Coming from Victoria, I originally found it hard to understand what all the fuss was about when the Quadrella (Quaddie) was introduced by TAB Ltd into New South Wales.

Surfing some of the racing discussion forums, it became apparent that punters in New South Wales have only now realised what their fellow punters in Victoria have known for years – Quadrella betting offers one of the best value bets available.

Leaving aside the value that may be available by betting with the betting exchanges, where else is it possible to back four winners and only have a takeout that averages 5 per cent per winner?

The TAB Ltd takeout of 20 per cent from the Quaddie pool is the same as from the Tabcorp pools but, as stated, if you can find the four winners then the average takeout of 5 per cent per winner is a lot less than from the win pools or if the same four winners were backed in an all-up bet, which in effect transfers the return from one win pool to the next.

Recently I was contacted by someone in New South Wales who wanted some guidance as to the best ways to go about wagering on the Quaddie.

The simplest way of wagering on the Quaddie is by taking just one selection in each of the four legs (1x1x1x1) at the minimum cost of 50 cents. 

However, the chances of snagging four winners in such circumstances are long odds, i.e. assuming 10 runners per race then the total number of possible winning combinations is 10x10x10x10 equalling 10,000 to one.

Nice if you can get it but unlikely in most circumstances.

A 2x2x2x2 combination totals 16, costing $8 for a 50 cent unit. (Note: Dividends are displayed for $1 units, so a successful 50 cent unit bet would entitle the winning punter to half of the displayed dividend.)

I know of a number of “high-rollers” who invest large amounts, and I really do mean invest, into the Quaddie pools, doing so for many years, as they see it as providing them with a regular income stream over a long period of time.

The reason for this is because many other punters treat the Quaddie like they do a “ticket in Tatts” or playing Lotto – in other words the pools are literally swelled by “mug” money with many combinations being based on birthdays, phone numbers and the like without even knowing the names of the horses they are betting on.

Others taking Mystery bets add further uneducated money into the Quaddie pools, in the same manner that the Trifecta pools are swelled in this manner. 

It is estimated that as much as 40 per cent of the Quaddie, First Four and Trifecta pools come from so-called “investments” of this nature.

These situations are the ones the high-rollers love to participate in as it creates value where it wouldn’t otherwise exist in, say, the win pools. But these opportunities exist for anyone, high-rollers or not, if they go about the process in a systematic manner, as Quaddie betting gives everyone the chance to participate in some big dividends, more so if the Flexi bet option is used when betting with TAB Ltd.

Other than for the “Lotto” type of investment, many other small-bet punters tend to include the favourites in their combinations, which means invariably if  a winning combination is struck, the dividends are lower than anticipated.

In fact quite often if the winning combination consists of the four favourites or second favourites, then the dividend is less than what an all-up bet would have paid.

As an example, on Sunday 20 June at Hobart, the four winners of the Quaddie legs paid $4.40 (second favourite); $3.40 (equal favourite); $5.20 (second favourite); and $2.70 (favourite), with the Quaddie paying $175.40 while an all-up bet would have paid $208.90.

In fact, past history discloses that backing favourites, second favourites or others runners that dominate in the betting market often return poor value dividends, that is they return less than either the all-up dividends (in most cases) and certainly less than the theoretical dividend (in nearly all cases). For the purpose of this article, the theoretical dividend is one based on the same four horses being backed at bookmakers’ starting prices on an all-up basis.

In the Hobart example above, the theoretical dividend was $216 based on the official SPs of 3/1; 3/1; 7/2; and 2/1.

Like in all other types of betting, obtaining value is an essential criterion to long-term success. For sure, some punters will snag a winning Mystery bet every now and then, which will probably keep them happy enough to continue re-investing into Quaddie pools for the foreseeable future, but for those who want to measure their successes differently, then a systematic approach that takes into consideration “value” is a “given”.

Firstly, the punter needs to determine just how much he/she is prepared to outlay on the Quaddie.  If, for instance, it is only $10 or $20 per combination, then there are not too many options, other than for perhaps taking a Flexi bet.

If, on the other hand, the punter can afford, say, $40 or $50 then this opens additional options, once again more so if Flexi betting is used.

Some basic combinations are:


None of these basic combinations are a recommended strategy as they either narrow the chances too much or are simply too costly, even if taking the Flexi bet option.

There are better and more efficient strategies, ones in which the permutation method is adopted.

Assuming that the punter has done their formwork and has a fair idea of which are the better chances in each of the four legs, let’s consider the following permutations: 


With these combined permutations four horses in each leg have been taken in such a way that the cost has been reduced by 50 per cent from $256 to $128 if betting in dollar units or from $128 to $64 if betting in 50 cent units.
Using the Flexi bet option for a total outlay of $30 ($7.50 per permutation), there would be a return of 23.43 per cent (30 divided by 128) of the declared dividend on any winning combination.

However, the downside is that in at least three of the combinations the winner must be found in either of the top-two selections. The upside is that it is possible for a maximum of four winning dividends to be obtained if for instance each of the winners is in the top-two selections. 

For punters who believe they are capable of consistently selecting one winner in four, then the following permutations should ensure that they are a regular in the Quaddie payout queue:


In this case the combined permutations are less and at least two of the top-rated selections must win; as well, unlike the first set of permutations, a winning dividend can only be achieved once. Using the Flexi bet option, wagering a total of $30 on the six permutations would return 44.77 per cent (30 divided by 67) of the displayed dividend for a successful combination.

Finally, a combined permutation that costs a good deal more but gives an excellent coverage of multiple selections:


This combination of permutations covers five selections in each race with just one top-rated selection required to win in any one of the legs. 

A $30 Flexi bet investment on the four permutations would return only 8.13 per cent of the displayed dividend and therefore it is recommended that for permutations of this nature a minimum $50 outlay would be required.

It is worthwhile noting that all of these combinations can be modified in many ways. For instance, in some races the number of selections could be reduced to three, while in others they could extend out to six, seven or even eight.

In discussing selection processes with other form students, the consensus of opinion is that a proficient analyst should be able to achieve at least a strike rate in excess of 40 per cent for their top-two selections. 

With this in mind, when considering standouts and whatever Quaddie combinations are decided on, it is recommended no more than one or two standouts (roving bankers) are used; otherwise the costs will escalate to too high a level.

By EJ Minnis