PPM's expert Richard Hartley Jnr looks at quinella betting and reveals an ingenious staking plan that will help you come out in front on your Q-bets.

There are some important things to remember when betting on quinellas, and the first is that it's harder than it looks to strike regularly with profit-producing quinellas.

Notice the emphasis I put on the 'profit-producing' aspect of the quinellas. What this means is that you will strike plenty of quinellas, using multiple bets, but not all of them will allow you to make a profit, because the dividends will be too small and will not cover your outlay.

Most punters tend to stick with the favourites in races when they take their quinella bets. But you have to keep in mind that an even money favourite and a horse at 2-1 running Ist/2nd may pay only even money for the quinella. If you cop a dividend above that, consider yourself lucky.

As in other forms of betting, you must strive to attain value in quinella betting. Always look for the horses who are overlays - meaning their true odds are greater than being offered on the tote or the bookmaker.

There are many ideas around about how to calculate quinella dividends. Here's the one that I use, and which is a widely-accepted technique, and is a nice rule of thumb as to what constitutes value. Let's assume you have two horses at 4-1 and 5-1. Using this quick 'n' easy method, you ADD ONE to the 4-1 horse, and then multiply the two figures (that would be 5 x 5 equalling 25).

You are, then, anticipating a return of 25-1 (\$12.50 for 50 cents units) for a quinella on two horses at 4-1 and 5-1. Easy, isn't it? Another example: One horse at 8-1 and the second horse at 10-1-9 x 10 equals 90. That's potential odds of 90-1 (\$45 for 50 cent units) for the quinella.

Don't take these figures as 'absolute' because they're not. But they are a generally pretty reliable guide for anyone who wants to try to assess what a quinella is likely to pay. I do stress, as well, that it's a simple method of operation. There are more complex mathematical formulae around. Whatever method you use, you can take it for granted that the actual dividend will never exactly equal what you have worked out.

Now, we get onto the most important aspect of this article, and that's the method I am recommending for quinella punters. It's not a method to select horses-you'll have to use other P.P.M. articles to help you in that respect-but one for betting on them.

I have to thank our old friend, The Optimist, for this most interesting approach. He says he believes it's ideal for those punters who like to play quinellas on a fulltime basis, and who are confident they can strike at least one solid quinella in 25 attempts.

The staking plan for this form of betting goes as follows:

1-1-1-1-2-2-2-3-3-3-4-4-5-5-67.

Using 50 cent units, this is a total of 50 units, or \$25. If you happened to strike with an early \$25 collect, you go right on with the series, because you can't lose! As the plan develops, you need only a collect of \$12.55, then \$8.40. then \$6.30, then \$5.05, then \$4.20 and finally \$3.60 to make a profit for the series. Hit a good return at the end of the series, at around Bet No. 16, and you'd be rolling in clover.

Let's look at an example of how things might go:

L (1), L (1), L (1), L (1), L(2), L (2), L (2), L (3) WIN \$4 div., L (3), L (4), L (4), WIN \$6 div., L (5), WIN \$8 div., L (7).

Your total stake is \$25. You have struck three quinellas, each paying (for 50c) \$4, \$6 and \$8 (odds of 7-1, 11-1, and 15-1). You have three units on the \$4 quinella, five units on the \$6 quinella and six units on the \$8 quinella.

Your total returns, then, are \$132.84. You have made a handsome profit.

Had you struck only the first two quinellas you would have had total returns of \$42, so you would still have made a profit of \$17 on your total outlay. One quinella only, say the first one, and you would have lost \$13. One quinella only, say the second one, and you would have won \$5. One quinella, say the last one, and you would have won \$23.

This is what I like to call careful progressive staking. You are tackling things cautiously, without risking enormous amounts of capital. To cover that total \$25 outlay all you need is one quinella at 50-1 (\$25 for 50 cents).

The beauty of it is that you are never risking too much money. You have a total of 16 bets in the progression, and yet even if all were wiped out you would be only \$25 astray. You could then go into a second progression, and a \$25 collect on your first bet would put you square. Let's assume the worst, and say that you lost all 16 bets in the first progression.

You then start again.You go another six losers, meaning you have lost another \$10 (four bets at \$1 and two at \$2). You finally score a winning quinella and it pays \$10 for 50 cents. You have two units on it so you get a return of \$20. That one quinella return has now put you only \$17 behind.

Should you strike a \$7 quinella at your next try you would be in front again, because you'd have it three times, for a return of \$21. Hopefully, you will not go 22 quinella bets without striking a winner; if you do then I seriously suggest you have a frank look at your selection methods! It would e ovious there was a dangerous 'fault line' in your thinking, and one that would need urgent attention.

Incidentally, you would stand a great chance of making this particular progression plan work profitably at greyhound racing. With this in mind, I commend to you an article by George 'Barker' Bellfield in the 1989 P.P.M.

Annual, which tells you how to 'rate' and 'price' greyhounds. It is ideal for sorting out the best three dogs in a race for quinella punters.

By Richard Hartley Jnr

PRACTICAL PUNTING - FEBRUARY 1989