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Let's be honest, what I know about the way bookies work can be written on one piece of a torn-up betting slip and still leave room for the big-race field.

Like everyone else, however, I do know they make sure they never lose.

In spite of bleats about the lottery, the nation's Honest Joe Bloggs and his pals will bank about pounds 300 million of our money this year.

And they are still not happy!

They remain narked that Frankie Dettori's once-in-a-millennium seven Ascot winners took pounds 30m out of their kitty and are plotting that punters can never again have such a happy haul.

Dettori Day may never happen again in our lifetime but even those odds are not long enough for the bookies' peace of mind and pocket.

So be warned there are plans afoot to harness starting prices to computers to ensure that in cases like Dettori, bookies will not again feel the pain.

Such a move may be legal but is it fair? To my mind their pleasure-pinching plans are a bosom pal of nobbling.



pounds 25 STAR LETTER

Again the Football Association live up to their initials, FA . . . and do just that!

As someone who has journeyed long and hard to the crumbling edifice that is Wembley and supposed to be our national stadium, I must say that London's monopoly must end.

Ignoring the horrendous traffic congestion, London has done very well overcharging Northerners for the use of this uncomfortable stadium with its dreadful facilities.

Wouldn't it be nice for London-based fans to travel north for a change? Who knows it may change their luck and their teams may even reach a final?

We deserve a new National Stadium, something to outshine Brazil's Maracana.

Mrs M Scully, Birkenhead.

Never mind all that, luv. What's more interesting is how a nice girl like you knows about sweet FA.

Sad Man

IS it any wonder most fans outside Old Trafford dislike Manchester United?

Beaten fair and square by Newcastle, first they resort to bad-tempered tactics.

And then their manager Alex Ferguson seems incapable of taking defeat graciously.

He should have made more play of the real reasons for the 5-0 scoreline - Newcastle's brilliance and his own team's shortcomings.

Does he not realise his team will never be nationally admired with such a response?

Graham Dawson, Stafford.

More to the point, pal, does he care?

The curios case of Damon Hill

I APPRECIATE the "Beef" column caters for the thoughts of the nation's sporting curios.

However that guy last week who predicted "with certainty" that Damon Hill would never again stand on the Grand Prix podium cannot have analysed the position.

Hill is now with the Arrow team owned, for the information of your misguided correspondent, by Tom Walkinshaw, who - as technical director for Benetton - did most to promote Michael Schumacher's career. I predict "with certainty" he will do the same for Hill.

John G Gibbs, Stafford.

What was that you were saying about the nation's sporting curios?

Wright wrong

NEVER mind that Paul Gascoigne, what about Ian Wright?

Something has to be done quickly by the FA about him for every week he seems to hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons. I don't know how he stayed on after Steve Ogrizovic's nose was broken. If Arsenal had any dignity they would have disciplined him themselves.

S Howes, Coventry.

Pardon the guffaw, but how can you mention Arsenal and dignity in the same breath?

'Bank raid

WHY, oh, why has Chris Eubank returned to boxing?

I was disappointed when he retired because I thought he still had much to offer the sport but it is obvious from his display in Egypt that the months spent out of the ring have ended the magic. He should forget his comeback before even those who admire him are turned off.

P Thatcher, London N12. Why is he back? You MUST have heard of something called money.
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Copyright 1996 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Sport
Author:Shaw, Peter
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Oct 27, 1996
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