In the second article in our series, The Best of Banker Weekly, regular PPM contributor Jon Hudson re-examines some  of the great selection methods he has unveiled in Banker Weekly  in the past 12 months. In PPM's September issue, we'll publish some of The Optimist's best staking  plans.

Looking back over Banker Weekly in the last year, I've been delighted at how so many of the selection plans we talked about in the weekly magazine have kept on winning. I've had letters from readers thanking me for putting them on to fresh, profitable ideas they just hadn't thought about before.

Perhaps the most popular of all has been The Newspaper Poll Method. It's quite a basic, simple selection system and yet it keeps on producing a stack of value winners. The method takes fullest advantage of the skills of the newspaper tipsters. When checking, I've usually used the tipsters' polls in the Sydney Morning Herald, the Melbourne Sun and the Brisbane Daily Sun. Interestingly, this method works best in Sydney and Brisbane. It might pay to check Melbourne results further using The Australian newspaper's poll.

The first thing to do is delete all scratchings on race morning. The two horses at the top of the poll are the ones in which we are interested. You consider a horse for a bet only if it is 3-1 or longer in the pre-post market.

What this method provides is a speedy way of narrowing down well-fancied horses. You are looking at possibly the best two horses in a field but you are only going to bet on them if they offer good value. This is where the 3-1 cut-off point comes in.

Anything priced below 3-1 (from 11-4 down) can race without your money, because the value just isn't there. In Banker Weekly, I supplied details of how the method went at the time I wrote the article (October, 1987) and in Sydney there was a profit of $77.50 on $10 straight-out win bets, and $50 profit in Brisbane.

For the more cautious among you, an idea I feel is worth examining is to adopt the position of stopping betting as soon as you have made a profit. If you set out to win say $20 you would quit as soon as you hit that target or more. Sometimes with this method you will be called on to back two horses in a race. This is unavoidable, but the 3-1 or longer price rule enables you to back both and still look forward to a profit no matter which happened to win.

I conducted a more recent check of results on the weekend of June 11 (in Sydney and Brisbane) and the results were as follows:

R1: All Stormy WON 11-4.
R2: No bets.
R3: Reign Imperial Lost 7-2.
R4: Hot Block Lost 9-2. Dazzle WON 4-1.
R5: Raffellini Lost 11-1.
R6: Ima Blackout 3rd 7-2.
R7: Macleod's Star 3rd 11-2.
R8: Port Of Kapsali 3rd 11-4. Mardi Gras Lost 7-2.
Stake: 9 units. Return: 8.75. Loss on day: 0.75 units.

R1: Gypsy Rogue 2nd 13-2.
R2: Avon Lodge Lost 92.
R3: Imprecetto 2nd 92.
R4: New Bisque Lost 41.
R5: Planet Ruler 3rd 5-2.  Campaign King WON 9-2.
R6: Lord Hybrow WON 9-2.
R7: Billy Asset Lost 7-2.  Regal Affair 2nd 7-1.
R8: Certain Avenger 2nd 7-1.  Mighty Reserve Lost 6-4.
Stake: 11 units. Return: 11 units. Break even on day.

From a total of 20 selections, there were 4 winners and a total of 12 placegetters. This is a 20 per cent win strike, and a 60 per cent place strike rate. And my experience shows that this was an ordinary day for the method-better results are usually achieved.

On June 18 at Eagle Farm, this method came up with two winners and four other placegetters from a total of eight bets. It notched three winners at Sandown).

Now, on to a system that sorts out key profit horses. You confine your betting to Open Handicaps and Welters on city tracks. On country tracks, you can operate on Open, Welters and Flying Handicaps. By sticking to these better quality races, you are giving yourself a better chance of striking sound, consistent form.

Once you have decided the races on which to bet, you look at the newspaper popularity poll and consider only the first three horses in the chosen races. You then check to see how they ran at their last two starts. To be considered further, a horse must have finished in the first three placegetters at least once in its last two starts.

With the horses still left, you check to see when they had their last race start. To be considered further, a horse must have -raced within the last 15 days. Any horse which hasn't raced for 16 days or longer is discarded.

If you have more than one horse remaining, you back the one that is highest on the tipsters' popularity poll. Or, if prices permit, you can back both. Between 1983 and 1985 this method came up with a high percentage of winners. It's a great method for place punters, with an average strike rate around the 70 per cent mark.

The Champion's Longshot Plan is one for punters who like to get hold of longshot winners. It provides only horses at double-figure odds (in the pre-post market, anyway). You don't get a great deal of action but when you do the chance is there for massive profits. My suggestion is that you use this idea as a backup to your main betting activity.

