As followers of my Pro-Power series will know, I am a believer in target betting. It has its fervent critics, I know, yet I maintain it has a rightful place in the thinking punter's armoury.

Due-column wagering is a target betting approach. It can be profitable as long as the punter lays down rigid rules and sticks to them. I know a Sydney punter who bets on Sydney and Melbourne meetings. He aims to win a dollar a race.

His opening and minimum bet is \$1. If he bypasses a race, he adds the dollar he wanted to the objective. He bets on at least 2000 races a year to an assumed price of 4 / 1. He starts off with \$1 in the due-column and a bet of \$1.

If the horse loses, the due-column would then be \$3, comprising the \$1 aim for the first two events plus the \$1 lost. If again a loser, the objective would be \$5, and so on. This chap has been doing this for some 30 years and claims to have never been in any trouble with it.

The 6-Point Divisor Plan is another which appeals to a lot of people. We have published details of the 6-Pointer before in P.P.M. In short, the 6-Point Plan has a target of 6 points (or units) for the punter to win, through a series of bets. Once that target is reached, a new series is begun.

With due-column betting, the approach is similar. Example: The bettor decides to win \$5 for every bet made. He writes \$5 under the due-column heading. His first bet is at, say, 5/2, so he stakes \$2. The horse loses and he enters the loss in the due-column and adds a further \$5 to the target.

The target is now \$12 and the punter carries on in this manner, always adding losses and the aim per play, or race, until a winner is hit and the column cleared.

The flaw to this play is a losing run of short-priced selections. The stakes rise far too rapidly in relation to capital. But such a problem is easily overcome.

The popular approach is to bet to an assumed price of 4/1. Irrespective of the odds, the bet is always one-fourth of the sum in the due-column. The target, for instance, may have risen to \$40. The horse to be backed is 2/1.

Instead of investing \$20, the punter stakes only \$10. The horse wins. He deducts the \$20 won from the \$40 target, leaving a balance of \$20, to which he adds his race aim, say \$5, so his next bet will be one-fourth of \$25.

Whenever he backs a winner at 4/1 or longer, the due-column is cleared. He has recouped all losses and has obtained his target. Should a winner's price be more than 4/1, there will be an added bonus.

This is, as I am sure you will agree, a far wiser staking approach for due-column betting than betting to the actual odds offered. It greatly lowers the risk to capital, which must always be protected as much as possible. Even with the one-fourth approach it may still be necessary to apply a 'brake' if stakes in relation to capital are getting too high.

In such a situation, one idea would be to split the amount in the due-column in half and carry on. After clearing one part, the remaining half would then become the objective. Now, I have suggested here that one-fourth of the sum of the due-column is a fairly safe approach, but it might be an idea for you to go over your past records of selections and average out the price of your winners, then use the average price as the divisor.

A well-known target plan that originated in the United States is based on place bets. My pal Jon Hudson has spoken of it before in P.P.M., but it bears repeating.

TARGET PLACE PLAN RULES

1. To earn \$2 per race your initial bet is \$6.
2. If your first bet pays a dividend, the series is ended, whether or not the profit is \$2.
3. After a losing bet, increase the size of your bets by 25 per cent. The scale would be \$6,\$8,\$10,\$12,\$15,\$18, \$23, \$29, \$36, \$45, \$56, \$70, \$87 etc. Always bet to the nearest dollar. You only increase your bets after a loser. If a horse is- placed, you repeat the stake unless your target has been reached.
4. Your target increases by \$2 each race you lose on. If your first bet lost, your next target would be \$4, and so on.
5. When your profit equals or exceeds \$2' a race for each race you have bet on, the series is closed and you start again.

Because you are betting for a place, the risk of long losing runs should be negligible. Be selective when going for your bets. Don't attempt to bet in every race.

I would suggest that you choose three choice place bets for the day. It doesn't matter if they are all at different meetings. If you like more action, you could choose two best place bets at three meetings, giving you six bets for the day. You could run each meeting as a separate series, or combine them.

How do you choose good place bets? You can't go wrong if you follow the old advice of 'pick 'em to win, bet them to place. It has stood the test of time for many, many years.

The wrong approach is to choose a horse you think can't win but MIGHT run a place. Usually, these horses will finish 4th or worse! It's a fact of life. Don't go crazy shooting for too much in the way of a divvy.

Be conservative and this target betting plan will serve you well.

By Alan Jacobs

PRACTICAL PUNTING - DECEMBER 1992