Last month I revealed some of he excellent 'snippets' of information gleaned from the pages of the weekly newsletter Firepower, in its section called How To Bet Comer.

Hundreds of these 'bite size' pieces of information have been published in the last two years or so, and they have all been aimed at inspiring rank-and-file punters to some deep thinking and closer analysis of all they do in connection with trying to pick a winner.

$20 FUN
A Firepower reader asked how he could have some 'fun' and maybe win a little with a bank of only $20. The key, as always, is not to have too many bets. If you have small bets, try doubles or quinellas as well as win shots. Why not pick two specials for the day and back them $4 a win each? Also, couple them in a $2 place double. That's $10 accounted for. Use the remaining $10 for running doubles, for win and place, or a mixture of both, on the all-up tote machine. A few winners, or some placers, could enable you to double your stake.

Punters seeking good trifecta wins should consider the 'quinella tri'. Simply, it means taking 2 horses as bankers to run 1st and 2nd with the remaining runners (field) to run 3rd. Depending on the number of starters, the cost varies. If you have a field of 14 that means, using $1 units, you are up for $24 (A-B-Field, B-A-Field). As a further safety device you could take the Field to win with A and B to run 2nd and 3rd. Used selectively, on good races, this approach can draw in nice profits.

How should a punter react if his fancy in a race is being offered at what seems very generous odds? Oddly enough, most punters get scared when this happens. They think there must be something wrong with their judgement. Usually, they will panic and cut back on a proposed bet. There is, though, an old betting maxim that says the greater the value, the greater the increase in stake! If you have faith in your selections then there's no need to freeze. Enjoy the largesse!

Some punters bet solely on the TAB and make a good living. A Sydney professional takes two $50 doubles each Saturday and says he wins thousands of dollars a year. His total outlay is $5,200 a year. Just one double paying $100 for $1 covers his outlay for the year.

The Yankee appeals to small punters seeking big returns. Choose 4 horses per meeting. Split them into 6 doubles, 4 trebles and an accumulator. Bet 4 units on each double. Bet 2 units on each treble. Bet 1 unit on the accumulator. The outlay, assuming $1 units, is $24 on the doubles, $8 on the trebles and $1 on the accumulator. A total of $33. Just one double at 7/1 will enable you to almost break even.

American writer G.R. Nash makes the following points: (1) If you are playing horses at less than 3/1 you cannot afford to buy more than 4 combinations in doubles - 2 horses each leg. (2) If playing horses 311 to 5/1 you cannot afford to buy more than 9 combinations - 3 horses per leg. (3) If playing horses at 4/1 to 6/1, you can buy up to 16 combinations - 4 horses per leg.

A winner in three and you could be a millionaire, eventually. That's the view of a US professional punter. The key, he says, is to pick 3 prime bets a day and stop at a winner. Never bet past a winner. And bet to prices (percentage-wise). That is, if 2/1 then 33 units bet, if 3/1 then 25 units, if 4/1 then 20 units and so on, Pick your spots carefully and always stop at a winner for the day.

How do you estimate what a quinella will pay? It's hard to get an accurate figure but one method widely used by astute punters is the following: Multiply the expected TAB divs for each of the 2 horses you fancy and then divide the result by 2. Let's say Horse A is paying $5.00, B is paying $3.50. Multiplied, that's $17.50. Divide this by 2 and you will come up with approximately $8.50 to $9.00 for the quinella. Using this method you will never be far off the mark.

When can a horse be regarded as being 'consistent'. As a rule of thumb, you can determine that a horse with a 20 per cent strike rate is at the lower end of the consistency chain. As strike rates get higher (after at least 10 to 15 runs) the more consistent a horse can be regarded. A win strike of 30 per cent and more is excellent, 40 per cent and more is fantastic.

Punters make many mistakes. Perhaps the worst is to lose too much. You must set yourself a limit. Say a maximum loss of $50, or $40, or $100, depending on your financial circumstances. If that sum is lost, don't keep betting. There is always another day.

One way to bet is to consider that each selection is at 3/1 or 4/1. Then bet them to that price. You set yourself a target of, Say. $20 and assume each bet is, say, 4/1. Add losses to the target. You start off with a $5 bet (4/1 x $5 equals $20) and if that loses the target becomes $25 and the next bet is $6 (rounded). Continue in that vein. Always assume your selection is priced at 4/1.

Click here to read Part 1.
Click here to read Part 3.
Click here to read Part 4.

By Peter Travers