Many and varied indeed are the views held worldwide about money management, or staking, in horse-racing. Ask an Aussie about staking and you're likely to get a different answer to what you'd hear from an American.

US expert Randy Giles, regarded as one of the leading handicappers in the States, has spent much time devoted to the intricacies of selection and staking. His website ( is packed with detailed information on all aspects of the racing business.

Randy says: "Money management is not a topic that most American horse-players seem to be too interested in but I've always felt that good handicappers fail to turn a long-term profit because of little or no attention paid to how they manage their money at the track.

"I played the races full-time for seven years and, believe me, the only way I stayed afloat was because I stuck to a money management system. Do you need a sophisticated plan? I don't think so; you just need a plan.

"Here's how I do it. First of all I think of playing the races much like I would if I were a day trader of the futures market. I think in terms of units (contracts) when I place a wager and a percentage of capital.

"Through extensive research I've created models or profiles of horses that are handicapped against themselves as well as the field of horses they will be competing against today, and then apply odds or a fair price for a  reak-even point. When the price is above that break-even point I make the bet.

"Normally I will wager 3 per cent of bank on a straight win bet and 6 per cent of bank on a win/ place bet. With the win/place bet I use a Iunit/2-unit approach. Say I bet $100 to win, then I would bet $200 to place as well.

"Of course, you will need to know your winning percentage to make the proper percentage of bankroll work for you long term. For example, if you have a win per cent of 30, then you'll need to prepare yourself for 13 losers in a row.

"At that win percentage a win bet of 2 per cent would keep you from losing your entire bankroll. The draw-down of your account would sting but not put you out of business. For extra protection I would adjust your percentage after each race."

Randy has compiled his own list to help punters determine their optimal percentage bankroll bets.

Win %No of losses you'll
have to withstand

He says: "I've found that this approach is not difficult to follow. And it works!

"In summary: Create profiles, determine break-even point for each profile, determine win percentage, determine optimal percentage of bankroll, wager that percentage on each race, and adjust after each race outcome.

"It's a bit of work but it's well worth the effort. You don't need to be an expert to turn a long-term profit; you just need a simple yet sound approach to handling your money at the track."

Randy Giles also has a few pertinent rules that punters should follow in their general betting activities. These are some of them:

(1) Learn from every loss.

No matter how proficient a handicapper becomes, losing races will happen much more often than winning. What a great opportunity to improve your game, not to mention pattern recognition skills.

(2) Don't take a loss personally.
A lot of the time you will make an excellent bet but the outcome will be bad good bet, bad outcome but don't beat yourself up. It's the nature of the game.

(3) Remain dedicated to your handicapping approach.
If you researched it, then stay with it. Nothing is more disgusting than watching a winner go by because you changed your game plan and knew better.

(4) Check your objectives.
What are your strengths and weaknesses? What is an overlay? Where the hell are you going?

(5) Plan your bets and follow through on your plans.
Is the No 3 horse a prime bet or just a contender? What odds do you need on the contenders? Know it and do it!

(6) Make commitments and keep them.
Handicapping the races can be a tedious process. Before you bet, make the commitment to handicap the card no matter what ... every single day.

(7) Make a commitment and take the plunge.
If you decide to play a horse at a certain price, then take the plunge. Be brave.

(8) Develop winning attitudes.

Use affirmations. Meditate. Sing campfire songs. Whatever. Stay in a positive state. This game can be cruel; why add to the chaos with a poor attitude?

By P.B. King