In this article I plan to show that exotic bets over more than one race, like doubles and trebles, have the potential of providing more value than quinellas and trifectas even though the dividends may be lower.

To help explain this it is worth spending a bit of time looking at the two main ways in which exotic bet types can be categorised.

The first way is to group exotic bets according to the number of selections required for each bet. Doubles, exactas and quinellas (all two selections) would form one group and trifectas and trebles (both three selections) would form another. Yet another group would consist of the superfecta and the straight six (both consisting of six selections).

Another way to categorise exotic bet types is by the number of races they cover. The first group would cover all the exotic bet types that relate to one race, namely quinellas, exactas, trifectas and superfectas. Doubles would form the second group as they relate to selections in two races. Trebles would form the third group and quadrellas the fourth.

The first approach is useful when we wish to categorise exotic bets according to the potential size of their dividends because we generally find that the more selections involved in a particular exotic bet, the greater the possible return. Trifectas and trebles, for example, generally pay more than quinellas and doubles.

The second form of categorisation is useful when we wish to categorise exotic bets according to the potential value they offer. The reason for this, as I plan to show in a moment, is that the value that can be found in exotic bets is magnified more by the number of races being. covered than by the number of selections involved. Doubles, trebles and quadrellas for example are potentially of greater value than quinellas, trifectas and superfectas.

You will probably be surprised to hear that I rate doubles, trebles and quadrellas higher than trifectas and superfectas when it comes to value. There are three reasons for this and they are all related to the fact that doubles, trebles and quadrellas are taken over two or more races whereas trifectas and superfectas involve selections in just one race.

Before looking at these reasons it is important for you to understand that value is more important than the size of the final dividend. A double paying $100 that should have paid only $15 is much more use to you than a trifecta paying $800 that should have paid $600.

The first reason for favouring doubles, trebles and quadrellas is that exotic bets covering more than one race have a value-magnifying potential not found in exotics covering just one race. We will look at an example to confirm this.

Consider two legs of a double, both legs of which you think you have found a certainty at good odds. If you consider your selection in the first leg to have an even-money chance and your selection in the second leg to also have an even money chance then your double has a 3/1 chance. (The double price is calculated by adding one to each individual price, multiplying the results together and subtracting one from the final result.)

Suppose the actual prices of these selections are 8/1 and 10/1 respectively. The expected price for the double is 98/1. What amounted to a decent overlay in each leg has magnified to a massive overlay for the double.

If the above-mentioned horses were included in a treble with an even-money chance in a third race then the true price for the treble would be 7/1. If the third horse was at 10/1 then the treble payout would be more than 1000/1.

So horses that are quoted at eight, 10 and 10 times their true price produce a treble that is more than 1,000 times its true price. Clearly the potential value is multiplied from one leg to the next.

Such magnification does not happen with a single race exotic like the trifecta for two reasons.

First, two even-money chances at good odds in two separate races is quite a reasonable occurrence whereas the presence of two even-money chances at good odds in the same race is unheard of. And the chance of having three such horses in the same race is impossible.

Second, it can be shown that except for the more favoured combinations that are probably undervalued anyway, the formula for trifecta prices generally produces a dividend that is less than that found by simply multiplying prices together.

The second reason for favouring doubles, trebles and quadrellas is that exotics over more than one race are easier to pick than the exotics requiring a number of selections in one race.

Let's look at the extreme example of picking six horses across the line in a superfecta. Is such a task easier or more difficult than picking six horses from six races as required by the Victorian straight six?

With six races all you need do is concentrate on the top two or three selections from each race and simply couple them all together. With the superfecta, however, you must pick right down to the sixth placegetter. In a large field, picking the first six across the line can be daunting. Picking first and second may not be too bad but any horse in the race has a chance of coming sixth.

I don't know about you, but I'd prefer picking the first two across the line in each of six races rather than trying to pick the first six in one race.

The third reason for favouring exotics covering more than one race is that dividends cannot be eroded by professional punters following last minute betting plunges as they can be with exotics covering just one race.

Let's consider an example to explain this.

If you fancy three horses in a race and take them in a trifecta 20 minutes before the race you would probably expect a good dividend if one of them was at double figure odds. But what if connections of the horse or professional punters enter the betting ring and back this horse from say 12/1 into 4/1? Such a horse will be backed in nearly all combinations in trifectas by professional punters hoping to snare any value left for it.

With doubles and trebles this cannot happen if your double figure odds horse is in the second or third leg. The reason why it can't happen is that the betting pool would have closed at the start of the first leg. Any betting plunges in the second or third leg will of course have no effect on your double or treble dividend.

Now that we have had a look at my reasons for preferring multi-leg exotics, let's consider how we should select and back our selections in such races. The key is, not surprisingly, connected to the magnification of value from one race to the next.

As mentioned earlier, the chance of finding two even-money chances at good odds in two separate races is quite reasonable whereas the likelihood of finding two even-money chances at good odds in the same race is virtually nonexistent.

Sure you will not find certainties at good odds in a number of races on a programme all the time. And when you do they may not coincide with the TAB double, treble and/or quadrella races. The secret though to wait until they do and then go to town coupling your selections in as many doubles, trebles and quadrellas as you can.

Put another way, you should look for as much value as possible and try to magnify it as much as possible by coupling value in one leg with value in another.

There are three points worth noting here.

First, on-course punters are often able to take advantage of bookmaker race to race doubles which can usually be taken by combining selections from any two metropolitan races.

Second, and very importantly, do not combine your selections in all-up bets on the tote thinking that you will achieve the same value magnification as with true doubles, trebles and quadrellas. There is a very good chance you will not for the simple fact that all-up bets are simply reinvested in the normal tote win pools which are vulnerable to dividend erosion discussed earlier.

Doubles, trebles and quadrellas all have their own separate pools and therefore are not vulnerable to dividend erosion on subsequent legs. Bookmaker doubles are naturally not subject to dividend erosion because fixed prices are offered.

Finally, there are a number of ways you can still achieve value magnification even though you may not have value selections for all the legs of the exotic bet you are interested in.

With two value selections in two legs of a treble you could always take the favourite or the field (or some in between number of selections) in the remaining leg. The favourite could be taken in the remaining leg if it were the standout, and the field if the betting on the race was totally open. The top three for example could be taken if they appeared to stand out from the rest of the field.

Even if you only have one value selection, you would do better to back it in doubles than you would if you just concentrated on win only betting.

You could, for example, take it in a double with the favourite or field in the other leg.

Readers wishing to know more about the racing services provided by Neale Yardley's company Capital Information Services can write to him at G.P.O. Box 2559, Canberra ACT 2601 (telephone 06 2592020).

Computer owners may be interested in Neale's monthly newsletter Punter's PC Digest in which he is currently presenting a new series of exotic betting programs.

By Neale Yardley