So you have a whole swag of winning bets - and you still can't win? If you're that kind of punter, you can take a little heart from the fact that you're not alone.

Most punters bet so haphazardly, and without purpose, that no matter how well they may select their horses, their actual method of betting lets them down. Why?

Because, in most cases, there is no method. It's all spur of the moment action - $5 on this, $10 on that, a quinella here, double there. How many times have you had your smallest bet of the day on your best winner, and your largest bet on your worst loser?

The answer is to adopt a staking plan that will control your betting, and get rid of those Haphazard Blues.

Rule 1 is never to bet just for the sake of betting. Only put your money on when you consider you have a better chance than the bookie. Try not to bet on every race. Have common sense and patience - they'll pay off over a period of time.

I've drawn up a selection of simple betting plans that will suit the small punter. Why not select the one that suits you and give it a try? I'm sure that if your selections are sound, the plans will give you that vital edge that will enable you to win - consistently.

The old-time professional superstar Eric Connolly thought of this one. It's so simple, but deadly effective. You have $32. Divide it into three 'banks' of $10 each, and spend the other $2 on a cup of coffee and a bag of chips. Pick your races carefully. Let's say you have reached race 3. There's a nice 3-1 chance you like, but the dangers could be A and B at 4-1 and 10-1. Connolly says 'save' on the dangers with $2 on the 4's shot and $1 on the 10- 1 chance. The other $7 goes on your main chance at 3-1.

If the good thing wins; you pick up a profit of $18. Okay - in race 5, the 54 favourite looks a special. You rate the danger as a 4-1 chance. Save on the 4's chance with a $2 bet and put the remaining $8 on the good thing. If it wins you are up another $8.

You treat each race like this. I suggest you restrict yourself to three races a day and use your $I0 banks for each race. Sensible betting will ensure this little plan becomes a winner for you. Just remember to select your 'good thing' but save on the danger, or dangers. Eventually, you will be able to lift your three banks to $20 each, and as you win more, you can increase them further.

This is beauty. The aim is to keep the punter's personal risk to a minimum, but extract maximum return from the winners. That means small bets with the punter's cash, and bigger bets from winnings.

I'll explain it, by operating on one bet a meeting with a total capital of $16 "The scale of bets is as follows: $2, $2, $2, $3, $3 and $4. If all six bets lose (!!), you start all over again. If you back a winner that returns more than 12 units, you deduct the amount of the stake, and divide the actual profit into three parts. The first part (A) is one-sixth of the amount won. The second part (B) is one-third of the amount won, and (C) is one-half of that won.

So, if you won $30, you would divide 30 by 6, then by 3, then by 2, giving you units of $5, $10 and $15. Let's look at a possible play. Your first bet at $2 loses, so does your second at $2, then your third bet at $2 wins at 8-1. Great. The profit is $16 - now you make the division (1 /6th, 1/3rd and half), so you end up with units of $3, $6 and $9. These are now your units of investment. Your fourth bet is $3, then your fifth bet of $6 loses, but your next bet at $9 wins at 6-1, giving a profit of $54. Okay - start dividing in the same way again, and you'll get units of $9, $18 and $27. Your seventh bet, then, is $9.

Get the idea? If all your three division bets lose, you go back to the $2 scale. A progression, by the way, always stops once you have struck two winners. That's safety first. Other rules: When you back a winner at less than 3-1, you continue on as if you had not won at all, and when you score at 3-1 plus, but your winnings are less than 12, you make your next unit bets $2, $4 and $6.

Here's a nice'n'easy one for you. All you need is $16 for a day's action (betting in $2 units). It calls for bets to be made on a flat stake basis, with an increase for four races after backing a winner.

At race 2, you might back a winner at 4-1. So then you deduct your original stake of $2 and divide the $8 profit on the next four races. So for these next four races you will have your normal bet of $2 win, plus a further $2 on each from your profits.

If you won again on race 3, say at 21, you would have had $4 on the winner. Take out your stake of $4 and divide the $8 profit up again at $2 a race for the next four races. That means you would now be betting $6 on the horse in the 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th races - plus anymore you might win.

Great little  idea, this one. It's been around for years, and remains as seductively brilliant as always. You always bet 10 per cent of whatever your bank happens to be. If your bank goes down, your bets go down. Bank up - bets up. You can use any percentage figure you like - bet 5 per cent of your bank if you like, or even 2.5 per cent. It's up to you.

