing bets explained

This article is in partnership with Neds.

If you find horse racing bets and terminologies bizarre or confusing, you're certainly not the only one. However, if you want to become a successful punter, you need to be fluent in the language, which can be quite the learning curve.

So, before you head to a race track in Australia and start gambling on horses, you need to understand the different types of bets you can place.

Types of bets in horse racing

There are primarily two types of horse racing bets you can place - Straight bets and exotic bets:

Straight bets

Straight bets are relatively simple to understand since they involve choosing a horse and betting on the position you think will finish at a certain position (First, second, third, etc.). We can further break down these best into different types:

1. Win bet

Win bets have the highest odds since they're placed on the winning horse. If the horse you bet on wins, you can cash your betting ticket.

2. Place bet

This bet involves wagering on a horse to run first or second. Since the odds are lower for this bet, you should get the latest horse racing odds before buying a ticket since you can still cash in if your horse wins or finishes second.

3. Show bet

Show bets involve betting on a horse to run first, second, or third. Therefore, it has the lowest odds.

Exotic bets

Exotic bets are fairly more complicated than straight bets since they involve making multiple bets on multiple horses, and therefore, they're generally more difficult to win and recommended only for experienced bettors. However, the payoff on exotic wagers are significantly higher than straight wagers. We can further break down these bets into different types:

1. Exacta

This bet involves picking your two favourite horses and betting them together and in order. For example, if you believe horse 5 will win and horse 8 will come in second, you can bet as an exacta. If you want to place an Exacta bet, tell the teller you want a two-dollar 8,5. (Horse 8 wins and horse 5 places).

2. Exacta box

Exacta Box bets are similar to Exacta bets. The only difference is that your horse picks can finish either first or second, so you can cash your ticket. However, the odds are slightly lower compared to the latter. An Exacta Box Bet is considered two bets due to greater odds of winning, so it will cost you four dollars instead of two.

3. Quintella

A Quintella is the same as an Exacta box bet. The only difference is that a Quintella is considered one bet instead of two. However, the typical payout is lower due to the lower wager cost.

4. Trifecta

A Trifecta bet is similar to an Exacta bet. The only difference is that it includes three horses instead of two. Therefore, you'll have to choose your favourite three horses as well as their positions (first, second, third) when making your wager.

5. Trifecta box

Like an Exacta Box bet, a Trifecta Box bet allows you to win if the horses you choose first, second, and third, regardless of the order. This bet costs a lot more due to the greater chances of winning. For example, a two-dollar Box will cost you twelve dollars.

6. Superfecta

This is similar to Exacta and Trifecta, except with four horses finishing in a pre-specified order to win and cash the ticket.

7. Superfecta box

Again, this isn't much different from an Exacta Box and Trifecta Box bet. Your winning chances are higher, and so are the wager costs.

8. Keying horses

This bet involves choosing your favourite horse and placing multiple horses under it. For instance, if you pick horse 8 for the win and horses 7, 5, and 3 to place, you can cash your ticket if horse 8 wins and any of the other three horses finish second.


And there you have it - the different types of horse racing bets. With this information, you're all set to enter the world of horse racing with surface-level knowledge of how bets work and the different ways you can win.

However, this is merely the tip of the iceberg. You have to keep learning to become a savvy horse racing bettor.

Gamble responsibly. Contact the Gambling Helpline for free and confidential support, information and counselling on 1800 858 858 or visit www.gamblinghelponline.org.au.