Australian Horse Racing



The Edge

We all want to be competitive in everything we do. And no more so that with punting on horse racing.

Success in punting on horses, in fact most things reduces down to an information war - the people with the best information make the smart moves.

Books have been and still are the best source of general information, and this applies at least as much in the art of racehorse selection and staking as in any other field.

Author Paul Segar has produced textbooks which cover all aspects of punting. The books alone stand as a complete reference but also provide 'food for thought'. You can develop / improve your own ideas as well as learn some new techniques.

Each book is written in plain English with plenty of practical examples in each chapter. Browse the contents of each book or email for further information, if required.

Improve your punting knowledge today - buy one or all of these books.

Read the books but want more? It's time to do a course.

The Pureform Introduction Course uses a computer program to show you how and when to bet and how to do it successfully. Check out the details


The Benchmark Handicapper Course continues from the Introduction Course and gives you further weapons to apply when making quality value selections. More...


The Introduction to Dutch Betting using the Ratings Calculator Course gives you an introduction to betting using the Ratings Calculator computer software. More...



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By Paul Segar

This article written by Paul Segar and brought to you by Pureform looks at some of the basics of parlay betting.


TAB Parlay Betting

Some Possibilities

Parlay Calculator

The Other Parlay Article

Recommended Reading


Parlay betting as a term has been around for a long time and comes from a french card game word, paroli, where basically whatever you win on the first bet is bet again and again. The aim is to parlay your investment into a massive amount usually through gambling everything.

A Parlay Wager in modern gambling is a bet that combines a number of events together and in the process the odds can multiply to produce massive returns from small amounts. In this bet type, you do not have to bet everything but returns especially on racing can multiply quickly.

The parlay bet described in this article is run by TabCorp and allows up to 6 races at the same meeting to be combined in a variety of different scenarios.

The three basic bet formats are

  • win
  • place or
  • quinella

and these can be combined into a number of different racing events. One or more runners can be taken in each event for the win and place. The quinella bet requires at least 2 runners in each race.

TAB Parlay Betting

The TAB operates parlay betting which allows the punter to combine some quality wagers into an all up combination. The number and types of combinations are almost endless and limited only by your selection skills and betting expertise. It is a truly valuable betting tool for the punter looking for some form of multiple betting.

Again stress the word “quality”. Rule number one, do not take random selections in parlay bets as your chances of winning are minimal. Only take your best selections and couple them together.

TabCorp uses a series of formula bets to give the punter many options again combining win, place or quinella (each way betting is also one possible combination but costs quickly blow out over more than a couple of events). The bets use the totalisator prices, not fixed odds.

Let’s quickly consider the formulas :

Formula 1: No nothing to do with motor car racing, a Formula One bet is basically the same as a win, place or quinella bet. In other words do not take a Formula One bet as there is no advantage.
Formula 2: The formula 2 bet is basically a double, whether that be a win double, place double, quinella double or any combination of the three possibilities – win, place or quinella. The formula 2 bet is a very powerful wager taken on two seperate races.
Formula 3:
Similar to formula 2 except there is an extra layer of veneer added either to the front or end of a formula 2 bet. Again, any series a combination of win or place or quinella can be taken this time on three events – magic!
Formula 4: Now we are starting to cook! This time four events coupled together in any one of the previous combinations. Pick four winners (or placegetters) and you are looking at a very nice returns.
Formula 5: One more event added on and if successful big returns virtually guaranteed. Five successful bets will be a tidy return.
Formula 6: This is the maximum number of events that can be coupled together and given most race meetings have eight races, this pretty much covers most of the meeting.

Consider a few examples:

3 Top Bets
You have three top bets. Two for the win and one for the place. The question is, what is the best way to capitalise on these selections? Clearly three doubles and one treble or in TAB speak, three formula 2 and one formula 3 bet.

Now the beauty of the parlay wager with the TAB is these four bets can be taken in one transaction or to use the old term on “one ticket”. So you take four bets and it will cost you $4 for a $1 unit.

Consider some possible returns:

3 bets successful Collect 3 doubles and 1 treble
2 bets successful Collect one double
No bets successful Collect nada

Let’s check out the returns using some fairly easily achieved prices. The two win bets are both priced at $4 with the place bet paying $2

3 bets successful $64
2 bets successful $32
No bets successful jack

So a $4 outlay returns $64. No too bad.

Instead of these prices, try something more exotic, a $5, $8 and a $10 chance in the same bet:

3 bets successful $400
2 bets successful $170
No bets successful squat

The parlay wager can be combined in any of the formats and that is the second part of the puzzle.

The first part is making quality selections from the available events and then combining these selections into the best format you can take. Sure enough the best return is taking three horses for the win however that may not be the best wager.

It is your job as the punter to select the best combinations weighing up the chances and the likely result and the likely return. There is little point as mentioned earlier taking three horses for the win and finding they all run a place or none even run a place.

Any number of runners can be combined in each of the events so you might like to take two runners in one race, three runners in another and four runners in another race or another set of combinations. Extra runners taken obviously costs more but at the same time will improve your chances of having a successful result. There is however little point outlaying a lot of money and then receiving only a meagre or no return from a huge number of combinations over 4 or more races.

Some Possibilities

Just to whet your appetite a little more let’s look at an achievable wager: a five horse parlay bet taking all the formula 2,3,4 and 5 bets.
Let’s price them all at $4. Total outlay $26 for a $1 unit. Flexi bet if you like.

5 bets successful  $3,104
4 bets successful    $256
3 bets successful   $112
2 bets successful     $16
no bets successful   diddly-squat

So for $26 potentially over $3000.  Taking a $10 unit for $260 will return over $30,000 which is a nice return for 5 winners.  1 winner at the same time will only return nothing.
The beauty of the parlay is that you get to choose your events. So the bets may be in race 1,2,4,7 and 8. The parlay bet lets you choose your races.

Again take a five runner parlay wager when you have five top selections. If you only have one top selection, no parlay betting. If you have two top selections then a parlay bet may be a possibility. A running double or daily double may also be an option depending on when the races are scheduled. Clearly if you have 2 top bets, one in race 1 and the other in race 8 then a parlay formula two bet is the only all up possible wager.

A win and a place bet can be combined as can any other series of combinations.

There is nothing wrong with coupling your two top selections with 2 or more lesser chance in a series of formula 2, 3 and 4 bets.  You could take a  1 x 1 x 2 x 3 combination, that is the top pick in two races and a series of other runners in the other two races.

The combinations are endless but again consider the likely prices when taking multiple runners in one leg. No point taking two runners in one leg if one of the runners is even money ($2) or less. Either take the longer priced runner(s), take the short priced pick outright or don’t include that race in the parlay wager.

The TAB website totals the outlay before placing the bet so it is easy to then:

  • alter the total outlay (flexi-bet)
  • adjust the number of runners
  • change the formula totals,
  • cancel the bet,
  • experiment or
  • take the bet as required.

You can simply test some ideas and see what the total will be without placing the wager. Download the Parlay Lite Calculator which shows the returns for each bet according to the prices you provide or try the parlay calculator further down this page.

Goto top

The Other Parlay Article

Parlay Calculator

Use the following calculator to get combinations and costs for the various parlay formulas.

Parlay Calculator

Select the number of races and the FORMULA(S) to calculate the total bets. Enter a stake to get the total amount required to take this parlay.






Formula 1 2 3 4 5 6


Stake $ 



Total Stake: