The quadrella had its “birth” in Victoria but in more recent years has spread TAB-wide. It remains one of the best opportunities for nabbing a large collect for a relatively small outlay.

It is a frustrating type of bet, much like the First 4 (which requires the punter to name the first four horses across the line). The quadrella seeks four winners of four selected races. No easy task, unless you can fling a lot of money at the bet in wide combinations, and then a profit is not guaranteed.

You can easily see how the cost of a quadrella multiple builds up by just selecting, say, two horses in each leg. That means a bet of $16 for $1 (multiply two, four times).

Like any exotic bet, the quadrella relies on one or two winners at good odds to provide the punter with a pleasing windfall result. Linking the favourites in each of the four legs might well see you land some quadrellas but they won’t be worth much, and it’ll be rare though for favourites to win each leg.

There is always a serpent in paradise, as the old saying goes.

My approach has always been to identify one of the races in which you can pick the winner in ONE go. This is the banker race.

If you cannot find one of the legs that contains the banker horse then I suggest this might be a quadrella worth missing.

Never be afraid of not having a bet. You can always use the money you set aside for the axed quadrella and use it to double your bet on the next one you attack.

There are lots of things to keep in mind when deciding on a multiple quadrella.

Daniel O’Sullivan, of The Rating Bureau www.trb.com.au has some interesting thoughts about this and here is what he has to say:

“...If you take six horses in each leg you could get the quadrella 45 per cent of the time, but each bet would cost you $1,296. The average dividend needed just to break even is around $2,880. You could get lucky and strike a big dividend, but chances are you would lose money, quickly!

“Then, of course, there are hybrid strategies where the number of runners taken in each leg is mixed. Perhaps the most common one adopted by punters is to take a couple of horses in each of the first three legs and then go wider in the last leg, taking many more runners and possibly even the entire ‘field’.

“The punters’ logic is if they are lucky enough to get the first three winners, they don’t want to risk missing the last leg.

“This strategy is so common that a long-priced winner in the first or second leg will almost certainly guarantee a bigger dividend than if that same winner comes in the last leg.

“Haphazard methods of quadrella betting like this will only result in significant losses.”

Quite rightly, O’Sullivan points out that you need to find a good balance between outlays relative to your bank, the number of times you expect to collect and the opportunity for those collects to be massive ones.

But, be warned before you start: No matter how smart you think you are, your strike rate is never going to be high.

A really smart punter might get one in five home, a less-skilled punter might be lucky to get a quadrella dividend every 10 bets, a strike rate of 10 per cent.

So you need to be prepared psychologically and financially for long losing runs.

Why? Well, think about it. You are trying to hit four winners with a limited number of selections. We all know how hard it is to find one winner, let alone four.

O’Sullivan warns: “You will go many meetings without a collect and your bankroll as well as psychological make-up must be able to withstand this.

“The other, more positive, side of the coin though is that when you do get it right, the dividend can be in the thousands of dollars.”

One of his key strategies is to aim to find the winner of three legs from his two top-rated horses, and allow the winner of the other leg to come from his six top-rated horses.

The construction of this bet can be seen on page 5.

For a $1 unit, the cost is $144. But with Flexibetting on the NSW TAB you can bet as little as you like and get a percentage of any winning dividend.

So, if you bet 20 per cent of the $144 your cost for the combinations would be $28.80. If the dividend pays $500 you will receive $100.

O’Sullivan says: “This strategy means that you have to be ‘right’ in three legs and get the winner in the top two. Outside of that you have one insurance leg where you only need to find the winner in the top six rated horses.

“In race 1, if one of the top two horses wins, then tickets 1,2,3 are still alive. Ticket 4 has already lost. Most importantly you still have your insurance leg to carry through to the remaining three races.

“However, if the winner in race 1 comes from horses rated three to six, then you have already used your insurance leg. Ticket 4 is still alive, but as you can see you must find the next three winners in the top two horses.

“If you find the winner in the top two for the first three races, then you still have your insurance leg coming into the final race (ticket 1). You can afford to have any of the top six horses win and still collect.”

There are a number of combinations to use to attack the quadrella. As I have stated earlier, I believe a banker bet is required in one leg. It’s my essential requirement before taking a quadrella bet.

Once you have this banker bet, you can frame multiples in the other three legs. You might go wide and take five horses in the second leg, two in the third leg and five in the fourth. This presents you with a combination as follows:

A//BCDEF//GH//IJKLM equalling a multiple of 1x5x2x5 totalling 50 combinations, or $50 for $1 units.

Now, that’s not a bad bet. With Flexibetting you could spend half for $25 and get 50 per cent of the dividend.

However, and here’s the rub, can you nail the quadrella enough times at the right prices to make a profit?

If your banker is favourite, then you are already knocking your prospects of a big collect, because everyone else will have that horse as well as you! Better, then, if your banker is a horse around the 4/1 to 8/1 mark. That injects value into your banker leg.

You also should keep in mind that at least one of the four quadrella legs is going to be won by a favourite. Not always, but most times. Check the quadrella results and you’ll see I’m right.

You, as a punter seeking long-term profits, need to find the quadrellas in which favourites do not dominate. It’s a tough job. Sometimes it takes courage to ignore the favourite completely, even the second favourite, too, in favour of horses wider in the market.

The Flexibet Strategy

  Race 1 Race 2 Race 3 Race 4
Ticket 11,21,21,21,2,3,4,5,6
Ticket 21,21,23,4,5,61,2
Ticket 31,23,4,5,61,21,2
Ticket 43,4,5,61,21,21,2

Daniel O’Sullivan recommends a strategy aiming for one winner on top and the remainder to come from his four top-rated horses. You could adopt the same approach, but it does rack up a total bet cost of $175 for $1 units.

That means a $35 outlay if you go Flexi for 20 per cent.

The tickets are as follows:

Ticket 11//1234//1234//1234;
Ticket 2234//1//1234//1234;
Ticket 3234//234//1//1234;
Ticket 4234//234//234//1

As you can see, the banker has been spread over the four legs, linked in various ways with the four top-rated horses.

In Ticket Two, the first leg contains the 2nd/3rd/4th rated horses, while the second leg is a standout banker of the top-rated horse; the third and fourth legs contain the top four rated runners.

The same process in Ticket Three, except that the banker bet is made in the third race, while Ticket Four has the first three top raters in the first three races linked with the banker top-rater in the fourth leg.

I think this is a most interesting approach. You can apply it to any set of selections, even using the first four favourites as the selections (Daniel, of course, would be using his tried and proven TRB Pace Advantage ratings).

Summing up, then, to crush the quadrella you need a considered approach. My main thrust is to find a banker in at least one leg. To extend this, you could start to “cycle” the banker, as shown above, in each leg.

Keep your multiples to manageable proportions financially. You will probably not be able to afford the full $1 units for large combinations. Try to limit your multiples to $200 and under and use Flexibetting to cut the cost.

If in doubt about a quadrella, if you think it’s simply too hard, don’t be fussed about not betting. There’s always another day. You don’t HAVE to bet. The choice is yours.

Finally, always keep in mind that a BIG quadrella needs winners at GOOD prices, so there must be an element of risk-taking in your selections.

Never be afraid to include value priced horses in your quadrella legs. You need them if you are to nail those dividends that make quadrella betting worthwhile.

Simply playing safe by sticking to the first and second favourites is probably not going to give you enough in returns to make such betting worthwhile.

By all means, consider the favourites, and include them when you feel it is necessary, but don’t be a slave to them.

They only win 25 to 30 per cent of the time, anyway!

By P.B. King

PRACTICAL PUNTING – MARCH 2006

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