Statsman shows the small punter the principles of money management at the racetrack.

The majority of punters do not have an enormous amount of money to bet when they go to the TAB, or enjoy a day at the races. This is a fact of life.

'Small' punters are likely to put about $10 to $20 through the TAB machine when they are betting off-course. At the track, they could start off with $20 to $40 and, with the help of a win or two, be actually turning over a lot of money by the end of the day.

The aim of this article is to pinpoint ways that punters can go to the races, or their TAB agency, and have a WINNING time with just $20. For the purposes of this article, all units will be expressed in $1 terms. If you wish to bet more then simply double or treble the units.

Perhaps the worst thing you can do, being a small $ punter, is to expect HUGE returns from SMALL outlays. You can try, of course, and a few times in your life you may pull off a coup of some hundreds of dollars. In the long term, though, the dreaming will remain just that . . . a dream. Using your $20 as a basis, you have to approach a meeting with the best expectation of perhaps doubling your money. Over 12 months, say 52 meetings, you can possibly expect to make 10 to 20 per cent profit on whatever money you actually turn over in bets in that time.

The ideas I am about to hand out are to guide you into some reasonably sensible and safe staking plans which, if coupled with sane and sensible selections, will see you moving into a profit situation. Let's hope so, anyway. Remember that when you set about the business of punting you must-for your pocket's sake-ensure you do not carry a pumpkin head on to the racetrack, or into the TAB agency! Too many punters are like chooks with cut necks when they are let loose in a betting ring. The result is defeat.

You probably think $20 is not much these days-and you'd be right. But it IS enough to give you a lot of action at the racetrack, provided you bet sanely and in the manner I will now outline. Firstly, we split the $20 into two banks of $ 10 each.

I'll assume that you have done your homework on form study and that you have come up with a selection of horses which you feel are each-way bets. This is really essential-any staking plan is worthless unless the selections are arrived at after careful and rational form assessment. I suggest that, for a start, you select the best 3 horses of the day (and I'm assuming here you are actually at the racetrack and able to bet on Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane meetings) and back then for a PLACE only. Let's say they are A, B and C. You should link them up in doubles and a treble.

This is achieved like this: Horse A with B, Horse A with C and Horse B with C for the doubles, and A, B, C for the treble. It doesn't matter which race your selections are in, or at which track, because being on the track you can easily collect and then place any winnings on a second horse. The same thing goes with a TAB telephone account.

At $1 each, you have now spent $4 of your 'first' $10 ($3 on the three doubles and $1 on the treble). You have $6 left of your bank of $10. You now select the horse you feel is the best each-way bet of the day-and it must be at 4-1 or longer, but no longer than 8-1. Bet $3 each-way on this horse. This has expended your total $10 in your first bank. Now you begin to look at your next $10, and this time you are chasing WIN ONLY value.

The idea here is to give you a separate line of action that could bring you BIG returns if it comes off. Now, with the place betting and the bet on the each-way special you have been playing relatively safely, and with just reasonable luck you could well be making some profit for the day. With your other $10 you are going for the bigger returns by betting for a WIN only.

It is best to concentrate on different horses from your place bets, to give you more of a spread of bets, so that you enjoy yourself throughout the day.

We attack the WIN betting in a similar manner to the place betting. Select 3 horses you feel are standout win bets. Don't look at anything that is odds-on but try to concentrate on horses that are on the first 3 lines of betting and use, say, 6-4 as a cut off point for the lowest acceptable odds. Once you have selected your 3 win bet horses, you couple them in doubles and a treble for a total stake of $4, leaving you $6 to have three bets of $2 win each on them. That accounts for your total 'second' bank of $ 10.

Your day's betting is, then, carefully planned out. You have 3 horses running for you to finish I st, 2nd, 3rd; you have a horse running for you as an each-way special and you also have 3 horses running for you to win, in straight-out bets of $2 each and in $1 doubles and a treble.

If we assume that your each-way special in your 'first' bank of $10 is not in your three place bet specials, then you have a total of 7 horses running for you on the day. If they are at different meetings, as they might be, you can enjoy a nice day's action. Because you have 7 horses out there shooting for you, then you won't have too much time to get bored and to start thinking about other action.

