In the latest feature in our continuing series featuring the Best of Banker Weekly,  Jon Hudson looks at some  of the exciting staking and selection methods that  have been published in Banker Weekly.

Finding a selection system that gives you a flow of winners, at reasonable prices, is something we all seek. One that I revealed in Banker Weekly in January fits the bill nicely. It's called The Hot Favourite Plan and it throws up a high percentage of winners.

The simple reason is this: Any horse you back will be a firm favourite-and more than likely not a false favourite. I must warn, though, that the method is best suited to those punters who attend the track. You can operate it via the TAB, using pre-post markets, but I haven't checked out the results using this method. Another way is to bet on the TAB favourite at race time.

I always maintain it's best to go to the track to bet. You can take advantage of 'top odds' with the bookmakers and be on-the-spot to note betting moves. Now, in a couple of rules, you have this entire system. They are as follows:


  1. The favourite must be 2-1 or shorter in the betting.
  2. The second favourite must be 7-2 or longer in the betting.

The method, as you will probably realise, is designed to sort out true favourites. When the betting on a favourite is such that it is well clear of the second favourite, then the percentages strongly indicate you are looking at a VERY WELL FANCIED horse. You can feel confident the favourite has a lot going for it.

My check of the method in Banker Weekly showed that in three weeks in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne, there was a total of 26 bets for 13 winners (a 50 per cent strike rate) for a 4.5 unit level stakes profit. Only six of the 26 horses were unplaced.

My colleague The Optimist has penned some splendid pieces for Banker Weekly, and probably none better than the ones I am now going to feature. The first is from a March issue of Banker Weekly, in which he talked about odds being the key to success. Here is what The Optimist had to say:

I have a pal who is an academic. He punts for relaxation and takes $500 to the races each week. He turns it over most weeks and he wins about $4,000 a year. Now that is on a turnover of about $26,000 a year. He does NOT have a $26,000 bank. It's a profit of 15.2 per cent. Not exactly a fortune but it does mean he is making the money to pay for. his holidays.

He bets very carefully, and to the Don Scott-Dutch Book style. He sets his market at 80 per cent and will back three or four horses in a race to return 100 units, a profit of at least 20 per cent. He does not change his bets if the odds are more generous than he expects. That is where the cream is. If the horse is expected to be 4-1 (by him) and it is 9-1 then his bet is as if the horse was 4-1 (i.e. 20 units) and if it wins he takes out 200 as against the planned 100.

Any horse under his odds estimation is not backed and if it is the favourite (in his opinion) he often passes up the race, working on the theory that if he expects a certain horse to win it's a bit odd to back others, yet leave this horse out! Of course, if one of his lesser chances is an obvious overlay, he will probably back it but that would constitute a value bet and is recorded in his books as a special bet that could not be overlooked.

The Optimist had more to say along these lines in early April.

With this, we are aiming to get a double at 4-1 in 10 selections. That means in 20 bets, really, as we will be trying to get two horses to win for us. We will use the popular all-up method, or you could use the Daily and Extra Doubles if you like and save a bit on tax.

Can you find two winners, one at evens and one at 6-4, on a programme? Can you do it once in 10 weeks? If you can, you can get a 4-1 double up. Any better odds and you are doing better still!

At evens, the bet becomes two on the second leg and at 6-4 you get back five units for your original one unit bet, or a profit of four.

1 x 1 (add stake) = 2. 2 x 6-4 (add stake) = 5. Deduct original stake (1) = 4. So your bet ends up a 4-1 winning double. Now-can you get that kind of result once every 10 weeks?

Can you, in fact, do better than that? if you can, all well and good. The staking plan recommended is this:

Bet one - one unit;
Bet two - one unit;
Bet three - one unit;
Bet four - 1.5 units;
Bet five - two units;
Bet six - two units;
Bet seven - three units;
Bet eight - three units;
Bet nine - five units; and
Bet ten - five units.

I'll explain this further:

Bet One is one unit - let's say a dollar. Return for a 4-1 double would be $5.

Bet Two and Bet Three are also one unit, as 4 - 1 any winner will return us at least $5, or at least 66 per cent on outlay.

Bet Four is 1.5 units (or $1.50). Return if a winner, $7.50 or 77 per cent.

Bet Five and Bet Six are two units ($2). Return of $10 for a profit of $3.50 (35 per cent) or at least $1.50 (15 per cent).

Bets Seven and Eight are three units ($3) for a return of $15, a profit of at least half a unit. Don't sneer - it's still better than a loss. It's the cut-even stage, where you get back the start and try again.

Bets Nine and Ten are five units ($5) since you have assumed a winner in 10, and you can expect $25 for a profit of 5.5 units (Bet Nine) or a half unit (Bet Ten). With Bet Ten, if it wins, you get out winning two per cent and you are happy to do so with only one winner in 10 bets at 4-1. (With this method, you progress along as indicated until you strike a winner, and then go back and start again).

The Optimist has also talked in Banker Weekly of the problems of coping with losing runs. This is what he had to say in an April issue of Banker Weekly:

Just when everything is in place, along comes that bad run and wipes you out. Well, it shouldn't if your plan is sound. If your method has shown over a goodly period that it can carry on with an average losing sequence of four between winners (that's a 20 per cent win rate), you should quadruple this to be safe.

That is because you can never be sure where the winners will fall, and how long you may have to wait! But if you are striking one winner in five bets, and your observable run of cuts is about four, then make the cut-off line 20.

This means you are expecting to get four winners in 20 bets but you don't know where they are going to fall. It does not mean that after 16 losers you can expect four winners on the trot, but it gives you protection from a long run of cuts.

Another way is to estimate your worst possible run (say 16) and multiply it by your winning percentage:

16 x 20 per cent = 320. Then divide this by your flat stake wager, which we will assume is one-half of your winning percentage ($10). This doubles your losing sequence from 16 to 32 and gives a great margin of safely. Here's another, harder, example. Say you believe that you could have a losing sequence of 25 and you have calculated your profit percentage at 9.

25 x 9 (%) = 225. Divide this by your flat stake wager (9-2 = 4.5) which is four and a half.

225-4.5 = 50. And so you have 50 bets at $4.50 each, double the number you anticipate ever needing. The moral of all this is-be prepared!

Incidentally, to add to The Optimist's advice on being prepared for losing runs, the following is an American expert's calculations regarding the possibility of losing runs. On the left is the percentage of winners you expect to strike and then I have listed the losing runs you should expect to hit. You should treble these losing run forecasts to be on the safe side.

50 4
40 6
30 12
25 16
20 25
14.3 49
12.5 64
This table indicates that if your method is throwing up only 14.3 per cent winners then you can expect a losing run of 49. If you want to be properly conservative, you should allow for a losing trot of three times this figure-147.

What you have to remember about losing runs, too, is that you can never be sure where they are going to fall. You might get five winners in a row, and then go BANG with 49 losers. So always be prepared cash-wise and mentally for the axe to fall from the Lord of Losers.

NEXT ISSUE:  We conclude this absorbing series with another delve into the Banker Weekly grab-bag. A highlight of this final article will be The Optimist's views on 'when to bet, and when not to bet' and several hotshot selections compiled by Ion Hudson and George 'Barker' Bellfield. Don't miss it!

Click here to read Part 5.
Click here to read Part 1.
Click here to read Part 2.
Click here to read Part 3.

By Jon Hudson