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Horse Racing Placepots – In Depth Guide

horse racing placepot

Introduction to Horse Racing Placepots

The Tote Placepot is a pool-based bet – all stakes are placed into a single pool and then split between winners. The punter is tasked with finding a placed horse in each of the first six races on a card. It is a simple enough concept, but there are important variables to consider, which we will explain below. 

When placing any bet, it is crucial to understand how it works, so read on for the placepot rules and how the placepot dividend is calculated.

How placepots differ from other horse racing bets

At its most basic, a horse racing placepot resembles a six-leg place accumulator. While a punter will know precisely what an accumulator will return when placing the bet, because the placepot is pool betting, the return will not be known until after the final leg has been run.

Although you can make a placepot bet with the bookmakers, you are not betting with them. A placepot pitches punters against one another, so you are not taking on the house as you would be with most horse racing betting. 

While most horse racing bets focus on finding the winner of a race, the placepot doesn’t. Instead, as the name suggests, you only need to find placed horses. Winners still count, but you won’t be paid more for finding them.

horse racing placepot

Placing a Horse Racing Placepot Bet

Horse racing placepots can be placed on-course or with a bookmaker – in a shop or online. The first two involve filing out your selections on a betting slip, while online can be done by clicking on your selections. On-course, you need the horse numbers – online, you require the horse names. 

At a Tote window on track, find the slip which says placepot. Fill in the boxes with the saddlecloth numbers of the horses you wish to include and hand them to a Tote operative. 

Online, find the meeting and click on Tote. All you have to do then is click on the check boxes next to the relevant horse. 

A placepot involves the first six races at a meeting, so you must select at least one horse in each of those six races. If wished, more selections can be made in each race, increasing the stake. 

You can check the placepot running pools on the Tote website after each race to see how many lines are left running on each horse in the next contest. 

Horse Racing Placepot Rules

So, how do placepots work? As mentioned above, it is as simple as finding a placed horse in the first six races on a card. 

After that, how many places are on offer depends on the number of runners and follows typical bookmaker place terms.

In races of 4 or less runners – Find the 1st

Races of 5-7 – Find the 1st or 2nd

Races of 8-15 or non-handicaps of 16 or more – Find the 1st, 2nd or 3rd

Handicaps of 16 or more – Find the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th

Sometimes a horse will be taken out after the placepot has started. Non-runners can change the place terms of a race and your selection. If the horse you pick is a non-runner, your bet goes onto the favourite. If there is more than one favourite, it goes on the lowest racecard number. So if there are three 5/1 co-favourites in a race numbered 1, 3 and 7, your bet will be on horse 1. 

The Tote website has a minimum stake of 1p a line and 50p in total. On-course, it is a minimum stake per line of 5p. The stake is multiplied by selections. For example, if you pick two horses in each race, 2X2X2X2X2X2 is 64 lines. For 10p lines, this would cost £6.40 in total.

Understanding Placepot Payouts

The Tote runs the placepot, and they deduct 27% of the total pool (30% in Ireland) to help cover their costs, produce race sponsorship, and enhance pools at the more high-profile meetings. 

At the 2023 Cheltenham Festival, the Tote guaranteed a placepot pool of at least £1,000,000 for each of the four days, the topping up of this coming from the 27% the Tote takes out of the bet on a day-to-day basis.

One of the most successful placepot wins in recent years was at the Cheltenham Festival in 2019, when a player picked up a win of £182,567.80, having staked just £2. The average placepot payout is a touch over £400.

Placepot payouts are calculated by dividing the 73% left in the pool by the number of winning lines. It’s declared to a £1 stake, so those with permutations to a lower stake per line will have their returns pro rata’d in line with their stake. You can have more than one winning line if two or more horses are placed in a race.

Tips for Successful Horse Racing Placepot Betting

Consistency is key when it comes to horse racing placepots. A horse with form figures of 223422 might make limited appeal as a win bet with a bookmaker, but to a placepot, they are precisely the horses to look for. They are more suitable than a horse with form figures of 119187 that blows hot and cold.

The placepot rewards outside-the-box thinking. However, while it is an excellent bet for a novice punter to generate interest through the card, a novice will often fall into the trap of putting in too many favourites. 

A placepot will be easier to win, putting in shorter-priced horses but will also produce more winning lines, resulting in a smaller payout. Opposing a favourite running on the wrong ground or over the wrong trip can help maximise winnings if they finish outside the places. 

With big field handicaps, selecting multiple runners can help get through a challenging leg. Remember, though, the more selections, the more the bet costs, so always be aware of how much you want to spend, and as with all betting, please gamble responsibly. 

Placepots Frequently Asked Questions

How many selections are in a placepot?

A minimum of six, one per race – there is no maximum number.

What is the minimum stake in a placepot?

You can place a 1p per line stake on the Tote website for a minimum total stake of at least 50p.

How many winners do you need in a placepot?

Unless there are races of 4 or less runners, you don’t need any winners, just placed horses. 
Races of 2, 3 or 4 runners require the winner.

What is a Tote Placepot?

A placepot is a pool bet that covers the first six horse races at any meeting.

How is the Tote Placepot prize pool calculated and shared?

The prize pool is made up of all stakes put together. The Tote takeout 27%, with the remaining 73% shared out to winning bets pro rata’d in line with stakes.

What happens if one of my Tote Placepot picks is a non-runner?

Your bet runs onto the favourite. If there is more than one favourite, it runs onto the lowest racecard number.