One of America's brightest young professional punters, Lee Rousso, has a simple plan of attack for new or struggling punters who want to transform themselves into competent selectors and bettors.

Rousso suggests they read as much literature as they can on all aspects of horse-racing selection and betting - and read the good ones twice, even three times.

When you're ready to bet, he says, conduct an experiment. For six months go to the races regularly and bet on only one race. The selection must be at odds greater than 2/1. See if you can pick enough winners to make a profit at level stakes.

Then start betting on two races a day. Show a level-stakes profit over six months. Then, if you wish, bet three races a day, but try to make that your maximum limit.

Says Rousso: "If you take this kind of approach, at least after two years of doing it, you will be less likely to go from betting one horse to betting nine horses. It's an approach that teaches you to be careful and selective, and to pick the most favourable betting spots."

Rousso's advice is just one slice of many that the average punter can get if he delves long and deep enough into racing's underbelly - the real hard underbelly which contains the professionals, the astute semi-pro's and the keen, often highly successful, amateurs. Each punter adopts his or her own approach to trying to stake a claim to racing's betting riches.

Recently, the P.P.M. team got together to nut out some betting approaches that might aid the small-bet punter in the quest for moderate riches. Last month, I unveiled some of our ideas. This article will argue the case for some others.

Setting a goal for your betting is always a good idea. Firstly, though, set the parameters of how many bets you are going to have. I'd like to think that if you are really serious about, say, win betting, you will restrict yourself to two or three good bets per day, whether they be at the one meeting or spread over two or three meetings.

If - and it's a big if - you can secure 35 per cent winners at average odds of 5/2 you'll be giving yourself a nice little edge. Example: You bet $10 per best bet (3 per Saturday), an investment of $30 per Saturday. Multiply that by 52 weeks in the year and your annual investment is $1560. You have bet on a total of 156 horses and 55 of them have won it average odds of 5/2 (2.5 to 1).

Your total return is, then, $1925, a profit of $365, an edge of some 23.3 per cent. The key to all this working out so neatly is whether you manage to obtain such an excellent strike rate. It is possible -but it will be tough. If you were betting in $100 units, of course, your annual profit would be $3650 or around $70 per week.

For the punter who seeks a moderate but easily achievable leverage on his bets, the P.P.M. team believes he should look at place all-ups. Profit on the invested dollar can be boosted through such bets. Two placegetters paying only $1.60 for $1 earn more than $1.50 for each dollar invested. As the Americans say, this represents excellent leverage.

Placegetters are easier to find than winners, and the double does not have to be completed in one day, though I dare say most punters would shirk the idea of carrying over a place bet from one day to the next. The desire for action and quick returns is rooted deep.

There is also the place treble. This can provide the punter with two free bets. To open the play you must first find a gilt-edged anchor bet. You back it for a place. If it's placed, withdraw your original stake and use the winnings as a place double. Example: The punter has $50 place on Jungle Jim. The dividend is $90. He puts the $50 stake back in his pocket, then has $40 to reinvest on a sure-fire place double.

The punter is in a win to nothing situation. Two more placegetters will bring in a really good profit. Let's say he puts the $40 on two placegetters which pay$1.50 and$1.70. The return is $102 for the $40 bet, a profit of $62.

In all, then, for the original $50 bet, the punter has picked up $102 profit, odds of just over 2/1 - for three top-chance placers.

After the original bet, the punter was risking nothing but his winnings from that bet. If his ensuing place double lost, his position was exactly the same as when he had started. He would have been square.

Then there is the special Place Yankee method, whereby a punter takes an unusual approach in linking his place bets. A Yankee, as we have explained before, is a combination of four horses comprising 6 doubles, 4 trebles and 1 four-horse all-up.

The Place Yankee is a neat variation. Capital requirement is 16 units, and a unit can be any amount you like. The first bet is half the capital (8 units) and every subsequent bet is half the capital after adding winnings or deducting losses. The fourth bet ends the series.

An example, with a starting bank at $2 per unit ($32).

32.00 16 1.60 25.60 9.60
41.60 20.5 1.60 32.80 11.30
52.90 26 1.20 31.20 5.20
58.10 29 2.00 58.00 29.00

Without too much trouble, then, four placegetters - the longest priced at even money - have returned $55 profit. The punter's total investment was the original $16 bet of his own money. In all, with reinvestments, he bet a total of $91.50, so his profit was more than 60 cents on the dollar.

