Some years ago, research was done into the profitability of certain 'angles' of selections. Recently, I had time to expand that initial research. I think the results are most interesting.

Like many punters, I take a deep interest in the percentage side of racing, as well as the statistical. I guess this flows from my career in banking.

The angles I examined recently were as follows:

(a) Horse with the highest prizemoney earnings.
(b) Horse with the highest prizemoney average.
(c) Horse with the best win strike rate.
(d) Horse with the biggest number of wins.

Three of these four angles were showing a profit after six months of testing at random meetings in New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland. I felt that by mixing up the test, to incorporate high and low quality races, I could obtain a better and more reliable picture.

The (a) test showed a 24 per cent strike rate and. a profit on turnover of 60 per cent. The (b) test showed a 43 per cent loss! The (c) test showed a profit of 34 per cent while the (d) test returned a 3 per cent profit.

From this test it seems the horses to look for are the ones with the highest stake money earnings in a race, plus the horses with the highest win strike rate. At the very least, these can provide you with a starting point for devising a system that will enable you to return consistent profits.

We have talked before in P.P.M. about percentages in betting, and there is no doubt at all, that if you are to win money on a regular basis you are going to have to beat the odds. You must get your house in order and ensure yourself a fair chance of coming out on top.

If you're the type of punter who relies on betting the 'shorties' your task is just as difficult as the punter who likes to bet on longshots. The backer of the hotpots has to come up with an enormous win strike rate in order to keep ahead; the punter who backs longshots has a lower strike rate to achieve, but achieving it is as hard a task as the one confronting the hotpot backer.

The punter who wants to win has to be prepared to bet boldly. Once you have determined your approach, you must stick to whatever you decide upon as your selection criteria and your staking approach. But do make sure you have the percentages clear in your mind.

Here's a little refresher: Look at the following table. It is based on betting $2 win on 10 races at a cost of $20. It tells you what percentage of winners you need to break even at certain odds:


The backer of, say, even money favourites has to win one in every two bets simply to break square. A tough assignment? I would think so, when you take into account that horses at evens are probably under the odds by a certain percentage, anyway. That is, their true chance of winning is not evens at all - it's more like 5/4 against, which means they will win only 44 to 45 of every 100 races, leaving the punter out of pocket some 5 or 6 per cent.

Check your own percentage of winners very carefully. Divide the number of winners by the number of races played. Try to use at least 50 races, preferably 100. If your selection finding provides you with, say, 30 per cent winners you will always lose money betting horses that go off at 2/1 or less.

What percentage of profit should you try for? If you're a Saturday punter, or just the occasional bettor, I recommend 50 per cent. This will give you money to cover your expenses and a bit more. However, if you go to the track or TAB every day I recommend you shoot for a 100 per cent target.

The following table is a guide for you:

Bet if odds
are at least
Bet if odds
are at least

There are three basic types of betting (as all P.P.M. aficionados will know!) - level stake, percentage and progressive. Level stakes means exactly what it says - equal bets on all selections. Percentage betting involves a certain percentage, maybe 3 or 4 or 5 per cent of your bank per bet. When you win your bank increases and so do your bets, and vice-versa.

Progressive betting is unlike percentage betting. You increase your bets when losing and cut them back when winning. But if you can't show a profit on level stakes then percentage and progression are highly unlikely to help out.

Many professional punters simply adhere to level stakes betting. When they reach a desired level of profit they increase their bets correspondingly. They advocate is that you only increase your bet and never decrease it. The following table will give you a clear idea of how much to bet on each race; it allows for your longest possible losing streak and is based on $100 capital.


Win betting offers the top potential for profit.

NEXT MONTH: More on the percentage aspect of betting - and a great staking plan that will take advantage of your winning streaks.

Click here to read Part 2.

By Philip Roy