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Pope: Irish lead the way in next Pope betting.

Byline: GEOFFREY RIDDLE

ALTHOUGH thesad news of Pope John Paul II's demise on Saturday night prompted bookmaker Paddy Power to suspend their betting on the vacant Papacy, the Irish firm promise Pontiff punters that their prices will be available this morning.

P ower go 11-4 the field with Nigerian candidate Francis Arinze sharing favouritism with the 71-year-old Archbishop of Milan, Dionigi Tettamanzi.

Arinze's position in the market is due to his expertise in Islam, while Tettamanzi's pastoral post has been the springboard of all but a handful of Popes down the centuries.

However, the election of P olish-born John Paul II in 1978 broke the 455-year stranglehold the Italians had on the No. 1 Catholic post.

Of the 117 cardinals eligible to vote in around 15 days' time only 20 of those are Italian, and therefore it is reasonable to suggest that punters should place their faith in a nonItalian candidate.

Sixty-five per cent of catholics now live in Africa, Asia and Latin America, and with an excellent grasp of many Latin American languages, the 69-year-old P atriarch of Lisbon, Cardinal Jose da Cruz Policarpo, looks an almighty punt at Paddy P ower's 33-1. Betfair are also taking bets.

To be the next Pope - Paddy Power: 11-4 F Arinze, D Tettamanzi, 9-2 O Maradiaga, 7 C Hummes, J Ratzinger, 14 J LOrtega, EAntonelli, C Von Shoenborn, 16 G Battista Re, 18 D Castrillon Hoyos, G Biffi, C Sepe, 20 K O'Brien, A Scola. Others on request
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Apr 4, 2005
Words:246
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