One of the most frustrating bet types is the First Four. Since last Spring I have been zigging and zagging with this bet form and I am still coming to grips with the best way of tackling it. There are three main areas of difficulty with the obvious problem of having to correctly identify four "spots" in the race as the main hurdle. The second perplexing issue is one of outlay versus return and the third involves how many runners are used in your combinations.So far, I have narrowed my

One of the most frustrating bet types is the First Four. Since last Spring I have been zigging and zagging with this bet form and I am still coming to grips with the best way of tackling it. There are three main areas of difficulty with the obvious problem of having to correctly identify four "spots" in the race as the main hurdle. The second perplexing issue is one of outlay versus return and the third involves how many runners are used in your combinations.

So far, I have narrowed my choice of attack to two with both tied into how many runners there are. The first attack requires me to have a pecking order for 50% of the field, that is, in a field of 12 runners I have to make selections ABCDEF. I have tossed and turned and bet on all sorts of percentages for each of the positions (First, Second, Third, Fourth) but have decided for Position A I will take 25% of the field, for Position B 33%, for Position C 40% and Position D 50%. The combinations for a field of 12 will be ABC x ABCD x ABCDE x ABCDEF which becomes 3 x 3 x 3 x 3 or \$81 for the \$1 unit. To work out the combinations just subtract the number of positions that precede the one you are working on. For instance in the fourth position above there are six runners. Just subtract three from that number to covers Positions A B and C. Your TAB site should have a bet calculator (see top row) which will help you immensely if you wish to experiment further.

If you decide to go a fraction wider, like I have at times, do not go past the 33, 40,50, 60 percentages which has the combinations at ABCD x ABCDE x ABCDEF x ABCDEFG or 4 x 4 x 4 x 4 (\$256). As you can see the combinations multiply threefold and all you have done is add an extra runner into each position. The next step is to decide how much to invest. Firstly, though what would the combinations be in a Melbourne Cup field of 24, a Caulfield Cup of 18 and fields of 16 and 14?

I shall return with more on this bet type by Monday when I will discuss what I did this weekend using this approach.

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