Bookmaker Quick Links

Straight Tricast, Combination Tricast & Tricast Permutations: A Punter’s Betting Guide

What is a Tricast Bet?

A tricast bet is a type of bet where you attempt to correctly predict the first three finishers of an event in the exact order. The most basic form of the tricast bet is a straight tricast, the punter selects A-B-C to finish in that order and to get any return, they must do so. If the race finished B-C-A, then there is no return.

A straight tricast is a single bet and requires one stake unit. The majority of tricast bets are placed on horse racing and greyhound racing, with a dividend declared after the race to a £1 stake unit.

What is a Combination Tricast Bet?

A combination tricast bet is similar to a straight tricast bet but the punter can predict the first three finishers in any order. If the punter selects A-B-C in a combination tricast bet, then every combination of these outcomes is covered.

A combination tricast increases the number of possible winning outcomes for the punter but also increases the total stake on the bet, as more possibilities are covered.

Breaking Down Combination Tricasts

When placing a combination tricast bet, it covers all potential finishing orders of your selections in the top 3 positions. Let’s look at how this plays out in practice:

For 3 selections – Horse A, Horse B, Horse C: There are 6 possible finishing combinations:

  • A – B – C
  • A – C – B
  • B – A – C
  • B – C – A
  • C – A – B
  • C – B – A

So a £1 combination tricast on A, B and C would cost £6 to cover all these permutation outcomes.

For 4 selections – Horse A, Horse B, Horse C, Horse D: There are 24 possible finishing combinations:

  • A – B – C
  • A – B – D
  • A – C – B
  • A – C – D
  • A – D – B
  • A – D – C

And so on for all permutations of the 4 horses finishing in the top 3 places.

A £1 combination tricast on A, B, C and D would therefore cost £24.

How many tricasts are in x selections?

A common question asked is “How many tricasts are in 3 selections?” or ” How many tricasts do you need to cover four selections?

The table below gives details of the number of bets required for certain numbers of runners selected.

Number of Tricasts

We have a separate wiki page which covers the possible combination tricast options and they are also discussed further in this article.

What is a Tricast Permutation?

A tricast permutation is similar to how permutation bets work in general when placing a bet. The punter can choose to select tricasts across several events, most commonly horse or greyhound racing, and combine these events into a permed bet, such as doubles, trebles, Lucky 15, etc.

It should be noted at this point, due to the complexity and difficulty of selecting and combining tricast bets, plus the difficulty in correctly predicting the outcome, that bet stakes can quickly increase with only a small chance of a return. Conversely, any correct results could land the punter a decent return for their initial outlay.

Most people stick to straight and combined tricast on single events.

Comparing tricast bets, which one is better?

Each tricast bet type has its advantages and disadvantages for punters to consider:

Straight Tricast


  • The simplest tricast bet with only one combination needed
  • Lowest stakes required compared to other tricast bets
  • Can provide big returns if the exact order is correctly predicted


  • Very difficult to correctly predict the exact finishing order
  • No returns if order prediction is even slightly wrong

Combination Tricast


  • Covers more possible finishing orders
  • Better chance of a return as 1st, 2nd and 3rd can finish in any order
  • Still potential for big returns


  • More stake money is required to cover additional combinations
  • Lower returns compared to straight tricast with the same finishers

Tricast Permutation


  • Can combine tricasts across several events for big returns
  • A fun way to bet on multiple races with small stakes


  • Very high difficulty in correctly predicting multiple tricasts
  • Stakes can quickly become expensive to cover permutations
  • Higher likelihood of no returns across all races

Evaluating these pros and cons can help punters decide which tricast bet suits their betting style, budget and risk tolerance.

The straight tricast is the easiest to predict but offers the lowest returns. Combination tricasts increase the chances of a payout but require more stake money. Permutations can multiply winnings substantially but also multiply the stake required and the chances of winning are extremely low.

While tricast bets are offered by most bookmakers, they tend to be a more niche type of wager compared to simpler bets like win singles and each-way bets. Several factors contribute to tricasts being a less common bet for the average punter:


Correctly predicting the exact finishing order of the top 3 participants in any competitive event is inherently challenging. Casual punters tend to stick to easier wagers.

Risk vs Reward

Tricasts can offer big returns if you get the order right, but the chances of winning are quite slim. Many punters prefer bets with better risk-reward ratios.


Between straight, combination, and permed tricasts, the bet types and options can be confusing, especially for novice punters. This puts some people off from tricast betting altogether.


Bookies tend to promote simpler, mass-appeal bets rather than complex niche bets like tricasts. Less marketing attention means less casual customer awareness.

While the potential for huge payouts attracts some punters to tricasts, the average leisure gambler tends to favour easier, less risky bets. So tricasts appeal most to hardcore racing fans and betting strategists who understand the intricacies. For everyone else, picking 1st place is hard enough!

What events can I place a tricast bet on?

While horse racing and greyhound racing are the most popular sports for tricast betting, some bookmakers do offer tricast odds on other events and markets:

Tournament Outright Betting

Tricast bets may be available on the outright winner of tournaments, like predicting the top 3 finishers of a golf event or the podium places in a motor sports event. This allows punters to bet on longer-term event outcomes.

