A plan that originated in the United States (to my knowledge, anyway) relates to Dutch betting in a 'mini' way. Well, that's one way of putting it.

The approach, which can be operated on any of the three racing codes, concentrates its attention on those races with nine or fewer runners. It calls for the bettor to back three runners in a race according to the percentage table, but the total investment must never exceed 42 units. (A unit can be any amount you like from $1 upwards.)

In America, the plan was given the name 'Dutching With Three' and it emanated from Chicago, a strong racing area 50 years ago (though not so much today). Unlike the original Dutching method, percentages are used as the basis of the investment table.

'Dutch' was the name given to an American gambler some 100 years ago. He was probably the first, or one of the first, to make his own 'book' against the bookmakers. The story goes that he would back as many horses as possible so long as his total investment was never more than 98.

He didn't work to percentages but simply bet to win 100 without his stake being included. So a horse at 2/1 would be bet 50 units, a horse at 3/1 would be bet 33 units and so on.

Today, most bettors who go for the multiples use the percentages to work out their bets. Price percentage is the price PLUS one divided into 100.

The stake is in ratio to the percentages. If Red is 2/1 (33 per cent), White 3/1 (25 per cent) and Blue 10/1 (9 per cent), the bets would be 66/33 Red, 75/25 White and 90/9 Blue. That's a bet of 67 units for a profit of 33 should any one of them win.

With the nine runners or less approach, the American creator had his own table of wagering amounts as follows:

6/4 20
7/4 18
2/1 16
9/4 15
5/2 14
3/1 12
4/1 10
9/2 9
5/1 8
6/1 7
7/1 6
8/1 6
9/1 5
10/1 5
Over 10/1 4

You can see from the table that there is no bet if one of the three selected horses is shorter than 6/4. Those wanting to take the table to evens would add: Evens = 25, 5/4 = 22.

If the price you seek is not on the above list, like 13/4, you take 3/1 as the figure and bet 12 units.

Remember, then, that there are only two rules:

  1. The total investment on any race must not exceed 42 units.
  2. Only races with nine or fewer runners are considered.

I would see this system as providing an incentive for a lot of punters to test their selection skills. The chances of making a success of it are good. For a start, most races on the card are eliminated from consideration because they have too many runners.

Always remember that 42 units is your limit. You don't have to bet that much, though the more selections you can use to fill up 42 the better.

If you pick, say, three horses at 2/1, 4/1 and 9/2, your bets would be 16, 10 and 9, a total of 35 units. That might well be enough to snare the winner. But if you fancied another one, you could look for a solid 6/1 chance to complete the 42unit bet.

The key thing to remember is not to go overboard on too many races. Just take your time, sift through the eligible races, and make your selections with good sense. You are dealing with races with not many runners, so the form analysis itself should not be too hard to handle.

You can also use the wagering table to decide on bets in DIFFERENT RACES. You might decide to bet on three races at the one meeting, or different meetings. Horse A in race 1 is, say, 3 / 1. Horse B in race 5 is 9/2 and Horse C in race 7 is 7/1. You can frame your bets accordingly: Horse A is bet 12 units, Horse B is bet 9 units and Horse C is bet 6 units.

That's a total of 27 units. A win by Horse A will return you 48 units, a win by B will return you 49.5 units, while Horse C will return you 48 units. With one winner you are assured of a good profit, with two winners you are in clover while three winners will see you eating out at the best restaurant in town!

If we go back to the original Dutch, there's nothing to stop you operating in this manner. If you are seeking 100 units profit, simply divide that by the actual price of the selection.

A horse at 3 /1 would be bet for 33 units, a horse at 8/1 would be bet 12.5, a horse at 9/1 would be bet 11, and so on. If you backed a winner at, say, 3/1, your return would be 99 + 33 for 132 units, a profit on your bet of 99 units.

These staking ideas are all worth carefully thinking about. If you can see a 'light at the end of the tunnel', then it could well be that it's not an express train heading your way. Instead, it might be the train that carries the golden goose.

By Martin Dowling