My recent series of articles on the Pro-Power staking approach drew a mass of letters from P.P.M. readers. Many wanted to see me put Pro-Power to the ultimate test - a day's action punting in three States!

As I promised in my final article, I have conducted a special test of the Pro-Power plan using the top selections of a number of well-known newspaper tipsters in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.

The experts were taken from the tipsters' panels published in the Brisbane Courier-Mail's Friday morning raceguide. The day selected for the test was April 25, because it combined good feature races in all three cities at Doomben, Flemington and Randwick.

At Flemington, I have used the selections of Danny Power, Tim Habel and John Bell. Power and Habel work for the Herald-Sun while Power is with the Sporting Globe. At Randwick, the tipsters used were Chris Dowd, Matt Shrivell and Bob Sutherland, all of the Telegraph-Mirror. The Doomben tipsters used were Bart Sinclair, Peter Cameron and Bruce Clark, all of the Courier-Mail.

The parameters set were that betting ceased whenever a winner was struck by each tipster. If a tipster had six losers in a row, betting would cease on his selections for the meeting.

Now, let's firstly go over the Pro-Power approach. You set yourself three targets - to recoup expenses, to recoup any losses, and to set a profit targetof$10. I set expenses (going to the track, racebook, food etc) at $20, and the Profit Target, of course, set at $I0.

That meant the first bet was to be made to win $30, depending on the price of the horse concerned. After a loser, the target is increased by the sum of the previous bet.

In all nine cases, Pro-Power had very little trouble making a profit from each tipster's selections. The average stake for each tipster's bets was $26. Average winnings worked out at $34 per tipster.

The toughest run was with Bob Sutherland's tips at Randwick. He had five straight losers before getting the Sydney Cup winner My Eagle Eye at 4/ 1. In Sutherland's case, the Pro-Power bets were $4,$4,$2,$10,$9 and then $15 on My Eagle Eye. This meant a total stake for the six bets of $44 and a total return of $75 ($15at4/1) for the required profit of $31 on the entire series of bets.

This example only served to demonstrate Pro-Power's winning strength. Here we had just one winner from six bets and yet Pro-Power's staking easily established the required target with a modest bet on a 4/1 winner.

Had My Eagle Eye lost, betting would have ceased with a $44 loss, the series to be continued another day. You could, of course, have continued with the remainder of Sutherland's tips had you so wished.

But let's look in detail now at the other Pro-Power bets. At Flemington, Danny Power had Mizzen Top in the first race for a $6 bet at 6 /1 for no return, but he struck with winner Life At The Top in e second race. The bet was $12 at 7/2 for a total return of $M, and a $36 profit on the two bets. Tim Habel's pick in the first race, Apollo Magic, won at 3/1. The bet was $10 for an instant $30 profit.

John Bell of the Globe had three losers, and a combined loss of 520 on 511, 7/1 and 7/1 chances, before striking with 10/1 chance Infallable. The bet was $6 for a return of $66, and a profit on the series of $39.

At Randwick, Chris Dowd had three losers (9/2, 3/1, 7/2) before Rough Habit won for him at 714 carrying a $40 Pro-Power bet, for a return of 5110 after a total stake of $79. The profit: $31.

Matt Shrivell had two losers (9/2, 66/1) before getting Mocha at 3/1 carrying a $14 bet for a return of S56 and a profit of $32. Bob Sutherland's picks then put Pro-Power to the longest test, but, as usual, the plan turned a profit once a winner was struck. Doomben, Bart Sinclair had one loser before Spritely Jet won at 4/1 carrying a bet of $9 for a return of $45 on a total stake of $14 for a $31 profit. Peter Cameron struck immediately with Hot Reception at 20/1, with a $2 bet returning $42, for a profit of $40. Bruce Clark had Bernie's Boys a loser in the first at 6/1 with a bet of $6, then scored with 4/1 chance Spritely Jet with a $10 bet, for a return of $50 and a profit of $34.

So there you have the Pro-Power test under fire. Like the filly Burst when she won the Golden Slipper, the system 'found plenty' when the chips were down! Seriously, though, I do feel this gives you a great example of how any punter can operate this approach any day of the week at any meeting.

If you strike a long losing run - and we all know they can happen - all you need do is cut off betting, and begin again, or simply ride out the losing run until you strike the inevitable winner, whereupon you will regain all losses and be making a profit.

You don't need me to point out that short-priced horses cause the Pro-Power staking figures to rise high. The shorter the price the higher the bet required. Take the case of the AAP's Mark Ryan on April 25. He had five losers at relatively short prices -5/1,3/1, 7/1, 9/4 and 3/1 -before getting a winner at 6/4. Therefore, Pro-Power called for bets of $7, $14, $8, $25, $29 and $77, a total of $160. The return on the winner Gallorette was $192 on the bet of $77, eventually providing $32 profit, enabling the return of your $20 expenses for the day plus $12 over.

Of course, to get that $32, you would have staked a total of $160, so the percentage return on investment was 20 per cent, which might not seem much but do remember that professional punters are delighted if they can achieve a 20 per cent return.

Don't forget when staking that you have to allow for a profit to be made, as well as getting back losses and any expenses for the day. So if your required target had got to, say, $25 and you had a 3/1 chance to bet, the stake would be $9. This would return you $36 - $9 the stake and the remainder $27 to cover losses and give you a profit.

For instance: First bet to gain $30 is on a 4/1 chance. The bet, then, is $8. It loses. The target now is $38 and the second horse is also 4/ 1. This calls for a bet (rounded to a target of $40) of $10. A win would return you $50. Overall, then, you have staked a total of $18 for a return of $50, giving you the required $30 to cover your $20 expenses, plus the desired $10 profit and any losses.

By Alan Jacobs