How many places are there in a horse race?

How many places are there in a horse race?
© Racing Post / Grossick Racing Photography
Owen Goulding
Monday 1st April 2019

Place terms fluctuate depending on the type of race, and the number of runners in the race. From maidens, to handicaps, to claimers, each race type has a unique set of terms and we’ve got them all covered below. All our horse racing tips can be found on site now.

How do place terms work?

Any race with less than five runners will be win only, whereby no bets can be placed on a horse each-way.

If there are five, six or seven runners in a race, then there are two places available, meaning there is a payout if backed each-way on horses who finish first or second, at 1/4 of the odds.

All races with between eight and eleven runners will pay out on the first three places at 1/5 of the odds. This applies to all races that aren’t handicaps with any number of runners (maiden, novice, stakes, claimer, seller or pattern race). Contrary to that with handicap races, if there are between twelve and fifteen runners, horses that finish in the first three will be paid out at 1/4 of the odds on the each-way part.

If a handicap has more than sixteen runners, as is common with races such as the Ebor or the Grand National, then the first four places will be paid at 1/4 of the odds. This is only the rule for handicaps, however, with races such as maidens and novice races still only having three places.

Can I get enhanced place terms?

In short, yes you can, though there can be a tradeoff for this. For example, Betfair offers its “Each-Way Edge” promotion, which means you can add extra places. Each time you add a place, however, the odds will shorten, as there is a bigger likelihood that the horse will place with more each-way terms. Bookmakers will also offer enhanced place terms for certain races, such as eight places on the Grand National.

Each-way terms simplified

  • 1-4 Runners – Win Only
  • 5-7 Runners – 1/4 of the odds for the first two places
  • 8+ Runners in a non-handicap – 1/5 of the odds for the first three places
  • 12-15 Runners in a handicap – 1/4 of the odds for the first three places
  • 16+ Runners in a handicap – 1/4 of the odds for the first four places
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