One or two good-priced winners will see you easily making a profit on the day. If your selections are above-average you could be right into orbit!

Let's look at a typical day's action recently, when I gave the $20-a-day method a test run. I used The Sportsman's selections as the basis for the tips, except for the each-way special, which I chose myself (it lost!). I took The Sportsman's best bets for the win horses and its place recommendations for the place bets (in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane).

The following were the results:

Sydney: RI, Glenbawn, 3rd 8-1
Melbourne: R8, Balibrooke, Lost 125-1
Brisbane: R2, Minutai, 2nd 9-4
Each-way Special: Melbourne, R3, Brequillo, Lost 13-4

Sydney: R2, Card Shark, Ist, 3-1
Melbourne: R4, Roman Laurel, I st 9-4
Brisbane: R4, Keikle, Lost 9-2

Now those were the bets. By the way, why a responsible formguide like The Sportsman is tipping a 125-1 chance for a placing is beyond me, but there you are. It was a crazy tip and ran accordingly (14th of 15).

On our place bets, then, we ended up with just one place double. This gave us a $4.70 return on our $1 double. Because Brequillo, the each-way special, lost, we had a loss on the first $10 bank of $5.30. The win bets were much more encouraging.

We got the double and for the $1 this returned us $13. We also had a $2 win on both the winners, for returns of $8 on Card Shark and $6.50 on Roman Laurel, for a total collect of $14.50. Our returns, then, were $27.50. That was a profit on our 'second' bank of $17.50. We lost $5.30 from the place bank, so deducting that for the $17.50 we are left with a profit on the day of $12.20 on our total outlay of $20. This is a return on turnover of 61 per cent. Had you been betting in $10 units, and not those little $1 units, you would have made $122 on the day on an outlay of $200.

All this profit has happened, of course, without your each-way special getting a place, and by securing only a place double and a win double and two win bets. You can work out yourselves what the potential profits are if you were to get home, say, six out of seven of your bets!

Here, then, is a method of betting that is reasonably 'fA-safe' and which provides you with a tremendous day's betting action. It can be operated on your own selections, or by using newspaper or radio experts' selections. If you are a subscriber to Equestrian's Banker telephone service (a marvellous winning service) you could easily use its selections; they are provided by Brian Blackwell and The Optimist and have a very high strike rate for win and place selections).

Another way to use your $20 is to again concentrate on doubles and win betting. You select 5 standout bets and couple them in doubles. That will be 10 doubles at $1 each for a stake of $10. You then prepare to place $2 each for a win on the 5 horses-with one proviso. You increase the amount bet after a winner is struck. Let's say you score a winner at 2-1 with your first $2 win bet. This gives you a profit of $4. You pocket 50 per cent of the profit ($2) and then distribute the other 50 per cent on your next 4 win bets, so instead of having $2 on each of them you now bet $2.50 each.

If you were smart enough to strike a winner with your second bet at, say, 3-1 you do the same thing again. Your return for the $2.50 win bet at 3s is $10 for an actual profit of $7.50. You pocket half of this (say $4) and split the remaining $3.50 across your next 3 horses, adding say $1 to each bet. You will now be staking $3.50 on each of the next 3 bets, with a spare 50 cents riding 'free' to be placed on whichever one you fancy the most (making its actual bet $4).

What you do, then, is simple. After each winner, simply pocket half of whatever the profit is and spread the remaining half over whatever horses are left to be bet. Believe me, this is a terrific approach and, if your selections are sound and balanced, will enable you to score some excellent wins.

I trust this article has clearly revealed that you can still go to the races, or bet from home, with a small amount of money and (a) have an interesting afternoon and (b) actually win money.

Like anything else in racing, the staking idea is only as good as the selections. Nothing will help you to win unless you come up with winners and placegetters. You know that, I know it, and everyone knows it. So, if you have a bad day with your selections and lose money following this idea, don't blame the staking method but, rather, look at what you did wrong and correct your errors next time around.

If you stick at this staking method I am quite sure you will be able to at least 'hold your own'as the weeks and months go by. Unless your selections are absolutely hopeless, your losses will be restricted and can easily be picked up and overtaken by profit-making.

By Statsman