Over the last couple of issues we've discussed aspects of staking in regard to the 6-Point Divisor Plan. Last month's article gave examples of how this approach can be effectively used with sensible selections.

In this article I want to touch on another most interesting 'Divisor' betting approach.

Firstly, though, something about favourites and the public betting on them:

If everything goes his way, the average favs backer is going to back 30 winners in every 100 races at an average price of around 2/1, meaning a level-stakes loss of about 10 units.

Through divisor betting, the punter can give himself a fighting chance of turning the level-stakes loss into a profit.

If you can eliminate some of the inevitable false favs (i.e. losers) then obviously the task becomes easier.

Using a divisor approach requires good sense, discipline and commitment.

Let's look again at the situation with backing favs at that average price of 2/1. On a flat stake, it means the punter betting \$1 on each fav would lose \$10 for every \$100 he bets. The only near-certain way that we can turn this around and into a profit is to bet to win so much per race and use a method similar to the 6-Point Divisor.

At the end of every 100 races your aim would be to show a profit of 100 units - one for each bet you had. If we accept the above figures as a guide, we can estimate that 30 winners aregoing to produce 60 units, so 50 winners at 2/1 will return 100.

To achieve the target you make 50 probable winners your Divisor and the 100 your Objective. Take a minute to get that much clear in your mind. It's essential you understand where we are heading.

Forget Level Stakes - and Win

Take note of the following key points:

1. The Divisor is always divided into the Objective to ascertain your bet stake. If you were betting in \$1 units your first bet, then, would be \$2 (50 divided into 100).
2. If the horse lost you would add the lost \$2 to the Objective. This would now be \$102, so your next investment would be the result of 50 divided into 102.
3. If you should back a winner, the amount won is deducted from the Objective and the price of the winner is deducted from the Divisor.

For example: After a number of bets without a winner, your Divisor is still 50 but your Objective has grown to, say 150, thus meaning a bet of \$3. Assume the horse wins at 3/1. You would win \$9 and pick up three betting points.

The \$9 would be deducted from the Objective, reducing it to 141, while the three points (3/1) would be deducted from the Divisor, reducing it to 47.

Put simply, all losses are added to the Objective and all wins are deducted. The PRICE of each winner is deducted from the Divisor. When you back winners whose combined odds total 100 you have gained your objective.

There are three other key rules to be followed in this approach. They are as follows:

1. You never divide by less than three as this could see your stakes increase too rapidly. If your Divisor was two and your Objective 40, you simply set up a new play by bringing in a fresh Divisor and Objective and adding them to the current balances. Your divisor would then be 52 and the objective 140.
2. For the purpose of deducting from the Divisor, you operate to the nearest full point under a fraction. If you hit winners at 10/9, 5/4, 11/8, 6/4, 13/8 or 7/4 the full amount won would be taken from the Objective but only ONE point from the Divisor.

In the cases of 9/4, 5/2 and 11/4 you would deduct TWO points from the Divisor. In the case of a 7/2 winner, you would deduct THREE points, and 9/2 you would deduct FOUR points, and so on.

What happens with an odds-on winner? You make no alteration to the Divisor but you do deduct the sum won from the Objective.
3. The main object of every staking approach is to WIN and with this approach you do not have to clear the Divisor and the Objective to be a winner.

What you need to do is to be systematic and careful in your approach. Keep all transactions noted, either in a notepad or on a computer spreadsheet. Don't forget that your aim is to win one unit (starting at \$1) for every race on which you bet.

When you are winning a sum equal to, or in excess of, the number of races on which you have bet, you close off the series and start a new one. For example: You may, after your 14th bet, be showing a profit of \$14 or more. Having gained your Objective (\$1 for every race bet on) you can start a new series.

By adopting this approach you help to keep the stakes outlay under control. Remember: You want nothing more than a profit. Safety is the key and you should always keep a mental note of that.

Another safety rule is to remember that when you strike a long run of outs (and let's not kid ourselves, they will happen), don't be scared of bringing in a new Divisor and a new Objective (see Rule 1). It doesn't matter how many times you do this. Eventually you must reach your target.

Having laid the ground rules for this Great Divide approach, how can you actually operate it?

Well, the first piece of advice is to find a system that provides you with sensible selections.

If you are not into mechanical system selections, then look for a selection approach based on serious form study.

You can consider backing the top horse on the tipsters' poll for each race. By using the poll (as in The Australian, or Sydney Morning Herald, or Sportsman, etc.) you know the selections well in advance and you know there is always the chance of a good-priced winner bobbing up.

Another idea relates to the point on which we began this article - backing the favs!

Maybe you can find a method that allows you to filter out false favs. Let's say on an 8-race card, you decide that only five favs are worth backing. In the other three races you can slot in the second-fav as the selection. Or the poll top pick or 2nd-pick.

This, then, is the Great Divide Plan. I think it's a beauty. Consider it carefully, use it with sensible selections, take note of all the rules, and try it on paper initially. Once you are reasonably sure of how it will fare with your selections, then pull the cash from your pocket.

By Martin Dowling

PRACTICAL PUNTING - MARCH 1998