Many years ago, when my great-aunt was in her punting heyday, I would sit with her on a Saturday afternoon, listening to the races. Aunty Laura was never a keen form student. She preferred to follow jockeys, certain numbers, or perhaps she just liked a horse's name!

Notwithstanding her haphazard methods, she had many big collects, such as a \$30,000 quadrella for a 50 cent bet.

My plan for 'doing an Aunty Laura' is to recommend that you make your bets solely on numbers and totally disregard form. Remember, what we are after are large returns over a long period.

For some people who can afford it, they might want to just make such a betting approach another 'arm' of their current betting operation. Like any system, there is no airtight guarantee you will be successful but what I propose will limit your outlays to a reasonable level and allow you to maintain an interest.

What's more, you might strike a big win as well. And here I'll pass on a word of advice: If you do have a big win, use it for something you’ve always wanted, whether that be a holiday, or a new car, or perhaps a new pushbike! Don't plough it back into the TAB or other forms of betting.

My example plan is for punters who want to bet \$20 on a raceday. I have used Melbourne as an example because it's where I bet. Of course, some other States do not have quadrella betting. The quaddies could be replaced in those areas by trebles, or perhaps all-ups. My bets are based on 50c units.

BETS

1. 8 single trifectas on a number of combinations. \$4.
2. 8 single trifectas on the numbers of the horses whose barriers match the numbers you have used in Bet No 1 (eg, if you bet 4-8-1 in Bet No 1. then in Bet No 2 you choose the horses starting from those barriers). \$4.
4. 4 single quadrellas on the numbers of the horses whose barriers match the numbers in Bet No 3. \$2.
6. 4 single quad-extras on the numbers of the horses whose barriers match the numbers in your Bet No 5. \$2.
7. 1 daily double of your choice, any numbers. 50 cents.
8. 1 daily double using the numbers of the horses whose barriers match the numbers you have used in Bet No 7. 50 cents.
9. 1 extra double of your choice, any numbers. 50 cents.
10. 1 extra double using the numbers of the horses whose barriers match the numbers you have used in Bet No 9. 50 cents.
11. 4 single win bets, using the horses whose barriers correspond to the race number (that is, horse with barrier 1 in race 1, horse with barrier 2 in race 2 and so on). \$2.

The total bet is \$20. You may be wondering why I take the second sets of combinations using numbers that correspond to the numbers previously used (that is, if you bet on numbers 5-6-9, you can then bet on horses in the next race who are in those barriers). It's simply my way of trying to land the big fish; it's designed to put you on to combinations you would not normally be on.

If you have one of your selected numbers scratched you merely take the next number to it. If you have a number that is too large for the field you merely use the highest number available.

Some readers may see my approach as treating racing like a lottery. Well, I think it was the late Frank Hardy who called horseracing a four-legged lottery. I'll say this much: If I can make a profit in the long run on racing, I don't care how simplistic the approach is considered. Winners are grinners.

I'm convinced my 'numbers only' plan can prove very rewarding and enjoyable for the small punter. I do suggest that you give it a decent trial, say over 12 months. At the very least, you will land some pleasant windfalls and even if you lose, it's very likely you will only lose as much as you would have done using the 'form' approach!

There are any number of huge divvies awaiting the punter who ignores form and goes for numbers else would people land \$14,661 quadrellas, or a quad-extra paying more than \$40,000?

What about the quadrella in early May that paid \$19,490 on the combination 1-9-8-2? Not a bad one perhaps for someone taking a child's birth year (pity my daughters were born in 1981 and 1983!).

Your outlay is minimal, it's spread over a number of exotic bets and if you can stick it out for the long haul your numbers might land you serious money!

Editor's note: As an example of Michael's approach, let's look at races 4 and 5 at Caulfield on September 16. Had you bet Nos 1, 2 and 4 in race 4, then your 3 horses in the 5th race would be those in barriers 1, 2 and 4. These were State Taj (barrier 1), Sir Boom (2) and Beaux Art (4). Beaux Art, of course, won the race at huge odds, 33/1, and more on the TAB.

Michael Sowter is a keen RPM. reader from Moonee Ponds in Melbourne. He has a computer background, and likes to dabble with numbers.

By Michael Sowter

PRACTICAL PUNTING - NOVEMBER 1995