Thursday, October 09, 2003

The Pole vaults to favouritism.

(Sorry about that, but Agatha made me say it and then ran away.)

"Pope John Paul is runaway favourite to win the Nobel Peace Prize tomorrow, ahead of former Czech President Vaclav Havel, according to an Australian bookmaker.

The winner of the $US1.32 million prize, perhaps the world's top accolade, will be announced in Oslo tomorrow from a record field of 165 candidates.

"We've had a lot of interest in the pope," said Centrebet's Gerard Daffy.

"We're offering (US President) George W Bush and (British Prime Minister) Tony Blair at 200/1 but haven't had a single bet."

Centrebet today has the pope at 5-2 on - you bet $1 and get back $1.40 if he wins.

Mr Havel, who helped bring down the Iron Curtain in a "Velvet Revolution", trails him at 7/1 with Irish rock star Bono and Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva tied on 10/1"

If the Pope does not win the Nobel Prize but performs well he will most likely be headed Downunder for another crack at the Melbourne Cup in November. The Pontiff is currently quoted at the juicy odds of 15/1.

"I realise it's all in the lap of the gods, well the one true God actually, but if the old bloke acquits himself well in the Cup we might think about popping him over the sticks at Aintree for his swan song", his Australian trainer Cardinal George Pell said last night.