How to bet the quadrella in horse racing

February 22, 2019 | By More

The quadrella, known to Aussies as the quaddie, is one of a punter’s favourite betting options. To bet the quadrella is also one of a punter’s greatest challenges but there are potentially great financial rewards to be gained.

In quadrella betting, or quaddie for short, you need to pick the winner of 4 nominated races. You can select any number of possible winners in each race. Multiplying the number of selections in each leg gives you the cost of the bet. For example, if you select 2 horses in each leg, it will cost 2x2x2x2 = 16 units. Because of flexi-betting, you can nominate your total budget and therefore reduce the cost of your bet in return for a reduced payout. Let’s say you wish to spend $8 on your 16 combinations. Your 50c winning quaddie combo therefore yields 50% of the prize. The money invested into the pool by everyone, divided by the number of winning combinations, determines the prize expressed per $1 unit. If that is too confusing, an excellent bet calculator can help you calculate quadrella combinations and costs.

Try the corporates to bet the quadrella

You can bet the quadrella through many of the corporates, which have a dedicated quadrella facility on their betting offering. Try joining up to one of our preferred bookmakers by clicking on the banners down the side of this page. You’ll see each has an excellent way to bet the quadrella.

Quaddies are not easy but the rewards can be tremendous. For example, one quaddie at the Flemington carnival a while back paid out upwards of $1.4 million! In that case, taking the field in each leg would have yielded a healthy profit.

What are the odds of winning a quadrella?

On a typical weekend, barring scratchings, there are approximately 30,000 to 50,000 possible winning combinations.

For example, on the weekend of the 25th May, 2019, the quadrella legs at Randwick had 15, 13, 13 and 17 runners, respectively, after scratchings.

The chances therefore of selecting the quadrella with a single combination were 1 in 15x13x13x17 = 43,095. That’s one chance in 43,095 that you have the correct numbers.

At Flemington, the situation was similar. The chances were 1 in 14x10x18x15 = 37,800. One chance in 37,800 of selecting the correct numbers.

With mathematical odds of about 40,000 to 1, you can clearly see that the preference for narrowing down the chances through astute form study.

Suggested plays to bet the quadrella

Punters use many different methods to bet the quadrella. Some are based on sophisticated statistics and probability mathematics whereas others are something more akin to reading the tea leaves.

The main focus of quadrella punters is to find value in the selections. It’s no point in placing a quaddie if the potential returns do not justify the risk (outlay). Spending hundreds of dollars on many combinations, only to win a small dividend is not a smart investment. Equally, spreading a small budget over many combinations is also not fruitful. The winning dividend is insufficient to offset the cost of the bet. On the other hand, selecting too few combinations, while reducing costs, also increases the risk of losing.

The punter needs to strike a balance between the cost of the bet and the potential return. To find a quadrella betting strategy that balances risk and reward. I suggest a number of ways in this article to minimise bet costs while retaining value in the selections.

Quaddie tips on race morning

Luckily for villagebet punters, a suggested betting play at the quadrella is provided for every major metropolitan race day. These are published on our racing tips and best bets page. Usually, 2 horses in each leg are suggested for Sydney and Melbourne races. When the opportunity arises, a different way of betting the quadrella is suggested, such as taking an anchor leg (see below).

On VRC Oaks Day in 2017, Villagebet selected the quadrella with 2 selections per race, which paid several thousand dollars. That was some day!

Strategies to bet the quadrella

Selecting the quadrella is not just a matter of picking the winner of four independent races. The most successful quadrella punters employ specific strategies to cover what they believe are the most likely outcomes over the 4 races while minimising bet outlay.

Most quadrella punters vary the number of selections based on their relative confidence in each leg. For example, there may be one particular leg that has only 2 or 3 real chances. In another leg, there may be as many as 8 to 10 horses capable of winning. It’s strategic to use this variation in confidence levels to plan your quaddie play.

Anchor leg

It is best that you identify a leg in which you are extremely confident of selecting the winner. Then you have only 3 other races to spread your selections. Not every leg will have a Winx. Often there is one race, the anchor leg, in which you can confidently pick the winner without including other horses. Remember though. If there is an odds-on favourite, every other punter will include that horse in their combinations. This will reduce the potential payout. It’s best to find an anchor at each-way odds, to put yourself ahead of the average punter.

Skinny leg

Not as extreme as the anchor leg, a skinny leg is when you select only a small number of horses in that leg, relative to the number of selections in other legs. There are valid reasons for including a skinny leg. It may be your best bet of the day. Or you believe there are only a couple real chances. The main advantage is that you reduce the overall bet commitment. Of course the disadvantage is the risk of leaving out the potential winner of that leg.

