Any staking plan needs three major requirements. The first is that it has to be used with a system with a reasonable chance of winning. This is not as silly as it may first seem.

Some punters come up with crazy systems and then get disappointed when they fail to work. Your system, whichever one you use, has to be put through a rigid testing before you invest money on it.

Secondly, the system has to be one that has regular winners, or one that is capable of striking longer-priced winners every so often, to compensate for the inevitable long runs of cuts linked to long-priced runners.

The first plan I recommend is the Double Figures Winner and the progression goes like this:

1 - 1 - 1 - 1 - 1 - 1 -  1 - 2 - 2 - 2 - 2 - 2 - 3 - 3 - 3 - 4 - 4 - 4 - 5 - 5 - 6 - 6.

According to my calculations, the minimum profit you can expect on this plan is 4 units. That is based on 22 bets at 10/1. I stress that 4 units is the minimum. The turnover profit will be determined by where the winner falls and what it pays.

Then there's the 4/1 Double Plan. This time we are aiming to get a double at 4/1 in 10 selections. We will use the all-up method, or you could use the daily and extra doubles chosen by your respective State TABs. It depends very much on where you think you can find the best value chances.

Can you find two winners - one at evens and one at 6/4 - on a card? Can you do it once in 10 tries? If you can, you can land a 4/1 double, and at better odds you will be travelling even more sweetly.

At evens, the bet becomes two on the second leg and at 6/4 you get back 5 units for your original one unit bet and that means a profit of 4 units.

I suggest you follow this staking approach:

1 - 1 - 1 - 1.5 - 2 - 2 - 3 - 3 - 5 - 5.

This can be a very neat plan for those punters content to back favourites race to race, or who take the horses at pretty short odds. You can make a nice killing when the favs score at, say, 3/1 or 7/2.

If you believe you can trap a double at 5/1 in every 12 bets, you can extend your betting progression to bets 11 and 12 at 6 units each.

That means a total of 36.5 outlaid with a minimum return of 35 units.

While this theoretically means a small loss, it does add an extra degree of safety in that you have two more bets to save the day. Instead of stopping at 10 losses, you give yourself two extra chances of recouping before stopping.

I'll now move on to one of my favourite staking approaches, The Succulent 600 Plan. It is easy to operate and will give you a winning day if you can arrange to back one winner at 9/4.

The initial bet is 10 units on Horse A. If A wins and pays 9 / 2 or better, then you have 20 units on Horse B and 20 units on Horse C. If Horse A loses, or wins at less than 9/2, the next bet would be 10 units on Horse B and 10 units on Horse C.

If Horse B wins at 9/2 or better, then, regardless of Xs result, you bet 10 units on Horse C. If Horse B loses, or wins at less than 9/2, then no more bets. You already have 10 or 20 units on Horse C.

As you will realise, the maximum you need to start this off is only 30 units. My recommendation is that you have 20 times this amount, 600 units, as a safe bank.

You do not have to save it all up at once, but you do have to be faithful to the plan. What I am hoping for with this approach is to double the unit if a winner is struck. I am restricting myself to three bets a day.

What am I aiming to do? Win, naturally, but as well as that I am looking to make a profit provided any one horse wins at 9/4 or better.

You might think this is a tall order. But keep in mind that as long as I get a winner at 9/2 I will do much better than cut even. A winner at 9/4 will cut even. I am looking to get two winners and, occasionally, three over a long period, and jackpot my earnings that way.

The day I get three winners at 9/2 I will receive 330 units for my outlay of 60. That still represents 9/2 but from boosting winnings, not chasing losses.

The difference is the philosophy. Should none win, then I am down 30 units. If the wins are coming in I am winning with them and if they are at better odds then I am winning more.

I can withstand a losing run of 57 cuts before I am unable to operate the plan.

Think carefully about these ideas. They can be catalysts for helping you to think deeper about the way you bet.

** This article is partly-extracted from the book Dollars And Sense, The Complete Approach to Staking and Money Management, written by The Optimist and other Practical Punting Monthly experts.

By The Optimist

PRACTICAL PUNTING - NOVEMBER 1996