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A guide to the different types of full cover bets

Horse betting guide part 3

Horse betting guide part 1: How to bet on horses
Horse betting guide part 2: A guide to horse betting terminology
Horse betting guide part 4: What is totepool betting?
Horse betting guide part 5: Tips for picking a winning horse

A lot of punters within horse racing do not wish to deal in simple singles or each-way bets. This is because the race may be all over in a minute. If, as is the case more often than not, your individual bet is unsuccessful then you will feel you have received very little joy for your money.

Because of this, what we call ‘full cover bets’ have been popular in horse racing for decades. Cover bets are essentially useful when we want to cover all available multiples when betting on more than one horse.

Multiple bets can be placed for each of the selections to win. Backing two horses to win is a ‘double’, three to win is a ‘treble’ and so on. A punter can back as many horses as they wish in what would be an ‘accumulator bet’, though all selections would have to win for that bet to be successful.

Full cover bets make allowances for one or more selections of a multiple bet being unsuccessful. For example a Trixie is a bet consisting of three selections meaning there are four individual bets. That is based on the number of combinations available; three doubles and one treble in this case.

Should one of the horses lose but the other two win, the gambler will be paid out on the ‘double’ consisting of those two horses. Other examples are:


4 selections, the combination being 11 different bets consisting of 6 doubles, 4 trebles and an accumulator containing all 4 horses.

Super Yankee

5 selections containing a combination of 26 bets. This time it’s 10 doubles, 10 trebles, 5 fourfold accumulators and a fivefold accumulator.


6 selections and so named because of the ‘57 varieties’ in this bet. They are: 15 doubles, 20 trebles, 15 fourfolds, 6 fivefolds and of course a sixfold.

Super Heinz

7 selections, 120 bets in total made up of 21 doubles, 35 trebles, 35 fourfolds, 21 fivefolds, 7 sixfolds and finally the single sevenfold.


8 selections with 247 bets including 28 doubles, 56 trebles, 70 fourfolds, 56 fivefolds, 28 sixfolds, 8 sevenfolds and the eightfold.

The bigger the full cover bet, the more a punter should be careful about their unit stake. For example in the case of the Goliath, there are 247 different bets in the combination meaning that a 50p unit stake would cost a total of £123.50.

In some cases, single bets can be included to these full cover bets. This ensures there is some sort of return even if just one horse wins. A patent for example is a bet that includes three horses over 7 bets; the same bet as in a Trixie but with three singles added to it.

Bookmakers also offer ‘lucky’ bets. These are so named because extra bonuses are regularly offered on certain selections within the bet if they win. Again, the way to look at it is these bets are similar to the above cover bets but with singles as an option:

Lucky 15

The same bet as a Yankee, with four singles added.

Lucky 31

Equivalent to a Super Yankee with five singles added.

Lucky 63

This time the same as a Heinz, with six single bets added.Full cover bets are used mainly by punters who wish to keep a betting interest over a prolonged period of time.

Singles, doubles or even accumulators may be known to be unsuccessful immediately should the first horse in said bet lose. Taking on a full cover bet means the possibility of a return remains for some time during the racing day.

Forecasts and tricasts

Forecast bets are popular throughout the world. They’re a way to bet on just one event, but with more than one horse involved. Backing horses to finish in the first two or three is what they involve, with the various permutations being:

Straight forecast

The traditional forecast tasks you with naming the first two horses to finish, in the correct order. Also known as an exacta, this is a hugely popular bet and can produce big rewards for those who can get it right.

There simply isn’t a hard and fast way of explaining the calculations used in forecast betting. The mathematical formula is a very complex one consisting of such elements as the official starting price of the horses involved, the number of runners, whether there is a short-priced favourite and much more.

Reversed forecast

The reverse/reversed forecast is something offered by bookmakers involving punters picking the first two horses home. This time, they can be in any order. This bet costs twice the normal stake as two straight forecasts are being placed in one bet.

Combination forecast

In principle, this is the same as a reverse forecast but with one more selection added. Having selected three horses, the punter now has six combinations of first and second as possibilities and therefore pays six times the stake. Only one can be right of course, so a punter must remember that at least five of their six bets in this combination have to lose.


In races of six runners or more, a Tricast can be placed in which the punter must name the first three horses home and all in the correct order. This is very difficult to get right, though but rewards for doing so match the difficulty. Some bookmakers will also offer a Combination Tricast in which you can name up to 6 selections with as many as 120 bets.

The negatives of forecast and tricast betting is that, for those rewards to be large, you will most likely need to be trying to solve a large field handicap where there are all sorts of mitigating factors.

Doing this is extremely challenging. You must remember that, because of industry-specific software, a punter cannot accurately calculate what these potential rewards will be.

The positive side is that smaller stakes can be risked on these bets. A gambler can accept that they will incur several losses in succession on these bets but when one is successful it should more than compensate for the others.