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Curlin Up in Dubai World Cup

by Roy Brindley |  Published: Apr 01, 2008


The Dubai World Cup is a Thoroughbred horse race held annually since 1996 at the Nad Al Sheba Racecourse in the city of Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

The race was the creation of the Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum who owns Darley Stud & Godolphin Racing, one of the world's leading thoroughbred breeding and racing operations.

With no bookmakers or booze on course, the Dubai Racing Carnival may not be to everyone's liking, but stay-at-home punters get a better view from their televisions anyway, and betting opportunities are aplenty via the telephone and Internet.

The feature event of the meeting is the Dubai World Cup (March 29), over one mile and two furlongs, and it is a race in which the form of horses going into the contest stands up unbelievably well, meaning fancied horses always come to the fore.

In the 12 previous runnings of the event, locally owned and trained horses (that's Saeed bin Suroor and Godolphin Racing) have landed five renewals. Sheikh Mohammed (owner of the Godolphin operation) also owned another winner, Singspeil, while American-trained superstars have plundered the $3 million-plus first prize on all other occasions.

This year, Godolphin is lacking a champion with the credentials for this contest, and therefore, the American-trained Breeders' Cup Classic winner, Curlin, looks a penalty kick.

Now a 4-year-old, Curlin was unraced at 2, but debuted with an emphatic 12-length victory in a seven-furlong maiden special weight race at Gulfstream Park. He followed up with victories at Oaklawn Park, in the Rebel Stakes, and the Arkansas Derby. His three-race win streak, by a combined distance of 28 lengths, crumbled when he finished third behind Street Sense in the Kentucky Derby, but he turned the tables on his conqueror when prevailing by a head in the Preakness Stakes. He subsequently finished second to Rags to Riches in the Belmont Stakes, for three classic placings in his Triple Crown campaign.

A model of consistency, Curlin arguably progressed to land the Group One Jockey Club Gold Cup Stakes, and then rounded out the year with glory in the Breeders' Cup Classic.

Not surprisingly, his efforts landed him the Horse of the Year award. He is the finest racehorse in the world, and with a running style that will be well-suited to Nad Al Sheba's long stretch, not to mention his insurmountable class, every spare penny I have will be going on him.

The Bookies' Edge
To many, the term "betting percentages" is still a mystery. In short, bookmakers stay in business by betting to a profit margin or a percentage. Calculating the percentage that bookmakers are betting to in a race is fairly easy, using the chart below.
In basic terms, the probability of a selection winning in a perfectly handicapped match race is even money. However, needing to operate at a profit, the bookmakers will offer odds of, say, 5/6 on each.

Odds of 5/6 on each contestant gives a percentage margin of 109 percent; suffice it to say that if the bookmakers were foolish enough to offer 6/5 on both runners, the percentage would be about 91 percent, meaning punters could back both and still win.

Similarly, the true price for any dog in a perfectly graded [six-runner] race should be 5/1, but in such circumstances, you will probably see each dog at 4/1, making a percentage of 120 (6 x 20 percent).

Quite simply, the lower the percentage in any race, the better chance the punter has of successfully showing a profit.

Giants Among Men Where Information is King
By Thor Henrykson

How was your Super Bowl? Mine was great. Why? I had the Giants to win it all at 120-to-1. And they did! During the past few weeks, everyone has kept on asking me how in the world I ended up with that bet. Well, I will tell you.

Because of my background, I always like to compare investing on sports events to investing in financials. To me, everything in this world boils down to odds and probabilities, and most importantly: finding good value. To find good value, as with any financial investment, information is king. The more information you have, the better suited you will be to make a decision. This is exactly what I did.

If you're into finance and investing, you watch Bloomberg. If you're into football, you watch HBO's award-winning show Inside the NFL. The weekly show is hosted by Bob Costas, with former players Dan Marino, Cris Collinsworth, and Cris Carter serving as co-hosts (and they provide excellent analysis). The show features highlights of the past week's games that were captured by NFL Films. It really is the best NFL show out there, and should not be missed.

I was enjoying an episode of Inside the NFL in September, a few weeks into the NFL season. The Giants had disappointed their fans, losing the first two games of the season, and people were calling for the coach's head to roll. It all looked very grim for the Giants.

But, with about one minute left in the show, in closing, Bob Costas mentioned that the Giants' next six games were against subpar teams, also with losing records. Sure enough, a quick glance at the schedule confirmed what Bob said.

A quick check on the betting exchange showed that someone was offering 120 odds on the Giants winning the Super Bowl. If nothing else, I figured, I would buy now at 120 and sell after the next six games, which I figured the Giants would win at least four. So, I took it, and watched the Giants come into their own and dominate, winning all six. They looked so good, in fact, that I kept the position, and rode it all the way to victory.

I never would have made this bet without the information I got in the closing seconds of the show. So, train yourselves, listen, and pay attention. There is priceless information out there for everyone who's wise and clever enough to capitalize on it.
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