Individual Events

For competitions like motorsports or winter sports, tricast odds could be offered on picking the top 3 finishers in a single race or heat. This includes sports like:

  • Formula 1 and other auto-racing series
  • Skiing and snowboarding
  • Cycling, both road and track
  • Short track speed skating
  • Surfing, skateboarding etc.

Reality Television

Some bookies provide tricast betting on reality TV show competitions, allowing punters to predict the top 3 contestants. Popular shows for tricast betting include The X Factor, Strictly Come Dancing, and Big Brother.

Novelty Bets

For entertainment purposes, bookmakers occasionally offer tongue-in-cheek tricast odds on novelty events like song contest rankings, Oscar winners, or even politics. However, these markets tend to be very limited.

So while horse and greyhound racing dominate tricast betting, punters may find odds on picking the top 3 finishers in other sports and contests from time to time. It’s worth checking your bookmaker for any tricast options beyond the norm.

You’re right, my previous version wasn’t quite accurate for the retail process. Here is an updated section:

How to Place a Tricast Bet

In a bookmaker’s shop:

  1. Select a horse race or greyhound race you want to place a tricast on
  2. Get a betting slip and decide if you want a straight tricast or combination tricast
  3. Write your 3 selections in order on the slip for a straight tricast, e.g. “3-5-7”
  4. For a combination tricast, write your picks and tick the “Combination” box on the slip or write the words ‘combination tricast’
  5. Write on your unit stake, e.g. £1, and the total bet stake, e.g. £6
  6. Take the completed slip to the counter and pay the correct amount
  7. You will receive a copy of your slip back showing your tricast details


  1. Find the horse racing or greyhound racing market for your chosen event
  2. Click on the “Tricast” betting market
  3. Enter your 3 selections in order for a straight tricast
  4. For a combination tricast, tick the box to combine your picks
  5. Type in your preferred stake amount
  6. Review your bet slip to ensure the correct details
  7. Confirm and place your tricast bet
  8. You will see your placed tricasts under “My Bets” on your account.

Tricast v Trifecta – What’s the difference?

The fundamentals of both the tricast bet and a trifecta bet operate in mostly the same way. The punter is attempting to predict the first three selections to finish, they can be combined to cover more outcomes and a return is declared, usually after the event, for each £1 stake placed.

So why are there two options which seem to be the same?

The tricast dividend, the amount each punter wins to a £1 stake, is declared after the event and calculated by an industry body operated by a consortium of bookmakers. The dividend is loosely based on the starting prices of runners in a race, the number of runners and other variables.

The trifecta bet is offered by the UK Tote Group, owned by a consortium of figures from across British racing. Tote bets are offered on a parimutuel (betting pool) basis, similar to how the national lottery is run. All bets are placed into a central pool, a small commission is deducted and then after the event, a winning dividend is calculated based on how many winning bets were placed.

Other than how the returns are calculated, the process of placing a bet, winning and being paid out is very similar. One thing to note at this point is that the dividends for the tricast and the trifecta, which can be declared for the same event, will almost always be different figures.

Comparing Tricast and Trifecta Returns

While tricasts and trifectas are similar bet types requiring the punter to predict the first 3 finishers, the returns between them can differ substantially from race to race due to the different dividend calculation methods.

Below is a comparison of dividends from the Cheltenham Festival 2023.

RaceTricast DividendTrifecta DividendDifference
Race 1£46.80£38.36£8.44
Race 2£2,746.97£10,592.70-£7,845.73
Race 3£52,244.14£29,605.20£22,638.94
Race 4£127.26£157.80-£30.54
Race 5£59,185.51£26,440.90£32,744.61
Race 6£66.54£103.80-£37.26
Race 7£2,266.38£2,580.00-£313.62
  • Race 1 had similar tricast and trifecta dividends, only varying by £8.44.
  • Race 2 saw a huge trifecta payout of £10,592.70 due to longshot finishers 33/1, 12/1 and 6/1. The tricast return was much smaller at £2,746.97.
  • Race 3 produced an enormous tricast dividend of over £52,000 thanks to winners priced at 18/1, 150/1 and 28/1. The trifecta of the same finishers paid under £30,000.
  • Races 4, 6 and 7 had relatively comparable returns between the two bet types.
  • Race 5’s tricast dividend exceeded £59,000 with 66/1, 28/1 and 50/1 taking the top 3 spots. The trifecta paid out only £26,440.90.

As shown, high-priced winners can lead to some massive value returns on tricast and trifecta bets! But the variance race-to-race keeps things unpredictable.

What Does Dividend Mean in Tricast Betting?

In horse racing and greyhound racing tricast betting in the UK, bookmakers pay out winning bets as a dividend. This refers to the return amount paid to a £1 stake unit.

So for example, if a tricast is declared with a dividend of £500, it means a winning £1 tricast bet would return £500. A £5 winning tricast bet would therefore return £2,500.

