Trifecta betting has been super popular for many years and its popularity continues to grow. But how do we bet on it to ensure we keep ahead of the game?

As with other forms of betting, the trifecta punter has to keep his thinking cap firmly on his head. For a start, he has to keep clearly in mind that any trifecta with a short-priced horse occupying 1st place is not going to pay well.

The trifectas that pay really well are those where the main body of public opinion has been proven wrong; that is, the favorite has been beaten, bringing undone the hopes of tens of thousands of punters.

Any punter seriously wanting to make profits with trifectas has to find a method of selection that will enable him to land trifectas which pay a lot, even if it means only a few wins from a lot of bets, as opposed to striking many more smaller divvies with short-priced horses.

The dilemma is a real one. What punter isn't tempted when he sees a hotpot in a race? He thinks he can easily link this horse with the field and if a couple of outsiders fill the placings then a good divvie can be expected to be posted.

Sure, that's okay in theory. But the short-priced favorite is going to kill any real high dividend. The astute trifecta punter looks for those races where the favorite can be beaten. He moves in with his overlay selection and lands the money.

Again, it all sounds wonderfully easy in theory but in practice it becomes yet another intricate and tantalising racing puzzle.

In his excellent book Betting To Win (Wrightbooks) the authoritative Roger Dedman, author of the best-seller Commonsense Punting, wrote the following wise words on trifectas: "Clearly, if the placegetters are priced at even money, 5/1 and 25/1, the trifecta will pay more if the 25/1 chance wins than if the favorite wins, but the difference will not be as great as you might expect.

"The theoretical dividend ($1 unit) for a trifecta for evens-5/1-25/1 in that order is $52, while for the same horses in reverse order it is $238, less than five times as much, and this is obviously an extreme example. The tendency of punters to take box trifectas would bring the actual dividends even closer together.

"The rough estimate given by multiplying the prices (of each placegetter) is $125 in both these cases.

Dedman's warning is that with trifectas where the individual placegetters are at widely differing odds, the punter should reduce the estimated dividend for a trifecta starting with a short-priced horse, and increase it for one starting with an outsider. Where the prices are reasonably close to each other, no such adjustment need be made.

My own advice is that you try to get rid of the favorite altogether and, with this in mind, I have put together a system that seeks to find good-priced trifectas - without the public elect figuring in the finish.


  1. Operate on any good midweek city or country meeting, as well as city Saturday and public holiday meetings.
  2. Operate on any race in which the pre-post favorite is at 5/2 or longer.
  3. Eliminate the favorite from contention.
  4. Use as your banker any horse (or horses) listed at 6/1 in the pre-post betting. If no 6/1, then try 7/1 and so on.
  5. The 6/1 horse is linked as a 'banker' with horses listed in the betting between 10/1 and 20/1. If there are 5 such horses, the bet is as follows: A with B, C,D, E and F. This will cost $20 using $1 units, and $10 using 50 cent (half) units.

By Philip Roy