I suppose that when it comes to money management in betting, we could talk for hours, and hours, and never  come to any definite conclusions. I know through my own chats with mates and colleagues over the years that each bettor has his or her own ideas about how best to bet their money.

We've had the topic of 'eachway or two bets a win' discussed on a number of occasions in the magazine. Some punters will always back their selections eachway because it's their conservative nature to 'play safe' in case they're wrong.

Who likes backing for a win and seeing the horse get nosed into 2nd place? The eachway punter reasons that in situations like this, he at least has a chance of redeeming some of his stake.

I've always found that pro punters agree that backing two horses in a race is a much safer and more profitable proposition than investing eachway on just one runner. The punter can always hit a long losing streak if he bets race to race and pins all his faith on one horse.  There's less chance of this happening if he backs two horses straightout.

The two-horse punter is better protected against the long losing run which seems to come the way of most at some time or another.

Punters who use two stakes to be straightout on both the first and second favourites will probably average 48 outs per 100 races. The possibility of a bad streak is reduced while the average price of second favourites can be 3/1 or longer.

If you intend to try this approach to staking, the best plan is to put aside a special 'bank' and bet to a percentage of it, split into two stakes for the two horses. If you had $1000 capital, you could bet 5 per cent, which would call for a bet of $25 to win on both runners.

As your capital increases so does your stake. The bank could grow quite quickly, believe me. But I suggest that at any time you are showing a reasonable profit, you should declare a dividend of, say, 50 per cent of the profit.

Multiple betting versus solo selection betting has long been a topic of conversation. An Australian weekly booklet back in 1972 was discussing the issue and I have other books which have punters arguing the toss back in the early '30s!

So while things change, they more or less stay the same, don't they?

In the booklet, one punter was putting forward the point that in 100 races he would bet $50 eachway every race, and backed 20 winners at 4/1, and had another 40 selections running 2nd or 3rd. How would that compare with a punter backing four runners per race at odds of 3/1, 4/1, 6/1 and 8/1?

The booklet replied: "This man's total investment is $10,000. He gains $5000 from the 20 wins, on 40 races he breaks square, and he loses $4000 on the remaining 40 plays. The result is a nett profit of $1000 or 10 cents in the dollar.

"Let us assume our judgement is on a par. I am backing 4 runners a race so, on that assumption, I'd have to back at least four times as many winners with the overall result of 80 winning and 20 losing plays.

"In backing each of the runners at the stated odds to return $100, including stake, the investment comes to $70 a race. I would drop $1400 on the 20 losing races. On each of the 80 winning races there would be a profit of $30, or a total gain of $2400.

"My net profit would also be $1000 but my relative yield on turnover would be just over 40 per cent greater. My total outlay is only $7000 for a gain of slightly more than 14c on the invested dollar, even though in each race I was laying odds of 7/3 ON backing a winner.

"Don't think that I'm twisting figures by using a lower pre-race investment. If the win better reduced his outlay to $7000 by betting $35 eachway, his profit would have been $700, which is still 10 cents in the dollar."

Interesting stuff, isn't it. The writer, though, goes on to expand on the approach.

"Had I made a multiple hook by investing $100 a race with three savers, and going for the win on the 4/1 chance, it also would 11 a x c resulted in a profit of $1000, the same as the $50 eachway investment. That is, by giving myself the same number of 4/1 winners as the win better.

"Loss on the 20 blank races would have been $2000. In 60 plays the transaction is squared. The profit on each race in which the 4/1 shot scored would be $150. The saver bets would be approximately 75 to 25, 84 to 14 and 88 to 11. With $50 invested, there is a balance of $50 to bet on the 4/1 horse.

"However, in respect of all this, there's a further point to be taken into consideration. The win better had one chance of winning and two of breaking even. In backing four horses to win the same sum in each of the 100 races, I had four chances of showing a clear profit. In the final example, I had one winning chance and three savers.

"In all respects on the proposition posed, I would have had the edge, plus a much greater insurance against  striking a long run of cuts."

A friend was asking me recently about the money management required to back well-fancied horses in order to emerge with a profit. That's a tough one.

We all know that backing ALL favourites will not produce a level-stakes profit, so some sort of gimmicky or creative staking is required. Target betting could be considered if you're backing favourites. I see no reason why a sensible punter could not do well using target betting on favourites.

One plan that I know of is based on the expectation that every season only 22 winners in every 100 will come from outside the first four favourites.

In the article I read, the argument was put that favourites would win 33, second favourites 22, third favourites 13, fourth favourites 10 and the rest 22.

On modern-day thinking, perhaps that 33 figure is a tad too high?

Anyway, the staking recommended was as follows:

  1. If the favourite is 5/2 or better, invest 2 units on the first fav, and 1 unit on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th favs.
  2. When the first fav is 2/1 or 9/4, invest 3 units on the first favourite, and 1 unit on both the 2nd and 3rd favs. No bet on the 4th fav.
  3. If the betting is close, and the first favourite is 2/1 and the second favourite 9/4 to 3/1, place 3 units win on the first fav and 3 units on the second fav. Back only these two.
  4. If the first favourite is between evens and 7/4, bet 4 units on the first favourite and 1 unit on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th favs.
  5. If the favourite is odds-on, bet units on the first favourite and also the amount you are expecting to win on this bet place on the second fav. Let's say the favourite is 4/5, and your bet is 5 units. You expect to win 4 units. So you also bet 4 units on the second fav (it might be around the 4/1 mark, so it would be a bet of 16 to 4).

If the favourite wins, you are square, but if the second fav wins you are showing a profit of 11 units.

In next month's February PPM, I'll be writing more about aspects of money management, including a look at using the 6-Point Divisor Plan in relation to favourites at city tracks. I think the results will be a surprise to you.

By P.B.King