We concentrate only on the runners trained by any of the top six trainers in Sydney (on Sydney tracks)-Brian Mayfield-Smith, Tommy Smith, Paul Sutherland, Bart Cummings, Ray Guy and jack Denham. Once you have marked off all their runners in a race you eliminate any of them that won at their last start.

Once you've done that you consider only those horses at 15-1 or longer in the pre-post market. When you have these horses all listed you put them through a final check. They must have won at ONE of their last THREE outings but NOT at the last start. This is simple to discover just look at the form figures for their last three outings. Of course, you already have eliminated last-start winners.

The horses left are your bets for the day. If you have more than one horse in a race then back them all. The prices are going to be so big that there's plenty of leeway for multiple betting. The test period I showed in Banker Weekly in August, 1987, had four bets for a 3rd at 66-1 (Prince Elite) and a winner at 16-1 (Go For The Doctor) for a profit on $10 eachway bets of $325 for a stake of $80.

The Super Repeater Plan is another which has drawn a most favourable response from a number of people. For those among you who like to sort out very special bets, this is the method that fits the bill. It is based on form and past performances. You can, I have found, strike winners at all kinds of value prices.

I recommend that you operate only on metropolitan midweek and Saturday meetings. You can forget about all the horses that did not win at their last start, so in one fell swoop you are eliminating most of the runners on a day's programme!

Once you have marked off all the last start winners you make sure those wins were on metropolitan tracks. Any horse that won on a country or provincial track last start is eliminated. You then apply one further rule to the horses remaining.

To qualify, a horse must have a win strike rate of 25 per cent or more. If it hasn't then eliminate it. If more than one horse qualifies in a race, then back the one with the highest win strike percentage.

You are now left with your final selections-last-start city winners who have a consistent win strike of 25 per cent or more. By the way, don't operate on 2yo. races or jumps races. In my test for Banker Weekly, there were five selections in Sydney and Melbourne for three winners and two losers. The winners helped to return a profit on the day on $10 win bets of $42.90 on a stake of $40more than 100 per cent return on money staked.

On June 18, at Rosehill, there were two bets for this method for two winners Natski and Galligaskins! At Sandown, there was one bet, Bronzing, which lost.

Just for a change of pace, I thought I'd throw in one of George 'Barker' Bellfield's excellent selection systems for the greyhounds. George comes up with fine systems for dog fans and the one I featured from him in Banker Weekly 12 months ago is a beauty.

You pick out your favourite tipster in the newspapers and at every meeting all you do is check out the tipster's top selections. They become a bet if they ran 1 st, 2nd or 3rd at their most recent outing. If your choice of tipster is spot-on, you can enjoy regular wins.

As an example, I took a test in Melbourne and Brisbane and there were 18 bets for 8 winners and a profit of 11.8 units--or $118 if you were betting in $10 win units. A handy profit.

The key to George's tipster selection idea is this: PICK THE RIGHT TIPSTER. George recommends Paul Dolan in Brisbane and Peter Pearson in Melbourne. He recommends you take the selections of the No. 1 tipster in the Sydney Greyhound Recorder.

And, very finally, an easy way to test if you are looking at a TRUE FAVOURITE. I revealed this method of appraisal in Banker Weekly in November last year.

Each favourite on the card should undergo the following test to determine if it is anywhere near value for money (allot points as you go):

  1. The horse must have won or been beaten not more than two lengths at its last start (5 points).
  2. It must have had its last start within the past 14 days (5 points).
  3. It must have shown it can handle the distance of the race (i.e. it must have won or been placed within three lengths of the winner over a similar distance, give or take 75m). (4 points).
  4. It must be able to handle the day's track conditions. (5 points).
  5. It must be well-weighted and not be carrying more than 2.5 kgs over what it carried at its previous start, working from the relative Limit weights (4*points) .
  6. It must have an experienced jockey aboard, or an apprentice considered to be first-class, or a jockey who has won on it in the past. (3 points).
  7. It must have a win strike rate of 20 per cent or more. (4 points).
  8. It must be at evens or above. Ignore 41odds-on favs. (4 points).

There is a maximum of 34 points. The greater the number of points a favourite can amass then the greater its value.

NEXT ISSUE: It's a bonza bonus month in September. Special double-issue pack including Brian Blackwell's new 1988-89 100 Horses To Follow.

Click here to read Part 3.
Click here to read Part 4.
Click here to read Part 5.
Click here to read Part 1.

By Jon Hudson