ONE of the unanswered questions after Billion Win's shock defeat was just how many 10-cent coins the Jockey Club had called up for those still interested in place betting on the Sha Tin Vase. Just to brighten up the day, there were a few in the press box who decided to put the issue to the test. Not too many $10 place bets are struck these days, but they were in race seven. We'll never know if those elusive coins were available as Billion Win ran fourth. Discussions over the Jockey Club's decision to re-introduce the $10.10 place dividend may continue, but two points were brought freshly into play as a result of Billion Win's shock defeat. Had the $10.50 place minimum remained, there would undoubtedly have been an avalanche of cash for Billion Win, prompting considerable anguish. It may well be argued that those looking for a five per cent deserve all they get. Information guru Wilson Cheng said: 'We had $3.4 million in the place pool for race seven. If the minimum had been $10.50 we would probably have had $34 million and the result could have been the end of the world for some people.' Billion Win's defeat also highlighted what can happen to happy punters who do bother to have a place bet on a six-horse race dominated by an odds-on favourite. Winner Astimonti, who jumped at 8-1, paid 11-2 for the place while Commander Charlie (16-1) returned over 9-1 for second place. Had Billion Win placed, the place odds on Astimonti would undoubtedly have been $10.10, just as we saw with the three placegetters in the opening griffin race. Independent bookmaker Victor Chandler may be something of a bete noire for Jockey Club security supremo David Twynham, but he is a white knight for Italian football team Bologna. The Serie A side are here for an exhibition game at the Hong Kong Stadium today and were in urgent need of about 20 balls for training. It is not that easy to whistle up so many balls in half an hour but Chandler's organisation raced to the rescue. The firm's Hong Kong face, director Paul Cantwell, said: 'We are very much into football and we have quite a stock of first-class footballs. We're involved in the Bologna game so we were happy to oblige.' Trainer Peter Ng Bik-kuen has won the Hong Kong Derby and conjured up some marvellous performances out of a number of top horses, not least the brilliant Quicken Away in his glory days. But nothing comes close to the miracle he has performed in relation to the aforementioned and the soon-to-be-held World Cup in France. The soccer-loving Ng will lead a party of 50 to France - and he's landed that many tickets for the July 12 final in the Stade de France in Paris. Compared to that, winning the Derby is simple. The Macau Jockey Club's successful move to sign Paddy Payne in the wake of his enforced departure from Hong Kong will raise the profile of racing at Taipa. If the MJC continues to attract riders of Payne's calibre, they will be doing themselves a major favour.