A guide to horse racing bet types

Many of you are new to our website, some of you are already seasoned pros, but perhaps others of you are new to the idea of online sports betting and the different types of horse racing bet types.

In this guide, we cover:

    • Win bet types
    • Place bet types
    • Exotic bet types

With October here, it means the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival is about to begin, and plenty of big name Australian horse racing events are coming very soon. So we’ve put together a basic introductory guide for those of you who may be brand new to the idea of how to bet on the horses. For those of you already familiar with the basic wager types, before you head to the track at Flemington, you can share this info graphic with your friends online.

Australian horse racing bet types

Basic horse racing bet types

The main wage types “Win”, “Place”, and “Each Way” are fairly simple, but are the most popular. There are of course many other betting types available known as “exotic” bets, such as “Trifecta” (picking the 1st, 2nd an 3rd place finishers in order). Due to the complex odds with these, if you’re lucky enough, winning such a bet can often turn $1 into $10,000!

Win bets

A win bet is the most common type of betting product. It simply means that you are placing a bet on a horse to come first in the race. If the horse comes 2nd or worse, you will lose the money that you staked on the race.

If your horse wins, you’ll receive the winning dividend eg. $10 bet x odds of $5.00 = $50.00 collect.

Different types of win bets

Although win bets may seem simple, there are different types of horse racing win bets. It’s important to understand these as they pay different dividends; some pay a consistently better dividend than others.

Fixed odds

A fixed odds bet means that the odds (or price) you see at the time of placing your bet, is the price you will receive should your horse win. It is the most basic type of win bet. All of Australia’s online bookmakers offer fixed price win betting.

Top Tote Plus

Top Tote Plus is a great product to use in the 30 minutes prior to race time when Best of the Best and the Top Fluctuation are no longer available. Top Tote Plus guarantees you the best of the three tote prices or the official Starting Price (SP). It is usually only available on Saturday metropolitan race meets, though it is now offered by most bookies albeit under their own moniker.

Best tote betting

Many betting agencies will offer you a win type called ‘best tote’. This means that should your horse win, you’ll receive the best dividend declared by the 3 official Australian totalisators. Most bookmakers offer this product and it can be especially handy if you’re placing a bet on a horse at long odds.

Top Fluctation

This is a popular bet type for horse racing fans that regularly place bets. You will receive the top fluctuation of the odds on your selected horse in the official bookmakers betting ring in the 30 minutes prior to the start of the race. This is a far better option than just taking the fixed price at the time of placing your bet, as the horse’s odds may fluctuate considerably during the 30 minutes prior to the race. Sportsbet is a popular bookie that offers Top Fluc betting on win bets.

Best of the best for win bets

Taking it a step further, some bookmakers offer a product called ‘Best of the best’. It guarantees to pay you the highest dividend of the top fluctuation, or the best dividend declared by the 3 totes. PlayUp is one operator that offers best of the best. The trick is, you need to place your win bet at least 30 minutes prior to the start of the race. We recommend you use this bet type for your win bets where available.

Place betting

A place bet is bet where you select a horse to fill any of the top 3 positions in the race. Place odds are inferior to win odds because there is a greater chance of your horse filling one of the top 3 positions than just winning the race. If your horse happens to win the race, you will still only receive the place dividend. The good news is that all of our featured bookmakers offer place betting.

Place betting options

There are fewer options available with place betting. You can either select a fixed odds place bet, or the place dividend declared by one of the totes.

Be wary of small fields

One important thing to understand about place betting is that the number of officially declared place getters can vary depending on how many horses run in the race. If there are only 7 runners or less in the race, place dividends will only be declared for the first two horses. If there are only, four runners, only punters that predict the first placed runner will receive the place dividend.

Each way betting

An each way bet is a popular type of bet in Australia, where you can have ‘a bit each way’. It means that you are effectively placing two bets within one; a bet on your horse to win the race, and a bet on your horse to run a place. For example, if you place a $20 each way bet, you are placing $10 on the horse to win, and $10 on the horse to run a place. If your selection wins, you’ll receive both the win and place dividends.

Each way betting is offered by all of the major online bookmakers.

Exotic bet types

Exotic bets require you to select multiple horses in either; the same event or, separate races.

Types of horse racing exotic bets


An Exacta requires you to select two runners to finish 1st and 2nd in correct order. It is best used when you are very confident about the winner and also the second placegetter.


A Quinella requires you to select two runners to finish 1st or 2nd in any order. The bet types is best used when you are confident two runners are superior to the field. A box Quinella requires you to select two or more runners to finish 1st and 2nd in any order


A Duet requires you to select two of the first three placegetters. Duets are only offered by some operators and dividends are lower as they are easier to select.


A Trifecta requires you to select 3 runners to place 1st, 2nd and 3rd in correct order. The dividend can pay well for a small outlay if you can correctly select the three placegetters in order.

Box Trifecta

A Box Trifecta requires you to choose as many runners as you wish but three runners must place 1st, 2nd and 3rd. A Box Trifecta is a handy bet type if you have studied the race and are confident in the chances of certain runners. Especially valuable on feature race days when the pool sizes are large.

Standout trifecta

A Standout Trifecta requires you to select one runner to finish 1st, you can select multiple runners for 2nd or 3rd positions. It is effective when you are confident in the winner but not so the 2nd and 3rd placegetters.

First Four

A First Four requires you to select 4 runners to place 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th in correct order.

    • Box First 4 – Choose as many runners as you wish but four runners must place 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th

The following is a list of exotic betting products available on multiple races:

Daily Double

A Daily Double requires you to select the winning runner from each race from the two nominated Daily Double races
It is also referred to as a running double.


A Treble requires you to select the winner of three races in a row. It is Similar to a Quaddie except there are only obviously three legs.


A Quaddie requires you to select the winning runner from each race from the four Quaddie races. The Quaddie is a popular bet type, no punter has lived until they have landed a Quaddie! Quaddies can pay as little as $30 or as much as $100,000 or more. Be aware that some bookies who offer this product cap the maximum payout.

Multi bet

A Multi bet combines a selection of single bets together in effect multiplying your bet.
Multi bets allow you to combine a number of bets into one bet. Each time a leg is successful, the dividend from that bet is placed onto the next leg providing for a valuable dividend should all legs be successful. There are big differences between the bookies when it comes to Multis, some bookies only allow you to combine a certain number of legs whilst others even offer a percentage bonus for successful bets.

Big 6

A Big 6 requires you to select the winning runner from each race from the six nominated Big 6 races. Big 6 bets are notoriously difficult to win and thus typically provide a large dividend for successful ticket holders.The bet type is not popular amongst online bookies due to the potential for enormous payouts.

Flexi bet

A Flexi bet allows you to bet a percentage of one unit. Flexi bet options allow you to take your desired percentage of a certain bet type. For example, a Quaddie; instead of paying a full unit which may cost $100, punters can choose to pay $10 for a 10% share in the winning dividend. Available for Trifectas, First Fours, Trebles, Quaddies and Big 6 bets.

We hope this guide gives you an introduction to horse racing betting in Australia. If you are unsure about any of the bookmaker’s jargon you come across? Feel free to leave a comment, and we’ll do our best to help answer it.