Play with the exotics combinations and make money! Sounds like an advertisement from the TAB, right? It could well be.

Knowing how the multiple combinations work, and taking advantage of them, is essential if you’re to have a chance of beating the betting game.

The editorial team at PPM gave me the task of bringing the charts together.

In this article, we feature trifectas, because they tie in very nicely with the continuing series by Denton Jardine and The Optimist.

Let’s get straight to the basics. The trifecta is the form of betting in which you select in order the first, second and third placed horses.

In boxing the trifecta, the bettor may bet a minimum of three horses on a single ticket, giving every possible combination of the chosen horses to finish first, second, third in the correct order.

If you like one horse and want to play it with all other combinations of the rest of the field, so that any other two can run second and third, that’s called wheeling (mainly in the USA) and using a standout banker (in Australia).

This is a simple variation of wheeling. In a KEY wheel, you select one horse to win, and then your choice of “x” number of horses in the second and third positions. An example is in order. Let’s say you like the number three horse really well to win, and you think the six, seven, and eight horses are the only other horses in the race who have any shot at all of getting into the frame.

Your ticket would cover these combinations: 3-6-7, 3-7-6; 3-6-8, 3-8-6; and 3-7-8, 3-8-7.

Let’s get back now to the simple trifecta boxes and some words of warning. You can see from the chart that the more horses you box causes the number of combinations to rise sharply, and therefore the cost as well!

Putting eight runners in a box might seem a safe approach but the cost for $1 units is $336, so you’ll need to strike a trifecta paying that much just to break even.

So, obviously, you need to think very carefully before embarking on these BIG box bets. (Nine runners costs $504, 10 runners $720 and 11 runners $990….)

Bankering one horse to win with a number of other runners is considered not a bad way to go, though it’s usually worth doing only when your banker is at good odds.

It can often happen with a very short-priced winner that the resulting trifecta divvie pays less than had you put the money on for a win!

If we take, say, a field of 12 runners you are going to be up for $110 to take the field (the other 11 runners) with your banker. It is worked out as follows 1x11x10.

This can be a good approach in major races. The pools are big and if you can get a couple of roughies home then the divvie often will pay big.

I must admit I’ve always liked the standout banker bet for the trifectas. In any race on which you bet, you should always be VERY CONFIDENT that you can isolate the winner.

I know it doesn’t always happen but if you are going to attack the trifectas on a serious basis you will need to work hard on this aspect of your selection process.

I adopt a somewhat conservative approach when finding the horses to fill second and third.

My usual bets have at least three or four horses to run second and a few more to run third, including those slotted in for second.

An example or two to show how much this will cost:

  1. BANKER to win, three horses to run second, nine horses (including the horses chosen for second) for third, cost $24.
  2. BANKER to win, three horses to run second, 12 horses (including the horses chosen for second) for third, cost $33.
  3. BANKER to win, four horses to run second, nine horses (including those chosen for second) for third, cost $32.
  4. BANKER to win, five horses to run second, seven horses (including those chosen for second) for third, cost $30.

You can see from these examples that it doesn’t cost a great deal of money to use quite a lot of runners for second and third with your banker for the win.

Look at Example #4: You have FIVE horses going for you for second, and you have those five plus another TWO runners, to fill the third place.

The cost is worked out as follows: 1x5x6 equalling 30 combinations at $1 each, total $30.

Now, for $30 that’s a pretty good combination.

If your banker wins, you should more often than not strike the trifecta.

The range of runners for second and third, from five to seven runners, gives you a strong chance of nailing the placegetters.

By Jon Hudson