The great professional punter Eric Connolly often said that the best staking method of them all was to simply bet level stakes on every bet.

That way, he reasoned, you can derive a lot of pleasure and profit from racing but never be in the position of having to bet beyond your means. You always know exactly how much you can lose on the worst possible results.

Connolly, in fact, had a set of rules he followed and always handed out to punters who approached him for help.

  1. Never bet more than you can afford to lose.
  2. Always bet in set amounts according to your betting capital.
  3. Be satisfied with small profits.
  4. Never bet on races in which you could only fluke the winner.

What Connolly was saying was that you should never let betting so dominate you as to cause personal distress or sorrow to those dependent upon you. Keep your punting within sane bounds!

For the first staking plan – The Leveller – I am bringing you an idea based on a most conservative, but eminently sensible approach, which should enable you to keep your punting well within safe parameters and allow you to gain steady profits with good selections.


  1. Your betting bank should be 50 times your flat level stake. If your betting unit is $1 then you should have a $50     bank. Try not to vary from this safety margin.
  2. Keep to a level win bet on all wagers. When your bank increases by 50 per cent (i.e., $50 to $75 on a $50 bank) you declare yourself a dividend of 25 per cent ($12.50) and increase your flat win bet by 25 per cent. So you would then be betting in $1.25 units. This, nowadays, is not possible because of the 50 cent unit rule, so you would have to increase your level stake to 50 per cent to $1.50. This is a sane, steady way of going about your betting, but you have to treat all your betting as a long-term operation-look for profits over 12 months and not 12 days.

The second plan is one that enables you to operate a target profit method by backing two horses in the same race. It's an ingenious method, has been around for a long time but remains known only to a minority of punters.

The basic approach to backing 2 horses in the same race is widely known. You just add 1 to each horse's price and place that sum on each. Grey is 2-1 and Black is 4-1. Adding 1 to each price you would invest 3 on Grey and 5 on Black. The bet totals 8 units and should either horse win you would get a return of 15 units for a total profit of 7 units.

In the Target Twins Plan, you set out to win a predetermined amount, in the following manner:

ODDS 2-1ODDS 3-1
Multiply 3 by 4 = 12
Add 3 and 4 = 7
Subtract 7 from 12 = 5
After this subtraction, the number obtained - in this case 5 - is DIVIDED into the amount you want to win. Let's assume it is 100. Five divided into 100 is 20. Now, to find the amount to be placed on each horse, you use the figures of the odds PLUS one. Twenty multiplied by 3 is 60 and this is placed on the 3-1 chance. Twenty multiplied by 4 is 80 and this is wagered on the 2-1 chance. Thus, the bets are:

80 at 2-1 for a return of 240 60 at 3-1 for a return of 240

No matter which horse wins, there is a profit of 100. This formula can be used for all prices. Work out some examples for yourself using different prices and you will quickly learn the procedure.

Now we move on to the third staking plan, something that I like to call The Double Strike Play. It calls for reinvestment of winnings from one horse on any races left on the card. Let me explain further: We will say that you are betting on a seven-race program and are willing to lose $7, which equals $1 per race. You bet $1 per race until such time as you strike a winner. The money returned from that bet is then divided among the remaining races on the program. If a second winner is struck, betting ends for the day.

This is how it might work: One dollar is lost on the first race, another $1 on the second race. The third bet is $1 on a 4-1 winner, giving you a return of $5. There are 4 races left on the card so you would then divide that figure into the $5 return from the third race, giving you $1.25. This is bet on each of the remaining horses, along with the $1 you were originally going to bet as well, making a bet of $2.25 (which you will have to round off to $2 or $2.50). If the race four selection lost, you might then back a winner in the 5th race at 3-1. That ends betting for the day.

Your betting sheet would look like this:

$11st RaceLostNil
$12nd RaceLostNil
$13rd RaceWON 4-1$5
$2.504th RaceLostNil
$2.505th RaceWON 3-1$10
Total Stake: $8; Return: $15; Profit on day:$7.
This is not a get-rich-quick method of staking but it is a conservative and reliable one which can provide steady profits over a 12-months period. It limits losses to an amount decided by the punter. You can, if you wish, bet on to a third winner, or go through the entire program irrespective of how many wins you get.

