In recent issues we’ve looked at various multiple combination approaches for trifecta and First 4 betting. I’ve had quite a few letters from readers seeking further advice.

Most want to know easy ways of finding the right selections. This is the tough one, isn’t it? Finding the right combination is easy enough but finding exactly which runners to use is another matter altogether.

My basic suggestion is that you veer towards VALUE rather than to FAVOURITISM. That is, stack your bet with good-priced runners and eliminate, if you safely can, those runners at short prices.

If your deck is stacked with too many short-priced runners, you may well land a few more trifectas and First 4s but the dividends will inevitably reflect the fact that you are chasing the chalk.

One way to go is to adopt the Paper System. My pal The Optimist introduced this approach many moons ago. I’ve added a rule of my own. Basically, it goes as follows:

1. Make a decision about the best two media tipsters. Pick them out and stick to them.
2. Tick the horses selected 1, 2 and 3 by your selectors in your chosen race.
3. Throw out any of them at 2/1 or under.
4. Place a second tick against those selections to be ridden by one of your top four jockeys.
5. Use as ‘bankers’ those selections with the top riders aboard, provided you are happy with the likely prices (don’t forget that you have thrown out any selections at 2s and under).

This is one way to secure your bankers. You might, say, end up with two of the selections being your bankers. You then use them for 1st/2nd/3rd and incorporate your other horses from the system, plus any others you wish to include, for 2nd and 3rd (and 4th).

Let’s have a look now at some combinations around the \$40 and \$50 mark for the trifecta. A friend of mine likes to link up four horses as his bankers, and he will bet them to get 1st/2nd/3rd, using as many runners as he deems necessary for the 3rd slot.

He’s very confident, then, that with his four bankers he can nail the 1st and 2nd slots. Once he’s done that he is well on his way to grabbing the dividend.

This approach can be done for \$48 (using \$1 units) with a 4x4x6 linkup, as follows:

ABCD//ABCD//ABCDEF

This provides for two of the bankers to be remaining for 3rd place along with another two inclusions.

This approach can be used on a growing scale, depending on how many runners you want for 3rd. It goes like this:

4x4x7  . . .  \$60
4x4x8  . . .  \$72
4x4x9  . . .  \$84
4x4x10 . . . \$96

As you can see, it goes up in \$12 lots with each horse you add for 3rd. This is not a bad approach at all for a race like the Melbourne Cup.

In fact, in big races with big fields, you could probably think about spending up to \$200 with five bankers for 1st/2nd/3rd and up to 12 runners for 3rd.

5x5x12 costing \$200. This is as follows:

ABCDE//ABCDE//ABCDEFGHIJKL

This means that if your five bankers are able to produce 1st and 2nd placegetters then you will have the remaining three going on for 3rd place, along with another seven runners. Not a bad position to be in.

Of course, I would restrict outlays of around \$200 to the big Grp 1 races like the two Cups, the Doncaster, the Epsom and a handful of others. You might even consider the Villiers over the Christmas holidays!

When you bet so much money you want to be in a position to be able to win a lot of money. The Caulfield Cup is a prime recent example. If you had the first two home as bankers and the Field for 3rd, you’d have taken home a princely sum of \$63,367 for a \$30 bet!

Okay, I know it wasn’t easy to have thrown in All The Good as a banker but, hey, his form wasn’t that bad, he was from one of the world’s greatest stables, with a Melbourne Cup winning jockey aboard! Isn’t hindsight wonderful!

I hope this series of articles has helped you to formulate your approach to the exotics. I did read comments by a contributor to a well-known forum that such information is useless. Well, I’m willing to bet this bloke is a loser. If he has that sort of attitude to using carefully thought out multiple combinations then I hold grave reservations about his long-term betting prosperity.

Thank you for all the letters and emails. I will be using some of them as material for another article or two in 2009.

By Jon Hudson

PRACTICAL PUNTING – DECEMBER 2008