The final furlong

The two most agonisingly anticipated milestones in sport have finally materialized: Sachin’s century of tons and a Torres goal for Chelski. It was with an entirely fitting sense of bathos that they came against Bangladesh and Leicester respectively – hardly the most exalted of opponents.

Unfortunately, my wait to back a winner at Cheltenham will last another year (at least). I had a torrid festival on the fixed-odds markets – congratulations to Paddy Power for luring me in with that fantastic Sprinter Sacre offer – and was left wondering which is more painful – the faller-at-the-first or the narrowly-beaten-by-a-neck. The only silver lining was a decent win on Sporting’s top jockey market, thanks Barry!

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Sir Alex Ferguson's horse What a Friend falls at Cheltenham. Will United stumble with the finishing line in sight?

Meanwhile in the Premier League we are fast approaching the equivalent of the Cheltenham hill, what a certain Scotsman likes to call “squeaky bum time” and, unlike the Gold Cup, this is very much a two horse race.

In time-honoured fashion United have seized the initiative at the crucial moment and are now favourites over their city rivals for the title (United currently enjoy a 4 point lead but City have a game in hand).

Sporting Index, on the Premier League Outright Index (60/40/30/20/10/5), quote Ferguson’s men at 52-54 with Balotelli and co at 46-48. Effectively, if you fancy City for the title, you’d be risking 8pts to win 12. If you took the 2/1 available about City on Betfair you’d be getting a 16pt return for your 8 pt risk.

Perhaps more attractively, in form Arsenal are offered at 21-23, giving a decent risk/reward ratio on the Gunners achieving a third place finish.

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