I anyone knows about the business of betting, it's PPM's own systems guru Statsman. He's made a lifelong study of all aspects of betting.

Some years ago, in September 1989 to be exact, Statsman produced an article that won praise from many quarters. A UK publication chose it as its feature-of-the-month so impressed were its editors by what Statsman had to say.

What follows is a collection of the key points that Statsman made in the article. They are as relevant today as they were more than a decade ago, if not MORE relevant!

  • Beating the races is entirely a question of HOW and WILL. You need to know how to beat them, and then possess the will to carry through with your resolve.
  • At times, I do become a little bored with the pessimists who claim, "It can't be done!". In almost every case, an  investigation of the howler's background uncovers the fact that he holds a negative view because of his own failure to make good in his punting. His opinion, then, is based on personal failure.
  • If you accept an opinion based on such a fallacy, you'd have to accept that the possibility of success is a negative in every field of human endeavour, because there are always failures in each field.
  • For example, I can't paint a portrait but does that mean portrait painting is an impossible accomplishment? I can't build a house, so does that mean no houses can be built? Of course not. It merely means I lack the talent and training to properly perform these tasks.
  • It's pure nonsense, then to assert that punters can never win at racing.
  • Firstly, you have to remember that there are several ways of solving the problem. A good system will turn the tide for you, any sound method of handicapping will see you through, and a wide knowledge of racing angles may prove sufficient to make racing pay you decent annual dividends.
  • It is TOUGH to beat the races, but I believe the biggest battle is the one you have to fight with yourself.
  • I put it to you that most punters lose so much that they now never expect to win. They expect to lose and only hope they can win.
  • A proper mental attitude is so essential for any punter, especially for those known as "a small punter". The $1 and $2 punter who probably gets through $20 to $30 a week at the TAB (that's up to $1500 a year, remember!).
  • I'm not suggesting that if a punter is convinced he will win, that he will indeed win, and that all he has to do is pick a number, bet on it and collect the rewards. That would be silly. The punter, like any other craftsman, must have tools. He must learn everything he can about handicapping and he must practise long and hard.
  • What I do say is that if a punter is convinced he can win, then that is a most important step to actually winning. Convincing yourself that you can win sounds easy, but it isn't. Fighting externally and internally inflicted doubts is extremely difficult.
  • Never go to a racetrack thinking in terms of how much you can afford to lose. Rather, think in terms of how much you want to win.
  • The best advice the late, great Eric Connolly ever handed out was for punters to consider themselves as shoppers. When a person goes into a shop, he is not forced to buy. He is allowed to wander from department to department to inspect the goods on sale. There may not be a single article he likes, so he keeps his money in his pocket.
  • There is no reason why a punter can't be like a shopper. By paying his entrance fee, he has gained the right to enter the racetrack and then it's up to him. If he wants to throw away his money on every race and take any price, irrespective of quality or value, then the bookmaker and the tote will welcome him, just as the shopkeeper welcomes shoppers who shop in an extravagant, unthinking way.
  • If, on the other hand, the punter goes "ring shopping" for value and bets only when he knows he's getting value, then the bookie will both fear and respect him.
  • Summing up, then, the winning punter is a self-made man. He possesses daring, caution, discipline, commonsense and the will to win. He shrugs off negative thoughts. He shrugs off the urge to bet blindly on every race. He shrugs off feelings of panic and despair when a losing run strikes. He looks for value and he doesn't bet unless he gets it.
  • If he's a systems follower, he follows the rules and gives the system every chance to deliver, and refuses to drop off when it encounters a sticky time.
  • The fact is, you don't have to lose. You CAN win. All it takes is personal strength to think in terms of winning, and then to adapt yourself to backing up this resolve with the best selections and the best staking you can find.
  • The money is all waiting to be won. Don't let someone else win it.

By Denton Jardine