Most of us know--or at least, all P.P.M. readers know!-about bookmakers' percentages. We know that a bookmaker's prices allow him to make a certain percentage profit on a race (not that he always manages to do so).

A punter can take advantage of these percentages in a number of ways. There is the method of backing several horses in a race so that you make a profit no matter which one wins. This is used by many professional punters who do not mind taking small profits.

Using this method, you could back any number of horses as long as their percentages did not add up to 100. If you had two horses at 3-1 and another at 4-1, your outlay would be 25 units on each of the 3-1 shots and 20 units on the 4-1 chance, a total of 70 units. No matter which horse won, you would make 30 units.

The problem with this approach is that if you do not strike a winner, you lose hefty sums (in the above example, 70 units). I have worked for a long time on devising plans using percentages and have come up with quite a number that bear examination.

The one I am now about to tell you of is a plan that came into my possession while I was in England in the mid-1970s. A professional punter over there told me he used it with a great deal of success. Basically, it operates on percentages but on a very limited approach.

It relies on three sets of prices which are used to calculate all your bets, no matter what prices your selections might be. The percentage-wise table is set out as follows, with three degrees of betting from \$20, to \$10 to \$5. You select which stake amount you want and bet accordingly.

THE PERCENTAGE-WISE TABLE

Possible Profit
Col. 1
Col. 2
Col. 3
\$20 \$10 \$5
Choice Odds

A 2-1 Bet \$33
Bet \$16
Bet \$8
B 5-2 Bet \$29 Bet \$14 Bet \$7
C 5-1 Bet \$17 Bet \$8 Bet \$4

Now, you follow this pattern all the time. Your No 1 selection is regarded as 'M in the table and if you are shooting for the \$20 profit you would bet \$33 on it. Your second selection would be 'B' and you would place \$29 on it. Your third selection is 'C' and the bet is \$17. Now it may well be that in many cases you will end up making a great deal more profit because the prices of the horses you bet on may be much bigger than the 2-1, 5-2 and 5-1 you are relying on.

In some cases, they will be shorter. But you should be careful not to bet when you know that only a very skinny profit, or even a loss, may eventuate.

Used carefully, this method of betting can be devastatingly successful. Let's take a look at a recent day's action.

SANDOWN PARK, August 29
Open Handicaps Only
(Selections by Best Bets)

Race 1:
A Leica Topic
\$33 win 1st 3-1 Profit \$99
B The Red Jack
\$29 win Lost Loss \$29
C Big Mr Wolf
\$17 win 2nd Loss \$17
Total for race: Profit \$53.

Race 7:
A Isomer
\$33 win I st 5-1 Profit \$165
B Northern Copy
\$29 win 2nd Loss \$29
C Cold Hearted
\$17 win Lost Loss \$17
Total for race: Profit \$119.

These were the only two races on which you would have operated at the Sandown meeting. The day's profit was \$172, on a total stake outlay of \$158. So your return on outlay was more than 100 per cent.

DOOMBEN, August 29
Open Handicaps Only

Race 5:
A Prince Anton
\$33 win Lost Loss \$33
B Bank Coin
\$29 win 2nd Loss \$29
C Vo Rogue
\$17win 1st 6-1 Profit\$102
Total for race: Profit \$40.

This was the only race on which you would have operated for Doomben. All other races were Restricted class events. I have not included results for the Rosehill meeting of that day because of the atrocious track conditions, which made a mockery of form. Saner punters would not have been inclined to bet.

So on the two meetings, and three races, on which we operated the total combined profit was \$212. An excellent day's work, by any standards. If you had been betting in bigger amounts-well, you work it out for yourself.

I recommend this betting approach on Open Handicaps only. You can usually rely on form working out well in these races and if you follow tipsters-like Best Bets-you will find they tip well in them as well.

Do not be tempted to over-use the method. That is, do not try every race. It’s not worth it. Be selective. Be patient. Be cool. You will win.

By Statsman

PRACTICAL PUNTING - OCTOBER 1987