A friend was lamenting to me recently that although he had success with quinellas, he felt he wasn't making enough money from them.

"Some days I have a lot of success, but at the end of the day I haven't much to show for it all," he said. "How can I maximise my quinella betting?"

My friend is a small punter and he dabbles in quinella bets using only $1 units. I could have suggested he back the quinellas according to the anticipated true percentage payoff of each one, but that would have involved him in too much work, and I knew that like most punters he didn't have a great deal of time.

Over a year, this man was averaging about 10 units return for each nine invested. Not much of a profit. My advice was that he 'shoot for the stars' and start to parlay his quinellas. This would give him a lot more fun, and provide him with the chance to maximise his wins.

I suggested he parlay three quinellas, taking his usual three horses per race coupled up for $3. So he would have doubles of A into B, A into C, B into C and a treble of A, B and C. So, his first bet on quinella A would be a total of $9.

Let's assume the quinella won and paid $6. Okay, he has this three times. He re-invests $6 of it into the B quinella, taking each quinella unit twice. Another $6 is re-invested in the same way on quinella C, and the other $6 is re-invested onto the B quinellas as the middle leg of the treble.

Let's say that B wins and pays $10. He has this quinella twice, making a payoff totalling $20. This A and B double is now complete. The original investment of $3 has been turned into $20.

The middle leg of the treble has also been clinched. Now there is another $20 to be re-invested on the C quinella, and this means we can have it SIX times, and retain $2 in our bank. The first leg of the B and C double has been achieved, with $9 to be re-invested on C-that is three times, with $1 held over for the bank.

If the third quinella should arrive, paying $10, we would have the treble up for a return of $60, plus the spare $2, and the B and C double, also paying us $30, plus the spare $1. The A and C double also has arrived with a payout of $20. Altogether our three quinellas have returned us three doubles and a treble. We outlaid $12 and have gained a total return of $133, including the floating $3 we retained.

How possible is it to get a quinella dividend like $10 for a $1 unit? Not too hard, actually. A 9/1 quinella is the equivalent of a 5/1 chance and a 13/4 running lst/2nd, or a 10/1 chance with an 11 /8 chance. A $20 dividend might see a linkup of a 3/1 chance with an 11/1 chance.

What I am stressing from all this is that with quinella parlays you give yourself a fighting chance of making a good killing. Okay, you won't always land the three quinellas, but very often you'll get two up and that parlay double will be enough to cover expenses.

Don't forget, too, that you can take more horses in the various quinellas. For example, you might feel that in the A quinella you can snare it with just two picks. The B quinella could be more difficult so you take four horses in that race, and then in the C quinella you decide you can get it with three picks.

Always remember that the more multiples you take in each quinella gives you more chance, but you do run the risk of reducing the overall profitability of the approach, unless, of course, the extra horses land you some big divvies.

Finally, a further look at quinella betting-and this from the 'saver' angle One of the quinella's most underused applications is as a 'saver' bet for win punters. What I mean is that if you fee there's a danger to the horse you have chosen you can take an extra bet-a quinella-with the two horses.

The main advantage of this particular approach is that quite often both your win bet and the quinella will arrive! The saver doesn't have to be restricted to just the one quinella combination; you can couple your main selection with several others you consider are potential dangers to your choice.

Let's suppose that your top fancied horse is a 3/1 chance. To win $100, you back it for $33. The horse you regard as a danger is a 5/1 chance. A 3/1 chance with a 5/1 chance is likely to pay a quinella dividend of around $14. So to simply cover your bet you need to back the quinella to return, say, $40, which means you have $3 on it.

Maybe your top fancy is an even money chance, but the danger is a 10/1 chance. You have $100 on the evens chance. As a saver, you would have $10 on the quinella with the 10/1 chance, because an even money horse and a 10s shot will pay quinella odds, usually, of around 10/1.

These are just some ideas for your approach to quinellas. For further reading, I suggest Don Scott's Winning More book, or Roger Dedman's Commonsense Punting (available from Mittys).

By Statsman