This is based on the old 10 per cent of your bank betting plan. Most of you would know that one. Simply, it called for a bet of 10 per cent on whatever your bank happened to be (if it was $120 you would bet $12). The variation here is that you back a percentage of your capital according to the price of the horse you intend to back. In this way, you are betting more on shorter-priced horses and less on longer-priced horses.

Prices of SelectionsPercentage Bets
Odds-on to 7-415%
2-1 to 13-4 12%
7-2 to 5-1 9%
11-2 to 8-17%
10-1 to 20-1 4%
25-1 and over2%
So, if your bank was at, say, $80 and your next bet was a 7-2 chance you would invest 9 per cent of that figure-$7 (to nearest dollar). If your bank was, say, $230 and your next bet was a 7-4 chance you would back it for 15 per cent of the bank$34.50. Get the idea?

This one is a nice combination of win and place betting. You must confine your betting to those days when you are very confident of picking three placegetters. The capital required for any one day is 18 units (and, of course, a unit can be any amount you like from 50 cents upwards).

The method play is a series of mixed doubles for both a win and a place but they are divided into two separate transactions. Here's an example:

WIN: The horses to be backed are Red, White and Blue. They are linked up in win doubles. You have 2 units to win Red, all up White; 2 units Red all up Blue and 2 units White all up Blue.

PLACE:The method of investment is the same, except that the stake is doubled. The bets would be 4 units place tote Red all up place White; 4 units Red all up Blue and 4 units White all up Blue.

If all 3 horses run a placing, and each returns a dividend of only 75 cents for 50 cents, the return nearly squares the entire bet. The bonus comes when two or even three selections all win. This is a handy type of betting plan when you are at the races and planning to enjoy yourself. You can, in fact, select as many groups of 3 horses as you like and bet them as indicated in groups of 3.

My final staking plan is attributed to the late professional punter Rufe Naylor, one of the big names of the turf in the 1930s. A former bookmaker turned pro punter, Rufe sold tips to subscribers and the following plan was handed out to his clients at the time and bears repeating here.

This method is based on each-way betting. It should be used only on really SOLID selections, not pie-inthe-sky roughies or hunches. Please ensure you put a lot of thought into the selections.

The rules are as follows: Your first bet is 1 unit each way. After a loser, increase by a further half-unit each way. After a placed horse, repeat the previous bet. After a winner, drop back a half-unit. When your stake has reached 3 units each way, or higher, drop back one point following a winner.

EXAMPLE: A unit can be any amount. Assume $1 units. First bet is $1 each way. Result of that bet determines the amount to be staked on the next bet. Assume opening 5 bets were LOSER, PLACEGETTER, WINNER, PLACEGETTER, LOSER.

The $1 each way on the first bet is lost. This would then call for a half unit increase (50 cents) in stake, so the second bet would be $1.50 each way. This horse runs a place. The third bet, then, is a repeat of the second bet, $1.50 each way. This bet is a winner, so on the fourth bet you drop back a half unit to $1 each way. With the fifth bet a loser your next bet would go up to $1.50 each way.

Summing Up
Back a winner and you drop back a half unit, back a 2nd or 3rd and you repeat the bet, back a loser and you increase stake a half unit. Don't forget the 3 unit rule I have already mentioned. If your stake had grown to, say, $3.50 each way and you then backed a winner, your following bet would be $2.50 each way.

I am confident that these simple, but potentially profitable staking plans will give you at least food for thought. Far too many punters still do not bet in a sensible manner. They bet without thought or planning and, inevitably, pay the penalty.

Hopefully, you will find one or two of these plans suit your style of betting. If they do, then why not settle down and use them with your selections and see how you go? I'm sure you'll soon notice an improvement in your fortunes.

By Martin Dowling