International Rugby: Compromise on the cards for horse racing?

Rugby League will have its turn this weekend when England meet Wales in a Gillette Four Nations match at Leigh Sports Village on Saturday. Betting on the actual result of the match is a little restrictive as England are such hot favourites that the odds on them will be prohibitive. England, who overcame France last week by a score of 32-18 in Avignon, will face a much tougher test next week when they face Australia.

However, bookmakers are experts in making any kind of match - particularly internationals - an entertaining betting prospect for their mobile customers, and among markets that include the number of second half tries, total match points (plus total home/away points), total tries, winning margin, time of the first try and even whether or not the first try is converted, there is always going to be something to keep an eye on. Often the mist fun bets have little to do with the final outcome of the match!

Meanwhile, the whip rules saga that has seen the horse racing industry experience chaos during the last few weeks is about to get a political flavour. Sport and politics tend to be a poor mix, but with the prospect of top jockeys handing back their licences and others threatening strike action as a protest to what many see as impractical (and even unsafe) restrictions on use of the whip (plus particularly harsh fines), some sort of compromise is necessary, regardless of from where it comes. Thus a meeting will take place next week involving the All-Party Racing Group of MPs as well as Kevin Darley, chief executive of the Professional Jockeys Association, with a view to a successful discussion of the crisis. Horse racing being such a great source of entertainment, with meetings all over the country and betting markets that we can enjoy without being experts, it would be surprising if a compromise was not found rather soon.

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