If the idea of using a maximum boldness approach appeals, then Yankee betting might be what you're looking for in your betting life. Now, this magazine has talked before about Yankee betting and we've put forward a number of approaches that can be used.

On the NSW TAB, you can bet the Yankee on one ticket - they call it parlay - using 4 selections, which are then automatically split in to 6 doubles, 4 trebles and a 4-horse accumulator, the bet costing \$11.

The 'Son of Yankee' approach, which I'm now going to outline, works in much the same way, except that you operate it bet-by-bet, and not by placing the complete bet(s) all at once. There will be diverging opinions on the merit of the approach but I think it's worth a close look; if nothing else, it will get you thinking.

There is often very little difference between the profit percentage achieved on level stakes compared to those gained from the Son of Yankee. So much argument could rage as to its merit.

Let's get things clear first: a true Yankee is completed every 4 bets and it couples every selection into doubles, trebles and an accumulator. The Son of Yankee is somewhat different. It is framed around PLACE betting.

For the purposes of the approach you'll need a bank of 16 units. A 'unit' can be any amount you like (\$1, \$2, \$5, \$20, etc.).

However, should all the bets lose, your loss would only be 15 units. The actual bet is always HALF the capital balance after the addition of any winnings or the deduction of any losses.

Firstly, I'll assume you are betting for the win and I put forward this example just to show you the demerits of the approach. Let's take a closer look at what I mean, giving ourselves four losers.

If we assume your horses are Tory, Labor, Liberal and Democrat (all in different races), you would have your first bet on Tory using 8 units (50 per cent of the capital). Let's say Tory lost.

You now have 8 units left. The bet is 50 per cent, or 4 units. Let's say Labor loses, too. Now you are down to 4 units and the bet is 50 per cent, or 2 units. If this bet, Liberal, loses, then your bank is down to 2 units and the final bet on Democrat is again 50 per cent, or 1 unit. Thus, if all four bets fail, you have lost 8+4+2+1 (15 units).

That is the worst scenario. Let's take a look at something positive happening during the four bets approach. I'll assume that Tory and Liberal both win at 3/1 (optimistic as ever!).

CAPITALBETRETURNWINLOSS
1683224
40200020
20104030
50250025
Total for series: Bet 63, Return 72, Profit 9.

That doesn't look too bright because if you'd bet at level stakes on each, your profit would have been much higher. You have bet 63 units, which means at level stakes you would have had 15.75 units on each runner. With two winners at 3/1 your total return would have been 126 units for a profit of 63 units, a 100 per cent profit (or, simply 4 units out and 8 back at level stakes).

But the point about this Yankee method is that it is aimed at PLACE BETTING. By betting for the place, you give yourself a real chance of landing all the bets and bringing off the quartet of bets.

Let's look at what would happen if your four selections ran places at, say, \$2.20, \$1.80, \$1.20 and \$2.20 (assuming \$2 units at \$32 capital bank).

CAPITALBETRETURNWINLOSS
321635.2019.20
51.20254520
71.20 3542 7
78.20 3985.8046.80

The total stake is \$115 for a total return of \$208, a profit of \$93, or 80.86 cents on the invested dollar. The level stake situation would have been, at 1 unit bets, 4 out for 7.4 back (85 cents on the dollar).

The Yankee begins to give you an edge when your latter bets strike good divvies. If, say, the final place dividend had been \$3.50, the Son of Yankee bet on the 4th horse would have been 39 x \$3.50 for a return of 136.50.

Now, you would have bet \$115 for returns of \$35.20, \$45, \$42 and \$136.50, totalling \$258.7, a profit of \$143.7 or 125 per cent on turnover. At level stakes, you would have bet 4 for a return of 8.7, a profit of 117.5 per cent.

So the Son of Yankee can provide you with a benefit greater than level stakes, percentage-wise. It all depends on the divvies and the fall of the placings in the series.

The next angle to work from this approach is what is known as the 'flow-on' procedure. This means that after the first bet, a new Yankee is started with the second bet. Thus, you eventually have a series of Yankees all running alongside each other.

Example: ABCD ... then BCDE ... then CDEF.. then DEFG, and so on. You can work through a day's racing card using this approach. On February 20, the selections, for the purposes of this example, are Countess Christie \$1.40, Normal Practice \$1.10, Bonanova \$3.65 and Lucy's Way \$1.95. Using the Yankee, with \$1 units, the profit is \$52.55, or 103 per cent. At level stakes, the profit was 102.5 per cent. Not much difference there.

I know a punter who bets only in trebles of place bets, using much the same approach, except that he uses a sliding scale of bets according to the total capital on hand.

He starts with 50 per cent and then on the next bet uses 60 per cent and finally 75 per cent. If we say he bets placegetters paying \$1.50, \$1.90 and \$1.80, his bets would be:

CAPITALBETRETURNWINLOSS
2010155
251528.513.5
38.52952.223.2
Totals: Bet 54, Return 95.7, Profit 41.7 (77.2 per cent+).

At level stakes, the profit would have been 73.3 per cent.

So, as you can see, there's not much between the two approaches so far as profit percentage is concerned. Over a long period of time, I wonder which approach would come on top? Much would depend on where the best-priced selections happened to fall in any one series.

Place bettors face a tough task making money from their side of the racing game, so perhaps an approach like Son of Yankee could provide them with that extra few per cent edge they need to make things pay.

Ideas for place betting abound. One that has been canvassed for many years relates to backing just two place specials a day. The first bet is \$100 the place. Any money returned is placed on the second horse - minus the original stake. Thus, the bettor is having a FREE bet on the second horse. If it loses, he still has his original \$100.

Should the first horse lose, he simply starts another two-horse parlay, but retains enough to cover the first losing bet as well. With place betting, the prospect of long losing runs is kept to a minimum, providing, of course, that you are sensible with your selections.

You have to be prepared for short prices if you are going to anticipate a regular flow of returns with minimum losing runs.

Using the Son of Yankee, you should probably pay close attention to the anticipated prices of your selections. If  possible, pick a decent place 'longshot' for your fourth bet of a series. This means that if you have done well on the first three, then the fourth bet will deliver you a rich finale ... and probably give you a clear percentage edge over level stakes.

For example, something like this, based on dividends of \$1.50, \$2, \$2 and \$3.80:

CAPITALBETRETURNWINLOSS
168124
20102010
30153015
452283.561.5
Totals for series: Bet 55, Return 145.5, Profit 90.5 (164.5 per cent+).

At level stakes, the bet would have been 4 out for a return of \$9.30 - a \$5.30 or 132.5 per cent profit.

You can see here the edge has gone up substantially. Had the bets been turned around, with the highest paying horse the first bet, the series would have looked like this:

CAPITALBETRETURNWINLOSS
16830.522.5
38.519 38 19
57.5 29 58 29
86.5 43 64.5 21.5
Totals for series: Bet 99, Return 191, Profit 92 (92.9 per cent).

In this scenario, you have bet more but your percentage profit has dived. At level stakes, of course, you had the same result as before, a 132.5 per cent profit.

So, the argument can rage on and on about which approach is the best and whether it's worth trying to make money from the Son of Yankee. My own thoughts are that you should give it a try with the flow-on factor built in. See how you go over six months, compared to level stakes.

The results could be surprising ... one way or the other!

By Mark Merrick

PRACTICAL PUNTING - APRIL 1999