The tricast dividend amount is calculated by an industry body after the race, based on factors like the starting prices of the runners and the number of participants. It is not directly affected by the volume of bets placed on the winning combination.

  • If the first 3 finishers were long-shot picks, the dividend would typically be higher.
  • If the tricast outcome was very predictable, the dividend declared tends to be smaller.
  • Each £1 winning tricast bet receives the full dividend amount. If the dividend is £500, every £1 bet gets £500.
  • For some major events or novelty races, bookmakers may offer fixed-price tricast dividends before the start rather than declaring them afterwards.

Understanding dividends allows players to estimate possible payouts on their bets. However, the final dividend figures are set independently by bookmaker consortiums.

How is the Return on a Tricast (Dividend) Calculated?

For most horse races and greyhound races, the tricast dividend is calculated after the event by a bookmaker consortium using factors like:

  • The starting prices/odds of the first 3 finishers
  • The number of runners
  • Betting activity on those runners
  • Overall results unpredictability

So if a 100/1, 50/1 and 25/1 shot finish 1st, 2nd and 3rd in a 16-runner race, the tricast dividend would likely be very high as it was an unlikely outcome. But if the first 3 were all favourites, the tricast dividend would be smaller.

The exact calculation methodology behind tricast dividends is proprietary to the bookmaker consortiums. But in general, more unpredictable results mean bigger dividends to entice future tricast betting.

For major events or novelty races, bookmakers may offer fixed-price tricast odds before the start of the race, similar to other bet types. In those cases, the returns are pre-determined based on factors like selection prices and betting market activity rather than being calculated afterwards.

The Bottom Line

So you’re thinking about tricast bets? They’re pretty interesting but can get a bit complicated. There are a few types – straight, combination, and permed. The goal is to guess the top three finishers in a race, which can be a bit of a puzzle in itself with all the different runners.

Now, tricast betting isn’t the easiest, but if you get it right, the payoffs can be huge. It’s not really for beginners; more for the seasoned punters who are in it for the long haul. You might have to go through some losses, but when you nail those three winners, especially if they’re long shots, you could win big.

The cool thing about regular tricast punters is that they’re not just chasing big wins. They’re into the whole process, learning from each race, kind of developing a sixth sense for betting. Over time, this turns into real insight.

If you’re drawn to the challenge of figuring out these bets, go for it. It’s all about playing the odds and having patience, and enjoying the process as you go.

Good luck and keep winning!

Tricast Bet FAQs

What is the easiest tricast bet to win?

The straight tricast is the simplest form requiring you to correctly predict the first 3 finishers in exact order. This offers the highest returns but is also the most difficult to get right.

What stake do I need for a combination tricast bet?

As a combination tricast covers multiple permutations, the total stake rises accordingly. A £1 combination tricast on 3 selections with 6 runners would cost £6. Always check your bet slip to ensure you are staking enough.

Can I do each-way tricast bets?

Unfortunately bookmakers do not offer each-way terms on tricast bets currently. You either win if your selections finish 1-2-3 or get no returns if they finish out of those places.

What is a permed tricast bet?

A permed tricast involves combining tricast selections over multiple races into permutation bets like doubles, trebles etc. This increases potential winnings but is very difficult to predict successfully.

Why do tricast and trifecta dividends vary?

While both require picking the first 3 finishers, tricasts and trifectas have different calculation methods for dividends. This leads to variance in payouts race-to-race even when the same horses place 1-2-3.

Our Recommended Bookmakers

Bet £10, Get £30 in Free Bets + 60 free spins
Terms & conditions apply
T & C Apply - Click here for further details
  • Well known, UK bookmaker
  • Industry leader odds, service and offers.
  • Quick payout and secure payments
Get £10 Money Back as a Free Bet
Terms & conditions apply
How it works:

Register now and deposit £10 or more
Place a sport bet of up to £10 at odds of 1/1 (2.0) or greater.
If the bet is lost, you’ll get up to £10 back as a FreeBet.
18+ | New players only | Min deposit req. £10 ; excludes deposits via PayPal | Max stake £10 | Min Odds 1/1 (2.0) | Max FreeBet £10 | Excl Horse Racing | T&Cs apply

Full T&Cs apply – See website for details.
  • One of the first to offer live/in-play betting
  • Fully featured in-pay offering on multiple events
  • Well know parent company
Get £20 in free bets when you bet £5
Terms & conditions apply
T & C Apply - Click here for further details
  • Trustworthy, household name
  • Best value offers and promotions
  • Massive range of sports and supporting offers
Bet £5 To Receive £20 In Free Bets
Terms & conditions apply
18+ New UK+IRE Customers only. Certain deposit methods & bet types excl. Min first £5 bet within 14 days of account reg at min odds 1/2 to get 4x £5 free bets. Free bets available to use on selected sportsbook markets only. Free bets valid for 7 days, stake not returned. Restrictions + T&Cs apply.
  • User-friendly and responsive website with seamless navigation
  • Live betting and streaming services for a wide range of events
  • Attractive welcome bonuses and promotions for new customers