Hands up those punters who haven't, in the past 12 months, tried to land a trifecta. No hands raised, I bet. And why not? The trifecta is probably the most appealing form of betting for small-cash punters, because it offers the tantalising prospect of big returns for a small outlay.

My aim in this article is to persuade all you trifecta punters to get your house in order, to bet properly, and to bet to a steady staking plan. No more rapid-fire, hit-and-miss attacks on the trifecta but a straightforward, no-nonsense approach in which you know exactly what your outlay is going to be each week, and how much you have to win in a year to make, say, 10 per cent or even 20 per cent profit.

Put simply: You need to bet sensibly and carefully on the trifecta, otherwise it is going to cut you off at the kneecaps every week, with a stream of near-misses and shots that sailed wide of the mark.

I am assuming for the purposes of this article that you will fall into one of two categories of punters:

(a) The Low Budget Type. You want to hit big, but you haven't got the money to go for an all-out war on the trifecta pool. Instead, you have no more than $50 per week to spend, and you want to make a comfortable 10 per cent a year on your turnover. (Outlay over 50 weeks will be $2500, profit of 10 per cent would give you an extra $250 in your hand after 12 months).

(b) The Big Budget Type. You've got spare cash every week and you fancy your chances of collecting some good trifecta divvies with your selections. You are prepared to outlay $100 a week to achieve a 10 per cent profit, or more if you can do so.

Taking these two financial approaches in mind, I have come up with some recommendations for possible trifecta battle throughout the year. For some of you, the LACK OF ACTION may be too much to stomach. I know, after years of mixing with punters, that they like plenty of betting action, and patience is not a virtue among them.

However, I must stress here and now that willy-nilly betting is not going to achieve anything for you. There has to be some discipline, or you'll wind up the year losing money.

The $50 a week trifecta punter faces an almighty task to make a profit. But he can do it-by showing restraint, and some courage, each week. My suggestion for the Type A punters is to have one bet per week. Yes, just one bet. Not two, or ,perhaps three, but ONE.

I am recommending a multiple trifecta approach which can cost between $48 and $50, depending on which multiple you decide to use. (I am using 50c units for the purposes of this article.)

The first multiple trifecta to be considered is a 2 x 7 x 10, which costs $48. (Your remaining $2 can be used to boost your 'best' trifecta combination.) Now, with a multiple like this you have two horses racing to WIN, you have seven horses racing to fill the 2nd placing, and 10 horses racing to grab the 3rd slot for you.

Naturally, you include the two 'win horses to run 2nd and 3rd as well, and you include the other five '2nd' horses to also run 3rd. So what you are doing is this: Nominating two horses to run lst, 2nd or 3rd; nominating a further five horses to run 2nd or 3rd, and nominating a further three horses to run 3rd.

The second multiple you should consider is a linkup of 3 x 5 x 10, again, costing $48. The third multiple worth thinking about is a 4 x 6 x 7 costing $50. You can determine which multiple to take by carefully analysing your selections. If you feel confident you can snare the winner with your first two picks then take the first multiple I have suggested. If you're less confident, then the other two, which gives you a higher chance of getting l st placing, will fill the bill.

In choosing the race on which you will operate, my advice is that you go for value. Look for a good class race in which there are 14 or more runners. Usually, the main handicaps in Sydney or Melbourne provide you with potential betting fare. Big Cup races are always worth looking at, and so are major sprint races.

Always remember that with big raceslike the Epsom, Doncaster, Villiers, Newmarket, Caulfield and Melbourne Cups, etc.-there is a vast trifecta pool, and your prospects of snaring a big divvy are very good.

Over a year, operating at 52 meetings, your outlay will be $2600. You are, then, faced with the prospect of collecting enough divvies to cover this, as well as extra to give you a profit. So what is your strike rate likely to be for those 52 trifecta bets? It depends, of course, on how smart you are with your selections.

If you can get 10 of them up-that's one trifecta every 5.2 meetings-and collect $270 each time, on average, you'll be ahead. If you happen to strike a real big collect, running into a couple of thousand or more, then you will give yourself a mighty boost of coming out way on top for the year.

My point with this exercise is that at least you have got a fighting chance to come out ahead on the year-by having one very interesting bet per week and spending only $50. How would you spend that $50 otherwise? A bet of $5 here for a win, a $5 double there, a quinella or two, and a haphazard trifecta for a few dollars-and getting nowhere!

Now to the Type B punter, the $100 staker. You adopt a more aggressive approach, at least with your financial outlay. But although you are spending more, you have a greater chance of coming out on top. Once again, I am recommending a one bet per week multiple trifecta approach-a whopping 5 x 6 x 10 linkup which costs exactly $100 (using 50c units).

Your chances of getting regular hits are strong with this approach. Firstly, you have FIVE runners attempting to snatch first place for you. Most punters can pick the winner of a race with five selections.

Then you have another one thrown in to join this group of five for second place (albeit that you really have five horses running for 2nd, because if you have got the winner then that horse is not running for you for 2nd, is it?). Finally, having we hope-got the second placegetter okay, you now have the remaining four horses from the lst and 2nd groupings running for you for 3rd, as well as another four horses!

You really do have a firm grip on proceedings, using your $100 to great advantage by zeroing in on the best chances in a race. As for the race you choose, the advice I gave to Type A punters remains the same for the Type B's. Look for value in big fields, and good class races.

Now, what, I can hear you murmuring, if you don't like the multiple trifecta approach? What else can you do with $50 or $100 a week?

The $50 punter could look at a 'banker' special each week. Choose your race on which to bet, pick a banker to win the race, and then couple it with, say, seven others to run 2nd and 3rd for $42 (using $1 units) or $21 (using 50 cent units). The $100 punter could go much further.

He could link his banker with 10 other runners for $90 (using $1 units). Both types of punter could think about a double-banker approach. Let's say you were confident of getting lst/2nd in one go; you could then take all the other runners in the race for amounts varying from $2 for two other runners, to $22 for 22 other runners.

You have to be really supremely confident for this type of bet. A recent example, maybe, was a race like the VRC Oaks, in which Research and Riverina Lady definitely held a mortgage on the first two placings.

I am advocating the above approaches as I feel they give you more of a 'real' chance than sticking to the usual 'box' approach. The 'box' is fine in that it couples up all the horses you have chosen. But it is dreadfully expensive.

To link five horses costs $60, and to add a sixth costs $120. Frankly, you can often miss the placegetters choosing six horses, and choosing five seems to pose a particularly tough task, especially to grab big divvies. The linking of four horses for $24 poses a terrifying challenge to get the first three, and a three-horse box presents you with a virtually hopeless task for your $6.

I sincerely believe the multiple trifecta approach is best. You have a good chance .of getting the winner and the 2nd, and then you come in with a heap of prospects to get that 3rd spot.

Finally, making your selections: A vital factor in the entire business! Study form carefully, take the advice of experts (subscribe to a P.P.M. or Weekend Punter service) and don't be afraid to show courage by choosing horses you have worked out as great winning chances even if they are 20-1 or more in the betting.

You'll need these longshots to come in for you if you are to strike the real big trifecta payouts. It is worth bearing in mind the likely payouts you can receive in the coupling of various horses at different prices.

For instance, a horse winning at evens coupled with a 5-1 chance and a 25-1 chance in 2nd and 3rd places will pay around $52. With the 25-1 chance finishing 2nd the divvy will be around $72.

In Roger Dedman's book, Commonsense Punting, you will find many details about trifecta divvies. I recommend this publication (available from Mittys).

By Unknown