I've never been much interested in greyhound racing and my lifetime wagers on the dogs would probably not exceed $50. And even then my bets were usually on a workmate's hot tip!

In recent months, though, I've studied the results of thousands of greyhound races and now I am seriously wondering whether trifecta betting on the dogs is a pot of gold just waiting to be mined.

I'm not suggesting you'll 'get rich quick' but it does appear that greyhound trifecta investments are a much neglected form of betting ... but well worth a closer look.

Many times over the years I've heard it suggested that the only runners worth bothering about were those starting from Boxes 1 or 8. "Forget the rest, they cop too much interference" and "the favourites win so often there's absolutely no value in betting on the dogs" are just two of the comments I've heard repeatedly.

I think they are wrong on both counts. Yes, pre-post favs do win a lot of races. On my reckoning it's around 34 per cent, week in, week out. The way the winning percentages hardly vary is uncanny. Out of, say, every 100 races, 34 pre-post favs will win, 20 to 21 second-favs will win and 13 third-favs will win.

The outsider of the field wins around 3.5 per cent of every 100 races.

Long-term, box the first three or four favs (as many punters do) and you'll become a long-term loser! Take the fav to win, the second-fav to run 2nd and the third-fav to run 3rd and, again, you won't win, long-term.

However, here's the good news: take the pre-post fav to win, the second- and third-favs to run 2nd, with the fourth- to seventh-favs to finish 3rd ($4 per race on 50c units) and you can find yourself with a decent chance of being a winner.

My studies suggest that, long term, this is a winning strategy.

We know that the pre-post second-fav wins one race in every five. I've discovered that will nearly always deliver an excellent trifecta payout if the second-fav wins and the favourite is unplaced.

The second-fav to win, with the fourth- to seventh-favs for both 2nd and 3rd ($6 per race) is a combination which has been winning on a regular long-term basis on the races I have analysed.

Add the favourite to run 3rd (for an extra $2 per race) and you increase both your strike rate and profit. For the third-fav, consider taking it with the first-to-fourth-favs to finish 2nd and with the fourth- to seventh-favs to run 3rd, an outlay of $5.50 per race.

There are winning combinations right through to the outsider of the field (for example, the sixth-fav to win with the first- and second-favs for 2nd and the third-to-seventh-favs for 3rd is showing a handsome profit to date) for the races I've studied.

You must remember, though, that winning combinations become few and far between as the price of a runner lengthens, so the divs, when they come, need to be substantial.

I suggest that, initially, you restrict yourself to metropolitan greyhound venues. You can then be reasonably sure the pre-post market is accurate and the trifecta pools worthwhile.

Invest only on those races where there's a full field of 8 runners after scratchings. When prices of dogs are the same, place them in order of preference using TAB order.

For example, if the dogs in Boxes 2, 4 and 7 were equal favs at, say, 3/1, then the Box 2 dog would be considered the favourite, the Box 4 dog the second-fav and the Box 7 dog the third-fav.

Like any system idea, check it all out on paper first. Don't rush out and invest your hard-earned cash without the testing for at least a few weeks, or a few hundred races.

After my checking of several thousand races, my records show dozens of trifecta combinations with healthy profits. Naturally, I'll feel more comfortable when I've tested another few thousand races. This will help me determine the extent of losing runs of the various combinations.

*George 'Barker' Bellfield comments: Barry has come up with neat ideas here and they'll especially appeal to those punters who can't stand the sight of a formguide! In trifecta betting much depends on the occasional large windfall dividend.

Barry's idea of taking advantage of the longer-priced runners is a good one. I know quite a few bettors in Sydney who play combinations of the favourites in trifectas, and they make a nice living at it.

They operate, though, as many horserace professionals do, on betting dogs they regard as overlays in trifectas. They will often bet against the ruling favourite if they consider it to be overrated.

By Barry Meyer