Imagine that you have gathered from my last few columns that I am not an ardent fan of levelstakes betting. I don't see any sense at all in it unless you have a strike rate that's far in excess of what most punters achieve.

I find it far better to determine the QUALITY of a selection then apply a stake to it accordingly.

I prefer a method of Class A, B and C bets, and I stick as much as possible to the Class A type, on which I invest four betting units. On a Class B bet I place 2 units and to a Class C bet I devote I unit.

A "Class A" bet is one which I believe is an absolute standout. The horse must be well handicapped and proven against the company in which it is racing; it must have a good barrier, a good rider and a good trainer and a good record under the track conditions.

Also it must have an acceptable record at the track on which the race is being run and over the distance (preferably over BOTH course and distance).

The panels for each race in the Wizard formguide are invaluable for this last-mentioned aspect. It's amazing what you can discover about a race simply by glancing down the panels' columns.

Finally, there must not be any other runner which I concede a winning chance in the race.

A "Class B" bet is one which fulfils just about every one of those previous factors, but may miss out on the jockey or trainer consideration, or may be a slight query because it has not raced at the distance or track. I don't bet if my selection is new to both.

A "Class C" bet may miss out on maybe three factors, but its price may be so appealing that it's worth risking a unit on it.

I classify my "Class A" bets as 6/4 on chances. I accept that or any price that's better.

I assess the odds for my "Class B" bets at 3/1 and bet at that price or better.

I don't bet on my "Class C" selections unless I can obtain at least 6/1.

Usually at any one meeting there are seldom more than 3 or 4 races on which I'm able to bet and I don't have to strike a lot of winners to finish in front.

I find that, in many cases, I am able to get at least 6/4-against (often 2/1) about my "Class A" chances, which is a 20 per cent overlay.

If only three out of five of them win at 6/4, I show a 50 per cent profit on turnover for this type of bet.

My "Class B" bets provide me with a slight profit overall. I regard them as paying the expenses. The "Class C" wagers are 'cream'.

Next month I'll discuss my methods in greater detail and pass on a few ideas that will really put some punch and more enjoyment into your punting.

Imagine racing without race callers. It would be almost easier to imagine it without horses (although Michael Kemp seems to have done a good job of the latter on page 28 of this issue).

I have many treasured memories o race callers I've known and worked with over some 45 years, so I was very pleased recently when my son bought me, as a birthday present, a new book which pays tribute to that talented breed of men who put the thrill into race watching and listening.

Called London To A Brick On, it is a wonderfully entertaining history of the craft in Australia, from the days of Cyril Angles and Co. through the times of the legendary Bert Bryant and Ken Howard and on to today's well known ‘tonsorial technicians of the turf’.

The 230-page large-size book is filled with biographical information and tales of just about every race caller who has ever existed in Australia.

There's many a humorous anecdote that will really set you smiling at their antics and misfortunes and, as well, there's more than 120 photographs that will 'put a face' to the voices you know or have known so well.

Written by Steve Cairns, who is currently the studio coordinator of 2KY's racing service - having previously had stints at the same caper in Victoria and Queensland the book is the result of both monumental research and Steve's first-hand knowledge.

Titled after the late, great Ken Howard's most famous phrase, London To A Brick On will give great enjoyment to any fan of the Sport of Kings and is a must for every racing man's library.

By Russ Writer