This month, lit our look at the writings of the late R.W ‘Georgie’ Wood, we examine his thoughts on staking and selection. Wood was a great believer in ‘perming’ and linking multiple selections in doubles and trebles.

His books and magazines on horseracing, mainly published in the 1940s, '50s and '60s, are now collectors’ items. The following article is an extract edited to bring some factors tip to date, from his book Systematic Professional Betting, first published in 1953.

If you had $20 on one horse every week, why should you have a better chance of winning than if you had $4 on every day for 5 days?

Of course, if you knew for certain that the one bet per week was a super sound selection, while all the rest were doubtfuls, there would be some sense in it. But is there such a thing as one super sound selection per week per month, while all the rest are scrubbers?

I say NO. In my opinion, there are some sound selections every day, in which case I cannot see the sense in backing one per week, which might often be a 4/6 chance, and lose, while 5 bets a week might yield several winners at 4 / 6 to 5 / 2.

All your cash on one horse per week is all the eggs in one basket.

But, actually, I will go further, I contend that there are several sound selections PER DAY, and it's on these that my 7-Point system is based.

The system rule for selections is this: Take three Open-Welter-3YO Mares races. The system selections are the pre-post favourites. These are backed in three singles, three doubles and one treble. The outlay is 7 units. 


There are no dangerous progressions with the staking and you are betting on races in which the 'good thing', the early favourite, is very likely to score.

Three winners at evens will return 26 units, and there is always the chance of a winner being at a much better price.

The system is best operated when firm tracks are available.

One idea that also has interested me is the consecutive staking plan for pre-race favourites. This system provides for 5 doubles linking together races 1 and 2, 2 and 3, 3 and 4, 4 and 5, and 5 and 6.

Any two consecutive winning favourites land you a double. Any three produce two doubles, and so on.

I have found this approach to work very well and the stake is modest enough. It can be better to choose, say, 4 races and bet in these for 3 doubles (say 1 and 2, 2 and 3, and 3 and 4). Choose good-class races.

Another interesting approach is the 50-Units Staking Plan. We set down 50 units and bet one-tenth. That technique is familiar enough, but here is something rather novel. If the bet loses, the lost stake is added to the bank and then one tenth is staked again. 

If this loses, the process is the same. But, when a winner turns up, the amount won is deducted from the bank. Should the deduction bring the bank below the 50 units, a line is drawn under the transaction and a new bank and series started. The backer must have won.

This is a winning coup. If the amount won does riot bring the bard below 50 units, then one tenth of the bank is again staked.

The remarkable thing about this system is that any run of bets that can be shown to produce a level-stakes profit will produce an increased profit by the staking. And any series of bets that produces neither profit nor loss will definitely result in a profit.

Frankly, I know of no other staking plan with this interesting guarantee. Systemites will derive much pleasure and profit from writing out runs of imaginary bets with all kinds of sequences, and applying this plan to them.

It is a moot point, of course, to decide which is the more important, staking or sound selections. All the clever staking in the world is useless without a decent flow of winners.

But it's also true that losses can accrue from faulty staking even with 50 per cent winners. Selections and staking are like the pans of a scale; they should balance one and the other.

Sane staking and wise choice of horses go band in hand to make the ideal racing system.

The Quadrangle Professional Plan calls for bets on four horses in a race. The races chosen are those in which the betting is very open so there will be no obvious good thing going off at a low price.

The objection usually to backing several horses in a race is that the favourite or second-favourite will be likely to score at a short price, thus causing no profit to be shown on the bet.

But when the right races are chosen this objection vanishes. We must look for difficult races in which the winner is obviously hard to find.

Open handicaps of big fields, at least 12 runners upwards, or competitive races with small fields are ideal for the plan. But they must be races in which the potential winner is hard to find.

My rule is that the favourite in the pre-post betting market has to be at least 11/4. The higher the odds of the pre-post favourite, the better it is for the race to be used. We do not want a low-priced winner.

If the right races are chosen, a good-priced winner can be confidently expected and it's almost certain to come from the first 4 in the pre-post betting.

It takes a bit of practice to work this excellent system, and the beginner is advised to work on it on paper for a while until he gets the hang of it.

You'll soon become expert at finding the races in which the four-point bet can be worked with a profit.

(Editor's note: The Perth Cup on January 1 is an example: The winner was the favourite at 5/1, so a 4-unit bet would have returned a 50 per cent profit.)

Each system horse is backed with a level stake and the stake unit is increased when a few units have been won.

Whether you habitually back low priced horses or longshots, the method of staking I will now explain will fit your selections and guarantee a certain minimum profit with all losses recovered, provided your winner comes within the number of bets allowed per coup and provided that in most cases it is not at less than a certain estimated price.

For example, a punter might be out to back a 2/1 winner within a certain number of bets. The first staking table allows him 7 losing tries and if he succeeds on the 8th he recovers all losses plus the profit he's after.

Now obviously it rests on the bettor not to be on a horse that is quoted at odds-on. It's no use crying about prices if the backer insists on betting such hotpots.

With regard to getting a winner in the desired sequence: surely any average racing man can find a 2/1 winner in 8 bets or, say, a 4/1 winner in 12 tries, or a 10/1 winner in 22 tries?

Well, the basis of the system is that the backer is allowed a number of tries to find a winner; if it comes sooner than expected, all well and good. When the winner is found, the coup is ended and another begins.

The first line of stakes (listed on p39) is based on an estimated price of 2/1 the winner. It allows for 7  losing bets and it shows a minimum profit of 2 units no matter when the winner comes.

The other lines are for higher priced winners, at 4/1 and 10/1. A further set of lines is based on a minimum profit of 4 units but the profit will be frequently much greater.

The 4/1 lines are ideal for backers of second-favourites.


2/1 — 1-2-3-4-6-9-10-20
4/1 — 1-1-1-2-2-3-3-4-5-6-8-11
10/1 — 1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-2-2-2-2-2-3-3-3-3-4-4-5-5

It will be noticed that the higher the estimated price of the winners, the longer is the permitted losing run. This is a logical arrangement for, naturally, the longer-priced winners are less readily found.

PRICE — (minimum profit 4 units)
2/1 — 2-3-5-7-10-16-24
4/1 — 1-2-2-3-3-4-5-6-8-10-12-15
10/1 — 1-1-2-2-2-2-2-3-3-3-1-4-5-5-6-6

The use of these tables will be quite obvious to all system backers, and an examination of them will show how they have been constructed.

Betters might like to construct further tables based on larger profit figures. I have deliberately avoided fractions in the table and this has led to the minimum profit figures being much exceeded in several instances.

Let me repeat that the securing of the desired winners within the sequences at the required prices really does rest largely with the better. It's just a matter of picking the horses with reasonable care.

Backers of the longer-priced horses will rarely be able to derive any help from the newspaper tips, for these generally centre on favourites or near-favourites.

These sorts of punters, always seeking big value, will doubtless have some personal method of selection.

What matters is that the right stake is on when the winner is found. A point to remember is that a profit will still be secured even when the winner happens to be at a lesser price than required. This fact will be evident after a little study of the tables, and of course there is always the possibility that the winner will pay more than expected.

Click here to read Part 1.
Click here to read Part 2.

By Brian Blackwell