Who Shot Harry?

Sat, Jun 12, 2010

Betting News

Who Shot Harry?

Everyone has a view on the Findlay ban it seems. Some feel he was hard done by. Others agree that zero tolerance is the only way to go and therefore he got what he deserved. From what I have been able to learn though both the BHA and Betfair agree that a ban was a harsher penalty than they wanted to see. The Disciplinary Panel tacitly agreed with Harry that the BHA themselves didn’t want to charge him. Betfair has come out and publicly said the penalty is disproportionate and doesn’t fit the crime. If the two main protagonists in bringing the charges claim not to have wanted to pull the trigger, then the question remains; who shot Harry?

The BHA has said it won’t comment further on the case now until after the seven day window for an appeal has passed. I have asked Betfair to confirm who approached who as regards the lay bets. That is, I’ve asked whether Betfair volunteered the information or whether the BHA asked for it. Betfair won’t discuss the detail of discussions that take place under their memorandum of understanding but I think we can make a pretty good educated guess based on what the Panel’s published findings say.

So, given that Gullible Gordon won the Chepstow race in 2009 and that nothing about the betting, the race, or the result would cause immediate concern at BHA headquarters and given that they wouldn’t have seen any betting alerts themselves, it does seem reasonable to assume that Betfair volunteered information of Findlay’s lay bets in that race. Why Betfair felt moved to contact the BHA, given that Findlay had a net back position on the race and given their subsequent claim that Findlay is still welcome as a customer is an interesting question.

The other little bit of background that the Panel let slip at this stage is that in October of 2009 Findlay was betting on someone else’s account ‘because Mr Findlay was in financial difficulty and unable to use his own Betfair account.’

No sooner do the BHA investigators arrive to question Harry about this 2009 bet (along with ‘other matters’ as yet undisclosed), than he volunteers the juicy titbit that he’d already laid the same horse for £17k when it ran at Exeter a year earlier. The justification that he gives for that Exeter lay turns out to be inconsistent with the actual records that Betfair goes on to provide. The interesting aspect to this chapter of the story though is whether or not the BHA investigators were ignorant of the earlier laying of Gullible Gordon or not. That’s not clear from the Panel’s findings and again may become clearer once the BHA is able to comment.

Why does it matter? Well, if the BHA was not aware of the earlier lay that would mean that Betfair had not felt any obligation, or perhaps inclination, to pass on news of lay betting on his own horse when it previously occurred back in 2008. This in turn would beg the question why not? It is clear from the Panel’s findings that it was only when they themselves went through the Betfair records for this race that it was established that the lay bet was placed prior to the back bets, albeit by a matter of perhaps only seconds. This clearly points to this fact not having been previously flagged up by Betfair to the BHA’s own investigators.

Of course it may well be that the previous race at Exeter was amongst the ‘other matters’ that the BHA investigators were there to discuss. That would of course beg the question why did it take a year after the first lay incident to go and speak to Findlay about it. On balance it seems most likely that the BHA didn’t know about the earlier incident until Findlay raised it.

It is worth noting also on this topic though that Findlay himself didn’t mention the Exeter race at all when he spoke to me on ATR prior to the Panel hearing his case. He said he was interviewed about the Chepstow race and about a very small lay on Denman in the Gold Cup. He said exactly the same to the Racing Post too at that time.

It may be that there’s a much larger element of cock up than conspiracy to all of this. I do find Betfair’s stance odd though. To claim that the punishment is harsh seems strange given the key role that the exchange must have had in bringing the case in the first place. If the exchange expected a punishment similar to that handed to Andrew Ramsden (a small cash fine) then that demonstrates a surprising ignorance of the current rules and penalty guidelines. The BHA seems to have lobbied the Disciplinary Panel to consider a fine. This amounts to a clear plea for clemency which would support Findlay’s assertion that the BHA never wanted to see him charged. The inference is that the BHA felt they were left with no choice but to proceed against Findlay once Betfair had come forward with evidence against him.

The BHA has made clear that Disciplinary Panels are entirely independent of the authority’s influence. This case is further evidence of that independence. The Panel findings imply that the BHA would almost rather not have charged Findlay and certainly seems to have lobbied for leniency in terms of the penalty imposed.

Betfair for its part is unable to confirm how proactive it was in this process. It may be that they only passively responded to requests for information. It may also be though that they actively prompted the investigation. If the latter turned out to be the case it would make the exchange’s argument of harsh treatment for Findlay seem rather hollow. What punishment did Betfair expect to see for an offence that carries an entry level penalty of 18 months disqualification and a maximum of 10 years?

