How often has someone said, “I wish I could back more winners!” to you? I know it’s been a remark made to me many, many times. I’ve said it myself again and again.

Winning at racing, however, doesn’t depend entirely on how MANY winners you back. It’s more a case of what ODDS are those winners, and have the odds given you a profit in the long term.

You don’t need me to tell you that some punters win with a fairly low win strike rate while others lose over a year even though backing more winners. It’s all a matter of PRICE.

Get the right odds about your winners, and you can emerge in front. Back lots of winners at prices that are too low, and you’ll lose. Simple as that.

In this short series of articles, I’m going to look at the whole question of strike rate and the bet itself. Will level stakes be enough? Do you really need a staking plan and, if so, what will it be?

Firstly, let’s just go over a few bits and pieces. I think we’re all conversant with the old 10 per cent of bank staking plan. The percentage may vary but the principle, more or less, remains the same.

With the 10 per cent figure you start with a bank of, say, $100 and you bet one-tenth ($10). If the bet loses, the bank goes down to $90 and your next bet is $9. If this horse won, say, at 4/1 the bank would rise to $126 calling for a bet the next time of $12. You continue in this manner, always betting a tenth of whatever capital comprises your bank (i.e.$250 bank, $25 bet, $150 bank, $15 bet, etc).

The strength of the plan is that it takes advantage of winning and losing streaks. Your bets rise when you are winning and they go down when you are losing. You can also decide at a stop-profit point, declare yourself a nice divvie and then start again with the same, or an increased bank.

Okay, that all seems fine and dandy. There is nothing much wrong with a plan like this one. In fact, it has a lot going for it if you use it in tandem with a selection approach that provides a good percentage of winners.

The weakness is the percentage in relation to the type of horses to be backed.

Now, what do I mean by this? Well, let me explain. If you bet level stakes, each bet NO MATTER WHAT ITS PRICE MIGHT BE is bet at the same level. A 5/4 chance is bet the same as a 10/1 chance, despite one having a far better chance of winning than the other one.

What many experts say is this: The percentage to be used should be based on the expected pattern of winners and average prices, in order to PROTECT your betting capital.

They say that unless we take these two key points into account then a percentage plan is more than likely to be useless.

Some time ago, I was looking at an American publication, which suggested the 10 per cent of bank plan could be used on a longshots system.

To this, I say NO. For such selections, the percentage of the bank to be bet is much too high when compared to the expected number of wins and the expected number of successive losers. The system embracing the selection of longshots might well spin off into a run of 20 or 30 losers in a row, making the 10 per cent approach look very shaky.

It would reduce the capital far too rapidly and when a winner did arrive the bet on it would be too small.

If you like to play a percentage staking plan (and many punters do, even if only to get away from boring flat bets) then you should determine the percentage of capital to be employed in relation to the AVERAGE odds of your expected winners.

You can decide this simply by looking at previous results. With the approach I am going to outline the punter can make allowance for the bad runs which come to everyone at some time or another, yet still have capital in hand to gradual