Here are the time-honoured words of one of Charles Dickens' most loved characters Wilkins Micawber counselling young David Copperfield: "Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen pounds, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty-one pounds, result misery".

This simple but potent tale of the importance of earning more than you spend forms the basis of the Wizard of the Turf's betting philosophy. Put simply, betting happiness will be achieved if we also earn more than we spend on our bets.

But how is betting happiness achieved???

The whole concept of "value" is the crux of the matter. Obviously receiving the highest dividend possible for your wager is paramount, whether this be via fixed odds betting, best fluctuation, the TAB or a Maxi dividend. Knowing which of these bet types and when to place that bet are both important in receiving that highest dividend.

But what if I regularly select the bet type that potentially gives me the highest dividend and am still losing?? This clearly shows that these bets are not "value". The racing media will have you believe that if your horse returns, for example, $5 when the bookmakers' price is $4 that this somehow constitutes "value". All this example proves is that you will receive an extra $1 for each dollar wagered if your horse is successful; as I indicated earlier it is very important to receive that highest dividend possible.

However, if we take the example above, where is the value if the horse runs fifth, and its true probability of winning the race equated to odds of $8???

"True value" is obtained when the true probability of a horse winning a particular race is greater (or odds lower) than the probability of that horse as indicated by the odds available for that horse. For example, if the true probability of the horses you bet on winning averages $6, then, assuming you have a consistent staking plan, you simply need to average a return greater than $6 to be a winning punter.

Calculating the true probability of each horse in a race is not easy, as there is a plethora of variables that must be taken into consideration. These variables include the class of the horse in comparison to the class of the race, the weight, barrier, course, track condition, potential track bias, expected tempo of a race, size of a field, expected position during a race, distance, key gear changes, trainer, jockey and the most important of all, the horse's current form. The weighting applied to these variables will also change under different circumstances.

If "true value" can be found on a consistent and regular basis then betting happiness is just around the corner, if not then betting misery will continue to be the order of the day. The Wizard of the Turf is here for you, doing the hard yards to come up with the true value bets in the most appropriate races. By applying this knowledge on a consistent and regular basis there is a much better chance of you earning more than you spend on your bets, and therefore, in the words of Wilkins Micawber, "result happiness".