Multiple combinations lie at the heart of successful betting on trifectas, first 4s, trebles and parlays. Even quinellas and exactas need a multiple bet push.

The problem we face as punters is to decide how much to spend on these multiple combinations because each additional horse inserted into the bet calls for extra money to be staked.

So the “safer” the bet the more it will cost you, and the less your ultimate profit will be.

There is a body of thought which suggests punters should decide, once and for all, how much they have to spend and then fit the multiple around that sum, instead of doing it the other way around.

With this in mind, I thought it’d be a good idea to continue this series with a look at how a punter might consider betting \$50 on multiples (trifectas and first 4s).

What combinations are available and which situations do they suit?

The big dividends in trifectas invariably come from races in which there are a lot of runners. The Melbourne Cup is an example.

Let’s say you had a real “banker” for the Cup, a horse you felt was a mighty chance (like Makybe Diva) and you want to bet \$50 (give or take a dollar) and make sure that most of the field is covered for 3rd place?

One way to do this is to take your bank to win (Horse A), link it with three others (BCD) for second and third, and then take a total of 18 runners in the field for third. This combination will cost \$51.

Other races may be easier to grab using the win banker into five others for second and third, and then another six runners for third. A combination of 1x5x11 will cost you exactly \$50.

This is not a bad bet. If your banker wins you have five horses running for you for second and then 10 of the field shooting for the third spot. If your selecting skills are up to scratch you should have the trifecta covered.

Now let’s see what you’d get if you linked a win banker with seven horses to run second and eight of them to run third. This will cost you \$49. You have A to win, then seven to fill second and for third you have that group plus another one. The combination is 1x7x8 (to find out how the stake is worked out the multiple is actually one times seven times seven).

Let’s move on with our \$50 bet and see what we can get if we have two runners going for us for the win. A linkup of 2x3x15 will cost you \$52.

This provides A and B for the win and for second and third. For the second spot you add Horse C and for third you have ABC plus 11 others in the field.

The combination is worked out with the multiple 2x2x12 equalling \$48.

If the field is not so tough you could use a 2x4x10 combination for the same stake. This provides for A and B to run first, second or third, you have C and D for second and third, and then you have another six runners going for third.

This is a good combination when you have a couple of decent value chances and you can’t split them for the win. Or you may have a favourite and a longshot, and you take the chance of putting them both in to win with the hope that the longer-priced runner wins.

Looking at the races with bigger fields (those Group 1s like the Doncaster, Epsom and so on) you could try the combination of 2x6x7 for \$50 (the multiple is worked out at 2x5x5).

We now move to those trifectas where you have three horses running for you for the win. A \$50 combination would provide you with, say, a linkup of 3x3x10, costing \$48.

This gives you ABC for first and second and for third you have those three plus another seven. You must get the “quinella” with your top three picks or you’re out of the game. (The multiple is worked out as 3x2x8.)

For \$45, you can have a 3x4x7 linkup. This gives you ABC for first, second and third , add D for second and third, and then another three horses for third.

Whenever you take a lot of horses for the win you restrict the number of runners you can put in extra for the placings because the cost mounts up quickly. If you were, say, going for a Melbourne Cup trifecta, and fancied three horses to win, another two to run second and third, and then put in another 15 for third , the linkup of 3x5x20 would set you back \$216.

You might feel it’s worth risking that much in a race like the Melbourne Cup because the divvies usually pay very well.

Once you get to the point of taking four horses for the win in a trifecta, your options become limited with a \$50 stake. You could take a 4x4x6 combination costing \$48, or perhaps a 4x5x5 for \$48 and that’s about it.

With only \$50 as your stake, you will not be able to go for five horses to win if you want the five to be spread across all placings. Linking five runners in a straight box bet costs \$60.

Now, let’s look at the first 4. It’s a bet that many punters LOVE because it offers the chance of a windfall return of many thousands of dollars if you can only find the longshots to fill the right spots.

A tough way to go about the first 4 is to have a banker to win and a banker to run second, and then have three horses to run third and fourth, plus another 14 for fourth. This is a combination 1x1x3x17 costing \$48. (The multiple is worked out as 1x1x3x16.)

This means you are supremely confident that you can pick first and second in order (an exacta as such). This can be a difficult assignment but if you can pull it off, this combination may well be the cuppa tea for you.

Let’s say, though, that while you are confident of a banker choice to win, you are a little less confident you can jag the second place with one selection. So you take B and C to run second, as well as third and fourth.

Then you add another horse to this pair to run third, as well as fourth, and finally you throw in another 11 runners for fourth.

This is a 1x2x3x14 combination and it will cost you \$48. (The multiple is worked out as 1x2x2x12.)

This looks like a pretty handy combination provided you are very confident of snagging the winner, and of getting the quinella with B or C.

Going wider on the third place slot will cut back the number of runners you can have in fourth place. For example, a 1x2x5x8 linkup will cost \$48 (worked out as 1x2x4x6).

Another \$48 combination worth looking at is a 1x3x3x10. It gives you A to win, BCD for second and third, and then those three plus another seven for fourth.

As we all realise, finding a sole banker win bet is a tricky task. You may like to go for two of them to head into the first 4, so how can you invest \$50 in a multiple?

Well, for \$48 you can have the following linkup: 2x2x3x9. This means you are putting your faith in A and B to win AND run second, you have CDE going for third and fourth, plus another six for fourth.

The drawback to this is that you must strike the quinella with A and B to see the first 4 remain live until third spot.

Another way of staking with the same A and B win and second banker situation is the 2x2x4x7 linkup, which will cost you \$48.

If you choose to have three horses running for first and second, plus third and fourth, and you fancy an extra horse for the third slot and another three to fill fourth, then you’ll be betting \$48 again on a 3x3x4x7 combination.

This provides for ABC to fill the first two placings, those three plus D for third and those four (ABCD) slotted in for fourth along with three others. Not a bad bet, this one, because you have a real chance of getting the first two home with your three selections (assuming you’re a good selector!).

These are just some ideas on how to attack the trifecta and first 4 with a limited amount of money. You can use the TAB option of “flexi betting” to cut down on your outlay. You can invest as much or as little as you like and you get a percentage of the dividend should you be successful.

If a bet calls for a \$50 outlay on the multiple and you bet only \$10 then you will get a 20 per cent cut of the final dividend. If it pays \$500 you will get \$100.