If there's one thing you have to do when betting seriously it's this: Fight hard to win. As in most other endeavours in life, you won't succeed without winning the battle.

And, to be sure, there is no easy way to win. Once you have overcome the psychological battle as I explained in my previous article in this series-you still have to win the selection and staking battle. Being in the right, positive frame of mind will aid you in winning this particular fight, for sure.

Goal-setting should be No. 1 priority for anyone embarking on a serious course of betting. You need to know exactly what your objectives are going to be. How much money do you want to make in a year, and how are you going to achieve it? These are crucial questions.

The Annual Method is one that has always appealed to me. This plan treats every 100 races as a single bet, on the assumption that the 100 races will produce winners whose combined odds are equal to 30 units. Put another way: Your objective is to win a pre-determined amount on 100 races returning winners whose prices added together will total 30.

The basis of this idea is to do with winners and their average odds. It assumes you can average 25 per cent winners at around 5/2-much the same result as that achieved by leading newspaper tipsters each year. On this assumption, there would be 250 winners every 1000 races whose combined odds totalled 625.

Playing on the safe side, The Annual Method says that every 1000 races would provide the same number of winners (25 per cent) but with combined odds of a low 300 points-equal to 30 points (or units) each 100 races.

As soon as winners whose odds total 30 are backed, your win objective is achieved and the series completed. However, a secondary rule provides that if, at any time during a series a profit of one point or more for every race played has been achieved then the series is completed and a new series begun. Example: If the bet is to win $1 a point and at the end of, say, 16 races there is a profit of $19 then that would constitute a completed series.

The betting method is similar to the 6Point Plan, but with a divisor of 30, with the aim of winning 30 points in 100 races. The opening bet, then, is 30 divided into 100-$3.50. Losses are added to the target figure, and wins are deducted from the divisor.

Never be afraid to introduce an increased divisor should your bets get too large to handle.

If you feel this method is too cumbersome, and perhaps a little too much on the risky side to handle, why not look closely at the Yearly Objective Plan, which also seeks a profit per race, where the punter sets out to win so much for every race, plus the recouping of losses incurred between wins.

With this method, you have an assumed price of 4/1 for each bet. You may decide you want to win $10 per raceday. You select three horses at 2/1, 3/1 and 5/1, in that order of running. Your target is $8 and your assumed price is 4/1. Therefore, your first bet on the 2/1 chance is $2.50. Let's say it loses; you now have a target figure of $12.50 with your next bet, the 3/1 chance.

You again assume the 4/1 chance rule to get the $12.50 target, so the bet is, say, $3. Let's again assume this horse loses. Your target now is $15.50, and your final bet is $4 on the 5 /1 chance. It wins, so you get a return of $24. You have more than achieved your target and the day's betting looks like this: LOSS $2.50, LOSS 3, WIN $20. PROFIT FOR DAY.. $14.50.

With this plan, you are always in control of your capital. Avoid odds-on horses and you should come out of it very well indeed. Set a conservative target, and don't back too many horses per day.

Finally, a few words about setting your goal. Regular readers of P.P.M. will know that our writers believe in treating punting as a business, and we believe our readers should do so as well.

Start with a small 'goal' or 'target' to reach, and then gradually increase the figure. Stage One might see you seeking to win just $10. Stage Two could see you chasing $20, then $30, then $40-until at the end of 100 weeks, or say 2 years, you would be chasing a target of $1800. You would then, of course, be in the big league, but you would have built up to the stage in easy $10 stages initially, building up to $20 stages later on.

You could work it this way: Targets $10,$20, $30, $40, $40, $40, $40, $50, $50, $50, $50, $60, $60, $60, $70, $70, $80, $80, $80, $90-20 initial stages with an all-up target of $1070. Your next stage, having achieved all the initial 20 targets, would be a $100 bet, mounting the target each time by $10 and eventually $20.

Your bank would need to be generous to provide for all the action-at least $500; in fact, the more the better. If you played this staking method in conjunction with the Yearly Objective idea you could do really well, providing you chose your horses carefully and didn't go "crazy' by betting on too many races.

Although you'd have losses, the wins would eventually arrive to achieve each target figure. And, so, on you go!

Bet sensibly, don't be put off track by side bets and a myriad of incidentals, and you should put yourself well on the pathway to consistent success. You'll know what you're after and what you stand to gain.

Click here to read Part 1.

By Statsman