Field leg

Another strategy is to take the entire field in one of the legs, and concentrate on finding the winners of the other legs. Look for a leg with fewer runners because you can take the field in this race without excessively increasing costs. One version of this strategy is to take the field in the final leg. If you’re still alive by then, you can cheer for the longshot winning the last. It usually means you must go skinny in the first 3 legs to minimise cost, but if you have all possible chances in the last, it can be quite an exciting experience!

Money leg

As tempting as it is, the problem with including favourites is that the payout will be small, often too small to justify the total outlay. In order to ensure a profit on the quadrella, you must try to find some value selections. If you’re lucky enough, or expert enough, to select one of the higher-priced winners, or better longshots, this is your money leg. The leg that ensures a decent payout. Make sure you include selections that will lead to a profitable return.

Funnel approach

Another way to bet the quadrella is to use the funnel approach. Select many horses in the first leg, around 5 to 10 horses. Use less in the second leg, perhaps 3 – 6 horses. In the third, only one or two selections. In the final leg, select only one horse. This strategy should keep you alive at least for the third leg and with luck, possibly into the final leg. How exciting to have a live chance in the last leg of the quaddie! The potential payout on your final leg winner is significantly larger than if you were to bet on the horse in isolation.

Real world example of the funnel approach

As an example, Villagebet was very confident in the last two legs of the Caulfield quaddie on April 27th 2019, so decided to use the funnel approach. The play was 5 horses in leg 1, 3 in leg 2, and singles in the 3rd and final legs. Only 15 combinations to bet. The first two legs were won by horses (Prince of Sussex and Mr Quickie) that were not top selections but were included in the funnel. The best bet Widgee Turf won the 3rd to provide a live chance in the last. Unfortunately, the single selection (Miss Leonidas) was collared by the favourite (Iconoclasm) in the last leg, finishing 3rd. Close but no cigar. However, it demonstrated the value of using approaches that help you stay alive until the final leg, even if you have only one final live pick. You must be in it to win it.

Bracketed play to bet the quadrella

A bracketed play utilises the quadrella format from more than 3 decades ago. Prior to 1987, the quadrella was a very different beast and incorporated a bracketing system to limit the number of combinations. When there were 10 or more horses in the field, the numbers were bracketed together. Horses 9 & 10 were bracketed as one selection, same with numbers 8 and 11, 7 and 12, 6 and 13, and so on. The old TAB computer system couldn’t handle more than 9 numbers in each leg.

Bracket No.Included Nos.
11, 18
22, 17
33, 16
44, 15, 24
55, 14, 23
66, 13, 22
77, 12, 21
88, 11, 20
99, 10, 19
The bracketed system that operated for quadrellas from 1972 to 1987. For race fields of more than 9 horses, a single selection included multiple chances.
Quadrella bracketing from 1982 VRC Derby Day
Actual quadrella from 1982 VRC Derby Day at Flemington showing the bracketing system.

Punters were mostly against the bracketing format for a number of reasons. One of the key reasons was that if you were good enough to find a winner down the bottom of the weights, you would invariably lament the fact that it is bracketed with one of the more favoured runners. However, sometimes it would work in your favour if a longshot happened to win.

Real world example of a bracketed quadrella

Most punters taking the quaddie at Caulfield on 20th April 2019, did their money cold when $65.30 chance, Graceful Storm, got up in the first leg. In the old system, she would have been combined with $8 chance Thine is the Power which many punters would have included. The odds of the last 3 legs were $3.70, $3.00 and $3.80 but the quadrella paid a handsome $8,619.60. The dividend in the old bracketed system would have been less than $100, I would guess.

Quadrella result from Caulfield on 20th April, 2019. This non-bracketed quadrella paid $8,619.60. It would have paid a lot less prior to 1987 when bracketing was still used because Thine is the Power was an $8 chance.
Leg1234
Winner13 Graceful Storm3 Streets of Avalon8 Plein Ciel8 Haunted
Starting Price$65.30$3.70$3.00$3.80
Bracketed with6 Thine is the Power $8.00No brackets required11 Sheezdashing $26.0011 Scratched

How to play the brackets

In our bracketed play, we suggest to select your quadrella as normal. However, also include the horses that would have been bracketed with your selections. For example, if you select No.6, also include No.13 in your quadrella combinations. It may sound silly but this method resulted in an $8,619.60 payout on a favoured bracket not long ago!

Quaddies are exciting

There are few more exciting times for a punter than having a live chance in the final leg of the quadrella. Such excitement is one of the reasons that people bet on horse racing. You must do all it takes to have that live chance in the last, so plan your strategies carefully. Best of luck!

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