It's often the 'snippets' of information we remember best when we think about all the various aspects of form. In recent times I've helped collate small items for Firepower newsletters and from the reaction of many subscribers they were well received.

Here's a collection of just some of the hundreds of snippets - all aimed at inspiring you to further deep thinking and analysis when you're working out your selections or putting on the money.

Have you ever considered cashing in on winners with Banker trifecta bets? Many professionals follow this course. A favourite attack is to take a Banker to win with 5 horses to run 2nd and 3rd. This is an A-BCDEF-BCDEF combination, which costs $20 using $1 units. If your banker wins and any two of the others fill the placings you've landed your trifecta. The best horses to use as Bankers are favourites, or well-fancied runners.

Following beaten favourites next time out is not an easy way to riches. But judicious selection can help. A system that's worth trying is this one: (1) List any horse that was a beaten favorite last start. (2) Look at a reliable tipsters' poll (The Australian, Sydney Morning Herald, etc.) and if the beaten favourite is NOT the poll favourite it becomes a bet.

If you have several fancies in a race and you're an eachway punter, it can be a tough task deciding what to do. If there are, say, four fancies in a race then each has three chances of running a place and one of missing a place. Deduct one from four and the answer is three - so you don't back eachway any of the four which are quoted at shorter than 3/1. Should you have three fancies in a race the lowest acceptable price would be 2/1.

Be careful when someone tells you that profits are easy if you back numbers 1, 2, 3 and 4 in every race. In relation to total bets the strike rate is 12.5 per cent if the numbers win 50 per cent of all races. In 100 races you are betting on 400 horses and 50 of those 400 would win. Doesn't look so easy now, does it? Outlay would be $400 for the win at $1 each and each winner would need to average 7/1 to break even.

Even small-bet punters must have some rules to ensure betting survival.

If you can't be bothered to work out, or use, ratings and assessed prices then at least set a minimum price that you are willing to accept about any selection. Set a reasonable minimum price and don't back a horse if you can't get that price. How about 5/2?

When to bet with a bookie when you're on course is often a tough problem. But you can follow some simple rules. Bear in mind that a trend is more likely to continue than to stop and reverse. Check out the price of your selection. If it firms (i.e. 2/1 into 7/4) then back it immediately. The likelihood is that it will continue to firm (to 6/4 or less). If your selection eases early then wait until near race time as the chances are it will continue to drift in the betting.

If you must bet on jockeys, at least do so in a careful and systematic way. An interesting system is to follow the horses ridden by the two top riders in your area - but don't back their mounts unless they are on the first 2 lines of betting. This limits your bets to well-fancied runners.

Pro punters always remember one piece of advice: "When in doubt, stay out." Caution must replace compulsion if you are serious about betting. Keep a count of all the races you decide to miss. After a while you'll notice that you have avoided backing a great many losers and not very many winners! Betting is a game of patience. Wait for the right races.

Punters have many and varied ways to find winners. One way to sort out which horse to back is this: Choose the first 3 in the betting, then add the form figures from their last 3 starts to their pre-post quote. The horse with the lowest tally is the selection. Example: A horse at 2/1 with 2-3-5 at its last three starts would total 12, a horse at 4/1 with 1-2-2- last 3 starts would total 9 and a horse at 9/2 with 6-4-1 would total 15.5. The bet is the horse with 9 points.

A system for following place horses is to look at 2nd placegetters in any race under 2000m. The rules are: (1) Horse must have finished 2nd and not more than 2 lengths behind the winner; (2) Horse must have been at less than 20/1 in the betting; (3) Horse must have had its last start within the previous 21 days. This system lands some good eachway specials.

A major fault with punters is overbetting. Too many bets mean you need too many winners to keep ahead of the game. Betting three horses a day is probably the ideal number. Assuming your normal turnover is $100 on 20 bets at $5 each you can now have $33 on each of the three horses. A winner at just over 2/1 will put you in front. Try making a profit on 20 bets of $5!

Those of you who like backing doubles but don't want to study form should consider this system: In handicap races, take the 3rd and 4th in the betting market but in non-handicap races take the 1st and 2nd favourites. Simply link the favoured runners in mixed doubles.

NEXT MONTH: More 'little gems' of betting advice - covering all aspects of the punting business!

Click here to read Part 2.
Click here to read Part 3.
Click here to read Part 4.

By Peter Travers