It was my turn recently to peruse some of the many letters we receive from our readers. The topics they raised covered all sorts of issues. Some of them I will address in future PPMs, like betting on small fields, races in which favourites might excel, and the prospect of making money from following a stable. All very interesting topics which attract differing opinions!

Victor, from Eaglevale, NSW, said in his letter that he wanted a formula for backing two horses a race, with an each way bet as “the saver”. He says he bets \$10 a race. If you have 10 units in a race to play with, your first move must be to assess how much you are going to invest on your saver runner. I’ll assume that your first selection, Horse A, is 3/1 and the second selection is Horse B at 5/1.

As you want to show a small profit should Horse B win, we first IGNORE the likely return from a place bet and work the wagers purely as if they were straight-out win bets. The formula for this is simple. You just add one to the prices and divide the full sum into ‘bank”. This will give you the amount to be invested to save your full investment should the saver horse win.

Okay, let’s look at the above  example. We’ll assume the punter has a bank of \$10 and wants to save on Horse B.  As B is 5/1 (5+1) we divide the sum of the two figures (which is SIX, into the capital), which is \$10. Six divided into \$10 is approximately \$1.70 and this, invested at 5/1, would produce a bet of \$8.50 to \$1.70, sufficient to cover the total outlay of \$10 if B wins the race.

So, a punter betting straightout in this scenario would have \$1.70 on Horse B and \$8.30 on Horse A, equalling the total \$10 to bet. Our reader, though, wants to make his saver bet an each way job, yet desires to make a small profit in the event of B winning.

Perhaps, then, his best plan would be to work out his bets as if they were to be straightout (as we have just done). Then place eachway the amount he is required to invest straightout on the saver. In this case, he would have \$1.70 each way on Horse B, equaling a saver bet of \$3.40, and he would place the rest of the money, \$6.60, on Horse A.

• If A wins the race at 3/1, with Horse B unplaced, the return will be \$26.40 for a profit of \$16.40.
• If Horse A wins with B placed, the return would be \$26.40 for the win bet and \$3.80 for the place (assuming a quarter the odds of 5/1), a total of \$30.20, a profit of \$20.20.
• If Horse B wins, the return would be \$10.20 for the win bet, and \$3.80 for the place bet, a total of \$14, a profit of \$4.00.
• If Horse A loses and Horse B runs a place, the return would be \$3.80, a loss on the total bet of \$6.20.

That’s not a bad scenario for two horses in a race. The method of investment is sound PROVIDING the selections are good ones. As we have stated before in PPM, any staking plan needs to be supported by winning selections! Pick losing horses and no staking plan can help.

With the place bet going for you, on Horse B you will at least salvage something from the bet if it runs a place and Horse A loses. Remember, it’s no good A running a place because you have it for the win only.

Another reader, Bill from Chadstone in Melbourne, wanted to know more about a system he’d heard about which was based on the third selection in the tipsters’ poll.

I’m not sure what system he is talking about, and the only one I could find that fitted the description was one called The Third Pop Plan, which originated in the United States in the 1950s.

The approach is that the selection is the clear THIRD HORSE in the tipsters’ poll before scratchings. You fix a target, or sum desired, and you aim for and your bet is always ONE FIFTH (20 per cent) of the objective. If, then, your required target figure is \$10 your bet would be \$2.

Add all the losses to your target figure as this plan is based on progression and allows for runs of losers which are inevitable. If there has not been a winner if five or six races in any one day, start the next day’s betting using a ONE-SEVENTH of target approach on each race until you get into profit.

I’d suggest you don’t play this method unless you have thoroughly tested it. A six months’ workout is recommended. This will give you an insight into its highs and lows, and its good and bad points. It’s always wise never to go blindly into any system or staking plan. You must always give it a test on paper to determine whether it’s what it purports to be, and whether it can produce the goods after months and months of betting.

By Rick Hunter

PRACTICAL PUNTING – MARCH 2006