Betfair: Turf war victors

The World Cup will be the biggest gambling bonanza ever, and online betting exchange Betfair is already giving high street bookies a run for their money.

by Steve Barrett

It's the first race on the opening day of the Cheltenham horseracing festival earlier this year. The packed crowd watches intently as the hot favourite storms towards the line. But soon the horse is fading. Cries of anguish ring out from the stands as it is pipped at the post by a fast-finishing outsider called Noland. Favourite-backers tear up their betting slips and head off to the bar to drown their sorrows.

Seventy-five miles to the west, a punter in Pontypridd, Wales, sits in front of his computer celebrating the biggest win of his life. And he hadn't even placed his bet until halfway through the race.

Noland was way behind and available at long odds. But that was before it sprouted wings and flew across the finishing line. With one click of his mouse, the South Wales punter had taken a £20 chance and won £20,000.

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