This week we celebrate exactly 20 years since the Sydney Paralympics. The well-known story is the incredible success of this momentous international event, the unknown story is that the Paralympic Games almost did not happen.
Usually I listen to, rather than watch, the races on a Saturday afternoon, discreetly using vital outdoor tasks like cleaning the gutters or pulling weeds as cover for my clandestine activities.
Mrs Lighthouse is fortunately completely unaware of my cunning strategy, so if anyone reading this knows her, don’t say anything. I’m sure you’d hate to see the weeds at the Lighthouse ranch get out of control.
Every week I’m impressed by how good the tipsters are on the radio. A week doesn’t go by where someone somewhere among their pundits is declared, as they cross the line in the last leg, to have got the quaddie.
This seemingly impressive strike rate got me contemplating how investing in the quaddie has changed over the year.
Long ago in the wanton days of my youth, when the TAB was still known to many as the Lucky Shop, and before the sharpest minds in the land had invented flexi-betting, having a crack at the quaddie was a decision not to be entered into lightly.
Quite simply to even take three horses in each leg (81 combinations) cost a battling student over $40 based on the then minimum unit investment of 50 cents. In my case this was a week’s beer money so the inclusion of a shot in the dark 25/1 chance in your top three was a risk rarely taken.
The 21st century has brought many advances to our daily lives. In 2020 a family man can have a punt and watch a race on his phone while half way up a ladder, although in the event of a close finish it’s always wise to remember where you are.
But no advance has done more to change the course of recent human history than flexi-betting. While it may seem like it has been around forever, the concept was only introduced into my home state of Victoria in 2006, admittedly some years behind NSW.
This innovation has given today’s battling student the opportunity to have both a pint and a punt with his $40 if he so chooses, or you can spend all $40 (or less) on the quaddie, but include many more combinations.
The tradeoff of course is that when you do get the quaddie, you are likely only getting a fraction of the declared dividend, although with more horses included, you should – like the radio tipsters – be able to strut around claiming that you have landed the quaddie more often.
And while 100 per cent of the dividend would be great, even getting a small clip can provide great satisfaction. Sometimes just being a winner is more than enough, even if it’s taken you 400 combinations to crack it!
One of the most pleasing days of my fluctuating punting career was picking up five per cent of a $27,000 quaddie for a $20 outlay at Rosehill about ten years ago. And that was with the faves winning the last two legs. I would never have got that one pre-flexi!
At the end of the day though, even with five in each leg, the quaddie can still be a challenge. The mysteries of life are many, but I doubt the day will ever come when I understand how Austin Raider could have won the final leg at Morphettville last week.