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Quaddie Betting Strategies

The Quadrella, or "Quaddie"

The Quaddie as it is referred to by most punters, was first introduced as an exotic form of betting in 1972 and remains one of the most popular forms of racing investment. This bet type requires the investor to select the winners of four designated races, usually the last four races of a meeting, although in recent times a second quaddie has been introduced which is run on the early races preceding the main Quadrella. All four winners must be selected to collect the winning dividend.

On the last day of the 2007 Melbourne Spring Carnival when despised outsider Tears I Cry won the Group 1 Emirates Stakes, the quadrella paid a record dividend of $1.39 Million. So it is easy to see why people connect with the lure of this particular wagering platform.

In the early days the quadrella legs were restricted to only nine numbers and in fields of ten or more runners brackets were introduced which wasn't great if you selected a 20 to 1 winner in a leg and it happened to be bracketed with an odds on favourite. Thankfully that format was shelved and legs were eventually opened up to the full range of the field size adding literally thousands of more permutations to possible outcome scenarios.

The opening up of the legs certainly helped negate the stranglehold the bigger players had on this exotic that could easily bankroll the field in three legs and several runners in the other with the nine number restrictions, however, it did little to enhance the average Saturday punters chance of a collect. For punters to have a half reasonable chance of winning, by having good coverage in each leg, the combinations became too cost prohibitive. On quaddies with capacity fields in each leg up around the twenty mark and beyond by taking six runners in each leg this coverage would incur an outlay of $1296.00, a figure far beyond the average punters weekend wagering budget. The quaddie, in effect at this time, still remained the domain of the professional punter who gleefully feasted on the fat of the pools swelled with the poor dollar coverage of the rank and file fraternity.

In 2002 weekend punters received a tremendous break when the Pari-Mutuel system introduced the advent of Flexi-Betting giving the average punter access to a much broader coverage of combinations that was previously afforded only to the pros. Punters could wager whatever dollar value they wished and if successful would receive a percentage payout proportionate to their outlay. Doomsayers predicted this would kill off the value of the quaddie but history has shown this to be incorrect. Pool sizes increased significantly as more punters engaged with the flexi concept. Like any betting platform the Quaddie can be poor value at times, especially when favoured runners salute, but this wagering concept still retains good overall value. Why? Simply because although afforded greater coverage access most average punters still get their selection process wrong.

Over the years there have been numerous strategy proposals on how bettors should construct their quaddie wagering including, but not limited to, Roving Bankers, Standouts or Anchor selections, Boxing, Specific combinations, Proportional and other staking plans.

The quaddie betting strategies introduced here are Ken Blake's strategy on suppressing outlay costs while achieving higher dividends, and Roman Kozlovski's strategy on attacking quaddie percentages.

You can find these quaddie strategies in action on our race maps.

More about the quaddie strategies below.

Suppressing Outlay Costs While Achieving Higher Dividends

Before getting into the core of that strategy we need touch on some preliminary considerations prior to any bet placement. Firstly, we need to have an overview of the quaddie fields themselves. If generally they are small in size and more than one leg has a short or odds on favourite, who looks likely to salute, it is probably a good idea to pass. Remember the masses who wager on this platform have an overwhelming tendency to only select those at the top of the market and if the race in question looks to be taken out by fancied runners, then the value will simply not be there. The best quadrellas for healthy payouts are evenly graded fields with greater than twelve runners which lend themselves to a greater variety of permutations. Conversely very large fields may leave us exposed through lack of adequate coverage resultant on costing issues.

Secondly, when we are satisfied with our final combination of runners per each leg we need to consider the outlay costing as opposed to what the more likely results could pay. By going for maximum coverage in all the legs of say six runners where the average field size is only around ten is probably not a good idea as 6x6x6x6 combinations will cost $1296.00. This means the quaddie dividend must pay greater than $1296.00 to be in profit. You certainly have an excellent chance of collecting in this instance, but if all the fancied runners greet you might be looking at a dividend of only a couple of hundred dollars at best resulting in a hefty percentage loss on investment.

The strategy which I'm putting forward I consider a little gem and somewhat quirky as value can fluctuate wildly depending on final number combinations but used on the right meetings offers a number of great benefits. It is based on stand out or anchor selections in each leg.

Before I start extolling the virtues of this strategy there is a downside, if you wish to call it that, and that is you must nominate one standout selection in each leg and at least one of those standouts must win to collect. You have four chances to pick a winner over the four legs or you're out of the ball game. Some people just like to default on the race favourite as their anchor, whilst those more adept with analytical skills will roll with their own selections.

