As we all know, target betting can be dangerous if stakes rise too rapidly during a losing run and there is no safety brake to stop your bet sizes getting out of hand. But the plan I am now about to reveal has a built-in 'double brake'.

The plan was originally designed for winning a set amount for every, race run, or for every race on which a bettor considers a bet is warranted.

Firstly, to the selection rules and these are simple. The horse to be backed is the first one in the tipsters' poll in your newspaper. You look at the poll after scratchings. Start from the top of the poll and work downwards. If the top horse is quoted at under 3/1, you move to the second horse and then the third, and so on. The bet is the first runner you find at 3/1 or longer.

Now, the target. The opening objective is three times the race target at which you are aiming, after which you add the race target for each subsequent race. Example: Your aim is to win 1 unit per race and we will assume the unit is $1. You start with an objective of $3. If the first bet loses, the target for the next bet would be $3 plus the $1 wanted from the second race, plus the amount of the losing wager ($l). Thus, the objective would be 5 units.

The staking goes like this: As you are backing horses likely to start at 3/1 or longer, the opening divisor is 3. Every time you back TWO successive losers the divisor is increased by 1. This is a very important 'safety brake' to prevent your bet sizes shooting up too rapidly.

Whenever a winner is backed, you deduct the profit from the objective, while the odds gained is deducted from the divisor, but the divisor must never be reduced below 2.

The series ends, and a fresh one is begun, when the objective is wiped out, or there is a profit of at least $1 for every race played. Now, as you can see, the rules couldn't be clearer or more to the point.

Take the example as shown: Opening objective is $3. Opening bet is $1, the divisor being 3. Horse loses. Objective is now $5 (the original $3, the $1 sought for the second race, plus the $1 lost). The next bet is $5 divided by 3, which we will round off to $2.

If this horse also lost, the objective would now be $8 and because we have backed two successive losers the divisor is raised by 1 to make it 4. So the next bet is $2 ($8 divided by 4).

Let's assume it won at evens. You have won $2. Therefore, for the next bet the divisor comes down to 2 and the objective is $6 plus the $1 you require to win from the next bet, making $7 in all. This calls for a bet of $3.50. If this happened to be on a winner at 2/1 or longer the series would be closed off and a new one started.

That's the sum total of this method, which I believe is an excellent one. You can operate the staking plan on any system, really, as long as the selections are at 3/1 or longer.

In the example I have given, I have shown one extreme price of evens. However, under the selection rules with the poll, the average odds should be close to 3/1, or better than 3/1, although if a bettor were using the staking plan on his own selections he would, no doubt, occasionally come up with short-priced choices.

Many of you may have to work the plan off the pre-post prices alone. That is, you may not be able to be at the track or in a TAB agency to keep up with late price trends. In this Case, you may well find yourself betting horses which start shorter than the 3/1 listed pre-post.

In the main, though, I suspect most bettors wanting to pursue this system will be in a position to decide, very late in the betting, whether a selection is at the required 3/1 or longer (on the tote this would $4.00 or more).

My advice is to ignore a selection if it doesn't meet the price requirement. The price angle is part of the method's 'safety brake' and stops you chasing short-priers.

By Alan Jacobs