Patience means "calm endurance", and that's what racing is all about.

Whoops! That's not quite true. Racing is all about horses and bookies and TAB's and losing money... but PATIENCE, calm endurance, is about trying to win money be selective wagering.

In my view, the paramount thing about the patient punter is his selectivity. By that I don't mean how he selects his horses (although that comes into it) but the limitations he places on his operations. For example, Don Scott does not rush from ring to ring, does not bet on thirtyseven races a day, and does not try to pick every trifecta on the card. He is selective, as he tells you in all his books.

At one stage Don was flying to Melbourne every raceday because he believed that the edge was with him there in the southern betting ring. He was betting selectively on a handful of races when the odds favoured him, and PATIENTLY sitting out the races which favoured the opposition. Because he feels that the edge has evened out, he now selectively wagers in the Sydney and Interstate rings on his local tracks.

Don Scott is a selective, patient punter who, just like you could be, is not dismayed when a horse he thought could win does win without his money, because he patiently rejects the odds when they are below his considered assessment of the horse's chances.

Patience is the difference between winning and losing. It is the selectivity which distinguishes the astute investor from the mug. How the bookies rub their hands in glee when a new flame appears in the ring, flashing money left, fight and centre, having perhaps twenty bets in one day on horses all over Australia. This bloke would probably have more chance of taking out a decent Lotto prize than going home a winner from the racetrack.

So, you ask, how do I go about becoming "calm, enduring, selective?" Well, the first thing is to get a decent diary/notebook. I keep one which I use to enter notes on Sydney and Melbourne, and occasionally Brisbane, as soon as possible after every race meeting. If you read the October issue of Practical Punting Monthly, you will see my reference to this book, which I believe helps to keep punters honest.

You know and I know that at times we need that help. We tend to kid ourselves a bit, particularly when we have a couple of wins which seem to put us on the right side of the ledger. We forget the depressing weeks when everything goes wrong, and we pretend that, overall, we are winning.

If all the details of every bet are in that notebook, together with every detail you can honestly muster of every horse worth noting, then you stand a chance of changing your old habits. Trading them in, in fact, for a set which could just possibly see you winning regularly, and overall.

Patience means that there might be a day when you don't even have a bet. If you look at your record, and realise that you just can't seem to win on wet tracks, there may come a day when (say) Melbourne, where you mainly bet, and Sydney, where you watch the form closely and bet now and then, are both heavy. "Great!" says your inner self, when lan Craig tells you that Brisbane is fine and sunny.

You follow your pre-set rules, discarding the two states you know something about, and grab your Saturday paper's Brisbane section. Now comes the joke. You tell yourself that you won't break any rules, you'll stick to small wagers "just for fun." You know what happens. At the end of the day you're $x down, betting on horses which are outside your experience, and you're pretty mad with yourself.

Better not to mention it in the book. It won't happen again, after all. And that, dear reader, is what you and I both call by a variety of names, such as dishonesty, impatience, and downright foolishness. You are now admitting that you are a compulsive gambler, hooked as surely as though you were on a drug. Better not to think about it? Better not to do it!

Nobody can help compulsive gamblers, but I sincerely believe that the average punter, who has access to the most comprehensive guidance in the world here in Australia, can win at the races. He can beat a race, he can beat the daily double, the quinella ' he can win on each-way betting, if he is selective. IF HE IS PATIENT.

I'm going to outline a plan which involves patience, but still allows you enough action so that you are not too tempted. It will involve sticking to one city, but having an interest in a second one. There will be an exotic bet or two, because there is always the chance of a big pay-out with them, and let's face it, we all dream of the big one.

It depends on so many factors, but comes down to the amount of money you can afford to lose without inviting either a heart attack or a marriage rift. I am guessing, because everyone has different funds at his/her disposal. Nevertheless, I estimate that the average punter puts $5000 through the TAB over a year. That's in round figures, about $100 per week.

If you don't think that's your annual turnover, you are probably correct, but when you add up your weekend and midweek bets, it only means eight box trifectas (the extra and main at Sydney and Melbourne, Saturday and Wednesday) and five bets of $5 each way, and you're there. All but, anyway.

If you bet in Victoria, you can probably have lots more exotics and use your $100 much faster. Wherever you live, the figure of $100 is reasonable for the average punter. You can, of course, multipy by ten, or divide by whatever, to set your limit.

Here's one way for you to divide up that $100:

    $12 trifectas
    $36 quinellas
    $40 doubles
    $12 singles

As you can see, there is only allowance for two box trifectas (1 am referring to the NSW/Qld minimum of $1 ... other states are cheaper). But I am not proposing box trifectas, because they suggest that you are uncertain about the outcome of the race. I am suggesting that you either take the two you fancy most with the next three in a reversed quinella ($6) or you take a standout with two or three or even four horses.

The first thing is to be reasonably confident that your selection is going to go darn close to winning.

Here is the idea spelt out:

Trifectas: ABC ABD ABE BAC BAD BAE cost
$6 at $1 each.
A/BCDE ($12)

By the way there is a very good article on this aspect of betting in Practical Punting Monthly Issue One, Page 14, by Statsman.

Now if you cannot find a standout bet, and if have doubts about the trifecta you are taking, there is a golden rule: DON'T TAKE IT. Nothing could be simpler than that.

Let's assume, though, that there will be one or two trifectas about which you have some confidence during a week. Well, you have allotted $12 to yourself to chase them, Twelve per cent of your week, and no more.

What about that $36 for quinellas? Unlike the trifecta, the quinelia is not to my mind exotic. I believe that quinella betting is more likely to reward you over a long period of time than trifecta betting might do, but we still allow for a trifecta or two because a good one can set up a marvellous bank.

Quinella betting involves less outlay to cover more horses. At the risk of telling you what you already know, here's the pattern: two horses one bet; three horses three bets; four horses six bets; five horses ten bets; six horses fifteen bets; seven horses twenty-one bet$.

We have $36 for our quinellas, and so far as I am aware everywhere but Queensland allows 50 cents bets. So we could take six horses for $7.50 four times during the week, and still have enough for two lots of four-horse quinellas. The permutations are almost endless, but $36 is our limit.

Once again there is an excellent article in PPM, this time on page 26 of the first issue. As always, I would advise patience. I would wait until I thought that there was a quinella race with two, or perhaps three good chances and a couple of rough chances. Let's say, then, five possibilities, with three strong contenders and two that have some hope.

Here's how I'd bet my quinellas: ABCDE ($1 x 10 = $10) ABC ($2 x 3 = $6) AB $2 (one bet). That would be half my $36, but the point is that I would have patiently awaited such a race, and may not have bet for some time. If my AB comes up, I have ten times the dividend on it. I have six times the divvy on AC or BC, and two lots of AD, AE, BD, BE, CD and CE. I am therefore looking to a dividend of at least $1.85 on AB, $3.05 on AC or BC, and $9.05 on the others to make a profit.

One more point about the quinella If I am betting off-course I have no way of guessing the dividend, except that I am well aware of the horses the papers and radio are pushing. This is important, and we'll take it up next month.

By The Optimist