Fri, May 2, 2:06pm by Brad McGrath
THE AFL and NRL seasons might only be just over a month old, but already some of AustralianGambling’s tipsters are beginning to look silly.
The Sydney Swans horrendous start to the AFL season has four of our eight expert tipsters wishing they didn’t pick them to flag, while Clarinda Campbell and Darren Tendler’s prediction that Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley would be first sacked in 2014 is looking increasingly off the mark with the Magpies strong form.
AG editor Dominic Ciconte was seen wiping egg off his face after tipping St Kilda to finish last, while six tipsters who thought Richmond was a lock for top eight are hoping the Tigers can get a wriggle on after a poor start to the season.
Our NRL tips have also been hit and miss with two of us correctly predicting New Zealand Warriors coach Matthew Elliott to be the first coach fired in 2014.
The four of us that believed the Melbourne Storm had the tools to win the premiership this year are beginning to get worried, while we won’t mention the two tipsters that didn’t have top-of-the-table Canterbury Bulldogs finishing in the top eight.
This week, AG’s racing expert Daryl Curnow tells of his trip to Sha Tin in Hong Kong, we tell you how you can bet on Kylie Minogue and tell the story of a man who turned a pineapple into $119,000.
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AG’s resident horse racing expert Daryl Curnow has seen plenty of sites on a racecourse, but visiting Sha Tin in Hong Kong takes the cake. He recaps his visit to the most famous track in Asia and tells us why it’s important to do a bit of research before venturing overseas.
Placing my first bet at Sha Tin, Hong Kong, was an experience I will never forget.
I arrived at the track early in the morning with a wallet full of cash and big plans to invest it as quickly as possible. But I soon realised that almost all of the 85,000 people crammed into Sha Tin had a similar vision.
I remember looking at the old pictures on the walls at my local race club – the packed stands, the huge queues at the bookies with the cashed up punters lining up a race in advance to get on what they think is a ‘good thing’. I’m too young to remember these days in the flesh but my visit to Sha Tin was my little glimpse of the past.
When I visited Hong Kong, offshore betting was illegal, so if you wanted to bet legally you would have to attend a race meeting. I’m always on the lookout for the best odds, so of course I had organized for a friend back in Australia to put on a few bets for me if I got in touch.
What happened next blew my mind.
I had not learnt the conversion rates between the Chinese and the Australian dollars so I thought I’d call my ‘associate’ back home to find out the odds and compare them to those being offered on track. A few seconds after putting the phone to my ear a man in what looked like a military uniform approaches me: “No! no phones”. Apparently you’re not even allowed to make personal calls at Sha Tin.
The big group 1 event for the day was the Hong Kong Mile, but there were plenty of appetisers leading into the main event. I thought I’d queue up nice and early and place a bet on whatever race was next. I put $100 down and went off to search for a good vantage point – no small feat when the crowd is so large.
I manage to pop up between two heads and can see a bit of the home straight, to my surprise the race had started, but I couldn’t hear the commentators because of the noise of the crowd.
To stick to my guns of being a clueless foreigner, I hadn’t picked up a race book and didn’t have any idea what colours the favourite was racing in. I decided to join the huge queue to see if I had won. Surprisingly it had saluted and seemingly turned my day around.
I decided to place a bet on the day’s feature race before I missed out and this time I put $100 on the second favourite.
By this time the crowd had filled out to resemble sardines in a can and I knew I was no chance of finding a good viewing spot. I am, and was a punter that needed to see the race, or at least hear it otherwise the point of betting was moot. With my lack of height working against me, I pushed into the stand, but I could only see the backs of heads.
It left me with one option: contact my associate back home and get him to put the phone to the TV so I could listen to the race. Minutes before the race, the queues at the toilets had cleared, so I sidled in and nervously took out my phone.
The race starts and I can clearly hear the commentary – something I found a pleasure at the time. As the field went around the final bend I heard my horse making his run down the outside and I couldn’t help myself. I had to ride it home enthusiastically with the jockey or it would lose. With my cheering, a talented horse and of course the jockey’s skill it held on to win by a length and give me my second pay of the day.
I queued up with the masses to collect my winning and began to head off course. After taking the bus to Sha Tin I decided to make use of my winnings and catch a cab home. The driver asked for $200. I looked at him incredulously and told him that I had just spent $200 on the track. “You’re kidding me right?” I exclaimed.
As it turns out, my extravagant spending wasn’t so extravagant. AUD $26 was the total of my track spending and my dreams of being a big shot overseas punter had been quickly dampened.
For a region so small, Hong Kong certainly lives on the big scale, especially on the racing front. When people ask about my experience there I often recall this story, but always end it with how every punter would. “I went two for two.”
AS excitement continues to build ahead of the opening episode of Channel Nine’s The Voice on Sunday, punters have settled on Kylie Minogue and Ricky Martin as their top picks to be the winning coach.
Kylie’s odds have eased from $2.50 to $3 at Sportingbet.com.au but the pop princess remains the favourite in front of Ricky, who has firmed from $3.50 into $3.25.
Will.i.am is a $4 third favourite and then it’s a gap to Joel Madden at $4.75.
“Our punters appear to have written off Joel’s chances this year, probably because of the hype surrounding the other coaches and the thought that the best contestants might choose one of them first over him,” Sportingbet’s Andrew Brown said.
“Kylie has been favourite since it became known she was joining the show last November, but most of the late money has been for the Latin superstar.”
To view Sportingbet’s full market click here.
A LUCKY Sportsbet punter from Western Australia will never forget this bet.
KJ turned $50 into $119,000 after selecting 10 teams from various European and English soccer leagues and putting them into a multi bet.
KJ told Sportsbet soon after the big win that he was considering taking his son to the World Cup in Brazil later this year.
“My son and I are diehard soccer fans so it would be a dream come true for us to see the world’s best compete,” he said.
The shortest odds out of the 10 games were $1.90, which as fans of the round ball game would know is no mean effort.
– Hellas Verona to defeat Catania @ $2.10
– Hertha Berlin over Eintracht Braunschweig @ $1.90
– Guingamp to beat Valenciennes @ $2.05
– Fiorentina to defeat Bologna @ $2.30
– Real Sociedad to win against Betis @ $2.30
– Tottenham over Stoke @ $2.40
– Rochdale to beat Bristol Rovers @ $2.21
– Leicester to win against Bolton @ $2.27
– QPR to defeat Watford @ $2.11
– Burnley over Wigan Athletic @ $2.43
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