Call it what you will. I call it 'the right stuff' and I am talking about choosing the right races on which to bet for a place. Judging from the correspondence we receive at PPM, it is obvious that no matter what the statistics or the theories claim, lots of punters LOVE betting for a place, or eachway.

I guess it's really a desire to see consistent returns on your bets. Few punters can stomach losing runs. They would rather 'eat' shorter prices and get the returns coming back, even if it means the likelihood of a loss on the gambling dollar, or just a small profit.

How to choose the right races? You must use all the knowledge you possess as a punter. Pick out the good races, or those races where the form of all runners is revealed, maybe stick to Open Handicaps and Welters, or races for 3yo's, whatever makes you feel satisfied.

Let me take you through some recent city meetings and give you my thoughts as to the right races and the right bets.

CAULFIELD, January 25

Race 1: No-go area, only 5 runners.

Race 2: No-go again, some starters having their first run in public and not enough known.

Race 3: Once again, no use looking at this race - full of first starters.

Race 4: A tough-looking 1600m race, and wide open. There could be value but at least 5 horses appear to hold strong prospects. Not worth the risk.

Race 5: A nice race over 1200m. Elegancy looks a pea to get into the placings. Priced about 4/1 in the early betting, but ends up at 2 /1 and the place return is okay at around $1.50. Go for it.

Race 6: Only 8 runners but a quality race, and Rock You looks a cinch for the place at 9/4. Gets 2nd and pays $1.50.

Race 7: Too tough to call this one. It's a Class 6 over 2425m and no place for place bettors to be hovering.

Race 8: Once again, a wide open race for mares and a no-go zone.

For the day, then, two bets for a winner and a 2nd. Both paid $1.50.

A $10 all-up returns $22.50 ' odds of 5 / 4. Good enough. A $100 bet would have returned a profit of $125.

ROSEHILL, January 25

Race 1: Forget it, a race for 2yo's with first-starters clouding the issue.

Race 2: Only 6 runners and not worth the worry.

Race 3: Only 8 runners but it's a Welter over 1900m and Arkady at around 11 / 4 into 9 / 4 looks the one to run the slot. Wins and pays $1.60 for the place. That's not a bad return for a horse that would have needed to fall over not to get into the placings.

Race 4: Only 7 runners and three horses vying for favouritism. Could be tricky, forget it.

Race 5: Once again, only 7 runners but Multimedia leaps off the page and the price is not bad at all at 5 / 2. Wins and pays an amazing $2.10 on the NSW TAB. Great stuff.

Race 6: A tough 1200m sprint and a bit too heady to call.

Race 7: A tricky quality-type race but the rain has made the track a bog and it's just not worth plonking on the favs in such conditions. Leave it alone.

Race 8: A 2000m handicap and Yippyio is all the rage, but still at 5/2. Judged on form and stable confidence, he looks a cinch for the place. He wins and returns $1.80.

Excellent day with no problems. Should have bet for the win!! A 3horse place all-up returns $60.50 for $10. The three place all-up doubles at $10 each return $33.60, $28.80 and $37.80. For a $40 outlay the meeting's return totals $160.70, a profit of $120.70.

Can it always be as easy as this, you might ask? Well, it can be if you are prepared to be ruthless when you decide on the races on which to bet. If you have a doubt, stay out. Don't bother.

There will always be another race coming up, and always be a better one on which to bet. Once you have chosen your races, make your selections from well-fancied runners with a genuine chance of filling a place.

Then make sure you maximise your potential return by betting allup. Grinding out a profit on place bets placed singly is hard to achieve. The all-up helps you make the most of your good selecting ability.

To my way of thinking, this is the best way to tackle the issue of place betting. Try it out for yourself and let me know how you get on.

Click here to read Part 1.

By Richard Hartley Jnr

PRACTICAL PUNTING - MARCH 1997

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