The bottom line of course is that a breach of the rules was committed, and admitted, and punished. That, in the final analysis, is a positive. I have two misgivings about the whole story, and I’ve raised them both many times before. The first is the increasingly complex relationship between betting and racing and the continued impression that these two (so closely related) industries do not properly understand each other. The second concern, which I seem to be largely alone in expressing, is just how comfortable racing should be to be in a position where the policing of the sport relies to such a very large extent on the say so of a commercial organisation?

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83 Responses to “Who Shot Harry?”

  1. Santiburi Says:

    fawwon, start with Betting Promotions – public company in Sweden. There’s one in Germany and another one in Switzerland but don’t have their names to hand. I know of at least 5 private individuals/teams who have very sophisticated technology to trade ‘automagically’ and I imagine that’s just a very small sample of the liquidity makers. I don’t know the figures but I’d guess at less than 10% of the liquidity you see coming from average Joes.

  2. fawwon Says:

    Which one in the Betfair Front Room is “Betting Promotions Plc” then, and I thought I was betting against other geezers! Thanks for the insight/

  3. seanboyce Says:

    A wider understanding of this reality is – imvho – one of the biggest risks to Betfair’s international ambitions. The issue is one of taxation rather than integrity. I don’t imagine the govt here ever anticipated allowing a platform to be developed for foreign businesses to interact with UK consumers via a UK based company but to pay no tax here. The exchange argument is that the exchange pays the gross profits tax, and levy where applicable, and any tax due. That model is clearly defensible when you’re talking about a genuine consumer to consumer platform. It’s a lot harder to defend when the gross profit tax yield of large scale operators (be they formal publicly quoted or limited companies, or individuals) is only a tiny fraction of that operators own actual profits from the business they are operating. There has been a lot of fudging of this issue, not helped by the lack of understanding of betting and gaming amongst our legislators.

  4. seanboyce Says:

    Again, imvho, the reason for BF’s dominance is the way that they have been very quick to facilitate the development of software that allows such outfits to operate on their site. Betdaq has only relatively recently started to catch up on that front and in an industry where liquidity is everything that has been vital.

  5. Santiburi Says:

    Sean, good points, well argued.
    I guess the Betfair corporate response might be that they could have gone offshore. They didn’t as best I can tell from their accounts. They repatriate profits within the Betfair group (which is large and international) to the UK and pay a substantial amount of UK corporation tax each year. Unlike most, if not all, bookies, they have MOUs with all sorts of sports organisations and open their books to any and all of them. They put a lot back into sponsorship in various sports, including racing.
    Going forward, I suspect that for racing in particular they will move towards the Tote model as risk liquidity reduces. They’re already well linked into the local Tote pools and that’s their model internationally where, for instance, in the US, they’ve bought a major TV rights owner and online betting agency, which means they have a legitimate bridgehead in the US for when the gaming laws there change and that’s a major competitive advantage over the bookies.
    I think, therefore, that we need to accept that the low margin, high turnover sports model and the pool-based racing model are going to be the norms. Dependent sports like racing therefore need to cut their cloth accordingly and the Government needs to catch up and define tax mechanics appropriately. The genie is out of the bottle and not going back in.
    You never know, Mr Black and his team of bright sparks may already have the hybrid exchange/pool engine built and Betfair will buy the Tote and really change the racing picture!

  6. seanboyce Says:

    Those are fair points too Santiburi. New Jersey is looking at exchange legislation as we speak. What happens there and elsewhere in the States is going to be very interesting. I’ve always felt that the US will struggle with the concept of such a low tax platform but I may well be wrong.
    Betfair has indeed kept much of its operation in the UK, although it does also have a base in Malta so it is ready to remove itself offshore fully at a flick of a switch I’d have thought.
    What happens with the exchange model internationally is going to be absolutely key to the future of betting and gaming. I was pretty slow to grasp this myself (although not as slow as many it seems!).
    I’m increasingly inclined to agree with you that the genie will not be going back in the bottle but that possiblity is not quite as distant as it seemed even 12 months ago. The action taken by Italy and now France in defining its position regarding regulating and legislating betting is proof that the internet does not allow access all areas regardless. Yes, it’s difficult to enforce online restrictions but licenced operators enjoy a big marketing and reputational advantage over those raiders from offshore. Serious players are willing to spend big money to operate within the law and that remains the norm for the time being. Very interesting times in the wide wide world of betting.

