There has always, I believe, been a lot of mystery surrounding exotic betting. Many punters still are unsure of how to get the right mix of combinations on bets like the trifecta, quinella, quadrellas and forecasts.

Having all the combinations that might be required at your fingertips is something I've always wanted to have available, because I realise that such information makes any punter the equal of the professional who is able to calculate the costs of a bet with the aid of a computer.

It can be most embarrassing to submit your bet to the TAB window only to be told that it will cost, say, three times what you thought, and then to have to cancel the bet and walk away from the window feeling like a stupid mug punter!

Boxing trifectas, of course, is probably the best known form of exotic betting attack. Most punters understand that to 'box' three selections costs $6, to 'box' four costs $24 and to 'box' five costs $60 and so on. The more selections you take quickly escalates the cost.

The First Four is becoming something of a real novelty bet at the TAB especially in Queensland-and it's likely to gain ground in the 90s as punters become aware of the massive dividends it can throw up. Naturally, exotics like the First Four (picking the first four Placegetters in the right order) and the Superfecta (picking the first six placegetters in the right order) can be costly on a simple 'box' basis. For example:

Box 4 selections-$24
Box 5 selections-$120
Box 6 selections-$360
Box 7 selections-$840
Box 8 selections-$1,680

Box 6 selections-$720
Box 7 selections-$5,040
Box 8 selections-$20,160

Let's look firstly at the First Four bet. At the moment Queensland and Western Australia's TABs offer this bet, and I understand N.S.W. is thinking about it, too. In Queensland, there is one nominated race in either Brisbane, Sydney or Melbourne (usually the best race of the day).

The TAB holds on the bet are not colossal, but some fantastic dividends have been paid-$75,000 for the 1990 Stradbroke Handicap and nearly $40,000 for the Melbourne Cup! And neither provided what could be called 'outrageous' results in terms of selecting the first four placings.

Now for some simple First Four linkups:


This is a linkup of A/BC/BC/D, which means A is a banker choice to win, B and C are selected to run 2nd and 3rd and D is the banker to run 4th. Now this is an exceedingly silly bet but I put it in for continuity. Now for another one:


A/BC/BC/DE. The A horse is selected as a banker to win, B and C are for 2nd and 3rd placings and D and E are chosen to run 4th. For $6 you could add a third horse for 4th place. For $8 you could have four horses running for the 4th spot (A/BC/BC/DEFG).

To extend this further, consider these combinations:


For each extra horse you add for 4th place you add a further $2 to the cost. This type of approach is a good one if you are very confident of getting your banker winner home in first place, and equally as confident that Horses B and C will run 2nd and 3rd. By adopting this strategy you can then put in, say, 17 horses (assuming you have a 20-horse field) to fill the 4th spot for an outlay of only $34.

But what if you wanted to use, say, Horse A as a banker winner again but couple it with three hones to fill 2nd, 3rd and 4th places (A/BC/BC/BC)? This would cost only $6.

Going further, for a cost of $16, you could have the following bet:

This is the following linkup: AB/ ABC/ABCD/ABCDE. You have two selections for 1st, the same selections plus one other for 2nd, the same selections as for 2nd plus another one for 3rd, and the same selections as for 3rd plus another one for 4th.

If you strongly fancy three horses to fill 1st, 2nd and 3rd you could adopt the following approach:

This is the following linkup: ABC/ABC/ABC/DEFG. This means your ABC horses must finish 1st, 2nd and 3rd and then you have four different horses DEFG, to fill the 4th place.

With the First Four, a banker to win with a block of three for the places costs only $6, as follows:

This is a linkup of A/BCD/BCD/BCD. Two blocks of two sets costs only $4AB/AB/CD/CD. This means your A and B horses must run 1st and 2nd and your C and D horses must finish 3rd and 4th.

Now we move on to the Superfecta bet, which in the past couple of years has attracted an enormous following in N.S.W., especially now that it is bet offcourse as well as on-course. The objective is to pick the first six placegetters in the correct order, an enormous task.

I think in terms of 'blocks' when talking about Superfecta approaches: Blocks can be considered as consisting of one (a Banker), two (a quinella), three (a boxed trifecta), four (a boxed First Four). Boxes of five selections are fairly expensive in Superfecta betting and hoping to pick the first five with only five selections is pretty ambitious.

This is a linkup as follows: A/BC/BC/DEF/DEF/DEE A banker is chosen to win (A), you have the BC quinella for 2nd and 3rd and a box trifecta block of DEF for 4th, 5th and 6th. There are six selections in all.

This is: A/BC/BC/DEF/DEF/DEFG. You can increase this bet by adding, one horse for 6th as follows:

As you can see, for each horse you add for 6th place the bet amount increases by $12. If you are a big punter, or are in a syndicate, you might consider the following approach in a big field like you would find in an Epsom, Doncaster or Stradbroke:

Another approach, and one that isn't expensive, is this:

This is a linkup of: A/BC/BC/DE/DE/FGH. As you can see, what is required is that you find a banker selection to win. Then you have a quinella block of BC to fill 2nd and 3rd, a further quinella block of DE to fill 4th and 5th, and finally a block of three different horses (FGH) to take 6th place.

You can add a further horse for 6th for an additional $4 each time. Thus to have four horses for 6th (FGHI) it would cost $16, to have five horses for 6th (FGHIJ) would cost $20, and so on.

Those punters not averse to spending big on the Superfecta can do so by approaching it with two horses to hit the first and second placings. You could start small if you wish to, as follows:

This is a linkup as follows: AB/ AB/CD/CD/EF/EF. A and B must finish 1st and 2nd, C and D must finish 3rd and 4th and E and F must finish 5th and 6th. To add one further selection for 6th each time would cost an extra $8 each time. For instance, a linkup as follows:

This is a linkup of AB/AB/CD/ CD/EF/EFGHIJKLNIN. Let's now look at an even more costlier approach but one which, of course, adds some thrust to your bet.

This is: ABC/ABC/ABC/DEF/DEF/DEF. Your ABC selections must run 1st, 2nd and 3rd, your DEF selections must manage 4th, 5th and 6th. To add a further selection for 6th each time would cost you an extra $36 for each horse.

So, if you had, say, eight horses for the 6th position (including DEF) you would be up for $216. You can see how the cost escalates.

But if you are in a strong syndicate of, say, 20 with each member contributing $25 you could consider the following Superfecta bet:

ABCD/ABCD/ABCD/ABCD/EF/E F. To add a further selection to fill 6th place would cost you an extra $48 each time. So a bet for $432 for your syndicate could be:


Your ABCD horses must run the first four placings, E or F must run 5th and then you have E or F plus the other eight horses to fill 6th.

Bill Thompson's 120-page book What'll It Cost To Put A Bet On? contains thousands of combinations for exotic bets at the TAB, from quinellas and doubles through to the First 4 and the Superfecta.

By Bill Thompson