At this time of the year-when tracks are often rain-affected-it can be a wise decision to restrict yourself to place betting. My check shows that divvies often are full of value for horses filling the first three slots.

The good thing about place betting is that you are very likely to get large numbers of winning bets in a row. Many punters find that place betting actually gives them peace of mind in that they don't have to worry if their horse is involved in a desperately tight photo finish. Even if it doesn't win, their bet stands OK.

So, the place punter does not have to cope with the long losing runs that afflict win punters. This leaves him with a feeling of far greater security-in other words, the after-effects of 'scared money' no longer is a problem.

The method I am recommending for place punters is a simple one, accompanied by an easy-to-follow staking plan.

It should appeal to those punters who like about three bets per day. Firstly, the selections can be made by yourself, or by choosing a favourite tipster. Alternatively, you could take the Best Bet as published in The Australian for each city meeting.

The initial bet is $10 (or $1, or whatever you wish as a unit). We'll concentrate on $10 for the sake of this exercise.

If you hit a loser, the next bet is $20. If this loses, you go to $30. If a horse is placed (after that initial $10 bet) you drop $5 on the previous stake. Therefore, if you had a $20 bet and it was placed, your next bet would be $15. You never go below the initial $10 bet. Simple, then: Up $10 after a loser, drop $5 after a winner.

The idea behind this is that we expect more placegetters than losers. In fact, you should always aim for a place strike rate of at least 60 per cent, and better still, around the 70 per cent mark. This isn't too hard as long as you choose your bets carefully.

The beauty of it is that the risk is small. A high percentage of payoffs will produce a sense of security and imbue you with confidence as you proceed. This method, naturally, will not appeal to the punter who prefers to plunge on the horses he fancies. Such punters always stand the risk of being financially wiped out.

No, this plan is for the cautious punter who is willing to accept small profits, with less danger. The simplicity of the system is very convenient. Your selections, should you decide to use a reliable tipster's picks, are right there in front of you in the morning newspaper. There is no form study.

Let's look at an example of how this method works. The selections were obtained from the Weight & Odds Method, published recently in P.P.M.


Day's betting ends. Stake $75, Profit $29 (38.66% on outlay).

This gives you some idea of the slickness of the method. Five placegetters from six bets has given you a percentage profit on turnover for the day of close to 40 per cent--excellent as far as place betting is concerned.

Carrying this series of bets further, on the next day's betting, there were two placegetters and two losers. The placegetters provided a profit of $5. The two losers meant a loss of $30, leaving us $25 behind on the day.

Into the third day's action, and this time there was just one bet, a placegetter paying $1.40.'We had $30 on this horse for a return of $42, and a profit of $12. Into the fourth day, and here we had five placegetters from 'a total of six bets (including, by the way, three winners).

So our bets on this day, beginning with $25 on a placegetter at $1.50, would have sent us sailing into profits again, as follows: $25 ($1.50), $20 (Lost), $30 ($1.35), $25 ($1.20), $20 ($1.50) and $15 for a profit on the day of $23.50 (a profit of 17.4 per cent on turnover).

Altogether then, in the four days of action we made $39.50 profit, or 13.6 per cent on turnover. As the weeks went by following this brief piece of action, the place results more than maintained their momentum, never going more than three bets without a placer coming up.

Some of the dividends were as follows:
$2, $1.65, $1.70, $2.15, $1.70, $2.05, $3.05, $3.50, $2, $1.90, $1.85, $2.50, $1.95, $2.25, $2.50-so you can see that this particular staking plan would be able to work well with selections like this.

You may prefer less action. In that case, you should stick to your own three picks for the day (or one or two picks if you like), or take The Australian's Best Bets, or the 'cream' of the selections made by your favourite newspaper or radio tipster.

Finally, a word of warning: Before we can become successful in life, and in betting, it is absolutely necessary for an individual to get along with himself as well as others. The human factor plays an important role in life, and the punter, like any other person, must develop a relaxed, easy attitude with himself.

So, this method is ideal for the punter who has 'got it all together' and who trusts himself. Stick to the rules, and be cautious and patient, and you will make steady profits, without risking too much.

Just Aim, Fire . . . and GRIN!

By Jon Hudson