Racing: If you’re having a quaddie, make sure you close the gate


I’ve tried hard not to mention this. I do so as a Spring Carnival service.

In the weeks to come the punting gene will be reactivated in some of us while others will believe a year of betting and studying will have somehow set them up for Group 1 success. Whatever our level of expertise, novelty betting will come into play. And as we dabble and fiddle the chances of concocting a nightmare scenario rise.

I’ll give you an example. You’re pretty sure of the favourite so you put it together with a couple of roughies in trifectas, the roughies run first and second, the favourite runs third but you didn’t shut the gate. There’s a nice big dividend but you don’t collect.

Here’s what I did last weekend. I was in Esperance for my brother’s birthday. There were four of us and I suggested a family quaddie at Belmont. It was our first since last Christmas when we actually had a win. We all put in $10 and got back $20 each. Les snr, 94, reckoned it was waste of time and said he wasn’t gonna be in it again. Anyway, I talked them around and we went about the task of picking. One horse each in each race, chosen secretly, $10 each.

“It’s hard when you haven’t heard of some of the horses,” I said to my sister. “I haven’t heard of any of them,” she said, filling me with confidence.

The birthday boy didn’t help much either. “What are we doing, again?” he asked.

Les snr did it without enthusiasm. With some double-ups and one scratching we didn’t have four horses in any race. However there was a carryover in the quartet on the last race and so I had a go at that, adding Black In Time to our three. I quick thought entered my mind that it might be a pity if Black In Time won but the thought didn’t linger.

First leg: High Yiqi, chosen by my brother and sister, got out to a 10-length lead in a 2200-metre race but at the top of the straight the caller said it was running on empty. The challengers loom. But that’s all. They don’t catch the leader. It pays $29.

Les snr got up to check our picks in the other legs. He’s suddenly interested. Second leg we got the quinella. My brother’s pick won, sister’s second.

Third leg we had only two horses. London, chosen by my sister, won easily at about $6.

You know that Black In Time won the fourth leg. Our best, Grey Monarch, ran third, not far away.

I can’t tell the others that I’d actually put that horse in a quartet but hadn’t added it to our quaddie. The broadband was down all weekend; the Sunday paper only showed the results up to race five and I didn’t fancy a trip to the TAB so the dividend hung in the air.

On Monday morning I took a walk to the newsagent and bought The West Australian. Having walked just past the post office, I located the race results. The quaddie paid $17,800.

There are lessons in this.

“ I don’t think we should try again,” said Les snr. “That was our chance.”

And he still doesn’t know about Black In Time and me. I thought writing this might help. It hasn’t. All I can say is – if you must have a bet then close the bloody gate.

About Les Everett

A Footy Almanac veteran, Les Everett is the author of Gravel Rash: 100 Years of Goldfields Football and Fremantle Dockers: An Illustrated History. He is the WAFL correspondent and uses the money he makes from that role to pay for his expensive websites and and fund the extravagant Vin Maskell at

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