How does a Lucky 15 Work in Horse Racing?
For many horse racing punters, the ‘Lucky 15’ bet among others is a popular attraction on Saturday afternoon and during the more prestigious weekday meetings.
At such times, there is quality racing involving better-known horses, but why has this particular bet become so favourable and what does ‘Lucky 15’ actually mean?
The term ‘15’ is quite simply the number of permutations on the bet either to win or each-way. Four horses are selected which incorporates 4 singles, 6 doubles, 4 trebles and an accumulator with each having the same stake value.
For example, placing 50p on each of the choices amounts to a stake of £7.50 and the difference between this bet and a similar ‘Yankee’ is that one winner guarantees a return as four extra permutations (singles) are involved.
The term ‘Lucky’ refers to the fact that bouses are available with most bookmakers. For example, on a Lucky 15 win only permutation, one winning horse out of four may yield a double-odds return or greater while four winning horses could result in another added bonus to the winnings.
In the first case, when only one horse wins at the relatively short odds of 6/4, the normal return for a 50p single would be £1.25. Barely worth claiming the winnings! However, most bookmakers will offer double the odds of 6/4 for which you will receive £2.00. On the High Street, with several bookmakers competing with each other, one may offer treble the odds for a single winner yielding £2.75. In more extreme cases, quadruple the odds may be offered.
One winner at 5/1 at double odds will net £5.50 rather than £3.00.
At the other extreme, four winners and 15 successful permutations at 6/4 will produce a dividend of approximately £74 but with a bookmaker bonus of 10% added to the winnings, nearly £82 will be won.
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Issues to consider when placing a Lucky 15 bet
In the event of a Yankee bet or Super Yankee bet where there are no returns for just one winning selection out of four, the Lucky 15 offers that compensation and therefore it could be worth adding a decent priced horse to the selections if judged to be a reasonable prospect. There is nothing worse than having a 10/1 winner or more in a bet, but all other three horses losing. At least the Lucky 15 will provide a £10.50 return for a single winning selection assuming a 10/1 price and double odds for one winner at 50p stake.
Another factor to consider is whether the Lucky 15 bet is the best option on the day. At the Cheltenham Festival during March, there are quite a number of races with sizeable fields, especially the handicaps. Selecting winners can be notoriously difficult and cheering home four horses (wins or each-way) can be considered a serious achievement.
With some horses starting at generous prices, it may be worth placing individual singles rather than smaller permutations with the former option offering the opportunity of a greater return should the selection prevail. Lucky 15 bets may be more effective in the higher-standard graded races rather than the multiple-runner handicaps.
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