I have yet to meet the perfect punter. Or maybe I have and didn't realise I was standing shoulder-to-shoulder with a genius.

I guess there are perfect punters around. It's just that I never seem to meet one, or hear of one.

Even greats like Don Scott would probably agree that perfection is impossible to achieve; Scott would have come close, having made a living from betting for many, many years, and a good living at that.

I can, though, build up in my mind the picture of the perfect punter. There should be a mould made of this person. The very least you can do is examine my picture and see how many pieces you fit in personality makeup.

The pyramid we have formed with these Perfect Punter blocks build up the picture of what we should all strive to be, someone in control of his life and his punting.

In the majority of cases, punters LOSE control of themselves when they go to a TAB agency, and when they go to the track. All the good intentions in the world are swept aside in the fever of the moment, as hopes rise on a winner and desperation sets in after a couple of losers.

Don't think that you are the only one who suffers the Pumpkin Heads Blues, because you're not. The sad fact is that most punters lose. In the long run, 999 out of 1000 punters are doomed to lose, no matter how much they might be ahead at any particular stage. But it needn't happen. Self-discipline, an ordered approach and a strong dose of common-sense are all that's needed.

I discovered all these secrets many years ago. My mentor was an American punter who operated on the Californian races. He taught me the ins and outs of handicapping but most of all taught me all about patience, good sense, modesty and seft-control in betting. 'You get too hungry,' he cautioned, 'and you'll find that you end up with only the bones.'

As an exercise for yourself, ask yourself how many of the pyramid building blocks you can 100 per cent apply to yourself. On the ones you fail, promise yourself to work at achieving them. Set yourself goals. Make yourself work hard. Change your betting pattern. Eradicate bad habits. Be cool, patient, forgiving of yourself, and play a cat and mouse game with the bookies and the tote.

There might be a Perfect Punter waiting to emerge.


By Jon Hudson