O'Sullevan calls for rule change

Peter O’Sullevan believes owners should be able to lay their horses as long as they do not profit by it.

Peter O’Sullevan believes owners should be able to lay their horses as long as they do not profit by it.

The ’Voice of Racing’ hit on the topical subject in his acceptance speech on receiving the Racehorse Owners Association’s Chris Deuters Award at a special ceremony in London.

“I cannot resist before such a distinguished audience saying that the rule that prevents an owner from hedging a bet needs looking at,” said O’Sullevan.

“It wants to be rewritten in such a way that an owner can lay his horse if the result is that he does not profit should the horse fail.”

His comments came in the wake of the recent high-profile case in which ebullient owner and professional gambler Harry Findlay was warned off for six months by the British Horseracing Authority for laying one of his own horses to lose – despite standing to win significantly more if the horse was victorious. Findlay plans to appeal against the decision.

In response, the BHA’s media relations manager Paul Struthers said: “The simple fact is the laying rule has been in place for six or seven years since the advent of exchanges.

“We have absolutely no intention of amending the rule that prevents an owner from laying his horse in any circumstance.

“It is a tiny price to pay for the privilege of owning a racehorse to not be able to lay it to lose and the benefits of that rule massively outweigh the occasional instance where an owner might legitimately be able to either lay off or hedge and we are not going to change the rule because of one person or one particular example.”

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