Hello again. I'm starting to like this, especially as there were some lovely letters from (yes, you guessed it) lady readers this month. I have answered them, and hope the answers were useful. Answers are on the way to those who have written in the past two weeks.

This time I would like to offer you a trifecta idea that a friend of mine uses on course. It can be adapted for TAB use, although I cannot promise that the results will be as good.

She makes a nice profit, and we have time for a cuppa most afternoons. Oh, by the way, we don’t even go near the ring until the previous race is 15 minutes gone and things have settled down. Also, we have put on all our predetermined bets before the first race (like most others, we use phone accounts as well as the oncourse pre-selling facilities).

Her name is Lucette. She specialises on linking the first four favourites with each other and the next five in the betting, as follows:

Box 1234.
Standout 1234/123456789/123456789.
Cost $12 for Box.
Cost $112 for the Standout.
Total cost per race $124.

As you are well aware, this is a hefty outlay for one race. She may bet on three or four races in an afternoon.

By the way, I should have mentioned that she will only bet on a race with at least 12 starters. She does not bet on steeples but will back hurdle races when they qualify. If she cannot separate qualifiers, she walks away! Now there's a strong will.

It could be done off course with the morning market. Not as accurate and missing out on the plunges, but maybe that is what they call the roundabouts and the swings, as you would pick up some nice returns.

Now here is the rub. Lucette does sometimes win on the race and lose on the return. I have seen her collect $50 or $60, even when she gets the box up, for her outlay. She tries to sort out the wheat from the chaff, but she knows that she has to follow the plan right through, and when the horses finish in the public's chosen order she is likely to fall flat. Her worst ever dividend was $5 which she got twice late last year.

When that can happen you need a strong bank and a strong cup of tea!

I have the greatest of admiration for Sydney writer and punter Mr Don Scott, who frequently was at our Southern tracks to try his luck. He would be likely to call it something else . . . judgement, for example ... but to me there is always a big slice of luck involved in racing, and I like to get my share.

Mr Scott in his books, particularly the last one, advocates betting to beat a race rather than beating "racing". I cannot agree more, but I do wonder whether this philosophy can be re-adapted for the little-to-medium-sized punters.

I mean that it may not be practical for you to have $300 on one race when that is all you outlay for a week's racing. Of course if all you outlay is, let us say, $20 a meeting, then trifectas are simply not for you at all, as your chances of winning over a long period are rather remote. You might as well invest in Tatts lotto.

But if you have $300, and you are a trifecta bettor, you can bet on every race in three states (say N.S.W, Victoria and South Australia) and have some spare at the end. You wouldn't, but you could. Being more sensible, let us imagine that you wagered on four races in each state, and broke up your investments as follows: Oh, by the way, I am using the dollar investment as everyone can follow it and use it. Lucky people are able to use 50 cents!

Race One standout to win with three to come second and six to run third.
Cost $24.
Race Four standout two to win from four to run second from six to run third.
Cost $24.
Race Five standout two to win from three to run second from five to run third.
Cost $12.
Race Eight standout from five to run second from five to run third.
Cost $36.
Total Cost those four races $96.

Of course this is hypothetical, but possible. Let's say that you have more or less the same kind of bets on Melbourne and Adelaide. There is an outlay of around $300, spread amongst the most likely (in your opinion) 12 races in which you can get a trifecta up.

They may all go down, but the difference is that if you have done your homework and reduced the fields, then dismissed the impossible races, then there is a chance of a collect (or 12!!!).

However, one slice of bad luck (remember I was talking about luck back there?) and your whole bankroll is down the drain. If you can afford to bet on a grand wale, go ahead and invest your $300 on one race and see if you can tie it up. I do feel though, that when you bet blind as you do with the trifecta, you need to spread your luck around and hope that some of it will stick!

Now I am not going to claim to be in the same league as the master in trifecta betting, but I suspect that you will last longer on the racecourse restricting your betting to one, or two, kinds of investment, on limited races, but covering your exit. By that I mean the average punter cannot afford to have all her money resting on the luck of one race. It is, after all, only one woman's opinion. Do let me know what you think, join me next month?

By Rebecca Symons