Let's look at a meeting which has good but not excessive numbers and is evenly graded in each leg and look at the box scenario which most people tend to adopt. For the benefit of the following illustrations we will deal in the 100% of the dividend scenario.

A punter opting for good coverage might opt for 6x5x5x6 for an outlay of $900 and providing they have the winner of each leg in either six number or five numbers they win and collect the quadrella dividend once. This bet is written on one ticket.

The standout bet must be written and presented as four separate bets and using the same 6x5x5x6 scenario let's see what happens. We'll assume for illustration purposes that our standout in each leg is the number 1 and the other selections go in Tab order 1 to 6.

  • Bet 1 is written as 1x5x5x6 = $150.
  • Bet 2 is 6x1x5x6 = $180.
  • Bet 3 is 6x5x1x6=$180.
  • Bet 4 is 6x5x5x1 = $150.
  • Total Outlay $660.00.

So we now have an outlay of $660 as opposed to $900: quite a significant saving.

If our anchor selection of number 1 wins in two legs we get the dividend twice, three times if three anchors salute and four times if all anchor selections win.

One would envisage most anchor selections would be a favoured runner so this strategy also offers a safeguard against percentage losses incurred by dividends less than the initial outlay costs by allowing the chance of multiple returns.

In summary we get a suppressed cost outlay for the same box type coverage and the capability to procure the winning dividend up to four times. I would certainly chance my arm with this strategy over time as opposed to the standard box type outlay.

I mentioned earlier that this strategy can have certain quirks contingent on certain types of coverage. Let's look at scenario where the bettor may be confident on a certain quaddie with less coverage and adopts a 4x3x3x4 scenario which equals an outlay of $144.00. Using the same standout premise as the previous example bets would be written as:

  1. 1x3x3x4 = $36.
  2. 4x1x3x4 = $48.
  3. 4x3x1x4 = $48.
  4. 4x3x3x1 = $36.

Total Outlay $168.00 or $24 more than the original box costing!!

Remember in all cases with this scenario you can still win the quadrella four times but there can be significant changes in costing as was just shown and, in some instances, no cost suppression at all. A 5x5x5x8 would cost a $1000 under the box format, however this time we do get cost suppression as the outlay is reduced to $725.00.

Punters just need to play around with a few combinations and make a decision on the end result. Personally the 5x5x6x6 is one of my favourites as you get both good coverage and this combination offers one of the better cost saving scenarios.

Be patient, pick your mark and this strategy can be a nice little earner for you!

The Percentage Quadrella Attack

Most punters study the form for the quadrella legs and list their chances in each leg. The first leg might be considered a tad easy and the selections are ABCDE, the second leg is considered much tougher so the selections are ABCDEFG, the third leg is in the middle range of difficulty culminating in selections ABCD while the last leg is an absolute raffle and the selector has chosen ABCDEFGHIJ, with only the really outclassed runners omitted. From there the punter usually just multiplies ABCDE x ABCDEFG X ABCD x ABCDEFGHIJ which becomes 5 x 7 x 4 x 10 equaling 1400 combinations.

However a major problem has arisen and you guessed it - it's the outlay. For the average bettor $1400 is way beyond their budget so Plan A bites the dust and Plan B, Flexi-Betting, comes into operation. Flexi-Betting allows the punter to bet a percentage of the full amount normally needed for all combinations. For instance, if all the combinations added up to $1400 the punter could have a bet of $70 (five percent) and if successful would receive five per cent of the full $1 dividend. This allows the smaller punters to take all their combinations, albeit for a smaller outlay and smaller return. When Flexi-Betting was introduced there were concerns the quadrella had reverted to a different version of the easier brackets system and punters would drop the quadrella. The exact opposite happened!

Although multiplying all selections across seems like the perfect way to bet the quadrella, and to some extent it is, there is the problem of taking too many combinations which include too many fancied runners. Naturally, more quadrellas will be struck if there are more favourites taken but if the overall odds in each leg are too high the value component becomes a huge long term problem. To help overcome this problem I have developed an approach that keeps track of the value factor by considering the percentages of individual horses and their cumulative final total.

To illustrate this approach I will construct the odds for a number of runners for a mythical quadrella using the same number of chances I mentioned earlier. They are:

  • Leg 1: A = $4.00, B = $4.50, C = $6.00, D = $7.00, E = $10.00.
  • Leg 2: A = $5.50, B = $6.50, C = $7.50, D = $9.00, E = $10.00, F = $14.00, G = $15.00.
  • Leg 3: A = $4.50, B = $5.00, C = $6.00, D = $6.50.
  • Leg 4: A = $5.50, B = $6.50, C = $7.50, D = $9.00, E = $10.00, F = $14.00, G = $16.00, H = $21.00, I = $26.00, J = $34.00.

