How to bet at the races

If you are simply attending a race meeting as a guest and spectator one can still be part of the racing excitement by “having a flutter” or placing a bet on your favourite in each race. While some people make an art of studying form, for the less regular race goers, it may seem rather complex.

Imagine Racing suggests the following tips to get you up to speed:

A race card is a good starting point as it lists each of the races and all the runners, with details and results from previous races so that one can make an informed comparison. For a final decider, it is always good to view the runners in the parade ring and watch them canter down to the start. Note the horses that catch your eye as they parade and in the canter past, one should be looking for fluid, easy movement. Once you have narrowed your short-list, you are ready to place your bets.

From the simplest bet to the more exotic combinations:


Place your bet by giving the number of the horse that you predict will be first past the post.


Choose a horse that you think will finish in the first two if there are six or seven runners, in the first three if there are between eight to fifteen runners, or in the first four if there are sixteen or more runners in a race.


Select 2 horses to come in any 2 of the first 3 positions in a race. 1st & 2nd, 1st & 3rd and 2nd & 3rd.


Select two horses to finish 1st and 2nd in the exact order.


Select the first three horses past the post in the exact order. (You can elect to “box” the trifecta at reduced odds which means that as long as your selections run in the first three past the post, they do not have to be in the exact order.)


Predict the first four horses past the post in the exact order. (You can also elect to “box” the quartet.)


Predict the winners of any two consecutive races.

Pick 3

Predict the winners of any three consecutive races.


Select the winners of 4 consecutive races designated as the ‘Jackpot’ races. See racecard for the Jackpot races.

Pick 6

Select the winners of 6 consecutive races designated as the ‘Pick 6’ races. See racecard for the Pick 6 races.

Place Accumulator

Predict horses that place in the top 3 of 7 consecutive races designated as ‘Place Accumulator’ races. See racecard for Place Accumulator races.

 In all the cases of the last four bet types, you can choose more than one horse in each race for your selection. This will simply affect the total cost of your bet but will give you more chances in each race to select the winner.