Quinella, Exacta... WTF Are All These Betting Terms?

Everything you need to know so you sound like a pro.. and may even back a winner.

With AAMI Victoria Derby Day, the Lexus Melbourne Cup, Kennedy Oaks, and Seppelt Wines Stakes Day now just days away, it’s an exciting time of year to enjoy the thrill of racing. Whether you’re watching trackside, from a plum spot at a TAB or at a fine establishment, you can be part of the action. Sometimes you might fancy a bet too -- even just a few dollars to back your favourite horse!

Putting your brainpower to work or against your friends, workmates and family is good fun and makes for great banter.

Melbourne Cup Carnival


The Fun 2019 Melbourne Cup Form Guide For People Who Know Nothing About Racing

No idea about horses or how to read the racing form? Then this is DEFINITELY the Melbourne Cup form guide for you.

And, picking a horse in a race is part of the fun, but what if you really fancy two horses and think you can outwit others by betting both? That’s a quinella bet. Intrigued? Read on to be in the know this racing season.

The good news is you can try any one of these with just a few coins, and bet in cash and collect in cash too, at the TAB -- nowhere else.

A quick explainer for one key aspect of betting with the TAB: the tote, and what it means.

What if all the betting money placed on a race was pooled, collected, and paid out to winners? That’s the idea behind the core function of the TAB, and what is called the “tote”.

The tote is one of the great ideas in betting: for any race, the tote calculates all bets, pools the money, and then divvies up to those who’ve won. It’s that simple!

Win bet

A win bet is just that: pick a horse to win. If it does, collect!


A place bet is an option for betting your pick to come first, second, or third, which gives you a greater chance of collecting on your bet. It also spares you the pain of being beaten by a nose!

Each Way

An “Each Way” bet is betting on the win and the place; two bets in one. It means you feel great if you win, or if you get a place only, you still get something. This one needs an example. If you say “I want a $5 Each Way bet on number 23” you are betting $5 on the win, and $5 the place, so your total bet amount is $10.


With a Quinella bet, you’re picking the first two horses to cross the line, in any order. Think you know the best two horses in the race? If they run first and second, and you have a quinella bet, you win. You can also include more than two horses, to give yourself more of a chance. This is called “boxing”. Adding more chances adds more cost.


This type of bet is picking the first two horses home in exact order - hence “exacta”. You need accuracy in your selections: one horse to finish first, one horse to finish second, and not the other way around.


A Trifecta bet is picking the first three horses home. What makes it easier is a “boxed” Trifecta, as it allows you to pick the first three horses home in any order. You can even pick five horses to run in the top three, and if three of those five do it, you collect! It’s not easy to win, but if you land a trifecta, it might be a fun day out.

First Four

A First Four bet is both hard and often lucrative, and just like the name suggests you need to pick the first four horses home. To try and win, most people will box a first four meaning picking four (or more!) horses in any order to cross the line 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th.

As an example, in the 2018 Melbourne Cup, the First Four paid $42,925.50. See what I mean about the tote and the First Four being hard to win? There’s no saying it’ll happen again but it’s a fun way to try a more challenging bet!

Image: Getty.


Think you can pick four winners in four different races, in a row? That’s the idea of a Quaddie. With this bet you need to pick each winner of the last four races at a race meeting, so your bet can last half the day, not just one race. The Quaddie is one of Australia’s most popular bets, and it’s a real punt, because it isn’t easy!

Get it? Good!

That’s your rundown of the popular bet types you can make. The place is always a favourite with many people, but there are so many ways to go beyond just picking a winner. It’s also why the tote from the TAB has been part of Australian racing life, and supporting Australian racing, for so long.

Tabcorp’s gambling operations are governed by its Responsible Gambling Code of Conduct and for South Australian residents by the South Australian Responsible Gambling Code of Practice. Think! About your choices. Call Gambler’s Help or Gambling Help 1800 858 858 or visit or You know the score. Stay in control. Gamble responsibly.

Featured image: Getty.