The ‘banker’ is a chance taken on just one horse in a leg of a multi-race bet. It’s a single point of failure but, if successful, allows players to spread their bankroll further elsewhere: it’s risky but often necessary when chasing bigger pots.


When to use bankers?

Bankers can be used in any leg of a bet, but personally I like to use them in one (or more) of three ways.


In leg #1

If I have to take a chance in my bet, and there is no obvious place within the wager to do it – for instance, a solid looking favourite that I like – then I take my chance in the first leg. My reasoning is simple and psychological: I do not want to get towards the end of a healthy-looking proposition and then scratch out. I would far rather take my medicine early.

Others might prefer to have the enjoyment of cheering horses until later in the sequence – if they’re lucky enough to get through with wider coverage – and that’s fair enough. This is a personal choice thing. But, for me, I want to know my probable fate early and then press on.

Clearly, if the first race is especially tricky, I’ll use my banker elsewhere, but a lot of UK and Irish multi-race sequences start with a novice or maiden race, and favourites historically have a 72% chance of placing in such races.


‘One Brave Race’

The notion of ‘one brave race’ is based around the banker principle and recognising that, in order to go wider in search of a result in one part of the multi-race sequence, we need to go narrow in another part. We have the power to choose when to go wide and when to go narrow during the sequence, and that choice might be market-driven or form-based.

By market-driven I mean a short-priced horse. For example, there is a very strong chance that a horse trading at 2/5 will win. Unless you can identify a clear reason to oppose such a horse – in which case you’d almost certainly be taking another selection in addition to the 2/5 shot – then this is a horse to single. In a placepot wager, where the horse need only finish 1-2-3 in races with eight or more runners, it is almost worth banking on any horse at odds on, even when you don’t especially like it. Given that 80%+ of such horses make the frame, the chances are that you are wrong not to like it rather than the market.

The key message here is not to try to force a dividend. Many players get seduced by the ‘what if the 2/5 favourite got beat/finished out of the frame?’ notion. We all know that IF that happens, the dividend will be higher. But if the chances of that happening are remote, then perhaps it makes more sense to go with the percentages; or least include the shortie, with an alternate on your choice of A, B or C.


In the final leg

If banking in the final leg, it is preferable to play the shortest priced horse. Here’s why… If you’re still rolling come the final leg, and you’ve used a banker here, you have options. By calculating the likely dividend assuming your banker wins (and/or is placed, along with the next two best supported horses, plus the unnamed favourite, if in the placepot), we can establish the minimum we stand to win, and lay our last leg banker for a place, thus locking in a profit.

As a friend of mine is keen on saying, “nobody ever went skint taking a profit”.