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Seg als so good hes only 66-1 t o be Spor ts Per sonalit yof the Y ear! Peerless Pricewise's astonishing run.

Byline: Lee Mottershead

THE Racing Post's Pricewise, punters' most prized asset, did it again yesterday, providing an incredible tenth consecutive winning Saturday for his legion of followers, writes Lee Mottershead.

No wonder, then, that Tom Segal, the man who wears the Pricewise crown, is now challenging Andrew Flintoff in the race to be the BBC Sports Personality of the Year, with a 66-1 quote from bookmakers Paddy Power. Indeed, one bookmaking industry source yesterday predicted that Tax Free's victory in the William Hill Trophy had cost the bookmaking industry as much as pounds 5 million.

"There's an inevitability about it - if it's Saturday, it must be another winner for Pricewise," was the reaction of Coral's David Stevens, while VCbet spokesman Neal Wilkins issued a plea.

"The man is costing the industry a fortune and is clearly a genius," he said. "The Racing Post must find Segal another job on Saturdays and/or give him a very long holiday, which VCbet will very happily pay for."

Advised at 7-2, Tax Free was the subject of what Channel 4 expert John McCririck called a "monumental gamble". At one point as short as 7-4, the David Nichollstrained sprinter was eventually sent off at 9-4, and the plunge was enough to make him the worst of the Pricewise Ten for Ladbrokes.

Having vowed to "take him on", the firm were suffering last night, according to spokesman Balthazar Fabricius.

"It's cost us rotten," he said. "That was probably the worst one yet and Tom Segal cannot be far off sainthood."

Offering a scientific assessment of the situation, William Hill's David Hood explained: "Punters are now backing him blind.

"Those who, after four or five weeks, were not believers are now believers, and the ones that were believers from the start are now playing up their winnings, so the stakes are getting higher every Saturday."

As for Totesport, spokesman Paul Petrie suggested that Pricewise should be renamed Priceless and that Tom Segal should be replaced by George Segal.

But he probably won't be.

n Tax Free delivers the goods, page 13

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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Aug 28, 2005
Words:352
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