There has always, I believe, been a lot of mystery surrounding exotic betting. Many punters still are unsure of how to get the right mix of combinations on bets like the trifecta, quinella, quadrellas and forecasts.

Having all the combinations that might be required at your fingertips is something I've always wanted to have available, because I realise that such information makes any punter the equal of the professional who is able to calculate the costs of a bet with the aid of a computer.

It can be most embarrassing to submit your bet to the TAB window only to be told that it will cost, say, three times what you thought, and then to have to cancel the bet and walk away from the window feeling like a stupid mug punter!

Boxing trifectas, of course, is probably the best known form of exotic betting attack. Most punters understand that to 'box' three selections costs $6, to 'box' four costs $24 and to 'box' five costs $60 and so on. The more selections you take quickly escalates the cost.

The First Four is becoming something of a real novelty bet at the TAB especially in Queensland-and it's likely to gain ground in the 90s as punters become aware of the massive dividends it can throw up. Naturally, exotics like the First Four (picking the first four Placegetters in the right order) and the Superfecta (picking the first six placegetters in the right order) can be costly on a simple 'box' basis. For example:**FIRST FOUR**

Box 4 selections-$24

Box 5 selections-$120

Box 6 selections-$360

Box 7 selections-$840

Box 8 selections-$1,680**SUPERFECTA**

Box 6 selections-$720

Box 7 selections-$5,040

Box 8 selections-$20,160

Let's look firstly at the First Four bet. At the moment Queensland and Western Australia's TABs offer this bet, and I understand N.S.W. is thinking about it, too. In Queensland, there is one nominated race in either Brisbane, Sydney or Melbourne (usually the best race of the day).

The TAB holds on the bet are not colossal, but some fantastic dividends have been paid-$75,000 for the 1990 Stradbroke Handicap and nearly $40,000 for the Melbourne Cup! And neither provided what could be called 'outrageous' results in terms of selecting the first four placings.

Now for some simple First Four linkups:

1st | 2nd | 3rd | 4th | Cost |

1 | 2 | 2 | 1 | $2 |

This is a linkup of A/BC/BC/D, which means A is a banker choice to win, B and C are selected to run 2nd and 3rd and D is the banker to run 4th. Now this is an exceedingly silly bet but I put it in for continuity. Now for another one:

1st | 2nd | 3rd | 4th | Cost |

1 | 2 | 2 | 2 | $4 |

A/BC/BC/DE. The A horse is selected as a banker to win, B and C are for 2nd and 3rd placings and D and E are chosen to run 4th. For $6 you could add a third horse for 4th place. For $8 you could have four horses running for the 4th spot (A/BC/BC/DEFG).

To extend this further, consider these combinations:

1st | 2nd | 3rd | 4th | Cost |

1 | 2 | 2 | 5 | $10 |

1 | 2 | 2 | 6 | $12 |

1 | 2 | 2 | 7 | $14 |

1 | 2 | 2 | 8 | $16 |

1 | 2 | 2 | 9 | $18 |

1 | 2 | 2 | 10 | $20 |

1 | 2 | 2 | 11 | $22 |

For each extra horse you add for 4th place you add a further $2 to the cost. This type of approach is a good one if you are very confident of getting your banker winner home in first place, and equally as confident that Horses B and C will run 2nd and 3rd. By adopting this strategy you can then put in, say, 17 horses (assuming you have a 20-horse field) to fill the 4th spot for an outlay of only $34.

But what if you wanted to use, say, Horse A as a banker winner again but couple it with three hones to fill 2nd, 3rd and 4th places (A/BC/BC/BC)? This would cost only $6.

Going further, for a cost of $16, you could have the following bet:

1st | 2nd | 3rd | 4th | Cost |

2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | $16 |

If you strongly fancy three horses to fill 1st, 2nd and 3rd you could adopt the following approach:

1st | 2nd | 3rd | 4th | Cost |

3 | 3 | 3 | 4 | $24 |

With the First Four, a banker to win with a block of three for the places costs only $6, as follows:

1st | 2nd | 3rd | 4th | Cost |

1 | 3 | 3 | 3 | $6 |

Now we move on to the Superfecta bet, which in the past couple of years has attracted an enormous following in N.S.W., especially now that it is bet offcourse as well as on-course. The objective is to pick the first six placegetters in the correct order, an enormous task.

I think in terms of 'blocks' when talking about Superfecta approaches: Blocks can be considered as consisting of one (a Banker), two (a quinella), three (a boxed trifecta), four (a boxed First Four). Boxes of five selections are fairly expensive in Superfecta betting and hoping to pick the first five with only five selections is pretty ambitious.

**BLOCKS FOR SUPERFECTAS**

1st | 2nd | 3rd | 4th | 5th | 6th | Cost |

1 | 2 | 2 | 3 | 3 | 3 | $12 |

1st | 2nd | 3rd | 4th | 5th | 6th | Cost |

1 | 2 | 2 | 3 | 3 | 4 | $24 |

1st | 2nd | 3rd | 4th | 5th | 6th | Cost |

1 | 2 | 2 | 3 | 3 | 5 | $36 |

(A/BC/BC/DEF/DEF/DEF/DEFGH) | ||||||

1 | 2 | 2 | 3 | 3 | 6 | $48 |

1 | 2 | 2 | 3 | 3 | 7 | $60 |

1 | 2 | 2 | 3 | 3 | 8 | $72 |

1st | 2nd | 3rd | 4th | 5th | 6th | Cost |

1 | 2 | 2 | 3 | 3 | 17 | $180 |

1st | 2nd | 3rd | 4th | 5th | 6th | Cost |

1 | 2 | 2 | 2 | 2 | 3 | $12 |

You can add a further horse for 6th for an additional $4 each time. Thus to have four horses for 6th (FGHI) it would cost $16, to have five horses for 6th (FGHIJ) would cost $20, and so on.

Those punters not averse to spending big on the Superfecta can do so by approaching it with two horses to hit the first and second placings. You could start small if you wish to, as follows:

1st | 2nd | 3rd | 4th | 5th | 6th | Cost |

2 | 2 | 2 | 2 | 2 | 2 | $8 |

1st | 2nd | 3rd | 4th | 5th | 6th | Cost |

2 | 2 | 2 | 2 | 2 | 10 | $72 |

1st | 2nd | 3rd | 4th | 5th | 6th | Cost |

3 | 3 | 3 | 3 | 3 | 3 | $36 |

So, if you had, say, eight horses for the 6th position (including DEF) you would be up for $216. You can see how the cost escalates.

But if you are in a strong syndicate of, say, 20 with each member contributing $25 you could consider the following Superfecta bet:

1st | 2nd | 3rd | 4th | 5th | 6th | Cost |

4 | 4 | 4 | 4 | 2 | 2 | $48 |

1st | 2nd | 3rd | 4th | 5th | 6th | Cost |

4 | 4 | 4 | 4 | 2 | 10 | $432 |

Your ABCD horses must run the first four placings, E or F must run 5th and then you have E or F plus the other eight horses to fill 6th.

Bill Thompson's 120-page book What'll It Cost To Put A Bet On? contains thousands of combinations for exotic bets at the TAB, from quinellas and doubles through to the First 4 and the Superfecta.

**By Bill Thompson**

PRACTICAL PUNTING- FEBRUARY 1992