Some years ago, while holidaying for a lengthy period in France, I met a chap who made his money on the Paris races by following a two-horses-in-the-one-race approach.

He told me that at Longchamps you could make big profits by backing two horses in the one race, even if both were at 3-1 and under. In fact, both HAD to be at 3-1 or under before you bet them. This man operated, of course, on the French tote and usually placed his bets about five minutes before the jump.

Here in Australia, I have found that with careful selection of races you can make this method work for you in Sydney or Melbourne. The basis of it is, after all, very simple: You are backing two very strongly-fancied horses.

Sure, you'll hit some losing runs but overall you should be able to tot up two from three wins.

Not that the method is all that simple. What if you backed each horse at level stakes? Could a sustainable profit be made with two collects from every three bets?

Let's look at some recent meetings upon which I operated a test run:

MOONEE VALLEY - October 22
Race 1: Appleby Fair 2-1 and Front Page 9-4. Bet 1 unit each. Appleby Fair l st. Return 3. Profit 1.
Race 3: Rancho Ruler 11-8 and Special 5-2. No bet as Rancho Ruler was considered to be under the odds. Rated a 7-2 chance by me.
Race 6: Big Grey Roo 10-9 and King's High 9-4. No bet as Big Grey Roo rated no value at that price. At least 7-4 needed.

FLEMINGTON - October 29
Race 4: Research 2-1 and Memphis Blues 3-1. Bet 1 unit each. Research lst. Return 3. Profit 1.
Race 6: Vo Rogue 6-4 and Our Poetic Prince 6-4. No bet as value not there. My ratings had both at 5-2.
Race 8: Bocatower 3-1 and Congressman 2-1. No bet as both considered poor value. Field was wide open and my ratings had 4-1 the field.

Over these were just two bets for wins both times of one unit each. An outlay of four units for a profit of two (50 per cent return).

Now this is all very well, but if my next bet were a loser that two-unit profit would be wiped out. So, it's plainly obvious we have to look further for a selection plan that will maximise profits.

My plan is that you treat each horse as a separate entity. Run a different column of bets for each horse and set yourself an amount to win each time, and consider each horse as a 2-1 chance.

Let's say your target per race was six units. That means, with an assumed price of 2-1, you would have three units on each. Should both lose, you simply increase the target next race to 10. If a horse wins, that goes back to a target of six. You never try to win more than 10 units. This keeps bets down to a reasonable size.

Here's an example of the two-column betting on horses in the same race:

  Horse A Horse B
(1)2-1 Bet 3 NIL2-1 Bet 3 NIL
(2)6-4 Bet 5 NIL5-2 Bet 5 Win
(3)1-1 Bet 5 Win 3-1 Bet 3 NIL
(4)1-1 Bet 3 NIL 5-2 Bet 5 NIL
(5)2-1 Bet 5 Win6-4 Bet 5 NIL
(6)3-1 Bet 3 NIL5-2 Bet 5 Win 12.50
(7)2-1 Bet 5 NIL6-4 Bet 3 Win 4.50
(8)5-2 Bet 5 Win 12.55-2 Bet 5 NIL

Column A: Total Stake: $34 Return: $42.50.

Column B: Total Stake: $34 Return: $42.50.

Total profit, both columns: 17 units.

Profit on turnover: 25 per cent.

Another way of tackling this idea of backing two horses at 3-1 and under in the same race is to back each to win the same amount of money. Here's an example:

A is 2-1 and B is 5-2.

To find the, amount to place on each horse you simply add the odds and reverse them: For instance, A is 2-1 (two added to one is three and three units are invested on B). B is at 5-2 (21/2 added to one is 31/2 and so 3 1/2 units are invested on A).

That is: Your 3 1/2 bet on A will win you seven units. Your three-unit bet on B will win you seven. The total investment is 6.5 but a win by either horse will actually return you 10.5 units, a profit of four units on the bet.

Only a reasonable bank is required because you are concentrating on very strongly-fancied horses and when both are at 3-1 or under it is unlikely you are going to experience long runs of cuts, especially if you pare down the number of races on which you operate, and select only those about which you feel there is (a) value and (b) a very, very good chance of striking a winner.

Many professional punters are multiple backers. They will bet on two, three, four even five horses per race if prices permit. They figure that a 10 per cent return is fine. Anything above that is a bonus.

The method I have outlined here is but one way of tackling multiple betting. Played cautiously and with common sense it can provide you with some consistent profits. But don't try it on too many races. Pick your spots carefully.

By Richard Hartley Jnr