There’s something of an art to making money from trifecta betting on greyhound racing. This is because the combinations available are limited by the size of the fields (eight runners maximum).

Unlike horseracing, dog racing doesn’t provide the ambitious trifecta punter with much room to go too wide. In fact, the main challenge is to trim the trifecta combinations back as much as you can.

The use of “banker” selections is virtually unavoidable.

If you go too wide the cost mounts up and the return on a winning combination very often will cruel the bet and leave you with a “winning” ticket that actually pays less than you bet.

In order to win trifectas, then, and win them at dividends that will afford you a profit over a year (say), your selection process needs to be right up to scratch. You can’t go just plucking “banker” bets out of the air with nary a thought about form.

So if you embark on some serious trifecta betting on the dogs then do yourself a favour and give the FORM a good lookover. If you attend meetings, use your “eye” to spot dogs likely to win next time out, if you watch the races at home then record them on video and replay them and look for the dogs that were unlucky or who appeal as improvers.

The more hard work you put into making your selections the better chance you will have of snapping up the best-paying trifectas. Always remember that you are looking for the dogs that everyone else misses. Slavishly following the favourites, and using them as bankers, will not guarantee you a long-term profit.

What’s needed is for you to come up with those “surprise” winners that most punters miss. If a favourite wins, then just about every man and his mate will have it in the trifecta and so the divvie will be poor (generally).

But land a value priced winner and things can change enormously. You’ll cop some nice dividends that will help you to be “in the black” at year’s end.

Firstly, decide on how much you want to spend on your trifectas. Don’t go above this limit. I suggest a maximum limit of no more than $30 a race. Less if you feel really confident about your selecting ability.

Don’t forget that because there’s a maximum of eight runners, trifecta dividends in dog races are never going to approach the high levels of horseracing where fields can go to 18, 20 and even 24 runners.

Each race should be looked at on an individual basis as far as the staking is concerned. I’m not in favour of using ONE staking approach to cover all situations. Each race is different. Some races have many chances, others a few.

My favourite approach costs $24. It’s actually a set of two multiple trifectas, each costing $12. It assumes you have chosen a banker standout selection, and that you have managed to trim the main chances down to another four of the runners. You have, then, five runners in the field involved in the trifecta multiple.

Let’s say your banker selection, the dog you STRONGLY fancy as being just about a certainty to run 1st or 2nd, is #6.

The dogs you regard as the main dangers are 1-2-3-4. You are happy to forget about the other three dogs in the race. After your form analysis, you are confident they will not play major roles in the finish.

You will not always be right, of course, because often enough those discarded runners will pop up and run way beyond your estimation and if they don’t win they will run a place and probably knock you out of trifecta contention.

Your task is to make sure this doesn’t happen often enough to put the mock on your entire trifecta operation.

So, having decided on your banker and the four main dangers, the bet, one of my favourites, is to use the banker (in this case #6) as a standout to win and as a standout to run 2nd.

The banker is linked with the four dangers in both trifectas as follows:

Trifecta A:

WIN: Standout banker #6
2nd/3rd: #1, #2, #3,

Trifecta B:

WIN: #1, #2, #3, $4
2nd: Standout banker #6
3rd: #1, #2, #3,

In each case the multiple approach amounts to $12. In Trifecta A, you have one dog into four dogs for 2nd and then three of those four for 3rd. (1x4x3=12).

In Trifecta B, the same outcome is achieved with four dogs for the win slot, one for 2nd and three of the original four dogs for 3rd. (4x1x3=12).

You can easily see the beauty of this simple yet very effective trifecta approach. The outlay is not much at $24 and even if you strike a small dividend you are more than likely to make a profit of some kind.

But with the banker standout we are talking of a VALUE chance, so if it wins, and we hope it does so regularly, then we have put ourselves in a position to score at least a decent return, even should the favourite be one of the placegetters.

Having four of the other seven runners (outside the banker) to fill the 2nd and 3rd slots is not a bad lineup. It gives you 57per cent of those runners.

An approach like this relies on the punter having a streak of bravery. It would be too easy to simply go for the first five dogs in the market. You always need to be ready to go for the maximum boldness approach.

Your bankers, ideally, should be in the 4/1 to 10/1 range and your danger runners should contain at least one dog with a good chance at double-figure odds of figuring in the placings.

This is where your own shrewdness as a selector comes into play. It’s your job to sift through the form and to pick the five dogs, including the banker, that should dominate the race.

With the approach I’ve outlined here your banker standout can run 1st or 2nd. So even if it gets rolled, say, in a photo-finish you have an excellent chance of one of your danger foursome being the winner. If you have a selection ratings plan that, say, gives the top-rated dog 100 points, and then allots various other scores to the other runners, then I suggest you use 20per cent as being the space between the top dog and the next-rated dog that determines if a dog can be considered a banker.

Example: Your top-rated dog has 100 points, the next fancied runner has 90 points. This is only a 10per cent difference, so the top dog cannot be regarded as a banker.

However if the second rated dog has 80 points or less then the top rated dog CAN be considered the banker standout. In other words, your best fancied dog should have a 20per cent edge over its closest competitor.

This is a safe and commonsense approach. You can hardly rate a dog as a banker if it’s only narrowly ahead of its closest danger runner, or runners. Another way to use a banker standout is to consider taking it with five dogs for the placings. This is a $20 bet (1x5x4=20). The problem is that to take the banker to run 2nd as well will send your race outlay up to $40 and I think this is probably a bit too much, thinking long term.

Now, overall, what are your chances with the trifecta approach? You would need to have a good-priced banker to make it work long-term. And what will your strike rate be? You’d need to hit at least 25per cent of the time.

If you bet, say, 100 trifectas a year, and you followed the $24 approach I have outlined, your total outlay would be $2,400. If you strike, say, 25 trifectas, they would need to average $96 each just to enable you to break even.

If you were able to hit 40 of those 100 trifectas you would need to average a dividend of $60 each time to break square.

You can see the problem you face, even with what is a reasonably safe approach. It’s very possible that with the banker standout used for 1st and 2nd that you could strike many more trifectas, perhaps 50per cent of the time.

That would give you 50 successful trifectas, and they would need to average $48 for a break even situation. If they, in fact, average say $75 each your return would be $3,750, giving you a profit of $1,350 over the course of the string of 100 trifectas. This amounts to a profit of more than 56per cent, enormous by any standards.

So that’s the picture facing you. Your skills will determine how well you fare in this great battle of the punt.

By George ‘Barker’ Bellfield