I have been having quite a few lengthy discussions with The 'Barker' (George Bellfield) and he has been doing an in-depth analysis of dog barriers (or boxes, as they are called by followers of the dish-lickers).

I suggested that this may be a waste of time. You only have to look at the statistics of just about any greyhound track in Australia and you will discover, almost without exception, that box one releases more winners than any other trap (another greyhound term!).

The only time you would never want box one would be if your greyhound is a wide runner, in which case when he jumps, he heads right, towards the outside. Even if he goes straight, for the first hundred metres or so, he comes to the first bend and sort of forgets to turn.

Well, after George and I had been talking for a time, and nothing was really resolved, I said that I suspected that anyone with a decent bankroll could do worse than take box one in trifectas with the field and wait for the big results to fall into place.

This wasn't idle chatter on my part. I had been watching some almighty divvies occurring in previous weeks.

'Barker' was sceptical but I decided to try out this idea on paper (which is how you should try out all systems).

I noted that NSW had a plethora of dog meetings on the Wednesday night of April 23 and I asked myself how much of a bank I might need to try out this scheme.

I decided on $5,000 if I were to bet in $1 units. It meant that a meeting of ten races would cost $420, and a meeting of twelve races $504, assuming that eight dogs were to run in each event.

On the night I decided to investigate it on paper there were no less than six meetings and sixty-eight races!

I worked out that if I were to get no box ones up tonight, I could be down as much as $2856 at the end of the night. More than half the bank in one four-hour sequence!

That was a bit daunting, I must admit. It's a hell of a lot to spend in one evening!

BULLI $504 $103.20 -$400.80 1
MAITLAND $462 $1100.80 +$638.80 4
SANDOWN $492 $490.10 -$1.90 3
BALLARAT $420 $600.20 +$180.20 4
$504 $1356.20 +$852.20 6
IPSWICH $420 $184.20 -$235.80 1
TOTAL $2802                

Conversely, to get none of the sixty-eight box ones up would be a remarkable failure - something for Ripley.

It could happen but, statistically, the number-one box wins about twenty-three per cent (or more) of all races. None from sixty-eight is a possibility, but extremely remote.

In only one race was box one scratched. But look at the results, then I will have a comment or two to make.

As the table below shows, there were nineteen box-one winners, and every venue had winners.

However, three of the six venues showed a loss. One of those three was almost line-ball (Sandown) and box one ran two close seconds there.

At Bulli, box one ran four seconds, and at Ipswich it ran second no less than five times. One can reasonably expect those figures to suggest that the turn of box one will come (although when you are betting on a system - especially like a mechanical plan, as I am considering here, who can predict with confidence that anything is likely to definitely occur).

The outlay is significant (I am not going to shy away from that) but perhaps you could concentrate on one track and on fifty cent units. That would mean a bank of, say, $1260 for sixty races.

I believe that, with sustained and concentrated investment, taking box one with the field in the trifecta could be a successful long-term strategy.

You can see that this plan is very different from what I normally devise and it needs a big bank and some nerve.

If you haven't got both of those this may not be the way for you to go, but monitoring it may develop other ideas for you. The pay-offs can be anything.

As for Daily Doubles, one of six got up (at Warrnambool), and paid $43.80. For an outlay of $6 per meeting, that's encouraging as a backstop.

FOOTNOTE: The 'Barker' has bet me that I will go broke within the month by following this plan. Another PPM colleague, Russ Writer, who tipped greyhounds on radio and in the press over a period of more than thirty years, reckons I will finish up even worse than that. "You'll end up wearing patches on your ties," he warned me.

We shall see.

By The Optimist