When I first became interested in horseracing I was in my last year at Secondary College wayyyyy back in 1967 and when I could afford it I would buy a copy of The Sportsman, which I still do twice a week nowadays.

Time after time I saw an advertisement that used to attract my attention, like a moth to a flame, as time after time the block ad depicted an astonishing number of winners and, of course, my deepest wish was to do exactly that.

This advertisement made the titillating promise that  “a commencing bank of $20 will multiply to $100,000 in five years betting on Sydney events alone”. I substituted Sydney with Melbourne and the dreaming started to take over as, like many other young newbies to the racing game, mouth watering ads like that were just what the doctor ordered!

Naturally it was a system and it is one known to most punting reprobates of my age: it was called “The Royal Routine System”.

At the time I was friends with another student in my Business Education class called Gordon and his interest in the gee gees matched mine. After some serious discussion we decided to forsake some lunchtime money and send $10 to obtain what seemed like a path to racetrack riches.

Eventually a little booklet arrived detailing the system and, to be quite frank, we were a fraction disappointed with what we had to do to back all the winners espoused in the advertisements.

Fast forwarding around 40 years found me travelling down High Street, Armadale  one Friday afternoon on the way to pick up my 15-year-old daughter from school and with some time on my hands I decided to drop in to the Horseman’s Bookshop for a bit of a browse.

As I trawled through the publications, lo and behold, what do I spy but a copy of “The Royal Routine System” written by Jack O’Brien! Again there was this attraction between my wallet and the word purchase and, again, I parted with $10 and bought a copy of the system.

Psychologists would class this behaviour as one of those nostalgia things we oldies do where we try and go back to our youth and I must admit when I again clutched the booklet I thought “the wheel has turned” and I did actually feel an eerie wave of emotion pass over me. This actually gives you an idea what a sad case I have become.

According to the system the “Royal Routine depends on its selections on newspapers’ experts: obtain as many different sets of tippers as you can, the more you use the better”.  The system goes on to explain that it uses 16 different papers/tipsters for its examples but as I go through its workings I will modify this number for ease of understanding.

The main thrust of the system revolves around Target Betting; that is, attempting to win a certain amount per race (in their example this was $1.60) “however, instead of putting all our eggs in the one basket and relying on only one tipster to win $1.60 per race we are distributing this amount over 16 different tipsters using each to win only $0.10 per race”.

When I read this premise years ago I thought it a sensible idea as spreading the risk was a good move then and is still a good idea now as well. I dutifully ruled up the appropriate column headings on 16 sheets and headed each sheet with the name of the tipsters whose tips were displayed in the Melbourne Herald Sun which in 1967 had 16 tipsters listed compared to today’s miserable six.

For anyone interested in operating this system I would suggest just simply setting up a bank (let’s use the author’s recommended $1,000) and decide what percentage of that bank is the desired profit per race.

On $1,000 I would be thinking one per cent objective per race ($1.00 per race) is by no means a greedy ask and all that is required thereafter is to decide on the number of tipsters you wish to use. If we decide on 10 tipsters we are seeking a mere $0.10 per race per tipster. Now some of you will rightly suggest your newspaper might not have 10 tipsters so with a bit of lateral thinking can I suggest a couple of alternatives you can add.

If you use the Melbourne Herald Sun, as an example, where there are only six tipsters you could add TAB Number 1 and TAB Number 2 as additional “tipsters” as well as the top of the Paper Poll and second Paper Poll selections. That makes 10 already but what about the shortest priced last start winner or shortest priced last start second or anything other “system” type selections to make up your tipsters total.

The top trainer-top jockey combination could also be added i.e. Craig Williams/David Hayes or Dwayne Dunn/Lee Freedman: your imagination is your guide. It does not matter which way you go as long as you divide the number of options (tipsters) into the one per cent figure being sought per race.

In the working example shown the author details the process of just simply dividing the price obtained into the sought after amount to obtain the bet size which is the standard Target Betting approach most long time readers of PPM have read about many times before.

He rightly mentions that there is no need to be making 10 different bets per race as quite often only three or four horses need to be backed. For instance, five tipsters may tip Horse A, three may tip Horse B and one each for Horses C and D and it is simply a matter of adding the sought objectives for each horse and dividing by the price.

If Horse A is 2/1, Horse B 4/1, Horse C 6/1 and Horse D 12/1 and the individual targets are $12, $4, $6 and $12 respectively the amounts bet will be $6, $1, $1 and $1 totalling $9 for the race. If Horse A wins all targets and past losses have been recouped for five tipsters and their next targets are one per cent/10; however, all the losing tipsters need to have their losses plus one per cent/10 added as well to the previous target.

Although at first this seems to be quite complex, these days with a simple Excel setup and printout, life following this system is not as difficult as I found it with reams of paper back in 1968 when I was swamped by the amount of paperwork involved.

Today I would simply set it up this way with my minimum bet size $1:

1A0.103 to 1$114.003.00
2A0.104 to 1$10  
3B0.108 to 1$10  

This race required $2 on Horse A and $1 on Horse B

Next Race

1 A0.10
2 B0.10
3 C1.20

I have only used three tipsters but the T (Tipsters) column would go all the way to 10 based on earlier comments.

Assuming there are 30 rows on your Excel sheet printout you would only need to carry around three sheets as Races 1-3 would fit on Page 1, Races 4-7 on Page 2 and the rest on Page 3.

On Page 3 you could also setup a summary section that lets you know how you are travelling overall for the day. Play around with your own headings: I am sure you will find a way that suits you personally.

The general idea of trying to win $X per race is a well known approach by many punters world wide. What is perhaps not as well known or discussed is what I call the real grunt in this system, which is the transference of losses from a number of tipsters that have their bet size rising too rapidly due to a lack of winners.

As the author states, “when a winner is selected by one or more of the various tipsters we transfer a portion of the amounts due in losing columns to the tipsters which have just selected a winner. No hard and fast rules can be laid down as to the exact amounts”.

Using the above three tipsters let’s assume after x number of races (possibly two meetings) tipster three has a next race objective of $30.00 with the next selection priced at 2/1 thus calling for a bet of $15 while tipsters one and two cleared their objectives in the previous race and their bet size will therefore be $1 each (the minimum bet size).

At this stage two types of punters would have to make a decision. Those with courage would plough on and make the larger bet and if it wins the punter will strut around in a very jovial mood; however, if it gets beaten the next bet size will rise substantially if the selection is a short priced favourite.

Those with a mixture of courage and commonsense would apply their variation of the author’s recommendations. As stated earlier there is no hard and fast rules but I would start steering towards thinking it would not be a bad idea to reduce tipster three’s objective to about $14 and the other two to about $8.00 which balances things out a little more equitably.

As the author suggests, “transferring of losses introduces a tremendous margin of safety: as there are plenty of tipsters which are getting winners and these are sufficient to keep losses down (during a run of outsiders)”.

Next month I shall discuss “The Royal Routine System” aka the 2008 approach you might wish to consider or modify. Until then good punting.

Click here to read Part 2.

By Roman Kozlovski