Horse racing is unpredictable at the best of times with often big fields of horses and longer odds for winners compared to other sports. Therefore, many people prefer to back horses each-way, especially if they are choosing a runner other than the favourite. Each-way wagers are two separate bets, one placed on the horse to win and one on the horse to place. If the horse wins you get paid out on both bets, if the horse places you will be paid out on the place bet only, losing your stake for the win bet.
The place part in an E/W bet will have lower odds than the win bet, typically one fifth of the odds. The number of places offered each-way is relative to the number of horses taking part:
- 1-4 runners win only
- 5-7 runners 2 places
- 8+ runners 3 places
- 12-15 runners 3 places (handpicked races only)
- 16+ runners 4 places (handicapped races only)
Therefore you can usually expect in most races to be offered 3 places by default or 4 places in larger handicapped races. Many larger handicapped races will have 1/4 odds each way compared to 1/5 odds.
When it comes to big horse racing like the Cheltenham Festival, however, things change. Bookies really need to compete for your custom and so you will often find extra places offered each-way or enhanced each-way terms (1/4 odds rather than 1/5). This is what this page is to help you with, if you plan to bet at Cheltenham then make sure you take a look at the featured offers on this page where we tell you the best bookies offering more bang for your buck each-way. Most of these offers will be available in the week leading up to the Festival, although, some larger betting companies also provide better each-way terms ante-post, often combined with non-runner no bet and sometimes best odds guaranteed too.
Cheltenham Festival Extra Place & Enhanced E/W Bookies
Odds Or Places?
You will commonly find that some bookies will offer extra places, e.g. 4 places instead of 3 at 1/5 odds, where others might offer the default number of places but with better odds, usually 1/4 instead of 1/5 (very rarely you may find 1/3 odds). Which is better?
Ideally you would look for a bookie offering both extra places and enhanced odds but if you can’t find that then the preference depends on you and your selection. If you genuinely believe your selection will win and if not will finish highly then taking the better place odds could be optimal. If on the other hand you are betting on more of an outsider, where you think it may place but not easily, then you could be better taking the extra places.
There is no hard and fast rule as to what is the better option, you have to weigh it up each time depending on what you are betting on and the realistic chances of it winning or placing.
Ante-post bets tend to offer better odds for the eventual winners compared to betting on the day. This is simply because the further into the future we look the more uncertainty there is and that is built into the odds. Horses can gain or lose form, get injured, other horses can rise around them, etc., which can all affect ante-post odds more than odds you get on the day.
While ante-post betting is naturally more risky it is preferred by most so called ‘professional’ punters because of the potential added value. There are often trade offs with ante-post betting such as, if your horse doesn’t run you won’t get your stake back. That is the usual situation, however, for massive meetings like Cheltenham many big bookies provide non-runner no bet and even best odds guaranteed up to months in advance.
Some of these bookie also offer extra places ante-post for the Cheltenham Festival. This is really an ideal situation as you can take advantage of the better potential value you can find ante-post while not risking losing your stakes if the horse doesn’t run. Likewise if you are also getting extra places at the same time there is less reason to wait until the day to bet.
If you bet ante-post you are also not subjected to rule 4 if there are other non-runners in the race.
Each-way betting and extra places isn’t the only option you can opt-for to try to find added value when betting on horses to win or place. Here we look at some alternatives that could suit your wager better.
Money Back Offers
If you are confident your horse will win and you only want to place one bet consider a money back promotion. These are very common during the Festival, often offering money back if your horse finishes 2nd, 3rd or 4th or sometimes even if your horse loses (often run for the first race of the festival as a headline offer).
Here you will usually get your stake money back as a free bet if the horse doesn’t win but finishes 2nd/3rd/4th or indeed even if it loses. Yes you will not get a payout if your horse places but at the same time you only had to place one bet and you will not lose your win stake entirely if this happens, you will get a refund as a free bet to use again.
Some bookies give money back in cash too, although this is usually restricted to just 2nd place. Saying that Cheltenham is the biggest jumps meeting in the world and in the past bookies have given money back in cash for all losers.
This is unlikely to be available on all races but is common for feature races and the first race of the card. If you plan to bet on these races anyway it is worth a look. You can also still place each-way bets with these deals and get your win bet refunded if the horse doesn’t win.
Many people are unaware that you don’t have to bet on a horse to win, you can bet on it just to place. All an each-way bet is is a package of two bets, a bet on a horse to win and a bet on a horse to place. You can bet on a horse to place without needing to bet on it to win.
This is useful if you are backing an outsider who you think might have a chance of getting into the places but is highly unlikely to win. Here you are only placing one bet and you will be paid out on that if the horse finishes in the places (including winning). Albeit at reduced odds compared to the win market alone.
It is worth noting that extra places each-way offers tend not to apply to place betting only. So if you are offered 4 places instead of 3 each-way you may only be able to get 3 places with a place bet.
It all depends on what you are betting on and what you think the realistic chances of winning are. If the chances of winning are very remote but a place is possible it can be wise to save the money from the win stake and bet on the place only.
Not To Win
Sometimes people back a horse in a race each-way where there is a strong favourite that they think may not win so instead they punt on a horse with higher odds in the hope the favourite is not all its cracked up to be.
Rather than betting on a specific other horse, if you feel strongly the favourite is overrated and the odds are too short then perhaps think about betting on it not to win. If a horse is odds on to win then you can often find favourable odds on it not to win. This way you get paid out if that horse doesn’t win no matter who the eventual winner is.
Another option is to lay that horse on an exchange.
Special Enhanced Place Markets
Some sites have enhanced place markets are standard. You can actually sacrifice odds in exchange for more places each-way in most horse races as standard with some of the bigger bookies. This means you don’t need to wait for specific offers, if you want 5 places on a race that usually pays 4 then you can get this without a special offer, however the odds will be lower.
There are some sites that also provide insurance, i.e. money back if your horse finishes second (or third if you opt for it) in cash. For this insurance you accept lower odds on the win.
Likewise you can even exchange overall odds for enhanced place odds, so accept lower odds if the horse wins but get say 1/3 odds if it places.
It is worth noting that many of these betting features do not work with best odds guaranteed.