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|Harry Findlay launches public attack on BHA chief executive Nic
| Owner has
10-minute row over punishment Argument takes place in front of packed
simmering sense of injustice over his recent suspension by the British
Horseracing Authority boiled over in public here today, when the high-profile
punter and owner was involved in an angry confrontation with Nic Coward, the
BHA's chief executive.
In a fierce
exchange that lasted nearly 10 minutes, Findlay made a series of accusations
about the conduct of the BHA during an investigation into bets placed by
Findlay on the Betfair betting exchange. Findlay was found to have twice laid
bets on one of his horses, though on both occasions he had also placed much
larger bets on the horse to win. In June, he was banned from racing for six
months, but the penalty was reduced to a £4,500 fine on appeal the
Findlay has also said that the BHA was aware he was
laying bets on runners from yards in which he owned horses, which contravenes
the owners' code of practice but is not banned under the rules of racing, and
had cleared him to continue. This is a claim that the authority has denied.
Yesterday's argument between
Coward and Findlay, which quickly drew a crowd of spectators from the packed
grandstand, started near the paddock and concluded only when Coward retreated
into the sanctuary of the weighing room about 30 metres away. Findlay then
explained why he is still so angry about his treatment by the authorities.
"It's been a set-up and a vendetta, and I've had enough," he said. "I
can't enjoy anything. I've got my 19-year-old daughter there, all I wanted was
for him to explain why they're trying to ruin our lives."
claimed that investigators from the BHA's security department "gave me
permission to lay any other horses in the yards that I've got," adding:
"Betfair have done nowhere near enough to stand by me. They know that I'm
whiter than white, they know that I'm cleaner than clean and all they're
worried about is going and selling their shares. That's why I'm a wreck, it's a
miracle I'm still alive."
Asked why the BHA would want to conduct a
vendetta against him, Findlay said: "I don't know. I've got no money. Maybe
it's charisma, who knows what it is but I'm telling you something now, they've
picked on the wrong guy, because I've got balls as big as Paul Dixon's head."
Dixon is the president of the Racehorse Owners' Association.
then left the racecourse, but he will return to Doncaster today when Black
Moth, which he co-owns with the Sangster family, is due to contest the Flying
Childers Stakes, the first race on the card. Subsequent reports suggested that
he attended Doncaster's bloodstock auction yesterday evening, where he became
involved in a heated argument with Dixon.
Findlay then left the
racecourse, but he will return to Doncaster today when Black Moth, which he
co-owns with the Sangster family, is due to contest the Flying Childers Stakes,
the first race on the card. Subsequent reports suggested that he attended
Doncaster's bloodstock auction yesterday evening, where he became involved in a
heated argument with Dixon.
"If Harry has a point, Harry can make his
point wherever he wishes to," Coward said, "but I deal with matters in the
right way and through the right process and dealing with things on the
racecourse in that manner is not right and it's not the right process.
"He was dealt with through a disciplinary process in the right way that
has now come through a disciplinary panel and an appeal board. I asked Harry to
respect that we are coming to Doncaster races on a great day and now is not the
The main event on the track yesterday was the Group Two Park
Hill Stakes, won in brave fashion by Mark Johnston's tough four-year-old filly
Eastern Aria. "She was such a star last year with seven wins and she has taken
up the gauntlet this year and gone from strength to strength. She is in the
Canadian International," Deirdre Johnston, representing her husband, said.