A tricast is most commonly seen in the context of as a horse racing bet in which a punter must predict the winner, runner-up and third placed horse in a particular race. These bets, along with other “exotic” bets, tend to be more common in South African and American racing. Whilst they are not easy to predict, they can return at massive odds.

There are several different types of tricast open to a punter. The straight tricast involves predicting the first, second and third home. Predicting the first and second home and the other selection finishing fourth will land nothing. Predicting the first, second and third home in the wrong order will also yield no return. Conversely, a combination tricast allows a punter to predict the first three home in any order, as long as all three selected horses finish in the first, second and third places. The drawback to this bet is that it costs six times the stake and it’s effectively the same as putting six straight tricasts on without the rigmarole of creating six separate betting slips.

The other option is the tote trifecta. The selection process and rules work the same but the winnings are calculated through parimutuel betting (pool betting). There’s a straight trifecta, combination trifecta and an additional banker trifecta. The banker trifecta allows a punter to nominate who they think will win and the other two can place in either second or third. This reduces what’s known as dead combinations and makes it cheaper than placing a combination trifecta. The tote can often yield a bigger return than that of the bookmaker.

Looking at the 2016 Aintree Grand National, we can look at what each tricast paid out. With Rule the World winning the race at 33/1, both pots were already likely to provide large dividends. 8/1 joint favourite The Last Samurai finished second and rank outsider of the field Vics Canvas got up for third place at odds of 100/1. The tricast returned at a whopping £23,181.70 to a £1 stake. However, the tote returned at more than twice the size at an eye-watering £57,778.10. Obviously, 40 runner handicaps with 8/1 favourites aren’t the norm in British racing but tricasts regularly pay out over £100 even in eight-runner affairs with a placed favourite.

If the tricasts sound a little on the unrealistic side, bookmakers, the tote and even the betting exchanges hold forecast markets where the task merely involves finding the first two horses home.