  7. fawwon Says:

    I’ve spoken to a lot of trainers and owners who believe it is their devine right to extract money back from the “sport” as a reward for putting on a “show for the corporates” as they see it. They seem quite happy to race for “rosettes” so long as the bank of betfair is open.

    Posted by Nun trier on BF. Sums it all up succintly.

  8. Santiburi Says:

    fawwon, I don’t really see what that paragraph is really saying. For ‘bank of Betfair’ read bookie and recognise that racing always has been, and always will be, linked to betting then what’s the concern?
    There are the three types of well to do owners who don’t bet. The first is the type that doesn’t need to bet as they’re in the game to further the breed through their own breeding operation. The second is the type that are happy to enjoy, what is to most people, an expensive hobby, and the third type uses ownership to support their businesses in some way.
    There is an analagous set of trainer types.
    Park those types to one side and everyone else who owns or trains a horse, directly or indirectly, likes to get something back from betting.
    In my experience, most trainers are very bad tipsters and just don’t understand value in betting. There are some obvious, and a few less obvious, exceptions but I’d put the number of potential ‘cheats’ in a very small group. That doesn’t mean that I know who they are but I’m prepared to accept they exist and will get caught in time if someone with knowledge, understanding and authority looks for them.
    Some owners are very good at working out how to place their horses to advantage and have great partnerships with their trainers so, no doubt, make money from betting. In my experience, most owners bet on their own horses and very few are good at determining when their own horses have a real chance of winning that means they’re getting value. Very few keep records and so, of course, they’re winners when they’re able to show their account balance to the world after one of their own horses has come in but are there really that many winners out there?
    Ergo, form students and thinking punters have the same opportunity to make money from betting as they’ve ever had and they can visit the ‘bank of Betfair’ or the bookies in much the same way as a trainer or owner does.
    From personal experience, I did very well from being an owner/punter for a number of years. I kept records. Sadly, I’m anal! The vast majority of my profits came from backing horses for whom I had collateral form as they’d run against my own horses or other horses in the yard to which I was primarily associated. I very rarely backed my own horses. I wasn’t fortunate enough to own Group horses so had to wait for the handicapper to give us a chance. When that chance came along, I used to try and ensure that I got some part of the training fees covered off.
    2yos in particular are fascinating to study. If you have the time and opportunity to see a lot of them first hand, you can spot the fast maturing ones from the early types that are unlikely to train on so, while the form book helps, your eyes help more. You can guess from breeding which ones might never be a 2yo winner but you can monitor their development, particularly later in the season, and wait for them to reappear as 3yos.
    People (punters?) who are fortunate enough to get exposed to the inner workings of the breed and the industry have a distinct advantage when it comes to betting and don’t need to cheat, or to take advantage of other people’s cheating to make money from betting. However, they can only make money if someone loses unfortunately and most punters lose because they haven’t worked hard enough on unearthing value bets.
    I stopped being an owner/punter for a while to pursue other business interests and, while I’m still developing those interests, I bet almost everyday again and, fortunately, make money from it but one wouldn’t watch videos and read the form book everyday for 3 or 4 hours merely for fun!
    As I’ve said before on this forum, I’m pleasantly surprised at the consistency of form in my chosen niches. I don’t bet on NH racing. I follow 2yo racing closely but rarely bet on 2yo races as I don’t go to the track that often so don’t have my own eyes to help me with selections. I don’t bet in Group races as a rule even though I watch them with enthusiasm as I’ve yet to find a way of extracting value. I like AW racing a lot and rarely find an AW handicap in which I don’t have a view.
    However, outside of my own experience, I watch on in awe at the way in which certain pundits operate. Take, for example, Hugh Taylor. I don’t know the guy and I have no particular affinity to ATR other that they cover most AW races. However, for the last year or so, Hugh has been a fixture on the ATR website and, once a week, he does a lunchtime slot picking out 6 or so horses to follow. His record of success is on the site and, to me, he and his approach proves that it is possible to win at the racing game. One just has to find an edge and stop looking for excuses as to why one doesn’t win. The way in which one works an edge these days is sightly different than it was pre-Betfair but, to my mind, it’s just work. There’s no such thing as easy money.

  9. fawwon Says:

    Santi – Everyday there is money withdrawn from the Bank of Betfair on a no chance whatsover of losing basis. You know this and so does everyone else. No point kidding yourself. And yes there are loads of bent results in other sports. The problem wity the exchanges is they know exactly who is behind all the bent stuff but because they have had their money out of it too they are compromised.

