Glancing back through the pages of P.P.M. since its inception in April, 1985, I never cease to be surprised at the wealth of information they have contained. It wasn't a hard task to find any number of systems and betting ideas which are worth repeating; the problem was to choose which ones to publish!

From the old 'days of glory' let me refer you firstly to Statsman, who introduced a betting idea back in the October, 1987, issue which he called The Set Menu Feast - and what an interesting idea it was. Basically, it operates on percentages but on a very limited approach. It relies on three sets of prices which are used to calculate all your bets, no matter what prices your selections might be.

The percentage-wise table is set out as follows, with three degrees of betting from \$20 to \$10 and \$5. You select which stake you want to bet and bet accordingly.

THE PERCENTAGE-WISE TABLE

POSS PROFIT Col 1Col 2 Col 3
\$20\$10\$5
CHOICE ODDS
A2/1 Bet \$33 Bet \$16 Bet \$8
B5/2 Bet \$29 Bet \$14 Bet \$7
C5/1 Bet \$17 Bet \$8  Bet \$4
You follow this pattern of betting all the time. Your No. 1 selection is regarded as 'A' in the table. If you are seeking the \$20 profit you would bet \$33 on it. Your second selection would be 'B' and you would bet \$29 on it. Your third selection is 'C' and the bet is \$17. Many times you will make more profits than anticipated because the horses you bet will be bigger than the 'set menu' of 2/1, 5/2 and 5/1.

Let's look at how this method would have fared recently:

SPORTING GLOBE TIPS (Matthew Stewart)
Sandown, December 8 (Tuesday meeting)
Bet to win \$5, thus \$8, \$7 and \$4 on each of three selections in each race.
Races 3, 6 and 7: No selections won, so \$19 lost on each race.
Races 1, 2, 4, 5 and 8 all contained a winner.
Total Bet: \$152, Total Return \$187 (using SP). Profit: \$35 (23% on turnover).

Using a Globe tipster again at the Pakenham meeting on the Wednesday of this week, the system again made a small profit on five winning races, even though prices on three of the winners were small, and only two of the five winners were top selections.

You should be careful not to bet, of course, when the odds are very skinny. Used carefully, on your own solid selections or those of your favourite tipster, this system can be highly effective.

Pick out the three or four best races per day, and operate the Set Menu Feast on them and you should stay ahead of the game.

Greyhound racing fans have always been well catered for in the pages of P.P.M., courtesy of the wonderful writings of George 'Barker' Bellfield. (Incidentally George 'Barker' Bellfield has just left for the U.S. and hopes to come back with some great new ideas for dogs fans).

George's little plan, outlined in September, 1987, was for punters to concentrate on dogs running from Boxes 1 and 8, but subject to some elimination rules. The plan, Colour of Money, was as follows:

1. Consider only dogs in boxes 1 and 8.
2. Eliminate any dog not on the first four lines of betting.
3. If one or both dogs are qualified from Rule 2, you then check to ensure one or both is among the first three in the 'most fancied' section of the Newspaper or form guide.
4. If both still qualify, bet the one with the highest rating in the tipsters' poll.
5. Do not back any dog which is odds-on.

George says punters looking for an ideal place-bet approach can not do much better than this nice little earner.

Plan Of The Month has provided some wonderful systems and staking plans over the years. In August, 1986, we published The Handicapper's Plan. It was as follows:

1. The horse must be in the top three weights in a handicap.
2. The horse must have either run in the first four in the past 14 days, or be a noted first-upper.
3. The horse must be mentioned in the 'most fancied' column of the Saturday Australian, or equivalent newspaper.

The principle here is that the handicapper should have found the best horses in his top three weighted runners. Obviously, you do not bet on any non-handicap races.

