Two pieces of advice were given to me once by a British backer who had made quite a successful career out of betting on horse-racing.

For a start, he said, concentrate on doubles, and find yourself a banker selection for one of the legs. Secondly, bet only for the place.

I have kept in mind what he said, for the simple reason that I knew how much of a success he had made of his betting life. If you don't take advice from people like this, who do you take it from?

As part of my betting approach, but on a once-weekly and selective basis, I have made money from what he told me. I try to find that special banker bet, and I couple it for the place with a couple of others in the second leg.

Betting just for the place, on an all-up basis, I find I am well ahead of the game. Take Saturday, June 22, as an example. My pal Michael Kemp had advised me that Prince Rupert was a good thing in the McKell Cup at Rosehill. Michael is a shrewd judge and I was even more impressed by his tip when I learned he had listed Prince Rupert as his one-bet special for the Pi Am telephone service.

So I made Prince Rupert my banker. But what to couple with it? I took a good look at all the other races on the card and eventually decided that I should concentrate my attention on the final race. In this, I narrowed the prospects down to Brimstone and Go To The Post. They were at 5/2 and 3/1 in the betting on Saturday morning.

Not huge odds, but I reasoned that one of them simply had to run a place. If Prince Rupert could deliver, and I was strongly confident he would at least run a place, then my double for the place would be landed.

And that's how it turned out. The tip from Michael was a winner at 6/1, while Go To The Post scored at 4/1, with Brimstone 2nd at 15/8.

My tote return, then, was two doubles up - Prince Rupert into both Brimstone and Go To The Post.

Going for the value on Go To The Post, I invested a $60 double, with my other $40 going on the Brimstone double.

Prince Rupert paid $1.90 for the place, Go To The Post paid $1.80, while Brimstone paid $1.70. My $60 double returned me $205.20, while the $40 double returned me $129.20.

My $100 bet, then, gave me a profit of $234.40. That is enormous. Of course, with the bets I made I could have landed the win double as well, but that doesn't happen all the time, and it's not the purpose of the place approach. This is a safety first betting approach.

My money was never in danger. I had worked out the two I needed to hit with my banker, and when it got home I was virtually assured of making a profit on at least one of the two selections in the second leg. As it was, both got home.

This is but one way of making a simple 'place banker' approach work well. The secret to long-term success is to find the banker.

But any sensible punter should have little trouble. It's a case of keeping your head and sorting out a good, solid selection. Don't take too many risks, and avoid the short-priced favs.

A selection like Prince Rupert is ideal. Not too short, not too long in the betting - and not overtipped in the racing press.

Remember that you are betting for the place but you are giving yourself a good chance of doubling your money every time you have a collect.

If you are doubtful of your ability to pick a banker, then get hold of a system that makes the choice for you, or pick out a newspaper expert who is in form.

Take plenty of time about your choice, and don't try to win too many doubles on the day.

The reason I choose just one double a week is that I like to take my time in picking the bets. I know that the more doubles I try to land the more percentages I am putting against myself.

I reason that my $100 invested every Saturday is a nice little meal ticket which comes without a huge amount of risk. I have three chances with each horse I select and this is a nice comfort zone in which to operate.

By Philip Roy