I recommend the 10 per cent plan for those punters whose winners actually are priced between 6-4 and 3-1. Use 8 per cent if your winners are usually between 7-2 and 5-1. Bet to 6 per cent with winners coming up between 5-1 and 10-1, and 4 per cent if you concentrate on horses at 1 Os and longer.

This one will keep your betting in line. It's a superb plan for punters who just can't control their betting. It restricts clearly and simply, how much you invest on each race.

There are eight races on a card and you bet in $5 units. Your bank then is $40. You divide this by 8 and you get $5. This is your bet on the first race. If it loses you are down to $35. You divide this by 7 and it again means a bet of $5. If it loses, you are down to $30 - divided this time by 6, which gives $5 again. Okay, this horse wins at 6-1. You have a return of $35 (including stake), meaning your bank is now at $60. There are five races left on the card, so $60 divided by 5 is $12, and that's your bet in the next race. Get the idea?

If you are winning by the time the seventh race comes around, then stop for the day. Don't push your luck any further.

A lot of old-time professionals were keen on this idea. Your investment is one-fifth for a win, and four-fifths for a place. Assume your bank is 100 units. The smallest amount to be invested from this would be 20 units on a horse - that is, 4 for a win and 16 for a place.

If the horse lost, your bank would be at 80 units. Your next bet would again be 4 x 16. If your first horse had won, and your bank had risen, say, to 120 units, your next bet would be one-fifth of 120, equalling 24, for an actual bet of 5 units a win and 19 units a place.

This is a sound method of betting - but restricts your activities to well-fancied horses. If you can have a minimum strike rate of one winner in four at a handy price, you'll be fine.

English punters have long sworn by this plan. It operates on favourites, but you could operate it on your own selections, too.

The opening bet is one unit a place on the favourite in the first race. If it is placed, and you win, that's it. Close up shop and put your profit in your pocket. The bet is then repeated at the next meeting.

If the first race favourite lost, your bet at the next meeting is one unit a place on the favourite in the first race, plus the same bet on the favourite in the second race.

It progresses like this. With each loss, you operate on an extra race at the upcoming meetings. If you wish, you can use this method using a 25 per cent win, and 75 per cent place unit.

A nice easy one for any punter to have a lash at - and it does bring some terrific dividends. All you do is back the favourites on an all-up basis for three races. On a seven-race program, you only need a bank of 7 units. Sometimes you will be wiped out - but you can win well with it. As soon as you achieve one winning threesome, you stop punting for the day.

Do you have problems working out how many doubles or trebles there are in any given number of horses? The following table will help:

No. of HorsesDoublesTrebles

Professional punters swear by this idea. They take a long-term view and treat 100 races as "one bet". They use a quota and divisor approach. If setting out to win 100 betting points, from 40 winners, we arrive at the first bet by dividing 40 into 100, which is 2.5. If you are betting in $1 units, your first bet would be $2.50.

Should this lose, the quota rises to $102.50. The divisor would remain the same. If the first horse had won at 4-1, we would have won $10. This is then deducted from the quota and the points gained taken from the divisor. So the next bet would be 36 divided into 90.

When you achieve your 100 target, you rule off and start again.

On an eight-race card, there are seven running doubles. With this plan you will need a bank of$28 (using 50 cent units).

The plan is simple. In each double you take a 4 x 2 combination. In the first leg of each double, take the first four horses in the betting, and link them with the two favourites in the second leg. For the second double, the same thing is repeated. You'll strike some excellent doubles with this play. It gives you a nice range of prices in your first legs, and two strong second-leggers.

A warning - this final plan is only for those punters who want to have a big go at their two specials for the day. You bet only for a place, and you carefully select the horses you will back.

Suppose you bet $20 for a place on your first selection and it ran 1st, 2nd or 3rd and paid $1.10 (for 50 cents) for a place. Your bank would now be $44. Your next powerful selection runs later in the day, so you bet the entire amount you have on him. Your original $20 is still working for you, and you have someone else's $24 also working for you.

If your second special runs a place at, say, even money, you will have a return of $88. So your original $20 has grown with just two simple place wins to $88, a profit of $68. This is the equivalent of someone paying you 3.4 to 1 on your $20 investment. This is not just a place double - it is leverage betting. All you need to make this idea really work is a sound selection principle and lots of self-discipline.

By Statsman