Plan Of The Month in the P.P.M. issue of July, 1986, took a look at the "sacred rules for the off-course punter" and they certainly bear repeating here:

1. Restrict bets to rated horses (in this regard, Plan Of The Month was referring to P.P.M's own  Rated horses, which are now compiled in tremendous fashion by our new contributor, Sirius).
2. Do not bet on 2yos, anywhere, anytime.
3. Do not bet on jumpers (even in flat races!).
4. Do not back 3yos before November.
5. Only bet on races from 1200m to 2400m.
6. Only back horses which can race on the pace.
7. Look for well-weighted horses near the top of the handicap.
8. Only back horses which can accelerate.
9. Be aware of the course specialists.
10. Be equally aware of distance specialists.
11. Give special attention to course and distance winners.
12. Look out for quick repeaters (e.g. winners in the last 10 days).
13. Dismiss horses with low winning percentages.
14. Regard high percentage horses with great respect.
15. Keep an eye on the top riders.
16. List all horses who are 'nearly backed' (i.e. you make up your mind not to back them) for post-race analysis.

Jon Hudson, a regular and excellent contributor to P.PM. almost since its inception, talked about following the money in the June, 1986, issue of P.P.M. The rules of his system are as follows:

1. Ignore all horses quoted at longer than 8/1 in the pre-post betting market.
2. Ten minutes before the start of a race, jot down the odds being shown for each of the qualified horses. You are looking for horses which have firmed in the betting.
3. Pick out the horse which shows the greatest 'firm' in the market. This is your bet.

I talked recently with Jon about this approach, and he tells me it maintains a very strong win strike rate, usually more than 40 per cent. The place strike is well over 70 per cent.

Getting back to greyhounds, I now refer you to some terrific mini-plans which George Bellfield introduced into P.P.M. in the April, 1987, issue. The systems were aimed at allowing small-bet punters to have some fun - and win some money without too much strife and study.

One of the neatest of the six which George featured was the Rapid Analysis Guide - an easy method of fine-tuning any field of greyhounds. It enables you to express a dog's potential in a race through a rating figure.

Said George: "My idea with this guide is to take into account a greyhound's last three performances. They are always the significant pointers to what it might do next start. For each dog you assume a Base Figure of 100. You then look at its last three outings. If it was beaten, deduct one point for each half length behind the winner.

"If the dog won, add one point for each half length clear of the second dog. Ignore quarter lengths and take them to half lengths."

In his example, George gave the following theoretical workout:

MICK THE MILLER
1st by 3 lengths = PLUS 6 points.
5th btn 4.5 lengths = MINUS 9 points.
2nd btn 1 length = MINUS 2 POINTS.

Final figure: 100+6-9-2 = 95 points.

George added: "When you have worked out the various points scores for each dog, I suggest you consider only the top three points-getters in a race. Always give the dog with the highest points preference, but also consider coupling up the top three in quinellas, and in doubles with the top three in another race."

We are always receiving letters from readers seeking 'safe and sure' progression betting methods, and one which was published in P.P.M. some years back certainly fits the bill. It allows you to break even every time you back a winner at 9 / 4, and to show an overall profit on all winners above that price.

The progression is as follows:  2-2-2-3-4-5-8-12-17-24-36.

To cover a run of 10 successive losers requires a bank of 115 units. A winner at 9/4 at any stage will recoup all losses. If you back a winner at less than 9/4 you can (a) repeat the stake invested and whenever you are showing a profit you return to the starting point or (b) continue betting to the end of the meeting.

Let's look at this method for the Rosehill meeting of December 12. With tipster Chris Dowd's first selections in the Telegraph-Mirror, you would never have needed to get out of first gear with your standard \$2 bets (he got four winners on top).

With Steve Zammit, of the same newspaper, there were three losing \$2 bets, then a losing \$3 bet. These were followed by the \$4 bet on winner Silencio at evens. The bank now stood at \$13 out and \$8 back, a loss of \$5. The next bet, then, was \$5 on winner Zephalira at 2/1. The bank now stood at \$18 out and \$23 back, a profit of \$5.

This meant that the progression was ended at that point, and begun again, this time with \$2 on a loser, and then \$2 on the last-race winner Overnight at 8/1. This gave a return of \$18, so the second progression ended with a profit of \$14.

In all, then, in two progressions the profit was \$19 on a total stake of \$22.

Not bad at all. Certainly a much better profit than had you backed each of the 8 selections at 2.5 units each.

NEXT MONTH:  More systems from back issues of P.P.M., including one for harness racing, plus a staking plan or two, with workouts.