Special Report

I have many friends in the racing business around the world. One of them, Chuck Sallustro, bet alongside me at Saratoga in the USA many moons ago. Chuck was something of a writer too, and I have a number of his articles culled from various magazines and newsletters to which he contributed.

Chuck also ran, for some years, his own racing newsletter called The Saratoga Form Digest. Only his ill health caused its demise. Chuck's own death followed the departure of the Digest by a matter of weeks in the mid-70s.

In his heyday, Chuck bet big and he used a special progressive staking plan that he claimed enabled him to beat level stakes profits every season at Saratoga. I have before me now one of his articles in which he elaborates on this approach.

Chuck wrote: "Normally, progression's greatest drawback is capital. Anyone can march up to a window and wager a flat two bucks, but progressive wagering means that during a losing streak you need to have reserve cash.

"Nevertheless, in the long haul, progressive betting is actually less expensive than flat betting. The percentage of profit on a good progression method is invariably greater than flat bets.

"But I'm not saying that your selection method isn't important. Selection is very important. The better the selection method, the less capital will be required because of shorter losing runs and more frequent winners.

"The technique I use is the old 'due column' approach with my own variations for safety and commonsense."

Chuck goes on to explain the specific alterations he made to the 'due column' approach. Basically, he did not put a specific, pre-determined profit goal in the due column, except for a starting base of $2 (example only).

He wrote: "We will figure our bet size after the result - not before. This rule helps to keep the 'due' at a minimum during a bad losing run.

It's important to study your own method of selection and to assess how it has performed over a lengthy period. When you do this you can work out what your average odds are on a winner.

"If you are shooting for some value I suspect your winning odds will be somewhere around the 9/2 mark. If so, then round off this figure to 5 and this becomes benchmark figure." If your winning average is, say, 3/1 then 3 becomes the benchmark target.

He then explained that his bet was only raised when the total in the 'due column' exceeds this expected odds figure. He began with a $2 figure in the 'due column' and a bet of $2 (remember this is America and the lowest bet is $2).

Let's say the first bet lost. The $2 loss is added to the $2 due, making the next 'due' $4. Since $4 is still less than the benchmark figure of 5 the $2 bet is maintained. Okay, let's say he bets this $2 and the horse loses again. This loss of $2 is added to the $4 already due, bringing the next 'due column' total to $6.

This figure is more than the benchmark 5 - therefore the bet is increased to $4 (or one more unit). If this bet happened to win, the series is begun again, irrespective of whether a profit ire made or not.

If it loses, the loss is added to the 'due column' target. In this case it would now become a target of $10, with the bet remaining at $4. The next level of betting is taken only when the target figure becomes three times the benchmark figure of 5 ( that is, 15).

When the due figure becomes four times the benchmark ($20) then the bet is raised to $8, and when it is five times the benchmark ($25) the bet becomes $10. Hopefully, your selections will be such that you will not need to reach this stage.

The rules, then, are simple for Chuck's staking approach. I think it's a neat way of betting, particularly if you are confining yourself to sensible bets that do not throw up long losing runs.

Give it a trial run for yourself and see how it performs for you. Test it on pre-post favorites, or the selections of a leading tipster. But don't try it on every race. Choose the best 'form' races on the card.

by Des Green