In this, the final part of our series on the UK teacher and racing books publisher and author R.W. 'Georgie' Wood, we bring you more of his thoughts on staking and selection.

Georgie Wood was a great believer in backing favourites. His writings show that although he was creative in his plans for staking, he always kept within certain limits.

The vein running through all his work is that the ordinary punter could follow the favourites and, with some intelligent staking, make good profits.

His Duo-Short Plan is an example of his thinking. Even today, some 60 years after he wrote about it, the approach bears close analysis.

This is what Wood had to say about the Duo-Short Plan:

"This is an ideal system for the backer who wants to put his racing onto solid foundations. It will not appeal to gamblers who are out for an easy fortune.

"The basis of the system is the betting forecast (n.b. the morning newspaper betting market), and the horses to back are all pre-race favourites quoted at 5/4, 11/8 and 6/4 in all races. (Wood actually preferred betting mostly on non-handicap races.)

"Here are a few facts and figures to show how the system really works. The results cover four recent seasons (n.b. in the 1950s): Horses quoted at 5/4, 188 winners, 176 losers; horses quoted at 6/4, 380 winners, 428 losers; horses quoted at 11 / 8, 63 winners, 71 losers; total winners 531, total losers 625; levelstakes profit 68 units.

"A reasonable beginning can be made with a bank of $100, and the stakes should be $5 to win each selection. When the bank is increased to $150, the stake goes up to $15. At this rate of staking it would take 20 consecutive losses to break the bank, a possibility that can be completely ruled out."

We can see here that Wood is using a sensible staking approach. He waits for a 50 per cent profit, and only then raises the level-stakes unit. This is a professional approach.

Of course, he stressed that the system works best on non-handicap races, so if you were to use it exactly as he outlined in his book Systematic Professional Betting, you would concentrate on Set Weights and WFA races, and ignore all handicaps.

Wood was often into somewhat complicated and ambitious staking plans. Like his Sure Profit Builder.

Here's how he explains it:

"By a simple calculation each day, one can do 15 doubles (6 races principle) in 6 single bets. Here is the plan:

"Fifteen points, 6 days, one bet a day, are divided as follows: 5-4-3-21-0.

"Obviously, if the first 5 bets lose, no double could possibly materialise; on the sixth day there would be no bet and the original bank will have vanished, hence the final 0 (zero).

"After every winner, add the odds together (2/1-3, 3/1 = 4 etc.) and add these to each of the remaining  stakes, including the sixth day.

"As an example, we will suppose the first proved a winner at 2/1; the remaining bets would be increased by 3 points, making them: 7-6-5-4-3.

"The second bet, say, is also a winner at evens, so 2 points are added to the remainder: 8-7-6-5.

"The third bet say, loses and we therefore keep the fourth bet at 7 points. This proves to be a winner at odds of 6/4 (1.5 + 1 - 2.5); therefore, the last two stakes are now 8.5 and 7.5.

"On the fifth bet, a 6/4 winner is again the result. The last stake, then, is 10, and this, say, is a loser.

"The results of our six races have been as follows:


2/1 (5), evens (7), Lost (8), 6/4 (7), 6/4 (8.5), Lost (10). There is a profit of 22.25 points.

"Had we used level stakes of 2.5 units on each selection, the profit would have been only 10 points."

This is a most interesting approach, and one well suited for the backing of horses that are strongly fancied in the betting.

Wood was not averse to treading into the area of 'dream wins' and in Ins book talks about the 'one bet for a fortune' approach.

He wrote: "Most system backers are quietly content to wind Lip the season with a reasonable profit; they do not expect to make a fortune overnight, and any get rich quick schemes leave them cold.

"But there are backers who take a different view. They have seen tremendous  prizes paid out to lucky football speculators and they have rightly concluded that though the chances are against them, similar big prizes can be won in the racing game.

"It is simply a matter of being prepared to take a long chance. Instead of being content with small regular wins the backer might just as well have a go for something really worthwhile.

"The football speculator does not quibble over the fact that the odds against him are terrific. He carries on from season to season in the hope that one day his turn will come.

"And that is just how those backers feel who aim to make the sky the limit.

"They are not mug punters. They do riot expect to find 100/1 winners.

What they do aim at is a combination of shorter-priced winners that will combine to bring home a big prize.

"Most of these backers bet once a week. They have a grand flutter on a Saturday and, sink or swim, they leave racing alone until the next week. But one win per season is often enough for them to keep ahead.

"Always remember, though, that if you bet for a huge return you must be prepared to accept the fact that the odds against winning are long.

Wood goes on to explain a system that attempts to land big returns. He says: "One method is to select a number of handicap races, 4 is a good number, and have an accumulator (all-up) on the forecast second favourite in each race.

"The sense of this plan is that the favourites are likely to fail, so the second favourites must have good chances. Of course, some of them may start as favourites while others drift out in the betting, and it's likely that an average price of around 5/1 may result."

As Wood points out, one hit from a 5/1 accumulator will reap a huge dividend, some $1296 for a $1 bet. Worth a go?

In summing up, then, the Georgie Wood books and publications of some 50 years ago, contain many nuggets of information for today's punters. The general approach to selecting and betting hasn't changed all that greatly over the years.

In describing his own approach, the schoolteacher racing expert writes: "It will be gathered that I am all for  backing low-priced horses and every intelligent backer will agree with me, for when all is said and done the majority of races are won by first, second or third favourites.

"Once we allow ourselves to be caught by the glamour of long prices we become gamblers instead of systematic investors. Granted, we all like a little plunge now and then, and there is no harm in having a flutter on an occasional outsider, but when it comes to serious, steady professional betting we must base our operation on THE GOODS."

Do you have old books on racing selection and staking, from anywhere in the world, but especially the UK and America? We're always interested in securing such books, magazines, etc. Contact Brian Blackwell at P.O. Box 551, Dee Why, NSW 2099, if you think you can help out.

By Brian Blackwell