Back in the 1950s, an American named Jack Bradley was a key figure in US horse-racing media. Bradley wrote regularly for the Turf & Sport Digest.

He was a man who liked to offer as much help as he could to punters. He categorised them as: (a) The conservative punter seeking some leverage on the invested dollar and happy with a small profit on limited operations, and (b) the risk-taking bettor, the plunger, who aimed at big wins and with enough of a betting bank to keep a plan going beyond three hits.

It was Bradley's contention that with good, sensible selections a conservative punter would need a capital of 200 units but might never have to use more than 4 (remember that a 'unit' can be any sum you like, from $1 through to $1000 or more).

The risk-taker, though, would need 500 units but, again, never more than 4 might be required to get a system away to a winning kickoff.

"it doesn't matter whether you play safe or play a bit riskier, you can still make sensible bets," wrote Bradley.

To prove his point he came up with the Twin Dynamite plan. It's an easy-to-follow approach and it can be operated on first and second favourites, the top two horses in a tipsters 'poll or your own selections. The selections, naturally, are going to be vital so this is an area about which you must be totally satisfied with before proceeding.

Are your own selections good enough? Should you use someone else's tips? Should you simply go for the first two favourites, or the best fancied by the mass of tipsters?

Under Bradley's system, two horses are played at level stakes to win in each race. The amount returned, if either horse wins, is split in half and played back on two more horses in the next race on which the bettor operates.

The conservative punter aims for three successive winning plays. He starts off, say, with $2 (2 units) on each of his two horses. If a winner, he halves the return and plays it back on his two horses in the next race (of his choosing).

If he again hits a winner, he divides the total return and puts one half on one horse and the balance on the other selection in his next chosen race.

If there's a winner, he calls it a day. Example: Let's say the punter gets lucky and hits three winners each at 4/1 and was betting in $2 units.

The return, including stake, from the first winner would be $10. This would be split in half, so he'd have $5 on each of his next selections. The return at 4/1 would be $25. This is again halved so the next bets would be $12.50 on each of the selections in the third chosen race.

If a winner is struck, the return would be $62.50, for a profit of $58.50 on the initial $4 bet.

Now, for the risk-taking punter: He bets in the same way BUT does not necessarily stop at three races. The approach can be carried through to 4, 5, 6, 7 or even 8 races, depending on the individual punter's frame of mind!

Bradley's rules say you should never be concerned about the prices of any of the chosen horses. You bet regardless of price.

He wrote: "There will be occasions when you will lose a lot more by ignoring a runner at short odds than by betting on it. If the short priced horses get up it will probably result in a small loss or profit.

"When even a couple of longer priced selections win, the return on the invested dollar is well worthwhile. It's an approach that requires some thought but it can be an overall winner for the sensible punter."

What Bradley has proposed, of course, is like a multiple 2x2x2 treble on selected races. Punters today can use the tote parlay facility to have a go at the Twin Dynamite system.

The selection of the horses to be backed is always going to be the key problem. It really isn't all that easy to select three successive winners, even with two selections per race. Going for four straight, or five straight, is a bet for the desperate and the daring.

The Twin Dynamite, though, can be a good bet for the punter who considers his selections carefully and then goes to the track to ensure he can secure the best price about each of them. He can decide not to bet on a particular race and bet on another as the day goes by.

By Philip Roy