What can you say about quinellas? They are one of the oldest forms of betting there is. My earliest racing days were taken up with attempts to crack decent quinellas.

I remember when I first started to attend the trots, back in, well, let's not dwell on how far back, I could bet win, place, eachway and quinella. There was a tote that probably was installed by John Wren, and was manually adjusted every half minute.

You stood outside the small building where it lived, and watched the adjustments to the quinella. The win and place divs were up on the big semaphore board (big for then, at least). And there were about fifteen bookies, so there must have been a fair bit of action (my small betting would not have kept them in their new Caddies and overseas trips).

Quinellas have always held their own. Race-to-race doubles have their ups and downs, various other bets come and go, but the little old Q goes right on.To win the quinella you need to pick the first two finishers in either order - 1-2, or 2-1. Of all the multiples, that is surely amongst the most straightforward.

It is the basis of my AB-field trifecta interest that I bring out every now and again, as I have often managed to find quinella/ trifectas that make money (not as often as some, but enough times to make it a profitable approach to betting).

I have established that there are many occasions when a quinella is paying, say, $10 but, with a little luck, the AB-field trifecta pays four figures. This is mainly when a roughie drops into that third slot.

For example, when a quinella pair starts at, say, 3/1 and 4/1, the quinella might be as miserly as $7 or $8. But if an outsider comes in third at 50/1, the trifecta can still pay $800 or so.

Say there are twelve starters. To take an AB-field trifecta (AB-AB-field), it costs $20, and pays you $800 or whatever the trifecta pays. If you have $20 on the quinella, you might get back $200. It can backfire of course, if a 5/1 chance comes in third and the trifecta pays, say, $70.

But that's the risk. I would take it, and hope a little (and pray as well), rather than put the twenty on the quinella.
Some folk prefer to have $10 on the quinella and have a 50 cent trifecta. That can be smart betting, too.

What about the exacta? To win it, you need to pick the first and second finishers in the right order. To get square with the quinella divvy, you need the exacta to be double, at least, the quinella divvy, as it costs effectively twice as much to take the same cover. A reverse exacta for $10 costs $20. A $20 quinella pays twenty times, but those two exactas pay only ten times each.

When might the exacta be better value? Frankly, in my experience, not very often. True, there are occasions, but I have found that, unlike in the USA, statistics here indicate that we do not appear to have any professional exacta players. So, a favourite winning with a roughie running second is likely to pay much the same as a roughie winning with a favourite running second.

In the USA there would be a tremendous difference, as the pros and big players often "wheel" the favoured horses to win (that means they take everything to run second).

They are far less likely to wheel the favourite to run second.

So, exacta betting is far more focused than it seems to be here. Here, it seems to me that punters are as likely as not to take the same horses to run 2-1 as they take to rim 1-2. For the same amount. With this in mind, a quinella may pay $10 and an exacta $12 or so - clearly not a proposition.

If I can put this more simply, let me suggest that the exacta is a waste of time most of the time. There will be occasions where you see a quinella of, say, $80 and an exacta of $500, but they are the exception and are usually on small meetings. They really mean, most of the time, that there was a pool of a couple of thousand dollars, and someone got lucky.

I have seen weird results where the quinella pays $80 and the exacta pays $50. Sometimes these are small pools too, but sometimes they mean that there was more focus on trying to beat the obvious. Someone has decided that the favourite can be beaten, so he takes the second fav and the fifth fav that way round for a thousand, killing the odds.

The combination comes in, but the good old quinella has been less invested on than the exacta. Weird, as I said. Guesswork!Guesswork, and what place has that in our betting? NONE.

So, my view is that the quinella can be a great bet on its own, especially when there is a short priced favourite in the race. If you can identify the only threat, you can sometimes get 7/1 about the 4/6 favourite and, say, the fourth favourite. The exacta is just as likely to pay 5/1!

By The Optimist