Horse Racing Bets and Your Chances of Winning

These days punters are spoilt for choice when it comes to the number of and types of bets you can place on most horse races around Australia. Some bet types have pretty low odds while others are much harder to win.

The obvious trade off is that the longer the odds, the bigger the payoff. Likewise, if a bet is fairly easy to pick, it’s not going to pay much per $1 wager.

We’ll take a look at some of the most common horse race bets and see if we can determine your chances of winning that bet.

A Place

Most likely this is the easiest bet you can make, where you choose one or more horses to come a place in any order. It doesn’t matter if the horse you choose comes in 1st, 2nd or 3rd. So long as it places in the top 3, you win.

Successfully picking one of the first 3 place getters isn’t guaranteed by any means, but out of all the bets you can place on a race, it’s definitely one of the easiest to win.

Keep this in mind: If it’s a small race with less than 7 horses running, only the first 2 place getters will pay out for a place bet, due to the limited field.

The Win

Arguably the second easiest bet to win is picking the race winner. It’s obviously harder to do than just picking a horse to appear in the top 3, but the payouts will also be higher. While sometimes a place bet might only pay out 50 cents on every dollar bet, unless a horse is a raging favourite, you’ll collect more than that when you pick a winner.

Make a note that picking favourites all the time doesn’t guarantee that you’ll come out ahead financially, as only about 30% of favourites actually go on to win races.

The Each Way Bet

Betting each way might fall somewhere in between the place bet and going for a win, when it comes to your chances of winning.

The downside to this type of bet is it costs more, as essentially you are placing two bets in one. You choose a horse you fancy and put down money for both a win and a place, hence covering yourself in the process and standing a chance of a bigger payout.

The each way bet is one of the most common and popular bets placed by punters in Australia, and a favourite choice of many when betting on the Melbourne Cup.

The Quinella

The quinella can be a fun bet to try and predict. It’s like trying to pick two winners in the one race, except the two horses can come any order, so long as they finish 1st and 2nd.

While it’s harder to predict a quinella than any of the other betting options we’ve covered so far, it’s still a relatively easy bet to get right, and often doesn’t pay much when you do. Not unless a long shot finds its way into the top two.

The quinella is what’s considered to be a more “exotic” bet, but the easiest one to win out of all exotic wagering.


This is a slightly different take on the quinella, as in you have to pick the first two horses past the post, but this time in their exact finishing order.

It’s not a super hard bet to get right, but definitely a little trickier than your standard quinella bet.

On the upside, if you do snare an exacta, you’ll win a lot more handsomely than you would just picking a standard quinella.

The Trifecta

The trifecta is the last one on our list of the “easier to win” betting options. However, trifectas are not that easy to pick, as not only do you have to correctly predict the first 3 horses, you have to get them in the right order too.

Races with smaller fields are easier to predict than say a race that has 20 horses running in it.

The good thing about trifectas is you can predict them fairly regularly, and often they pay out very nicely indeed.