The hardest task in racing can be deciding how serious you are going to be in the year ahead.

Most punters are “recreational” and they treat punting like they would a game of golf – a challenge, something to be enjoyed, but, when all’s said and done, it’s not a matter of life or death.

Average punters just like to have a good time and win something along the way. They are not prepared to devote enormous amounts of time and energy into the challenge, although they don’t mind the odd half hour or two looking at the formguide.

Those lucky enough to be “at home” all week can devote more time by viewing TVN or Sky, thus having at least something of an edge over those punters who must go to work at normal jobs.

But what if you want to take things more seriously? The New Year looms so it’s not a bad time to reassess your personal situation and to take a searching look at what you’ve been doing with your betting. Ask yourself some pertinent questions, like:

  • Are you satisfied with the way you are betting?
  • Do you believe you can do better?
  • What worries you about your betting approach?
  • Are you prepared to put in more time and effort?
  • Will you be able to change your thinking (old habits die hard)?
  • What can you do to start turning things around?
  • How much do you want to make from punting every year?
  • How can you achieve that target?

Let’s say you make a New Year resolution as follows:


This is a positive psychological step. You have put yourself in the right frame of mind. Now you look at what you can DO to make it happen.

My idea is that you firstly look at increasing the amount of money you are betting. Betting more means you will inevitably pay a lot more attention to what you are doing. Look at it this way: You bet $10 and you don’t really care all that much about the amount of work that went into the bet. Bet $100 and you start to think, hey, this is a lot of money, I’d better try to make sure I’m doing the right thing.

One plan is to split your betting into 20 bet groups and bet two horses per race. This will give you a powerful “hand” in a race and is a sure way to defy the ogre of long losing runs.

Each bet of two horses in a race is regarded as ONE BET on the two-bet grouping. You bet level stakes and once you have reached a TARGET FIGURE you raise the stake minimally.  Now, remember this: I said TARGET FIGURE not just a profit figure. This target figure is important. It’s part of your overall thinking process… how much do I want to win from my betting?

Let’s say your target figure for a 20 race grouping is $500. Now it’s not realistic to bet in small lumps when you want to reach this target in a limited number of bets. I suggest that $100 per race is your needed bet figure. So, betting two horses a race, that would be $50 on each.

It may well be that you can reach the $500 target very quickly. Even in a matter of a handful of bets if your judgement is spot-on.

You should aim for at least a 60 per cent win strike. If you can do that you are looking good.

To do it, though, you need to improve your handicapping skills, you need to master the psychology of betting, you need to boost your research and you need to streamline your whole approach to personal handicapping and the betting process. This latter will be a developing thing as you go along the punting path.

You can, of course, think about a different staking approach on your two horses in a race. Maybe split the bet 60 per cent on the horse at the biggest odds with the other 40 per cent on the second selection. This will take full advantage of the better priced winners.

Restrict your betting to those meetings and race where you feel comfortable as far as the class of horse is concerned and the class of the race. It’s usually more sensible to bet on GOOD horses rather than bad ones.

Good horses are more consistent. Consistency means you have a better change of long term success.

Now, what happens when you reach your $500 target? I suggest you then increase the TARGET figure by, say, 10 per cent to $550 for your second set of 20 bets and also increase your stake by 10 per cent. That means $110 per race ($55 on each selection).  Continue to increase like this whenever you reach your target figure.

Don’t forget: stick to good horses, good races. No Maidens and minor midweek rubbish. Stick to, say, races between six and 14 runners. Don’t bet when the odds are too short. Put more money on the higher priced selections.

By P.B. King