As we all know, the First 4 is a challenging and frustrating “exotic” bet. To beat it on a long-term basis requires skill, patience and . . . lots of money.

This month’s article concentrates on looking at multiples which cost at least \$100 (but always remember you can use flex-bets to lower the cost of any combination).

If you have a standout banker to win and you have \$112 to bet, the following combination is worth thinking about. It’s a 1-4-5-9 linkup which goes as follows:

A//BCDE//BCDEF//BCDEFGHIJ

So, you need your banker to win. If it doesn’t the bet is dead. But if it does you have four horses running for 2nd place, those four and one more for 3rd and then all those plus another four to get 4th.

It provides a good coverage for you in the place slots and it allows you to “wide” in the hunt for the horse to fill 4th place.

If you wanted to extend the bet (more money needed, of course) you could got to \$128 by adding another runner to fill 4th. To add yet another one, making the combination 1-4-5-11, you’d be up for \$144.

Using a standout banker again, you can consider a combination which gives you five runners for 2nd and 3rd and seven for 3rd place. This is a 1-5-5-7 combination and it will cost exactly \$100. Here’s how it goes:

A//BCDEF//BCDEF//BCDEFGH

Hopefully, you get that win banker up; if so, you have five runners going for 2nd and 3rd placings. This is a sound coverage. Should they do the trick and nail those placings, you will then have five of your seven runners still “live” to take out 4th place.

Always remember that any selection that gains the desired placing is automatically eliminated from contention for other placings.

Maybe you’re a member of a syndicate that doesn’t mind throwing around some big money? If so, you can push the First 4 boundaries to \$200 and more, depending on the size and wealth of your membership!

For \$210, you can try for a combination that goes 1-6-6-9. Here’s how it looks:

A//BCDEFG//BCDEFG//BCDEFGHIJ

Once again, you are putting all your eggs in the one basket for the win, using a banker selection. It all depends on this one getting up to score.

If it does, things are looking good. You have six runners to fill 2nd and 3rd, and if they do you’ll have a remaining seven for 4th. That’s a pretty comforting total and gives you licence to throw in quite a few longshots in a bid to nail a large return.

But what if you wanted to play a bit safer and have two horses going for the first position? Okay, let’s say you have \$100 (or close to it) to bet and you don’t want to have more than 12 horses in your slot for 4th.

What about the following link-up: 2-4-4-12 costing \$108. This gives you two horses to win, four horses (including the first two) for 2nd and 3rd, and then a total 12 for 4th. The combination goes:

AB//ABCD//ABCD//ABCDEFGHIJKL

You’ll note that your two win bankers are also spread across all other legs of the combination. Let’s say that A wins the race. It is then eliminated from the other legs, leaving you with BCD to run 2nd and 3rd. If we assume that B and C run 2nd and 3rd, that means D remains for the 4th slot along with all the “new” runners from E through to L.

Shooting higher, you can now look at using three horses to gain the winning slot. With \$108 to spend, you can try the following link-up: 3-3-5-9.  This means you are trying to pick the “quinella” with three horses. They have to land 1st and 2nd to bring in the rest of the bet. The combination is as follows:

ABC//ABC//ABCDE//ABCDEFGHI

This clearly shows what is required. If, say, A wins the race, you have B and C to get 2nd. If, say, B gets 2nd, that leaves C to move on to the area of 3rd, along with the “new” runners D and E. Let’s sat C runs 3rd. This means D and E are there for 4th, along with the “new” inclusions FGHI.

In other words, you have your top three horses aiming for 1st and 2nd; they need to fill both slots. One of them will then be “live” for 3rd and 4th, along with the other nominated runners.

By Jon Hudson

PRACTICAL PUNTING – AUGUST 2008