When you are betting trifectas you need a sound staking approach. Decide on your approach and stick to it. A sensible idea is to work on a 'banker to win' and then couple it with a range of other selections.

Trifecta betting is hugely popular in Australia. But trifectas are difficult to land; it's for this reason they often return big dividends. The appeal, then, is in the likely reward and not in the actual form of the betting (which is notoriously difficult).

It's a tough job finding a winner, or even a placegetter, without the added burden of finding the 2nd and 3rd placegetters in a race, in the right order! But punters always rise to a challenge because success can mean a big payoff.

A trifecta plan for which I have some regard calls for a $6 bet on each race where three bona fide contenders can be found. The method restricts itself to races run over 1200m - the form in these sprints is good, overall. We are looking for three types of contender:

Type 1
This is the horse highly regarded by the newspaper tipsters. The rationale in this is that the I consensus horse' usually has class, consistency and the ability to run in the placings. Newspaper tipsters, while as prone as the rest of us to poor selecting, do, as a mass, have the ability to sum up a race and get the main contenders sorted out.

Type 2
This is what I call the 'class' selection. It is based on stakes money won. In coming to this selection you ignore the horse that has already qualified in Type 1. With the Type 2 horse we also look for a recent run and a good performance in it.

Type 3
This horse has had the most recent run on a city track and has shown ability at the distance of today's race, and in the class of today's race. When seeking out this Type 3 contender you do not consider the two horses you have found under Types 1 and 2.

The fact that you will invest only $6 per race on this system means you are risking little but you stand the chance of major rewards. On each Saturday programme, there are usually three or four 1200m races, so your outlay for one meeting will probably be a maximum of $24.

Instead of 'boxing' for $6, you could use one of the three contenders as a Banker standout with the other two. This would cut the cost back even more, to $2 (A to win with B for 2nd and C for 3rd, and A to win with C for 2nd and B for 3rd). You could also throw in some other runners as well, without sending the cost too high.

THE TRIFECTA PLAN

  1. Restrict betting to 1200m races at metropolitan meetings.
  2. Select the Type 1 horse. This is The Australian's consensus top pick. If the Top Pick selection is scratched, then use the 2nd pick. If the 2nd pick is scratched, use the 3rd pick. If all three are scratched, then miss the race.
  3. Select the Type 2 horse. This is the highest earnings horse based on total career earnings. Horse also must qualify on the following two sub-rules:

    (a) Must have had its last start within the previous 30 days.

    (b) Must have been placed or have finished within three lengths of the winner in at least one of its last three starts. If horse fails to qualify, check the next highest earner and so on, through all remaining runners. If none qualify, pass the race.
  4. Select the Type 3 horse. This is the one which has had the most recent race on a city track. Horse also must pass the following sub-rule:

    (a) Must have been placed or have finished within 3 lengths of the winner in today's class or higher (at its most recent start).

TIE BREAKER: If a tie occurs on a Type 3 selection:

(a) Prefer the horse with the best finishing position last start.

(b) If still tied, play the horse with the highest earnings.

This, then, is a selection system for trifectas that the more adventurous among you may like to try. It can pick up some handsome returns but, as with all trifecta betting, the losing runs may be considerable. This, I am afraid, is inevitable with this form of betting.

But what if we can simplify things? What if we can, say, pick a quinella and you get the trifecta? Sounds good, doesn't it - and it is.

It can really lead to a dollar blitz. The basic thrust of this method is that you have to pick the first two horses across the line. If you can do this, you'll land the trifecta because you would have taken the 'field' to run 3rd in a special trifecta bet.

It's not as expensive as it may sound. Let's say there are 14 runners. You fancy No's 1 and 2 to finish in the first two placings. Your bet is:

1 to win from 2 with 'field' for 3rd: $12 (or $6 if using 50c units).

2 to win from I with 'field' for 3rd: $12 (or $6).

