guide to forecast and tricast bettingSome of the best returns in horse racing betting (and greyhounds) can come from winning a forecast or tricast bet, especially the latter in some of the crazy handicap races that happen at the festivals.

They are not the easiest of bets to land, and you need to do extra homework to be in with a chance, but if you find yourself convinced that there are two (or three) horses in a race that look like finishing well ahead of the rest of the field then here’s a way to back them both, or all three…

Forecast Bets & Reverse Forecasts

This type of bet is where you are choosing to back two horses to finish in 1st and 2nd place between them. A Forecast is where you have to state which horse will win, and which will come second, and they both have to finish in that correct order.

A Reverse Forecast is the same except that the horses can come first and second between them in any order. A Reverse Forecast is actually two bets (like an each way bet) so you pay double your stake.

As mentioned at the top of the page, these are not easy to land, though they may seem easy in theory. The more exposure you have to horse racing the more you will see just how the best laid plans often get spoiled by that horse that falls, or that low handicapped rocket that wins at 25/1 when your two carefully researched nailed on beauties come 2nd and 3rd behind it. But the returns can be good, so make sure you target a race clearly and focus your attention on that. If you go to the bookies looking for any forecast bet then you may waste your money, but if you find a forecast bet while looking closely at the racecard then why not give it a whirl. It’s a subtle difference there, but an important one.

Here’s an example of a plausible forecast in a race at Sandown on Saturday 31st August, the first race (2.05pm). Tidal’s Baby is the 6/1 favourite, and a worthy one at that, but also running was Burning Thread, the second favourite at 7/1. Burning Thread has a lot of class, and both of these looked to have the edge over the rest of the field to certainly have some daylight showing. You like both, either could win though on their day, so you go for a £1 Reverse Forecast (which costs you £2).

Burning Thread is in beautiful shape and makes all the running to win whilst fending off Tidal’s Baby who runs an impressive race to grab second place.

You go to the counter and collect £48.76! Nice…

That’s a return of over 47/1. Very tidy, but the amount you will win can be way, way lower than this, and can also be way, way higher. It all depends on the odds, but also on a number of other variables used in the algorithm that bookmakers use to work out returns on these bets. The formula is not a secret, but it is complex and mind-bending, so don’t go there! The calculation is likely to include the number of runners, number of outsiders and other factors. You can trust two horses at decent odds with a decent number of runners to produce a very decent return though.

Contrast the forecast return in that first race at Sandown with the return for the same bet in the second race. There were only 4 runners, and the favourite was a huge odds on horse called Kingman (odds of 2/7) that was destined to win. Second place was grabbed by De Sousa on Emirates Flyer at 10/1. If you backed those two in a forecast then your £1 stake would have only returned £3.90….not so good.

Going through that complete Sandown racecard the forecast bet returns to a £1 stake were as follows:

2.05pm – £48.76 (7/1 winner, 6/1 2nd place)
2.40pm – £3.90 (2/7 winner, 10/1 2nd)
3.15pm – £9.46 (dead heat result between 13/8 & 7/1)
3.50pm – £177.95 (12/1 winner, 16/1 2nd)
4.25pm – £49.48 (14/1 winner, 5/2 2nd)
5.00pm – £302.47 (16/1 winner, 20/1 2nd )
5.30pm – £92.44 (7/1 winner, 14/1 2nd)

NB: Forecast and Tricast are the terms used by bookmakers in their shops and on their betting websites. When betting on the Tote, they use Exacta and Trifecta as the names of forecasts and tricasts.

Tricast Bets & Reverse Tricast Betting

A Tricast bet works on the same principle as the Forecast, except that this time you are choosing three horses to finish in 1st, 2nd and 3rd place in the exact order specified. A Reverse Tricast allows the three horses to finish 1st, 2nd and 3rd in any order, but you will be placing 6 bets when you make your Tricast a reverse one, to cover the 6 possible outcomes in this scenario. So a £1 Tricast will cost £6 if it is places as a Reverse. You have to be a very brave, or hopeful person to place a straight Tricast bet; usually people prefer to go for the reverse. Lower your stakes if you are betting to a budget; place a 25p Reverse Tricast for a total stake of £1.50. If it comes off then you will win well, as the results from that same Sandown racecard show below (again, returns shown are from a £1 stake).

NB: Tricast bets are NOT available for all types of races. They can only be placed on handicap races where 6 or more horses are declared to run (and at least 4 actually run). That is why only 5 of the 7 races at Sandown on 31st August had Tricast results published.

2.05pm – £520.05 (7/1 winner, 6/1 2nd place, 12/1 3rd place)
2.40pm – Race did not meet Tricast rules
3.15pm – Race did not meet Tricast rules
3.50pm – £3,793.14 (12/1 winner, 16/1 2nd, 20/1 3rd)
4.25pm – £259.84 (14/1 winner, 5/2 2nd, 13/2 3rd)
5.00pm – £935.15 (16/1 winner, 20/1 2nd, 2/1 3rd)
5.30pm – £1,174.95 (7/1 winner, 14/1 2nd, 12/1 3rd)

Check out the 3.50 result – nearly £3,800 returned to a £1 stake. 15 horses ran that race, and the favourite and 2nd favourite came 4th and 9th. Could you have seen that coming, and could you have picked the 12/1, 16/1 and 20/1 horses to share the first 3 places?

It’s unlikely, but in these big handicap races you may as well throw darts at the racecard as form and statistics go out of the window. Give it a go though; a fun reverse tricast might pay for a holiday if it comes off!