Remember to keep a log of every bet. You will never know how successful you are unless you do this

Horse Racing Betting Guide

20th Oct 1999
betting / multiples
Article is over 10 years old. Stats may have changed since.

Article Contents

When trying to profit from any system you must have an effective betting strategy. Not only must you determine the size of bet to place but also the type of bet. Usually the type of bet decision would be 'win' or 'each way' but punters should also decide if a bet should be placed on it's own as a single, or combined with other horses for multiple bet.

Below are some examples of the type of horse racing bets selected from the various FlatStats horse racing systems and stats. If there was only one selection on a particular day then the bet would be to win (straight win or each way). On some days there were two or more contenders and thus doubles, trebles, yankee bet, and other multiple bets were placed.

Many punters frown on such betting strategies. They think that only single bets can be profitable long term and that multiple bets are mug bets. This is not necessarily true as the definition of a mug bet is more applicable to the selection method of the horse rather than the type of bet!

Multiple bets can be bad bets if there is no value with the selections. If a single win on a horse is a bad value bet then betting two of those horses in a double will magnify the bad value. Similarly, if a single win on a horse is a good value bet, then betting two of those horses in a double will compound the value and thus give a better return to the punter in the long run.

Keeping Records of your Bets

Remember to keep a log of every bet. You will never know how successful you are unless you do this. You will never know if your single win bets are more profitable than your double bets, and you will never know if you should have back your selections each way instead of on the nose.

It is very easy to record bets in a spreadsheet or even a database. You only need to record basic information such as date, bet type, stake, return and a profit or loss column.

A business which does not record it's sales and expenditure information will never know if it is profitable or if it is making a loss; it will never know how to maximise profits and it will never know where it can make savings.

The same basic principle applies to the horse racing betting. If a punter fails to keep a record of his bets it is likely that his betting will fail.

Win or Each Way Singles

A typical mistake punters make is to bet win on favourites and each way on anything above a certain price such as 5/1. At first this makes sense because if the 5/1 horse is placed you will get your money back in races paying 1/5 the odds a place, and make a small profit if it pays a 1/4 the odds.

The determining factor for win or each way should not always be the price. It is far better to determine to bet win or each way based on the probabilty of winning and the probability of placing.

Now this does not mean that a punter needs a degree in quantum mathematics to determine the probabilites of winning and placing - a simple understanding of the risks and rewards of each bet and an assessment of the competition in the race is all that is required.

Q. If a horse has a high rating, or some great stats but is 10/1 would you back this to win or each way?

The answer is to look at the rating and stats of first the favourite, and then the other fancied runners. Is the favourite a real contender? Is the second favourite a worthy danger? Could the third favourite pull off a surprise win? If the answer is 'no' to any of those questions then there is less risk your good thing could just be beaten by a better horse and you are probably better off backing the horse to win.

Q. If another horse has a high rating, or some great stats but is 3/1 would you back this to win or each way?

Again check the stats for the other market leaders. If the 6/4 fav in the race has a good chance too then you are probably better off going each way on your selection, or possibly placing a straight win bet and a forecast bet for the favourite to beat your selection.

Summarising: the price of the horse should not determine the type of bet but rather the size of the stake. It is the probability of the horse winning or placing which determines the type of bet.


Doubles could be placed if there are two or more selections in one day. These could be placed instead of plain win singles.

The probability of the double being achieved is the probability of each horse winning multiplied together.

e.g. if Lucky Jim has a 65% chance of winning and Blue Sky 50% the chance of the double being successful is .65 x .5 = 32.5%

In otherwords this bet will be successful about 1 time in 3.

Typical Doubles and Each Way Treble bet

   doubles and treble 3 x £10 Doubles, £10 EW Treble
INFOTEC 2nd 4/1
KOOKABURA 3rd 11/8
Staked £54.50
Returned £34.43
Loss £20.07
29th September

This bet included win doubles and an each way treble. We were very confident of all 3 placing, and were expecting at least 2 winners but unfortunately this did not happen. Losses were minimised due to the place treble.


The key thing to remember with bets like this is to try and maximise your return and to minimise your losses. You do this by deciding to bet doubles or just a treble, and win or each way. Try and work out your likely return under all scenarios and decide if the risk of one particular bet is worth it or if a safer bet should be played.

Typical Each Way Treble bet

treble £10 EW Treble
TAKHLID 1st 13/8
Staked £21.80
Returned £196.50
Profit £174.70
2nd October

In this bet we were extremely confident of all 3 placing and very confident of all 3 winning - our confidence was rewarded. Takhlid was the selection in the 7.30 because of his horse stats profile, Shouf Al Badou and Altichiero were selected via one of our stats systems.

Yankee and Lucky 15 Bets

Punters often fall into the trap of betting each way on high price horses, and win only on favourites. This is common with popular multiple bets such as a Yankee or a Lucky 15.

It is surely a dream to get 4 winners at 10/1 but realistically at these odds you will most often have just 2 places which will not return half your stake money. Far better to bet win only at these odds and wait for the day when you get 2 or maybe 3 winners.

It is amazing how much an each way Yankee pays with 4 places at odds as low as 3/1. Yet at these odds most punters bet win only. When you get 4 places the doubles and trebles multiply up and can return a profit of 60% on stakes invested. 3 places and you get half your money back. And of course, any winners is a profit booster.

Typical Each Way Yankee Bet

ew yankee £2 EW Yankee
MORE MAGIC 1st 5/4
RAYAAN 2nd 13/8
GRIEF 1st 15/8
KEW GARDENS 1st 11/10
Staked £47.96
Returned £107.54
Profit £60.57
4th October

We could have placed a £4 win Yankee for the same cost and the return would have been £123.28 but we were only expecting 2 to win, but all 4 to place. The place part returned £45.90 which just about covers the stakes invested. The 2 winners were the profit boosters.

Next Page -> Multiple Bets

Article created 20-Oct-1999. Stats may have changed since.

Comments on Horse Racing Betting Guide

  • Comments from robert rockett
    • Fri 18th Jul 2014 06:46
    • robert rockett

    I placed bet of 9 horses ie. 36 doubles. I erred in that I placed 2 different horses in the same race. 1 of them won what happens to my bet.

  • Comments from Pittsburgh Phil
    • Fri 18th Jul 2014 08:49
    • Pittsburgh Phil


    If this was your only winner (none of the other legs of the bet won) then nothing happens - your bet is down so there is no return and no refund.

    If you did have another winner from the other legs of the bet then the bookies will spilt your bet. Half of your stake will go on the loser, and half on the winner.

    Assume you have had one winner from an earlier race at 3/1 and the stake was £1. You have £4 rolling onto the race with two horses (Lucky Joe 6/1 and Blue Sky 10/1)

    The bookies will take half your earlier winnings (£4) and settle with £2 on Lucky Joe at 6/1, and £2 on Blue Sky at 10/1. Thus if your winner was Blue Sky your return is £22.

  • Comments from Pauline Sullivan
    • Sat 26th Jul 2014 10:42
    • Pauline Sullivan

    Isn't it time you updated the bets?
    Why are you including 9 per cent tax in the bets.

  • Comments from Pittsburgh Phil
    • Sat 26th Jul 2014 10:59
    • Pittsburgh Phil


    look at the date the article was written. It was back in 1999!

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