This is often a good approach when the betting on a race is being stifled by a hot favourite. You could take your next-best selection as the other 'key' horse and then tie in the field for 3rd. Sometimes, if a roughie gets up for 3rd, the divvy is big. Of course, the trifecta can also pay skinny. Much depends on luck.

It's not a bad plan to try in big races, especially races like the Doncaster, the Epsom, the Newmarket and the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups. What I do stress is that you must carefully choose your races. Never bet unless you are very confident of having that quinella sewn up!

Another way to choose your trifecta horse or horses is to adopt a simple I points rating' method. We have published quite a lot of them in P.P.M. over the years. One of the most popular was revealed by my colleague Jon Hudson back in early 1987. You can operate the method on all races except those for 2yos. I have reworked the plan as follows:

POINTS RATER PLAN

  1. Bet on all races except those for 2yos.
  2. Ignore any horse which has not started for 30 days or more - unless the horse is a proven winner first-up (check your formguide).
  3. Allot points for each horse's last three placings on the basis of WIN-5 pts, 2ND-2 pts, 3RD- 1 pt. So, if a horse has finished 1-2-5 at its last three starts it earns 7 points. It gets none for finishing 4th or worse.
  4. Add these points to a horse's weight in the race.
  5. The horse with the highest score is the main selection - provided it is on the first three lines of favouritism in the newspaper pre-race betting market.

Obtaining value is another area which requires a punter's diligence when it comes to trifecta betting, or any form of betting, come to that. But how do you make sure you get value? It's an intricate question with many and varied answers.

When you are betting on trifectas it's a fact of life that favourites can 'kill' trifecta dividends. But, generally, you have to include them somewhere in your combinations! The reason is that they will win around 25 to 30 per cent of races, and finish 2nd or 3rd in another 50 per cent!

Some professional trifecta punters will refrain from betting if they feel a hot favourite is going to destroy the dividend. As one of them told me: "You may as well double up on another race rather than bet on a race in which a favourite is hogging the market, and you know it will win. It's when you suspect the hot favourite is a false favourite that you have to strike!"

If you're the sort of punter who goes looking for massive trifecta divvies then you must ignore the favourite completely. You have to shoot for longshot runners you feel are being under-rated.

If you had the courage (!) to stick to horses at 12/1 plus in the betting, you would strike long losing runs, but when you got a trifecta it would be a big one. Take, as an example, the Manion Cup at Rosehill in March. The winner was 12/1, the 2nd placer was 16/1 and the 3rd placer was 50/1. The divvy (Victorian TAB) was $6,011.

There were seven runners at 12/1 or more. The winner, Azzaam, was the shortest-priced of them at 12/ 1. What if you had taken it as the banker with the other six to run 2i-td and 3rd? For a modest outlay you could have hauled in that mammoth divvy!

Few races work out as neatly as this one, alas! But if you could restrict your bets to races in which you have only seven contenders, or less, you might stand a chance of making some longterm profits. Your betting action would be limited, and you would have to expect long losing runs.

Looking at another race at Rosehill: Taking 9/1 as the cut-off price, you would have had seven contenders at longer prices (eliminating those from 100/1 upwards). The result was a win by the 9/1 chance from two horses at 25/1 and 20/1. The trifecta paid $4,143.

An idea might be to consider only those horses at, say, 66/1 and take the initial seven that are turned up. Thus, you would work back from 66/1 until you reached a seventh horse at whatever price it happened to be. You would use this horse as the banker and link it with the other six outsiders.

This approach, I stress, is only for those punters prepared to encounter 'risk strategy' betting, and who are also ready to cope with losing runs, and fairly limited action. I would bet only on a few races each day, probably at the major venues on Saturdays, and Wednesdays if you desire more action.

These are a few ideas about how to obtain for yourself a 'dollar blitz' through trifecta betting. I hope they provide food for thought, and that you are able to use them to your advantage.

By Statsman

PRACTICAL PUNTING - MAY 1993

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