A Few months ago a professional punter friend invited me to his home to watch him at work on his form study. I was keen as this man has a fully computerised set-up, and downloads fields and ratings for any meeting on which he wants to bet.

While I was surprised at the man's electronic set-up I was even more surprised when I saw how savagely he eliminated certain races from a card. For him, there was no such thing as looking at every race on the program.

"I learned a long time ago that it's a form of madness to try to tackle every race," he told me.

"So I tinkered around for ages trying to pick races here and there, and it still wasn't working right for me.

"So I went back over all my years of recent betting, and began to break the results down. To my astonishment, the one factor that stood out from all the rest was this I was making most of my profits from races run at 1600m and further! It was the sprint races that were eating away the profits."

Bearing his self-probe in mind, the punter made the decision to cut sprint races from his armoury. He just ignored them from that point. It was a bold move but he says, with a smile, it has more than paid off.

"Apart from cutting out a huge amount of work, it has helped me become a real expert on distance races," he says. "I don't have many races on which to bet and I get ample time to study the ins and cuts of the form properly."

By discarding the sprints - any race up to around 1550m - my pal improved his financial position enormously. With fewer races to worry about, he was able to increase his stakes on the races he did bet on, and this has meant a vastly boosted flow of returns.

"I'd recommend a similar ploy to anyone who is truly serious about getting his or her betting under control." he says. "My case may be peculiar in that I was not hitting the sprints well, and that for one reason or another I was doing better in the longer races.

"Other punters should examine their betting records and try to determine where they are going wrong. I mean, it could be that a bloke is losing dough on betting midweek. If that's the case, and it has shown up for a long time, then my recommendation would be that he toss midweek betting away.

"Just forget about it. It may be hard initially to not bet during the week, but you have to remind yourself that you are only throwing money away if you do. That's what I did to jolt myself into ignoring sprints.

"There are any number of areas where a punter can go wrong. You have to face up to your weaknesses and eliminate them."

This man bets only on Sydney and Melbourne races. He looks only at races at 1600m and longer. He prefers those races around 2000m to 2200m. His records show he has greater success in this distance bracket than at any others.

As an example of his approach, I outline his betting for Saturday, August 26 (only because it's the closest meeting to my writing this article). The races he concentrated on were race 2 over 2000m, and race 4 over 1900m. That's all. just two of the eight races. At the corresponding Sandown meeting, there were another two races he considered, one over 2100m and the other over 1600m.

The Rosehill meeting saw him back Mountain High (11/4) and Duty Bound (7/2), both at level stakes. Duty Bound won and his profit on the race was 2.5 units. In the 1900m race, he again backed two horses, the winner Ardeed at 4/1 and the favourite Western Approaches (7/4), but here he took Ardeed for one unit and Western Approaches for 2 units. The return was 5 units for a profit of 2 units.

At Sandown, in the 2100m race, he followed the money - and his own ratings - to back Bellomahal at 4/1, while his second choice in the race was the favourite, Unsolved, which he backed at 9/4. At level stakes his profit was 3 units. Finally, in the 1600m race, he had his first losing bet of the day when he bet 1 unit each on Rivertaine (13/4) and Calypso (11/2). The latter ran 3rd, while Rivertaine lost.

On the day, then, he won 7.5 units and lost 2 units, giving a profit of 5.5 units. This man, incidentally, bets in $250 units, so his actual day's profit was $1375.

His total stake for the day was 9 units, so the profit on turnover was just over 60 per cent, which my friend says is a very good day. He normally hopes to make between 30 and 40 per cent.

The following is a system summation of my friend's basic distance approach:


  1. Bet on Sydney and Melbourne meetings.
  2. Consider only those races from 1600m upwards.
  3. Do not bet on more than three races at any one meeting.
  4. Trim the race down to two strong chances - no more. If you can't settle for two chances then ignore the race.
  5. Generally, bet them at level stakes but make sure you can make at least a 50 per cent profit on a 2 unit investment (i.e. you must be assured of a 3 unit return).

By Jon Hudson