One of the betting issues that arises many times when I speak with our clients at The Rating Bureau concerns trifectas and the most advantageous way of linking selections for these.

Firstly, you must make a basic decision - determine your desired outcome. Do you like just winning trifectas - or are you more interested in making money? The average trifecta dividend in Queensland over the past five years is more than \$970 and I assume it would be something similar in the other states, so the chance is there to really cash in if you can hit the mark often enough.

I personally approach trifectas very simplistically. My main aim is to collect every trifecta that is likely to pay above the average. I use a 50c unit, and very rarely will I outlay more than \$60 on an individual race to do this.

If you want to win every trifecta, you must calculate the likely dividends and then bet in such a way that you can at least finish in front if you collect.

I use a sort of 'shotgun.' approach.

Make sure that, no matter what direction you ultimately take, you get rewarded financially when you are correct! Keep a record of your bets and you'll soon see which path you are heading down ... black or red!

The likely trifecta dividend is affected by several factors. The two primary ones are the field size and the odds of the three placegetters. As strange as it may seem, the larger the pool, the more likely the dividend is to be "correct. In smaller pools, most bets are placed by the 'rank-and-file' punters investing less than \$10 each on average and they can cause dividends to be erratic.

You can pick up healthy dividends under these circumstances - when the public is wrong.

Now back to the main point of this article - trifecta combinations. Apologies to those who understand how to cost -a multi-bet but, oddly enough, more than 50 per cent of punters don't have a clue, so I will explain.

The following method assumes that the horses you are standing out for 1st are also included in the selections for 2nd and 3rd.

Simply multiply the number taken for 1st by one less than the number taken for 2nd by two less than the number taken for 3rd. Easy! A combination of two horses to win, four to run 2nd and six to run 3rd would be 2 x 3 x 4, equalling 24 combinations (\$12 using 50c units); two horses to win, three to run 2nd and five to run 3rd would be 2 x 2 x 3, equalling 12 combinations (\$6 for 50c units).

Once you have determined your overall strategy and have a plan, select the races that indicate there is a possibility to 'collect the goods'. In my case, I select the races that look like they can pay above the average of \$960.

I can win a big one from a seven horse field if the winner is 20 / 1 and the two favourites are out of a place. If this sounds too difficult, just stick to fields of 10 or more runners.

The most common thread in large dividends is the field size. Trifectas can pay above \$2000 even with the favourite winning in large fields. Remember that the average individual is usually only betting \$10 regardless of field size.

What do you think the most supported horses are? Yep, you guessed it ... the favourites.

Here is one suggestion for you to consider:

Determine how many horses can win 'this race' in your opinion. Take these on all three levels of the multi.

Then consider the horses that would not surprise you if they were to beat your selected group and combine them with your originals for 2nd as well. For 3rd, use the logic of reverse selection - go backwards by deleting all those that in your opinion cannot run a place.

You now have a logical multiple combination that fits with your thoughts on the likely outcome of the race. Pick your races. Select the ones that will be likely to give you what you want, at a cost you can afford.

By the way, I don't mind losing trifectas but I hate losing money - in fact, I have become allergic to losing. I will often back two or three runners straight out to win enough to collect the cost of the trifecta and a few bucks to boot.

Another combination I like to use frequently is 3 x 3 x field. This allows you to collect when you can pick the quinella in 3 selections. You can reduce the cost - but sometimes increase frustration - by leaving out the horses with "no chance…

By Dennis Walker

PRACTICAL PUNTING - APRIL 1997