Bankers / Singles
In Britain and Ireland, we talk about bankers; in America, it is known as ‘singling’ a horse. It amounts to the same thing, and that is a chance taken on just one horse in a leg of a multi-race bet.
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 would 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 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 75% 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 during the sequence that will be, and it might be market-driven choice or a form-based choice. By market-driven choice 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 an alternate 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 eight or more runners, it is almost worth banking on a horse at odds on, even when you don’t especially like it. Given that 85% of such horses make the frame, the chances are that you are wrong rather than the market. The key lesson here is not to try to force a dividend. Many players get seduced by the ‘what if the 2/5 favourite finished out of the frame/off the board?’ 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.
In the final leg
If banking in the final leg, it is preferable to play the shortest priced horse. Here’s why… If we’re still rolling on the final leg, and we’ve played a banker / single here, we have options. By calculating the likely dividend, assuming our 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 what we stand to win, and lay our sole pick for a place, thus locking in a profit.