I doubt ff this place bet operation could be done on a race-to-race basis, but it could work out very well if the punter was to select four SAFE and SOUND place bets on one day. Perhaps one in Sydney, one in Melbourne and a couple, say, in Brisbane, or vice-versa. Nothing too grandiose, just solid good-chance horses.

The bettor must have the patience to wait for the right bets to come along. He must wait for standout place propositions. If there are none at a meeting, then forget that meeting. Look elsewhere. It is a spot-play method. Just two placegetters will reduce losses. Three can show a profit and four will give you a good gain.

The four 'strikes' should not be too difficult for those punters who can show the discipline to wait for horses which figure strongly to win – and are backed for a place. Should all of your four selections miss the place (very poor tipping, indeed!!) you would lose 15 of your 16 units (or $30 of your $32 bank if betting in $2 units).

One of the most interesting staking plans I have come across in recent years is called The Reinvestment Plan and it is basically aimed at the cautious punter who seeks a moderate return without a great deal of risk. Two winners are required for a series to be completed.

'Professionals seek a fair annual return'
The plan simply calls for reinvestment of winnings from one horse, with all operations to end when a second winner is struck You can adapt the staking plan to any set of selections. One big advantage is that it limits possible losses for the day to any amount chosen by the bettor.

Let's say you set a limit to lose $80 on an 8-race card. You bet $10 per race (assuming you want race-to-race action). You bet $10 per race until such time as you hit a winner. The money from that bet is divided up among the remaining selections. If you strike a second winner, that's it for the day.

Let's assume you bet $10 on race 1 and lose. You bet $10 on race two and lose again. The third bet, though, is a winner at 5/1. You get a total return of $60. There are five more races on the card so you divide that $60 five ways ($12). This $12 is reinvested on each of the other five selections, as well as the set $10 win bet.

Let's say bet four lost (that's $22 lost). The next bet is again $22 and it's a winner at 3/1.

The total return is $88.

The score sheet at the completion of the day's betting (with the second winner having been obtained) is as follows:

10 A Lost
10 B Lost
10 C WON 5/1 60
(The $60 is now divided into the next 5 races at $12 per bet to be added to the usual $10 bet).
22 D Lost
22 E WON 3/1 88
Total Bets: $74 Total Returns: $148 Total Profits: $74.
You have achieved a nice 100 per cent return on your bets on the five horses, striking two winners at 5/1 and 3/1. You can vary this programme by going to a third winner before ending the day's betting, or you can continue right through the programme.

The next plan I wish to draw to your attention is The Selvidge Plan, named after its apparent creator, American professional bettor Jim Selvidge. It is a very easy plan to operate.

You invest whatever amount you like as your 'base' bet. You add to this base unit the square root of any accumulated profits. Let's say you have $20 as your base unit. You back a winner at 3/1. That gives you $60 profit. You now find the square root of 60, which is 7.75 (approx), round off the number to 8, and add this to your base unit, making a next bet of $28.

Should that fail, you would be carrying a profit of $32, so you find the square root of 32, which is 5.6, rounded off to 6, and your next bet is $26. Should this lose, you would be carrying a profit of $6, so you want the square root of this, which is 2.5, and rounded off to 3 makes the next bet $23 (leaving you minus 17).

Maybe this bet wins at 5/1. Your return is $138, and you are now carrying a profit of $98, and you want the square root of this amount, which is 9.8, rounded off to 10, so your next bet is $30. Get the idea? By the way, finding a 'square root' of a number is easy. Get your calculator, type in the number and then press the key with the little tick mark on it. It will then display the square root figure.

This plan can be a real goer once you hit a winning streak. It can help you to capitalise on good selections. A friend of mine began using it some few months ago, working in sets of three bets, and he reports that he has made excellent progress, using sensible selections never more than 3/1 or 4/1 in the betting.

Study these staking plan ideas and see if any of them suit your requirements. Punters are an odd breed, in that individuals vary greatly in their approaches. Some like cautious, conservative plans, others prefer the risk approach, and it's these latter punters who usually go for steep progression plans, which call for mounting bets during losing runs.

The careful punter prefers to lower his bets when the going gets tough. It's all a matter of personality, really.

Click here to read Part 1.

By Richard Hartley Jnr