In last month's PPM, Damien Whitchurch talked with The Optimist about his strategy of using the AB-BA trifecta approach. The article concluded with The Optimist referring to the 'no hope' horses who can get into the placings and make the pot boil as far as divvies are concerned. The interview now concludes.

Damien Whitchurch: This is against the great majority of what has been written about racing investment.

The Optimist: I've never been seen as orthodox. I write every article with my punting reader in mind. The last thing he wants is to read what every textbook in town has been spelling out. The textbook is written for the investor with the big money who is happy with 5 per cent or so on his million every year. Fifty grand is a nice old return.

My readers are regular investors, sensible punters who, in general, are prepared to seek out ideas that will get more than that 5 per cent I mentioned. It's why they read Practical Punting. They don't want the conventional 'conservative' textbook stuff every month, that prevents them from having a running chance at a really big collect.

DW: That's what the AB is, isn't it? A sort of halfway house between investment and gambling.

TO: Yes. Probably 50-50. One thing though, the bank has to be there. If you back your judgement, as I do in this sort of thing, you have to expect the lows as well as the highs. And there'll be some awfully depressing lows. AB betting, if you like the concept, has to be regarded as a segment of your strategy. One arm, as it were.

It must not, under any circumstances, form the major part of your investment.

DW: What about other really adventurous betting coming out of your AB bets? I know you went after the superfectas for a while.

TO: And I lost, and I lost again. So I gave up the chase. I managed to pull in three of them in the whole time, and none was big. One was where there were only six runners, and I reasoned that the favourite could not run 1,2,3; I was right, it ran last, and the prize was $730 for my $360 field bet. Even money. I had to get something, of course, and I figured that if I was right the superfecta could pay a heap. But with the odds-on favourite last, it paid about 5/4.

I managed two others, both small. I did nearly take out a big one, early on, when I stood out a welter performer with five horses for $60 (I had already had a very good day and was prepared to see if my luck would hold). The horse was beaten into second place on the line, and you guessed it, the others ran in the correct order. Of course, I will never know how much it would have paid.

Also, I tried when I had an AB in the superfecta race, standing the two horses out with four others to run 3,4,5,6, costing me $24 for 50 cent units. Didn't work.

DW: Win betting. What about backing both A and B to win?

TO: Yes, I will do that if I believe they both represent value for me. I have a great regard for the American Dick Mitchell's writing, and he aims in his betting to get six of 10 win bets up, betting two horses per race. That's actually six from 20, and I have written about it in detail before. Frankly, I don't seem able to do that on any sort of regular basis. But I will have a go, especially if the horses I like are both at great odds.

DW: I remember you writing some time back about the odds being reduced by betting two in a race.

TO: Yes, you have to make up your mind whether a second bet means the odds are halved, or merely reduced by one betting point. I believe the latter is the sane way, as I treat the two single bets as two quite separate happenings. Sure, both cannot win, short of a dead heat, but they are bet at the same rate as any other bet I have, so the balance in my record book will either record two losses, or a win and a loss.

It won't record the reduced odds idea. I still get the odds on each bet, I just drop a unit.

DW: Can we do another one of these, maybe on another aspect of your unorthodoxy?

TO: My pleasure.

Click here to read Part 1.

By Damien Whitchurch with The Optimist