What I am going to suggest is that the bettor takes the number of runners per leg that equals around 65-75% of the betting market and not to go wider or lower, if possible. From here there's some mathematics to be dealt with but don't panic as it's not anything only Einstein could handle!

To calculate the percentage of each runner simply divide the odds into 100 and for simplicity round up or round down. If you do this for Leg 1 you have $4.00 (25%), $4.50 (22%), $6.00 (17%), $7.00 (14%) $10.00 (10%) totaling 88% approximately. For Leg 2 it's 81%, Leg 3 = 74% and Leg 4 = 92%.

As I am suggesting you keep the cumulative percentages within the 65-75% range for each leg starting with the A selections you will now have this layout of contenders and their cumulative percentages.

  • Leg 1: A = $4.00, B = $4.50, C = $6.00 equals 64% (DE are omitted).
  • Leg 2: A = $5.50, B = $6.50, C = $7.50, D = $9.00, E = $10.00 equals 67% (FG are omitted).
  • Leg 3: A = $4.50, B = $5.00, C = $6.00, D = $6.50 equals 74% (no change).
  • Leg 4: A = $5.50, B = $6.50, C = $7.50, D = $9.00, E = $10.00 equals 67% (FGHIJ are omitted).

You will note the percentage for Leg 1 is 64%, or 1% lower than the recommended minimum. I would accept this but I would not knock keeping the D selection if the bettor wanted that extra runner. The hardest part of the quadrella is to determine how wide to go. Some punters would be nervous with only three runners in the first leg. If you are one of them add the D selection.

This now reduces the combinations to 3 x 5 x 4 x 5 = 300 combinations which is quite a drop from the original 1400 combinations. By reducing the combinations the bettor is now able to outlay $30 and receive 10% of the full dividend whereas previously it would have been $140. That's the balance between risk versus outlay versus number of returns. This is why I suggest the percentage range should be around the range of 65-75% as the coverage isn't too low nor too high.

So what are the odds for collecting the quadrella? Again some simple mathematics shows by dividing the percentage figure for the race into 100 we arrive at the dividend for the race. For instance, dividing 64 into 100 equals $1.56. Subsequently Leg 2 = $1.49, Leg 3 = $1.35 and Leg 4 = $1.52.

All that is needed is to multiply all the dividends together ($1.56 x $1.49 x $1.35 x $1.52) which equals $4.76 (that's 21% calculated by dividing $4.76 into 100). Based on the percentages for 300 combinations as listed above the bettor should score the quadrella 21 times per 100 attempts or 2.1 times per ten. That's keeping the quadrella bettor in the ball park with between ten and eleven collects per calendar year, assuming one quadrella attempt per week.

You will note the percentage figures for the four legs are 64, 67, 74 and 66. There is nothing stopping the bettor adding an extra horse in Leg 1 (the D selection already mentioned) and Legs 2 and 4 at around $14 (7%) or higher to boost the percentage figure closer to the recommended maximum of 75%. This would have the combinations at 4 x 6 x 5 x 6 equaling 720 combinations. Yes, it's increased the combinations but on the other side of the coin it has increased your coverage. By keeping just the ABC selections in the first leg the combinations would be 3 x 6 x 5 x 6 or 540 combinations. There are several ways to go with this approach but whatever you do keep a beady eye on the percentage figures. They are the key to this approach.

Each week we will post a set of 'value' combinations that you find in the race maps by early Friday afternoon. Some well fancied horses will be risked simply because I believe the risks attached to the published price is not worth taking. It must be remembered the quadrella is a tough betting proposition and long term the amounts of the collects must be significant and not puny. The wise quadrella punter always keeps value in mind and not just collects. I could take the first five favourites every week, multiply then across as 5 x 5 x 5 x 5 = 625 combinations and it is certain I will lose as the payouts long term will not match the $625 needed per week. There must be value buried within the chances.

At times, scratchings will be a problem but by now you know what to do. Yes, add a selection of your own and work out it's percentage. If you struggle with the mathematics involved seek the help of someone who can help you. Believe me - you can do it! Depending on the price of a scratched horse, or horses, you might need to recalculate the percentages to ensure you are in the 65-75% range.

Good quaddie punting!