It's time to declare a revolution. Let's get this trifecta tiger by the tail and shake the life out of it. There's big money to be made if only we can get the ingredients right. What we need is a potent mixture of sensible selection and sensible staking.

Firstly, before we launch into the revolution, let me temper the excitement with a warning: Backing trifectas is a far more demanding business than that of tackling quinellas or exactas. The maths of trifectas are complex.

Not that we need to worry too much about the maths. All we need is the ability to be able to link selections into multiple combinations and then, hopefully, to be able to count up the cash coming our way from the TAB till!

There are many ways to approach trifecta betting. The one I do not recommend is the straight 'box'. This usually consists of the punter selecting 3 horses (or dogs) and betting them in a $6 box (assuming $1 units). Now, it's very tough to get the exact three placegetters in three picks. You will do it now and again but that's all.

And getting a really big dividend is extremely rare because the majority of bettors put in the favourite - and nothing is more likely to kill a trifecta divvie than a hotpot (excepting races like the Melbourne Cup, etc).

What you need to do is adopt a daring approach to the bet. My colleague The Optimist is forever pushing his pet ploy of an A-B, BA-field trifecta - and I don't blame him for that. It can be a most effective way of hitting the trifecta for a big collect.

Let me give you an example: the Eclipse Stakes at Sandown on November 23. In this race, the dominant runner was the 2/1 favourite Gold City. She looked a good thing to win or run 2nd. Then we had Hurricane Storm, another well-performed stayer from a top stable.

I actually fancied Hurricane Storm to knock off Cold City, but I realised that each could win without surprising me. The problem was to make a decent hit from the pair. That's where I decided on the A-B, B-A linkup.

That is, Cold City to win from Hurricane Storm with the field for 3rd, and then Hurricane Storm to win from Gold City with the field for 3rd.

The aim is that you get the first pair and then a whopping great outsider sneaks into 3rd and provides you with a killer return!

The trifecta cost me just $26. That's $13 for the A-B-field and $13 for B-A-field ticket (there were 15 runners). Gold City won and Hurricane Storm ran 2nd, while 3rd place went to 100/1 outsider Tristolier! Yep, that's what I wanted.

The dividend for a dollar on the Queensland TAB returned me $1346.20. How about that! It's a classic example of how you can actually pick a quinella and get back hundreds and hundreds of dollars for a modest outlay.

Had I just bet the $26 on the quinella, my return would have been only $200.20 (the quinella paid $7.70). Linking the field to run 3rd was the 'gamble' and in this case it paid off handsomely.

But looking beyond this approach, what else can we do with the trifecta to lift our prospects of landing a big catch?

Okay, let's say you have four horses selected and you are confident that Horse A will win.

For $24, you can play safe and link them all in a box. That way, all combinations are covered. Many punters will opt for this approach. But why not squeeze the $24?

What I mean is this: You really like Horse A. You think he can win the race. Why bother with placing him in for 2nd and 3rd? Take him as a banker to win, and link the other three for 2nd and 3rd.

And, here's the important point, take each combination FOUR times. You are still spending the $24 but, if your banker wins, and you get the placers, you will land the trifecta dividend FOUR times.

Imagine if it pays, say, $75. If you took the ordinary box you would get $75. But this way you pick up FOUR times $75 - three hundred lovely smackeroos!

The same goes for a banker to win from four other runners. Normally this would cost $60 for a box of five runners but with the banker you have 12 combinations only and you can bet each FIVE times for that $60.

Get a nice $100 dividend and you get back $500 for the $60 - as opposed to just $100 for a $60 box! There's a lot of difference, isn't there?

Sure, sometimes your banker won't get home and the box bet will but if your selections are on the spot you will end up on the right side of the ledger, I'm sure.

Mixing the amount of money you place on each combination is also a handy way to approach trifectas. Think about this very carefully. In any race you will invariably fancy one horse more than another, and so on.

To get the trifecta reckoning correct, why not put a 'rating' on each horse? An 'X rating is for the top fancy, then comes a 'B', and then a 'C' and so on. Once you have done this you can work out a staking approach.

A: 5 units
B: 4 units
C: 3 units
D: 2 units
E: 1 unit.

Any trifecta with A to win is bet for 5 units, a trifecta with B to win is bet for 4 units, and so on. But there's an extra 1 unit bet when A and B are picked to run 2nd and 3rd.

So if you had a trifecta with C to win from A and B, you would bet 3 units on it PLUS a unit for the A-B placings.  That's four units in all. The theory is that you expect them to win - so you are more than confident they can run the placings, should there be a boilover with C winning.

Finally, there's another old favourite of mine - the 3x3x7 linkup. If you are confident you can land the quinella with three selections, then this gives you the chance to score a trifecta as well.

You take ABC to win, ABC to run 2nd, and then ABCDEFG to run 3rd. That is, you add another four horses to the three to get 3rd place. If any of ABC run 1st and 2nd, you have one of them and four others to fill the 3rd slot.

This bet costs only $30 for $1 units. So, for half-units, you can cover an entire 8-race card for only $120 ' One good trifecta will probably cover the day. 

By Martin Dowling