So you are heading to the races, and having a bet is part of the enjoyment of the day, adding excitement, and hopefully a few quid to the pocket too! You can’t beat that feeling of seeing your horse crossing the line first, but remember the winner buys the drinks!

So how does it all work! Well at the races, you will find the Tote located in prime locations all over the place, ready to help you with your bets. Betting is straightforward and the Tote offers a variety of different bets, ranging from a simple Win or Each-Way bet to a challenging Jackpot.

The Tote operates a pool betting system, which works quite like the lotto: all the money bet by the punters goes into one big pool, and then gets equally divided by the number of winners.  All profits get given back to Irish horseracing, so when you place a bet with them, you are supporting sport – which is always a good thing too!

So now to decide what bet might be right for you!

Win – Pick the winner of the race. 

Place – Somewhat easier, you just need to pick a horse to be placed. This means your horse can come 1st, 2nd, 3rd or maybe even 4th (the number of places depends on the number of horses running in a race, and the type of race it is).

Each-Way – This popular way of betting is basically a Win bet and a Place bet on the same horse, so you have a greater chance of winning some money back.

Exacta – Pick the first two horses home in the correct order. A little harder than picking a winner, but will pay you more money if you get it right.

Trifecta – A little trickier again you need to pick the first three horses home in the correct order. This is great if you fancy a few horses in a race, and generally pays out a nice tidy dividend!

For the five bets above, you simply go up to any Tote counter and call out your bet to the operator. For example, "I would like a €10 each way bet on horse number 5 please" ('please' because it is nice to be nice of course!).

The operator will give you back a betting slip, which you must keep safe, as this is how you will claim your winnings!

The next two bets (below) require you to fill in a betting slip which you will find at all Tote counters. Again, when you have filled it in, give it to any Tote operator and you’ll get your betting slip:

Placepot – This is a fun, good value bet, that will keep you entertained all day. You are picking horses to place in races 1 to 6, so basically you can win big without backing a single winner all day. So if you find a comfy spot and don’t fancy too much running to the betting queues for each race, this is ideal as you only need go once!

Jackpot – The small stake, big win bet! For a little investment this bet generally pays a massive dividend at the end of the day. In Ireland, you are aiming to pick the winning horses in races 3, 4, 5 and 6. Picking one winner is hard enough you say!! Well to be fair it is a toughie, but consider throwing a few euro together with friends and this little bet could scoop you a big win at the end of the day.

The Tote also offers betting over the phone, online or through a mobile betting app. For more on this visit www.thetote.com

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Allison Graham

Allison is the Publisher of Eclipse Magazine. She loves going to the Races and is learning to bet (despite being officially the worst bettor in the History of the Universe), there's a lot more to learn...

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