As usual with most questions in racing, there are two sides to this argument and therefore hundreds of different answers, according to how you view each individual situation. For example, pre-post doubles and, for that matter, multiples of all description, can present a much different situation with much more attractive possibilities.

As always with more attractive possibilities, the risk increases. If you take something as simple as a double, whether it is pre-post or not, you’re faced with a very straightforward situation: instead of finding a winner, you must find two winners and if either one loses, you lose your money. I know one professional who specialises in the pre-post markets for group racing. He wished to remain anonymous but I sought him out for a chat.


One of the enormous advantages of the new breed of online bookmakers, so far as the average punter is concerned, is that accurate and very much up-to-date market moves are available on their websites. The big boys pay big money to provide these accurate services, and for the ordinary/average punter they are a fantastic advantage. The professional I spoke with indicated to me that, so far as multiple betting was concerned for the big races, he has devised his own special means of betting since online punting became available. The first thing he did, which would be a pipe dream for most of us, was take himself off to London, install himself for three months in a nice little apartment down near the new Tate Gallery, pay the additional fee to rent every available racing service, and sit there and learn.

As he had no interest whatsoever in evening racing, and no interest in all-weather tracks, he was able to do those other things that one does in London outside of the major racing times. But he forced himself to listen to some of the patter that the television stations put out, and he purchased every newspaper and specialist information sheets that he could lay his hands on.

The most interesting thing of all, and I’m sure that many readers will be gobsmacked by this, was that he did not have a bet in the three months that he was there studying. I’m not sure that I could be that strong, but he made his point. Professional race investment is his livelihood and he was there to beat the crowd, to learn what there was to learn from the oldest established online racing country in the world. He came back refreshed and with an enormous awareness of the challenges that faced him if he was going to make a success of his future online career.

Also, he now takes a flight to the UK once every two years and spends a short period during the National Hunt season doing exactly what he did on the first epic journey. His reason for using the National Hunt period is that he’s able to slip away after the Victorian spring carnival, usually early December, and be well and truly back before anything significant happens again in Australia. Needless to say, he takes a risk with the weather. However, it hasn’t been too bad on the occasions he’s been there, although he admits he’s been lucky. I suppose there are worse places to be than London if the racing is cancelled! You and I would find something to do.

He is the first to admit that the percentages will be stacked against him, particularly in races like the upcoming Newmarket where there is a huge number of entries and you can’t really be sure which ones are going to be fit enough to race, let alone which ones are going to be accepted into the final field. Arguably this is built into the odds which are on offer, but he said that if you stick to the real chances, he found both in England and here that he could often obtain odds which were very much in line with the pre-post offerings on the race morning, with the guarantee of a start. He pointed out that there are few things which can match that guarantee because he was not taking the risk on a non-starter.

It’s worth remembering that after a final field is declared, all subsequent withdrawals are refunded and (quite reasonably) deductions are made according to a standard list. I could make the observation that from a punter’s point of view, this list is not in your favour. So if you are going to bet near the race, wait until you do know the final scratchings. Anyway, he tends to concentrate on doubles which he believes will be out of line with what the two single bets will pay closer to the day. His method of covering himself here is very clever.

After acceptances he supports the horse he fancies in the first leg, to cover the cost of the double. Of course the money on the double was placed pre-post with the best bookmaker’s offering. For example, if he fancied Weekend Hussler in an upcoming 1400m event (yes, he will quite often home in on a relatively short priced horse – he is not in the business of “gambling”), and he had a particular interest in another strong chance in a later group race, he might make a pre-post outlay of $500 on the double at $51.

This would return him $25,500 if successful. I stress at this point that I am just using a simple example and that his double may well be at odds which are much lower than 50/1. Since his outlay is $500, he will now provide himself with insurance against the outlay. He will wait for the day of the first race before he puts out any specific money on the particular first leg horse. So, if Weekend Hussler is being offered at $6 that day, he will probably have a round figure bet of $100 to cover himself against the second leg of the double failing. If it is then scratched, he gets his money back and he waits for the second leg.

If the Hussler runs and loses, our man will put enough on his second leg to cover the $600 he has now outlaid. Needless to say, if the Hussler wins, he has the second leg running for a total return of $26,100, and he has the second leg running “free”.

Let’s just say for argument’s sake that he loses the first leg, and that on the morning of the second race, with the final field declared and his horse still running (we’ll come back to that), he can obtain $5 with a guarantee of top betting fluctuation. He will now invest enough money to cut even on his original double and his first leg loss (remember he outlaid $600).

In round figures again, he can do that by placing $150 to win on the second leg. That would return him $750 for a total outlay of $700. You may ask if he would still be prepared to back the second leg for significantly more money on the day, after he is quite sure that it is running. That is a very different kettle of fish and it is the other half of his professional betting armoury.

Yes, he would, but this is the unknowable factor when he places his original doubles bet, which he predicts will eventually turn into a value bet. However, this “value bet” could go down the drain if either of the two horses doesn’t line up. Should both of them fail to accept for the races, then he will lose his double and that’s that. This is why he keeps his pre-post double investments quite separate from his other daily activities. It is also why his records at the end of the season may show that he had two separate bets on the same horse (one a cover, and one a main bet).

For example, Weekend Hussler at $5 on the day in our creative example above, may appeal to our professional on the day as a sensational standout bet and he will consequently approach it as such, as well as taking a bet to cover his double. They are separate parts of his betting. The second part, the on-the-day investments, has been made wonderfully accessible for the professional and the fun player alike by the advent of the online bookmakers and markets. In a word, this has provided CHOICE.

With choice has come competition, and that has really become the name of the game. I’ll pick this up and next month we’ll run with the professional’s online daily betting investment activities.

By The Optimist