How does a placepot work in horse racing?

For those from the outside, the world of horse racing can often seem replete with obscure and specialised terms – and one of those, particularly if you are interested in betting, might be ‘placepot’. So, what is the ‘placepot’, how does it work, why should you care about it?

A perennial favourite for horse racing bettors

When horse racing enthusiasts talk about ‘the placepot’, they are referring to the Tote Placepot – the Tote being the British bookmaker that used to be known as the Horserace Totaliser Board, and remained the only UK organisation permitted to run pool betting on horseracing until well into the 2000s.

The Tote refers to the Placepot as “your first bet of the day, a renowned raceday ritual and our most popular bet.” It is a parimutuel betting market, the term “parimutuel” being defined by the Collins English Dictionary as “a system of betting in which those who have bet on the winners of a race share in the total amount wagered less a percentage for the management.”

The way it basically works is as follows: as a bettor, you back a selection of horses to place across a specific racecard. The Tote Placepot is always based on a card’s first six races, the exception to this being occasions when races in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) might form the first couple of legs prior to a UK fixture.

Although it is – and has always been – the Tote that is responsible for operating the Placepot, most of the leading online sportsbooks take bets for it and pass the stake on to the pool.

So, what steps are involved if you want to try your luck on the Placepot?

If you fancy giving the Tote Placepot a go, all that you must do is select a horse to place in all six races. Although you are allowed to pick more than one horse for each race, the greater the number of horses that you select, the more your stake will multiply.

For example, making two selections in the first race, and one selection in the remaining races, would create two lines, thereby multiplying your stake by two. As for if you made two selections in the first race, two selections in the second race, and then one selection across each of the other races, this would multiply your stake by four.

Choosing two horses for all the races, meanwhile, would multiply a stake by 64. So, if you want to be careful about how much you wager, it is important to resist trying to cover too much of the field.

How can you maximise your chances of Placepot success?

As you might imagine, there can be some interesting strategies involved when punters come to decide on their horse selections for the Placepot.

Many will be tempted to select less fancied horses in the knowledge that they could enjoy greater dividends if they win, while if a given leg has a particularly big field of competitors, the savvy bettor may be more inclined to make multiple selections for that race.

Needless to say, getting it right on the Placepot can mean seriously big rewards, without the need for a big stake. As reported by Racing Post, at the 2019 Cheltenham Festival, one customer made a £2 bet and came away with £182,567.80 in winnings.

Has the above got you inspired to attend a race yourself, and perhaps even have a flutter? If so, you might be interested in checking out the comprehensive horse racing calendar for 2022 here at Newbury Racecourse. Hopefully, we’ll see you at a race soon!