Just like in sport - it's all about timing

PSST! Want a sure bet? A no-risk, cast-iron certainty you could put your house on? Don't breathe a word about where you heard it from but put all you've got on Royal Athlete in the 1995 English Grand National. What do you mean it was already raced a few weeks ago? It hasn't happened yet according to Prime's promotional ads which were touting the big race 'live' last week. Are Prime in some kind of time warp? If so why can't they get some advance action from some upcoming races? THIS wasn't the only instance of sport crossing with science fiction last week as another programme seemed to fall victim to Einstein's theory of relativity - Friday's live NBA clash on Prime between New York and Charlotte in which the Knicks completed an impressive 20-point turnaround to win.

Actually the stretching of game time into much longer periods of real time is commonplace in the stopwatch-dominated US sports which are fetishistic about accounting for every second of playing time. Taking this game as a random example, the final, exciting four minutes 13 seconds on the game clock took a total of 22 minutes to play.

It means that if you're setting the video timer you should always massively overestimate the stop time.

SCIENCE fiction is the theme also behind one of Prime's snazzier station promos. The montage of numerous exciting sports clips is accompanied by a fanciful voiceover along the lines of: 'In the future you will choose which continent, which event, which player, which camera angle to watch'.

The hypothesis postulates a futuristic home entertainment system in which the viewer has practically become a mixing desk operator in a TV sports addict's utopia, editing his own version of the action. Anyway, Prime's pay-off line is: 'Until that time let us do it for you'. WHARF tinkered with 'truth in advertising' boundaries in their promos for the IBF heavyweight title fight between George Foreman and Axel Schulz which was shown live on pay-per-view on the Wharf Cineplex channel yesterday.

Not that there was anything irregular in them. It's just that they kept making loud and big references to Mike Tyson, the name 'Tyson' flashing on screen numerous times.

The pretext is that the winner of Foreman v Schulz will take on Iron Mike who, of course, is the hottest property in the fight game since his release from prison after serving time for a rape conviction.

The only problem is that news reports this week have established that there is no fight confirmed yet between Preacher George and Tyson or anybody else for that matter. ANOTHER thought-provoking ad is the one about the Olympic movement which appeared on Prime.

Inspiring images from black and white to colour of people running, jumping, throwing, skiing, playing and exulting were combined in a would-be stirring evocation.

But at the end the effect is ruined by a caption about how the Olympics 'follow the spirit of mankind' or some such hyperbole.

If you're of a cynical disposition you might think it more honest for the montage to include clips of people injecting drugs, haggling over appearance money, and indulging in crude jingoism. TVB Pearl did well in their coverage of the Hong Kong Salem tennis Open semi-finals and final over the past two days.

Funniest moment was Andrew Sams' on court interview with Michael Chang which Sams rounded off by saying: 'Well Michael, you look like you could do with a shower.' MOST impressive performance of the week was Ajax's 5-2 demolition of Bayern Munich in the European Cup semi-final second leg. Shown delayed live on ESPN (Wharf) the flying young Dutchmen's verve suggests the final against Milan next month could be a classic. PRIME also has live action from the Volvo Open golf tournament's days three and four on Saturday and Sunday. THE third Formula One Grand Prix of the season goes round and round and round on your screen live from the infamous Imola circuit for the first time since the race which took Ayrton Senna's life last year.

That's on Prime on Sunday.