It's been called the bettor's 'chain gang' but that, I feel, is being unkind, not only to the plan I am about to unveil, but also to those punters to whom conservatism in betting comes naturally.

Firstly, I am talking in this article about PLACE betting, and how best to maximise your opportunities to achieve some significant profits. As many know, perhaps from bitter experience, scratching a profit from place betting can be a tiresome, frustrating and often futile process.

Dividends tend to be disappointing, and even the safest of selection plans seem to have an uncanny ability to strike excruciating losing runs. I recall some years ago a pal of mine was grinning ear to ear about his success at place betting. The smile was wiped when he hit the wall.

He struck, he told me, an astonishing 13 losers, something he thought could never happen. His previous worst run had been only four without a placer. This time, though, everything combined to see him fail. Two of the 13 losers ran 3rd but they were in races of 7 or fewer runners and no third dividend was declared.

So, it is possible to come unstuck in a big way. Even a small way. So the plan I have in mind is an ideal one for those conservative bettors who are content to have just one or two solid place bets per meeting.

A good selector - one not swayed too much by emotion and one confident in his selecting ability should be able to achieve a good capital gain. But I emphasise that the selector needs to concentrate on what I call 'gilt-edged' propositions. A string of small divvies can build up good profits.

Your objective is to select eight successive placegetters, and to continue in that vein. Eight placers will give the maximum profit but there can still be a good return if five or six get in the money.

Bear in mind, then, that your selections must be horses that figure as winners. "Pick 'em to win, play 'em to place", as the old saying goes. Eight horses taken in mixed doubles at $1 per double would mean an opening bank requirement of $28. A punter using $5 units would need $140.

The plan is that your eight selections are going to be linked with each other in a series of mixed doubles. It depends on you how long it takes to complete a sequence. If you select one horse a day, every raceday, your sequence will take a week to complete. You may prefer more daily action.

The number of bets you have in any one day is governed only by the fact that the selection must be SOLID! Don't pick a bet just for the sake of it. Be certain in your own mind that you are on a SURE placegetter (as much as we can be sure, anyway).

So you must only bet when your money is on a SOLID selection.

Your first base bet, obviously, has to be a large one because you are going to couple it with the next seven horses you choose.

Obviously, you don't know what the next seven selections will be, so your bet on the first horse is 7 units to win.

Your base bets after that are:

6 units (Horse 2),
5 units (Horse 3),
4 units (Horse 4),
3 units (Horse 5),
2 units (Horse 6), and
1 unit (Horse 7 into Horse 8).

Let's put it very clearly then: Your doubles are going to be as follows:

  • 1st bet all-up 2nd bet;
    1st bet all-up 3rd bet;
    1st bet all-up 4th bet;
    1st bet all-up 5th bet;
    1st bet all-up 6th bet;
    1st bet all-up 7th bet;
    1st bet all-up 8th bet.
  • 2nd bet all-up 3rd bet;
    2nd bet all-up 4th bet;
    2nd bet all-up 5th bet;
    2nd bet all-up 6th bet;
    2nd bet all-up 7th bet;
    2nd bet all-up 8th bet.
  • 3rd bet all-up 4th bet;
    3rd bet all-up 5th bet;
    3rd bet all-up 6th bet;
    3rd bet all-up 7th bet;
    3rd bet all-up 8th bet.
  • 4th bet all-up 5th bet;
    4th bet all-up 6th bet;
    4th bet all-up 7th bet;
    4th bet all-up 8th bet.
  • 5th bet all-up 6th bet;
    5th bet all-up 7th bet;
    5th bet all-up 8th bet.
  • 6th bet all-up 7th bet;
    6th bet all-up 8th bet.
  • 7th bet all-up 8th bet.

Let's say you are betting in $5 units. For the 28 doubles you will need a bank of $140 (28 x 5). Your opening bet is going to be 7 units, or $35. If the horse runs a place, you have the full dividend to place on the next six fancies.

The second bet would be 6 units ($30) plus the dividend for $5 from the first horse, assuming it was placed. Whenever a double is completed, you POCKET the return!

If all the eight selections are placed, you collect on all 28 doubles. The returns can be surprisingly high. Let's look at what a $5 punter might achieve. Even if the dividends were as low as 2 /1 ON ($1.50) on each selection, the double would return $11.25 for $5.

The total collect would be $315 for a clear profit of $175. Even five or six placers at short odds would enable the player to at least break square. One placer returning a higher than average dividend would boost the return tremendously.

There is another aspect to this form of chain betting for the place. This is a procedure which some punters might like to adopt should they seek more betting action.

With this approach, you don't wait for one series to end before starting another one. After four bets in the first series, the players of the 'never-ending chain' open a second sequence with the 5th bet and continue like that. That is, they start a third series after the fourth bet of the second series, and so on.

This requires a large capital bank but you can imagine how your profits can rise if you strike the required number of solid placegetters. To keep track of the sequences, get a notebook and draw up one column for your base bets. When you back a placegetter, write the return alongside each of the remaining horses as the extra amount to be invested.

If, for example, the first four selections were placed, your notebook would show that the 5th base bet would be 3 units PLUS the four dividends. Remember, whenever a double is backed, you can pocket the full return.

It's an easy operation once you get the hang of it. Simply treat each double as a separate entity (A-B, AC, A-D, etc.). You will find it is simple to follow the fortunes of the bets because, remember, you are not backing eight selections on the same day! At most, I suggest, you should be betting two runners per day.

If you are backing more, perhaps you should take a long look at the discipline side of your betting personality? Can you REALLY find three or more sure-fire place bets on the one day? You might do it once or twice, but mostly you will fail.

This one-in-four plan had its origins in the USA. It is ideal for those punters who have the ability to average one winner every four selections. And for punters who can do it for the place (not too hard), it's perfect.

