The greatest week in European racing is about to start and you're mad if you won't be deep amongst the action. I confess to being more of a flat punter and certainly a far better analyst of flat racing, so I will be handing over the reins to a number of National Hunt enthusiasts this week with much more time than me on their hands. Names on the honour roll this week include Adam Ward, James Jack, David Plane, Marc Owen-Banks, Dan Kelly, Richard Skeen, Andy Charles and Clint Smith. There's still time (and 14 races) left if you fancy penning an article and putting your skills (/reputation?!) on the line. Nominate yourself in the comments or contact me on Twitter if you fancy having a crack at it.
The Christmas Hurdle from Leopardstown, a good Grade 2 race during the holiday period. But now it will go into history as the race which brought Betfair down. Over £21m at odds of 29 available on Voler La Vedette in-running - that's a potential liability of over £500m. You might think that's a bit suspicious, something's fishy, especially with the horse starting at a Betfair SP of 2.96. Well, this wasn't a horse being stopped by a jockey either - the bloody horse won! Look at what was matched at 29. Split that in half and multiply by 28 for the actual liability for the layer(s). (Matched amounts always shown as double the backers' stake, never counts the layers' risk). There's no way a Betfair client would have £600m+ in their account. Maybe £20 or even £50m from the massive syndicates who regard(ed) Betfair as safer than any bank, but not £600m. So the error has to be something technical. However, rumour has it, a helpdesk reply (not gospel, natur