Many punters who don't have the time, or the inclination, to go through the sometimes challenging process of drawing up a priceline on a race, might like to consider the approach of a friend of mine.

This chap has been quite successful in his betting operations for some years, so he knows what he's doing.

He perfected a pricing approach which simplified the approach because he simply didn't have the time for anything else. He was a school principal at the time, though he is now retired, still in his early 50s, and spends much time at the races.

His idea is based on pricing only four horses per race. No more. His figuring is that if you can narrow a field down to the four main chances, they are the only ones you need to price.

He assumes a top total of 20 rating points. Each rating figure has a corresponding price. For example, 20 points equals a price of evens, 19 equals 5/4 and 18 equals 6/4. (The full list is at the end of this article.)

Now, the thrust of this approach is that you price mainly to 90 per cent only, give or take a few Percentage points. This means, you won't always price all four horses.

Let's look at an example:

Horse A: 18 points Horse B: 16 points Horse C: 10 points Horse D: 8 points

The corresponding prices and percentages would be:

A: 6/4 (40%) B: 2/1 (33%) C: 7/2 (22%) D: 4/1 (20%)

In this instance, the total of the percentages is 115 per cent. The D horse is axed, leaving a percentage total of 95 per cent. This is okay.

Sometimes, only two horses are priced, as in the following:

Horse A: 20 points Horse B: 19 points Horse C: 9 points Horse D: 7 points

The corresponding prices and percentages would be:

A: evens (50%) B: 5/4 (45%) C:15/4(21%) D: 5/1 (17%)

The total of the percentages is 133 per cent. The C and D horses are automatically axed, leaving just A and B to be backed (providing an overlay is available. of course).

Sometimes, the ratings points will be low for all four fancies. For example:

Horse A: 9 points Horse B: 7 points Horse C: 4 points Horse D: 3 points

These correspond to:

A:15/4(21%) B: 5/1 (17%) C: 8/1 (11%) D: 10/1 (9%)

These add up to only 58 per cent, which means you can go seeking overlay prices on all four horses.

My friend usually restricts himself to playing about four races a day at one or two venues. This he says, allows him ample opportunity to spend time on allotting his points, for the various factors, and for getting the whole thing 'right'.

When he goes to the track, he is armed with his prices, he knows exactly the prices he needs, and he knows how much he needs to bet.

How does he allot the various points? He has no set schedule. It's mostly done on instinct. He believes there is no rigid selection model that can be relied upon.

"Your own brain, your own commonsense are all you need," he says. "My judgement has been honed over the years and I'm very confident about what 1 do."

As an example of his pricing, my friend rated the Blue Diamond Prelude for fillies at Caulfield as follows:

Mannington 20 points evens (50%) Ponton Flyer 16 points 2/1 (33%) Operettas 8 points 4/1 (20%)

Tennessee Midnight 3 points 10/1 (9%)

Only two horses were considered, Mannington and Ponton Flyer (they ran l 1st and 3rd).

I think this is an interesting approach to pricing and I'm confident it'll help in-a-rush punters to come to terms with placing a value on their selections.

THE PRICING TABLE

PtsPrice %PtsPrice%
20evens50107/222
195/445915/421
186/44084/120
177/43675/117
162/13366/114
159/43057/113
145/22848/111
1311/427310/19
123/125212/18
1113/424114/17