You won't win huge amounts but it can be used as a useful attachment to your regular betting forays. Why not use it for the win in conjunction with your chain betting for the place?

You can start off with a small bank. All you need is $27, assuming you use $1 units. The progression is that you double up on your stakes as you go, always doubling the amount of the sum of all preceding bets.

If you operate on a bank of $27, your first bet would be $1. If the horse loses, the next bet is $2. If that loses, the next bet is $6, and, if that loses, the final bet in the series is $18.

As you will realise, this can be applied usefully to place betting. It's much, much easier to land a 25 per cent strike rate for the place than it is for the win! Let's assume you start off with $1 a place and it loses. You then bet $2 the next horse. It loses. Your third bet is $6. The horse runs a place at $1.50. You are back even. But if it pays more, say, $1.80, you are ahead and a new series is begun.

One man many years ago started with a $67.50 capital with a betting scale of $2.50, $5, $15 and $45. He set aside part of any profits. He began his betting using two banks, holding one in reserve. From profits, he added to the reserve bank until both operating and reserve capital was doubled.

He said at the time that after nine years he had only twice gone through a series of four bets without hitting a placegetter.

If betting this plan for the win, you begin a new series every time you back a winner. But if you bet for the place, you start a new series every time you are making a profit, no matter how small. If a bet on a selection does not produce a profit on a series, then the bet is repeated. If you like this idea, why not follow this punter's approach and begin with two banks?

Play along until you double your original bank. Always pick your selections with great care. Try not to enter risk territory. For sensible place bettors this can be a great way to go.

For win punters, too, it offers enormous rewards. Even a small priced winner can lift you. Let's say you back 3 losers and your fourth bet is $18 on a 2/1 chance. That wins you $36, less the $9 you have previously lost on the first 3 bets, leaving a profit of $27 or 100 per cent on your total outlay of $27.

So, be patient and play the chain betting in a sensible and measured fashion and you will give yourself every chance of coming out ahead. Now there may be some of you who feel that finding a string of eight placegetters is simply too difficult a task. In that case, you can easily cut down the required number of selections in the chain to, say, six or even five or four. The theory remains the same. With eight selections, the prospects for high returns are that much more tantalising.

How you make the place selections is going to be the sternest test of all. You can use your own selections, or you can adopt a sensible selection plan. There are many around which might fit the bill. An obvious one that comes to mind is the 50 per cent Hotpots Plan, which we have mentioned previously in PPM.

Interestingly, I saw that the independent Punter's Choice service tested this particular selection plan recently. In the latest PC Update (July) it reported that the plan has around five bets per Saturday on the three eastern city tracks. For six months, from January to the end of June, the plan had 125 selections for 45 winners and a profit of 22 per cent on turnover.

These, of course, are just the winners. The 2nds and 3rds and winners totalled 81 out of the 125 selections, a strike rate of 65 per cent. Pretty slick in anyone's betting language! So there is one avenue to explore for your likely selections.

Another is to concentrate only on those runners selected on top both in the newspaper poll and the prepost betting market. These can turn up a very high percentage of winners. You might also care to concentrate only on those favourites listed at 7/4 and lower in the pre-post betting.

With this method you will have only a handful of runners to look at each raceday. If you apply some sensible rules to these runners you should be able to come up with sound selections to run a place.

One elimination rule, I suggest, should be to ignore any horse that has won its last three starts and is now topweight. These can be horses at the end of a campaign and they could be tired, over their peak and too harshly weighted.

Other factors you will need to consider are a good barrier, good jockey, strong recent form and not too many days since the horse's last start. A runner that fitted the bill on July 19 was Star Guest in the first race at Doomben.

She was listed at 7/ 4, was drawn on the inside, had Brian York aboard, had good recent form and even though carrying top weight she was only 2kg above the minimum. Star Guest won the race at 11/ 4. She did indeed look the perfect place bet.

It's selections like Star Guest that you should be seeking out for the chain-betting attack. You want to eliminate risk as much as you can. That's why you stick to the wellfancied favourites. Not all of them, but those that fit certain key principles of form analysis.


Progression betting has its critics. The main bone of contention is that much depends on how winners fall in any given sequence. But, despite the problems, punters continue to demand details of progressive staking.

The purpose of progression betting is to make money on selections which only break even, or show a small profit, on level stakes. A good progression method will do that, provided the losers don't arrive in hellishly long streaks.

You can keep losses to a minimum with a sensible progression plan. The progression scale I have gone for here is designed to produce a profit on selections which win with reasonable regularity. It provides for 15 losses in a row at the outset, at a cost of $122. However, it works in such a way that when a winner pops up the next wager is determined not by a 'due column' process but by the odds of the winner just bet.

The wagering scale is: 2-2-3-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10-12-14-17-20

You follow this scale until you strike a winner. Then the amount of the next bet is worked out from the following scale:

5-4 or less1 step
6-4 to 7-42 steps
2-1 to 11-43 steps
3-1 to 13-45 steps
7-2 to 9-28 steps
5-1 to 6-111 steps
13-2 or more       
15 steps
The higher priced the winner the more you go back on the scale. If the steps take you further back than the beginning, you merely kick off a new sequence of bets from the beginning.

If you wanted to be a little more cautious on the financial side, you can simply HALVE the recommended number of units; that is, start off with a 1 unit bet and proceed from there.

If we assume you back six losers in a row, you would be 19 units in arrears on the original scale. Your next bet would be 6 units. So you would need a winner at around 3/1 to draw back to square. A winner at 4/ 1 would return you 30 units, to give you an overall 5 units profit (20 per cent). You would then go back eight steps - back to the start.

By Denton Jardine