Leading article: A safe bet

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The Independent Online

It is not lightly that we suggest that careful perusal of the sports section of this newspaper can earn readers a fortune. But we feel justified in at least advancing this proposal after our racing correspondent predicted not only the winner, but the top three, in Britain's richest horse race, the Epsom Derby.

Sadly, as we report today, instead of using his own predictions to earn himself several hundred pounds for every one betted, Chris McGrath, who describes himself as "not a big betting man", did not place a bet on any of the winners himself.

While our correspondent says he spent a long time pondering possible winners, and that the result of the race demonstrates that "hard work" paid off, many will no doubt wonder whether hard work is as responsible for such successful predictions as pure luck, or some semi-magical, divining skill. After all, how much intellectual activity did Paul the famous Weymouth-born octopus put in, when he predicted eight out of eight World Cup results last year by touching flag- covered containers in his aquarium? As Paul expired last October, further speculation about the nature of his skills is useless. Chris McGrath, however, is very much alive and still predicting, so ignore him at your peril. You have been told, or rather, tipped off.