Findlay warned off for six months for laying own horse

Crestfallen owner Harry Findlay has vowed to lodge an appeal after being warned off for six months in connection with laying his own horse, Gullible Gordon, on two occasions.

Findlay, who joint-owns 2008 Gold Cup winner Denman, was found guilty of the offence by a British Horseracing Authority disciplinary panel yesterday.

He was charged by the BHA last month and told of the news on Friday morning.

Horses registered in his mother’s name, Margaret Findlay, are also unable to race while she remains owner or part-owner during her son’s disqualification period.

Findlay’s disqualification period began yesterday.

The outspoken professional gambler insists he will contest the decision, but claims his days of owning racehorses in Britain are now over.

A visibly shaken Findlay said: “I’m not going to shout and scream at anyone - I’m a heartbroken man.

“I’ve admitted my guilt and I couldn’t be more expressive about it.

“The rules are now much stricter and any ban should be 18 months. I thank the panel for deliberating as long as they could to give me as shorter term as they could.

“I will obviously appeal it, I doubt if I will win the appeal.

“Win or lose the appeal, I will never own horses in Britain again.”

Back bets had been placed both times on the Paul Nicholls-trained Gullible Gordon that significantly outweighed the lay bets.

The first charge made against Findlay revolves around the seven-year-old’s participation in a race at Exeter on October 21, 2008.

If Gullible Gordon, who finished sixth, had won, the profit would have been £23,755.60. The loss was therefore £62,321.26.

The second charge related to a race at Chepstow on October 10, 2009.

If Gullible Gordon had been defeated, the loss would have been £31,966.33. He won the race, so the profit was £35,245.30.

The BHA accepts there was no corrupt motive behind Findlay’s actions but insists he is technically in breach of the rules which must be enforced.

The owner added: “The first race at Exeter I made a technical error and pressed the wrong button.

“The second one, we had a big bet before the race and as a gambler I called my friend Glenn (Gill) from Chepstow and had a big bet on Gullible Gordon and he had a bit more on and laid it in running.

“He’s a front-runner and a bit of a character. We were certainly wrong to do so.

“When the BHA top-class investigators came down we had a bit of a joke about it.

“At the time we saw nothing wrong with it and the investigators totally agreed with that and passed on what they thought was the right thing.

“It was myself who went to the BHA and said these horses are actually owned by my mother and to all intents and purposes for gambling they are my own.

“I said they were quite welcome to use my account, I gave them my password to check my bets everyday and I said if I could help them on any integrity issues, please feel free to ring.

“I did not check the rules and the serious trouble I was in was my own fault and I certainly don’t blame the panel.”

While Denman is undoubtedly Findlay’s star attraction, he has also enjoyed a number of other successes over jumps and on the Flat.

His colours were carried to Racing Post Chase success by Gungadu, who was in the care of Nicholls before being switched to Gordon Elliott’s Irish yard.

Big Fella Thanks, whom Findlay owns in partnership with Paul Barber, finished fourth in this year’s Grand National having been sent off joint-favourite.

Herecomesthetruth is another who has tasted Grade One glory, while on the Flat, Findlay has horses with, among others, Mick Channon and Brian Meehan.

Findlay added: “We are trying to arrange the horses we’ve got with Michael Channon can run in his (Channon’s) colours and my mum is still allowed to go racing, though she won’t have any owner’s badges or anything.

“She will be able to go racing but she won’t. She’s hurt by this.

“The other horses that me or my mother own will run, if we can arrange it in time, in the Sangster family colours.”

Betfair, the betting exchange service used by Findlay in Gullible Gordon’s races, said in a statement: “We understand that whilst this may have been a technical breach he was, in effect, overwhelmingly a net backer of the horses in question.

“When the rule was introduced the then Jockey Club made clear that it was a rule that necessarily had to be applied in spirit as well as in law.

“We do not believe the punishment to be proportionate or, for that matter, consistent with similar offences in the past.

“We will continue to welcome Harry as a customer.”

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