Action on doubles betting offers the small punter a good chance of reaping big rewards; without much of the agony involved in trifecta betting. I've always been a fan of doubles, possibly because when I started punting I was in it in a really small way - 50 cents was my limit in the old days.

Because of this, I tended to link my selections in doubles. It was this approach that enabled me to build up my bank to a decent level after only a few years, and since then I've continued to attack doubles betting, on both gallops and harness racing.

About five years ago, Martin Dowling introduced me to a most interesting method of selecting multiple doubles. In this case, a 3 x 3 with varying amounts placed on the different combinations. Martin's approach was actually revealed as a multiple win bet method in PPM in November, 1986, but as a doubles-getter it has few peers.

The method concentrates on the first three pre-post favourites in two selected races each meeting. It is recommended most strongly that you stick to Open and Welter races. Once you have your three selections in each leg, you bet as follows:

Favourite: $15.
2nd Favourite: $10.
3rd Favourite: $7.
Total: $32.

If your first leg happens to be successful you re-invest on the next three horses as follows:

Favourite: 47 per cent of 1st leg return.
2nd Favourite: 31 per cent of 1st leg return.
3rd Favourite: 99 per cent of 1st leg return.

Let's suppose that your first leg favourite won at 2/1. You had $15 on it, so your total return (including stake) is $45. You now have to re-invest according to the percentages listed above.

If you have a calculator-and you'll need one-all you do is punch in 45 and then multiply it by 47% to establish what your bet will be on the favourite in the second leg. The answer is $21. You do the same procedure for the 2nd favourite-that is, punch in 45 and then multiply it by 31 %, giving you a bet of $14. Obviously, now, you have $10 remaining and this is invested on the 3rd favourite.

Let's assume that your three horses in the second leg are 6/4, 3/1 and 7/2. A win by the favourite at 6/4 would give you a total return (including stake) of $52.50-a profit on the bet of just over $20. A win by the 3/1 chance would return you $56, for a profit of $24. A win by the 3rd favourite at 7/2 would return you $45, for a profit of $13.

The alternative to this approach, for those who like to chance their arm a bit is to reverse the percentages for the second leg bet. In other words, have the biggest bet on the 3rd favourite and the lowest bet on the favourite. In this case, you would have invested $10 on the favourite in the second leg, and $21 on the 3rd favourite.

Had the favourite won your return would have been $25, leaving you with a $7 loss on the double. But if the 3rd favourite had won you would have received back a total of $94.50, for a massive profit of $62.50. This, of course, is a far riskier procedure than the first one outlined, because the 3rd favourite is likely to have less winning chance than the favourite (assuming the favourite is a true favourite).

Let's look now at a recent example of how the method Works. We'll take the main double at the Caulfield meeting of October 20, with the Caulfield Cup the first leg and the second leg being the Welter over 2000m. In the Cup, Sydeston was favourite at 11 /2, and then we had just A Dancer second favourite at 6/1 and Royal Creation listed at around 13/2. The bets, then, were $15 Sydeston, $10 Just A Dancer and $7 Royal Creation.

As history shows, Sydeston won at 11 /2, giving us a return of $97.50 to be reinvested on the first three favourites in the second leg. The first three favourites were Mantlepiece at 7/2, Pressman's Choice at 9/2 and Painted Ocean 5/1.

Using the formula listed already, the bet on Mantlepiece would have been $46 at 7/2. The bet on Pressman's Choice was $30 at 9/2, leaving $21.50 to be placed on Painted Ocean. The records show that Mantlepiece won, so the return on the double was $207, for a profit of $175enormous stuff!

Had you switched the bets, putting less on the favourite and more on the 3rd favourite, you would still have $21.50 going onto Mantlepiece for a return of $96.75 and a profit of almost $65.

This is but one example of how such a doubles approach can haul in some excellent profits. What you need to do is to pick your two races very carefully. You will have the 'percentages' with you, because statistics show that the first three pre-post favourites won around 64 per cent of all races.

Many times, these pre-post favourites will blow in the betting, thereby enabling you to collar even greater wins than you might have anticipated.

By Rick Roberts