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CITY TYPES FANCY A FLUTTER ON RACE GAME

AN ENTERPRISING businessman, a barrel-load of twenty quid tickets, the chance to win a lucrative prize of your dreams&hellip; sound familiar? It may well do, given ex-Nomura banker Andrew Paul&rsquo;s recent venture selling tickets for the chance to win his mansion, Aston Martin and power boat, which is now going to be made into a Hollywood show.<br /><br />But the latest City type to try his hand at making some dough out of a game of chance insists his new business model has been in the pipeline for well over a year, long before Paul jumped into the fray.<br /><br />Dilan Senatilleke, who runs the Bond Group of independent financial advisory services providers along with partner Nick Kounis, last week opened up his own version of the game online, selling tickets for the chance to win a racehorse, with two-year training cost package included, at &pound;20 a pop.<br /><br />He&rsquo;s targeting sales of 10,000 tickets by the time the competition &ndash; at www.mywinningchance.com &ndash; closes on 8 January, netting him &pound;200,000. Of that, he tells me &pound;150,000 will fund the prize, &pound;25,000 will cover costs, and a further &pound;25,000 will go to charity. And what&rsquo;s more, he&rsquo;s planning another competition every month next year, hoping to raise at least &pound;150,000 (and hopefully more like double that) for good causes by the end of the year. A clear conscience and the chance to win unlimited posing at next year&rsquo;s flat racing season &ndash; what&rsquo;s not to love?<br /><br /> <strong>LOVE IN THE AIR <br /></strong>Speaking of City entrepreneurs, it seems the tide of investment banking types leaving the Square Mile to follow their wild &lsquo;n&rsquo; wacky career dreams has not yet been stemmed despite a relative upturn in our economic fortunes.<br /><br />Word reaches The Capitalist of one such enterprising lady, Salima Manji, who left Dresdner Kleinwort last year to set up a matchmaking supper club, of all things, aimed at Asian professionals working in the City.<br /><br />A year down the line, she has over 500 dedicated members of the Asian Dinner Club, which holds its soir&eacute;es at the likes of smart London venues Sketch, Asia de Cuba and the Arts Club in Mayfair &ndash; and she&rsquo;s potentially looking for a City financial backer to help her roll out the concept to other cities in the UK and worldwide.<br /><br />&ldquo;In banking, we used to work hard but play hard as well,&rdquo; she tells me. <br /><br />&ldquo;It was an extravagant but fun way of living, but then the credit crunch struck and people stopped being frivolous and enjoying themselves. When I set this up, I thought it might prove to be just a hobby before I went back into banking, but I&rsquo;m actually having a whale of a time and helping my former contacts and time-poor City financiers have fun and meet people.&rdquo;<br /><br />Doesn&rsquo;t it just warm the cockles of your heart?<br /><br /><strong>CLOCKWORK ORANGE<br /></strong>Hot on the heels of last week&rsquo;s snippet of investment wisdom &ndash; the meteoric rise of pongy garlic as China&rsquo;s best-performing asset of the year so far &ndash; it seems this Far Eastern food investment logic is more than a one-trick pony.<br /><br />Chinese orange plantation owner Asian Citrus Holdings, listed on London&rsquo;s Aim market and currently preparing for a joint listing in Hong Kong, tells me that the prospects for oranges in the country are booming due to the increasingly more refined tastes of the general population.<br /><br />What with the kilos of the juicy spheres and the aforementioned garlic, the Chinese will surely fast pose a challenge to neighbour Japan as the healthiest nation in the world?<br /><br /><strong>NOEL, NOEL<br /></strong>And finally, for those getting into the Christmassy spirit already, just a week into December, start looking forward to next Tuesday, when Canary Wharf is holding its beloved annual Carols and Candles service at the East Wintergarden.<br /><br />The service, which begins at 5.30pm, will feature crooners from neighbouring Morgan Stanley, HSBC and the Financial Services Authority, while free mince pies and wine will be laid on afterwards for all carollers.