Sixty per cent of all races are won by well-backed horses. I don't think anyone will disagree with this claim. If it is, indeed, correct, and I have no reason to doubt it, there does not seem to be much point in backing outsiders.

So, if we are interested in, say, the first six horses in the pre-race betting, we can start to think seriously about how to use converging factors to ensure ourselves of a winner should one of them win.

There is a tendency for the winner to be in the first two in the pre-race market. This happens some 50 per cent of the time. Suppose, then, we take two races and assume the following:

- The winners will be in the first six in the pre-race market (assuming more than six runners).

- Split them into three groups:

A=first and 2nd in the market

B=3rd and 4th in the market

C=5th and 6th in the market

* That one of the two races will be won by a horse either 1st or 2nd in the betting market - that is, in Group A.

In that case, the winners of the two races would be contained in the following:

A A A B C

B C A A A

in effect, then, we are backing five 'sets' of doubles. A into B is actually four doubles because each group contains 2 horses. The same goes for the rest. So we have a total of 20 doubles.

If we number them, they would go as follows:

• 1 and 2 with 3 and 4
• 1 and 2 with 5 and 6
• 1 and 2 with 1 and 2
• 3 and 4 with 1 and 2
• 5 and 6 with 1 and 2

You'll note that we do not have to bother with somelinkings because we have assumed that at least ONE race will be won by a horse in the A group.

Thus we don't need a pairing of 3 and 4 with 5 and 6, or 5 and 6 with 3 and 4. Why waste our money on these combinations when we are saying that horses in these groups cannot win both races? They might win one but not two.

We also do not need to back 3 and 4 with 3 and 4, or 5 and 6 with 5 and 6. The same rationale applies. We don't think they can win both races, but we expect them to have a chance of winning one.

So, instead of 36 doubles we have cut back the bet to 20 doubles. That allows us to either (a) save money by betting \$20 and not \$36 on the 6x6 combination, or (b) have more on each combination.

With the 'saved' \$16 we could raise the stake on each double to \$1.80 (assuming such a sum was possible). Instead, we could add another \$4, making the bet \$40, and have \$2 on each double.

The point I am making with this 'converging factor' idea is that you can make certain assumptions about selections and then save yourself money if the assumptions are correct.

You might be backing jockeys. You look at a couple of races and decide Shane Dye can win at least ONE of them but probably not TWO. Therefore, if you were linking his mounts in doubles, you could eliminate some.

Let's say you had the following combinations:

1st Leg: DYE, COOKSLEY, MOSES

2nd Leg: DYE, PELLING, MARSHALL.

Your doubles would be:

DYE into PELLING-MARSHALL

COOKSLEY-MOSES into DYE

In the first double you expect Dye to win so you can leave him out of the second leg (remember you expect him to win only one race), and back only those horses ridden by Pelling and Marshall in the second leg.

In the second double, you assume he will not win the first leg, but now you are expecting him to win the second leg, so you need to link Cooksley and Moses into Dye alone.

Thus you have cropped a potential 3x3 linkup down to only four doubles. That's a big saving and if things work to plan you will have achieved a nice 'edge' on the game. Once again, the saving allows you to double your bet on each double.

What I now suggest is that you look back over my previous two articles in this series. Try to understand how you make the savings on your bets through reasoned assessments.

If your assessments are backed with correct assumptions, then the converging factors approach will usually work out well over a period of time. It provides for much cost-cutting on bets.

What you attempt to do is to say, with some authority that certain horses, or groups of horses, will only win certain races in any given group. Thus you can provide for backing them in the right places and to save on those races where they need not be bet.

It's really a matter of synchronisation. In the next issue of the magazine I will extend the matter further by talking about the selections of newspaper experts and how you can make assumptions about their performances.

Once you grasp the concept of the converging factors it becomes simply a matter of careful synchronisation with your bets to take fullest advantage of the likely outcomes.

Click here to read Part 4.
Click here to read Part 1.
Click here to read Part 2.

By Denton Jardine

PRACTICAL PUNTING - JANUARY 1997