A Dutch Book? Many punters have some knowledge of what It means; most do not. P.P.M. has had articles before on 'Dutching' a race and In this article Martin Dowling tails you all you need to know.

Any punter thinking about multiple betting will have to give close attention to the benefits of what is known in professional punting ranks as a Dutch Book. This can be a most profitable approach, provided you are a 'sane' punter who can achieve a pretty good strike rate with your selections.

'Dutching' means you can back, say, three or four horses in the same race and keep your bets to whatever size you like. By this I mean that with some multiple betting approaches your bet size is related to the price of the horses you wish to back, therefore you could be betting $50 in one race, $60 in another and so on.

The Dutch Book trims the bets according to the amount you wish to bet on all the horses. So, if your proposed stake is $20 then all the horses will be 'staked' to $20 only.

The term 'dutching' comes from America and it means a staking method designed to return a set profit, irrespective of which of two or more horses which are backed in the same race, are successful. The number of horses you can support, of course, depends on what prices are available. If the prices are too short, then a profit cannot be made.

Firstly, I'll explain the rules of the method. Initially, I'll look at the simplified 'dutching' approach. With this approach, you don't have to bother yourself with working out percentages. Let's say your horses were 3/1, 4/1 and 9/1. You merely add ONE to each price, making them now 4 5 and 10, and you then multiply these three figures, giving you a total of 200.

Next move is to DIVIDE the 200 by the figures 4, 5 and 10, to give you the required stake for each horse. So, your 3/1 chance would require a 50 unit bet, your 4/1 chance would be a 40 unit bet and your 9/1 chance would be a 20 unit bet. This makes a total of 110 units.

You will probably not wish to bet such a large amount. All you do is determine how much you wish to bet and trim the bets accordingly. Let's say you have $22 to bet on the race, a fifth of the required stake. Therefore, your bets would be: 3/1 chance 10 units, 4/1 chance 8 units and 9/1 chance 4 units, a total of 22 units.

Easy, isn't it? Using the lower scale, any of the ~ horses winning would return you 40 units, for a profit of 18 units. Ah, I can hear you saying, why haven't I tried this before? I can understand that.

The method has been around for longer than I've been alive, but I have come across very, very few punters who use it to advantage. Don't ask me why. I've met lots of punters who bet more than one horse a race, yet most of these simply place the same amount of money on each horse. 'Dutching' is a far more positive approach.

Now, let's look at the second, more complicated approach. To determine the amount to be bet on each horse you use the bookmakers' percentage chart (accompanying this article). We'll assume you are to back three horses in a race.

Selection Odds Percentage
Horse X 3/1 25
Horse Y 4/1 20
Horse Z 9/1 10

The total percentage equals 55 per cent. Assuming you are prepared to bet $20 I'll work to this figure. The size of your bets on each horse is determined by the proportion of its percentage of the total 55 per cent. You find this by dividing each horse's percentage by the total percentage.

For Horse X its percentage is 25 per cent and this is divided by 55, giving the answer 0.4545. This is the proportion of the total stake of $20 which is to be placed on Horse X. The actual bet is calculated like this: Horse X = $20 x 0.4545 equals 9.09, or rounded off $9. Horse Y's percentage is 20 divided by 55 equalling 0.3636, which is then multiplied by 20 to give you 7.27, rounded off to $7. Finally, Horse Zs percentage is 10, divided by 55 for 0.1818, multiplied by 20 for 3.63, rounded off to $3.50.

Thus, with this more complicated approach we have the bets as follows: Horse X $9, Horse Y $7, Horse Z $3.50, a total of $19.50. Should Horse X win, your return would be $36, should Horse Y win the return would be $35 and should Horse Z win the return would be $35.

You are standing to make a profit of $16.50 on Horse X or $15.50 on Horses Y and Z. You may now like to compare the two approaches. For simplicity's sake the first one is the best I have no doubt. It takes all the complicated work out of the 'Dutching' angle, giving you the stakes required in a couple of minutes.

The beauty of this approach is that you can have two, three, four or even five horses running for you in the same race, and no matter which one wins you are going to profit by the same amount (or near enough). By betting on multiple runners you are enhancing your prospects of achieving a very high strike rate.

But here is where I must stress-and firmly stress-that you should be selective in your betting. Attempting to 'Dutch' each race will prove an onerous task. Take a long look at each race meeting and choose two or three races in which you feel there is some value.

If a race is dominated by a firm odds on pros" then it will pay to look elsewhere. The races where you are going to stand a good chance of 'Dutching' are those where the favourite is at 5/2, and other good chances are in the 5/1 and 6/1 bracket.

Always remember that it is impossible to 'Dutch' if the prices are too short. In other instances, profits will be slim. For example, you pick three horses at 6/4, 2/1 and 7/1. This means a multiplication of 2.5,3, and 8 equalling 60. You would be staking as follows: 6/4 chance $24, 2/1 chance $20 and 7/1 chance $7.50, a total of $51.50. A win by any of the three would return you $60, for a profit of $8.50.

Should you have decided to 'Dutch' only the shorter-priced horses, you would have the following situation: 2.5 x 3 equals 7.5. The bet on the 6/4 chance would be $3, the bet on the 2/1 chance would be $2.50. A win by either would result in a squaring of the bet only.

You can see from these examples that you have to tread carefully when it comes to using very short-priced horses in your Dutch Book.

What strike rate can you achieve, backing three horses a race? If we assume you can pick 25 per cent winners with your first selection, then you should be able to achieve a 75 per cent strike rate using three selections a race.

If you actually achieve this it would be marvellous. Realistically, your strike rate might be somewhat lower, probably around 66 to 70 per cent. This means you would be scoring in two from three races, which actually means you would be picking two winners from nine selections (22.2 per cent), certainly an achievable target.

At first glance, this might seem to make it a difficult task to achieve long-term profits. But by 'Dutching' you are giving yourself more than a fighting chance. If you could-as I have indicated earlier stake 22 units and get back 40 twice out of three bets, you would have this situation:

Stake on 50 races $1100, Return on two winning bets from three at $40 each, $1328; profit $228, or 20.7 per cent.

A 75 per cent success rate would mean you were picking three winners in 12 selections, or 25 per cent.

How do you actually pick the right races on which to operate? I can only advise that you stick to the better-class races, where the form is well exposed. Ignore races where the favourite is oddson or very short.

For instance, my own operations on a recent Saturday were as follows: Rosehill Race 1, a Welter in which I backed Glenview (lst 15/4), ~key Supreme (4/1) and Generous Prince (5/1); Rosehill Race 7, a Quality Handicap, in which 1 backed Cole Diesel (lst 7/2), Nanutarra (2nd 7/1) and Mystical Prince (6/1). At Moonee Valley, I bet in only one race-a Handicap in which I backed Reputed (Ist 13/2), Copak (2/1) and Jaydee's Bandit (12/1).

So I had a comfortable winning day. Three races chosen from two meetings for three hits. Good profits achieved.

This is a staking method that can work for you if you follow it carefully and do not be tempted to be too adventurous. Use sound selections at value prices. Don't attempt to use it every race.


By Martin Dowling