A friend of mine was ruminating the other week on his fortune - good and bad - with progressive staking. "Sometimes I wonder why I don't reverse the progression and start with a big bet and end up with a small one," he said.

He set me thinking. Could it be possible that a complete turnaround in progression betting thinking could enable a punter to make money, or more money, from it? Instead of beginning with small bets and ending with big ones, why not begin with the biggies and end with the small bets?

One thing I realised immediately was that in some instances, the reverse progression would give you better results; at other times the 'old-fashioned' approach would work best.

My pal and I discussed the ins and outs of what he had suggested. We both knew that reverse progression would require a lot more money up front than the normal progression staking. But, if big winners were struck early then the reverse approach would certainly provide instant large profits.

We began to test a number of tipsters at various meetings and, as expected, there were any number of variable results thrown up. Sometimes the reverse approach worked best, and other times the conservative approach fared better. A classic example was at Sandown on August 28 (the closest weekend's racing to my writing this article) when I examined the selections of Chris Bassano in the Melbourne Herald-Sun. He had a good day with five winners from the eight races, several at big odds.

Using a normal progression (drawn up to cope with breaking square with 2/1 winners) the bets went:

1-1-2-3-46-9-14. Using the rule of starting a new series of bets each time a profit was achieved on any set of bets, Bassani showed a profit of 31 units on an outlay of 9 units. That's a profit on turnover of a high 344.4 per cent.

Using the reverse progression, the outlay was 94 units and the return 354 units, a profit of 260 units. This looks good at face value, yet the actual profit figure was 276.6 per cent on turnover - far less than achieved by the normal progressive staking (344.4 per cent).

Taking the Sporting Globe's Andre Kassay's tips as another example, we found that using the normal progression he made a loss of 9.5 units on a turnover of 14 units (-67.8%), but the reverse progression was much kinder, returning a loss of only 2.5 units on a total bet turnover of 53 units (-4.71%). In this instance, a big loss on turnover at the normal progression has been sliced back by the opposite approach.

Using Ross Flegeltaub's selections from the Sporting Globe there was a turnover of 14 units using the normal approach for a return of 28.5 units, a profit of 14.5 units (+103.5 per cent). In contrast, the reverse staking bet a total of 53 units for a profit of only 3.5 units (+ 6.6 per cent).

This example showed that in percentage terms the follower of Flegeltaub's selections would have fared far better using the normal progression.

Turning to the Rosehill meeting for August 28, we had a look at AAP writer Bruce Montgomerie's selections. Montgomerie - an excellent judge - scored with four winners and using the reverse progression the total outlay was 94 units for a return of 140.5, a profit of 46.5 units (+49.46 per cent).

This seems very good until you see that the normal progression had an outlay of only 9 units and returned 22.3 units, for a profit of 147.7 per cent on turnover! This is more than three times the percentage profit which was gained using reverse progression.

The warning, then, is clear: Try the reverse approach, but depending on how the winners fall it can be a winner or a loser.

Below is the workout of Chris Bassani's tips using both progressions.


1 - 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 6 - 9 - 14

Great Vintage1WON 1-12
Lord Dalmar1Lost  
Burette 1 Lost  
Alishan2 WON 7/1 16
Bundy Lad 1 WON 11/1 12
Star of Maple 1 WON 3/1 4
Rose of Marizza 1 Lost  
State Taj 1 WON 5/1 6
Total Bets: 9. Return: 40. Profit: 31. Percentage on turnover 344.4%.

14 - 9 - 6 - 4 - 3 - 2 - 1 - 1

Great Vintage 14 WON 1-1 28
Lord Dalmar 14 Lost  
Burette 9 Lost 
Alishan 6 WON 7/1 48
Bundy Lad 14 WON 11/1 168
Star of Maple 14 WON 3/1 56
Rose of Marizza 14 Lost  
State Taj 9 WON 5/1 54
Total Bets: 94. Return: 354. Profit: 260. Percentage on turnover 276.6%.

By Ted Davies