Those punters who believe that level stakes betting is dull, conservative and a copout are probably interested in any other form of staking. Anything which can bring with it a touch of excitement, or just something out of the ordinary.

Many years ago, when my colleague Brian Blackwell and I were kids in England, we were greyhound devotees, and one of our pals was Don Rice, a zealous greyhounds bettor who always operated with target betting.

Don still uses his target betting plan today (well, the last time I saw him in England some eight or nine years ago, he was). He swears by it. I have dubbed the approach The Rice Bowl Plan, for obvious reasons(!).

You start off your first race and your aim is to win 1 unit. Example: If your first selection is a 5/1 chance, you will not need to bet 1 unit on it to achieve your initial 1 unit target. You can, if you wish, bet a half unit and if the horse wins you will still win 2.5 units, thus easily achieving your target.

My recommendation is that you always kick off with a 1 unit bet, but after that you can cut back to smaller bets if you like. Okay, we will assume the first bet loses. You then proceed to bet No. 2 and your target is now a new 1 unit figure, PLUS the I unit you have just lost, PLUS the I unit you were seeking to get from your first bet. You now have a target of three.

However, with the rules of this plan you will not be able to stake more than 2 units to achieve that target of three. After that, your bet is determined by the length of the losing run. For example, your stake rises by one each time you strike a loser. So on your fifth bet the maximum bet will be 5 units.

Your sixth bet, maximum six. And so on. You will find that with good selections (sensible ones!) you will rarely need to bet to the maximum to achieve your target.

If, for example, your second bet is at 4/1 and the target is three, you still need to bet only I unit to achieve the target. If your horse won, you would win 4 units and you would then rule off that betting series and start again.

If we assume your second bet lost ' you then go to bet No. 3 with a target this time of the old three, plus 1 for the third bet and one for the bet you had on the second horse, giving you a target of 5 units with a maximum bet allowed of 3 units. If your next selection was at, say, 5/2, you would need to invest 2 units to achieve your target of five. If the horse won, you would have got your 5 units target, giving you a profit of two.

My approach, and that of Don Rice, is to stop betting on a series as soon as you show a profit. Rule off, and start again. Odds-on chances are not backed.

Below is a recent example, using the selections of Stephen Moran of Best Bets, September 27.

When the day's racing ends this series would currently be minus 2 units.

You can see from this example that the day's betting at Moonee Valley saw two winning series and a third ended after two losing bets. This series can be closed off completely, or else continued at the next meeting.

The day's betting ended up with 4.5 units profit on two series and a 2 unit loss on the third. The total outlay was 7 units, for a 64 per cent profit. The total return was 11.5 units on the two winners. Don't forget that this third series can still be turned into a winner with further betting.

At level stakes, you would have bet 6 units for a return of 8.5 units, a profit of 2.5 units, or 41.5 per cent profit.

Aceleen 6/1 1 1 1 X 1 - 1
PGhost 2/1 3 2 2 1st 3 4 -
Series ends: Profit 3 units.
New series
Dont Say 2/1 1 1 1 3rd 1 -1
AllEnq 9/2 3 2 1 1st 2 4.5 -
Series ends: Profit 3.5 units.
New series
CHabt 10/1 1 1 1 3rd 1 - 1
ARose 4/1 3 2 12nd 2 - 1

By Martin Dowling