    What was the story about Harry calling Bradstock to ask about his horses?

  10. Santiburi Says:

    fawwon, I’m not sure that I understand what you’re saying as the comments you make don’t seem to relate to the points I made. Whatever, is your initial conjecture that money is being placed on the Betfair exchange into the horse racing markets in such a way that there’s no risk associated with it, i.e. the owner of that money is somehow confident that there will always be a return?
    If that is the question and it really relates to insider trading and cheating then I put it to you that it likely relates to a very, very small proportion of the available liquidity and is unlikely to be affecting you or me that much if at all.
    As I stated in my last post on this topic, I am pleasantly surprised at the consistency of form that I’m seeing in my chosen market niches and can see other people achieving similar results. I’m using only the form book and my eyes and really do think your worrying about something that isn’t going to stop you winning if you have a personal edge.
    My experience of the exchanges dates back to their formation and, in Betfair’s case, to the very early pre-launch days and the subsequent acquisition of Flutter. Knowing some of the company’s shareholders personally and knowing the due diligence that’s been applied to some of the institutional investments into the business, I have to say that I would be amazed if your assertion re: their possible involvement in “bent stuff” was anywhere close to the truth. They have built technology that is ‘bleeding edge’ when it comes to auditability and could not risk making a silly mistake for a few thousand pounds as they’re going to make hundreds of millions from the business floating one day soon.
    If you’re in the camp that thinks that because there’s a transparency to what’s going on on the exchanges and that, since they arrived, racing has gone bad then I hate to disillusion you but things were just the same before they arrived, if not worse. If you prefer a situation of what you can’t see, can’t hurt you then stick with the bookies. I happen to like betting with bookies but primarily due to my style of betting. However, I do that knowing the margin I’m having to bet against and would definitely not want to go back to the days pre- the exchanges.

  11. fawwon Says:

    Santi. As you say betfair have cutting edge technology. Do you not think that they could easily find plenty more owners and connections laying away to their hearts desire? Do you really think Harry is the only one?

    it seems to me that the main pint is being missed, this is “Who Shot Harry”. Why him and why now? Why ahs Mark DAvies left Betfair now?

    Interested in your answers!

  12. seanboyce Says:

    Fair bit of cross purposes here! I’d agree with Santiburi’s points. It’s always been possible to win at racing and the benefit to be derived has always related directly to the work and expertise that one is willing to put in.
    The extent to which inside information forms markets is very difficult to quantify. It is clearly though a massive element of racing markets and is what separates racing from other sports as a betting medium. We’ve talked already here of institutional market makers. Be they Swedish plcs or UK individuals I have no doubt that they are responsible for a very large part of all the liquidity available. What they all have in common (as far as one can see) is that they don’t get involved in horse racing markets. Or, if they do get involved they don’t play until the final minute or two before the off.
    Watching Doncaster yesterday totals matched on Betfair on races were often only around 30, 40k right up to 15 minutes or so before the off. Same races would have 400k matched by the off, often with half of that being matched in the final minute or so. Compare that with football or tennis matches on the same day, most of which had well over the final total for a race matched one or two days before kick off.
    People are willing and able to put up big sums on stable, high turnover sports but are clearly unwilling to put up large sums on horse racing. Why? Well, because of the factors that Santiburi has talked about. How a horse looks is a big factor and that intelligence won’t hit the market until very late on. How a horse goes to post is another big factor and again that won’t be factored in until late on. But also because of the factors that Fawwon mentions. There is also no doubt in my mind that there is great volatility in racing markets because of the fear/perception of corruption, but also because of the reality of it. No one in their right minds would put volume into immature racing markets because they are exremetly volatile and because information that is not in the form book could mean that a 3/1 shot is really 33/1 or 3s on. Santi is right of course that it was ever thus. We just didn’t know it before. Whether that ignorance is morally preferable to the current situation where much of the inside information (although by no means all of it) will make it into the market is of course debatable. You also have to remember that there are some very good, form and opinion based backers and layers who will often move a market purely using their judgement. Not because they ‘know’ for a fact something is not off. We also know though from past experience that those who really do know (because it’s been agreed in advance) will also play. How to police that is a big question not just for the UK but any other country looking to go down the exchange route.

    In summary on that point I’d conclude. Have exchanges made it much easier for corrupt individuals to profit not just from inside information but from corrupt riding and training? Yes, clearly they have. Have individuals alwasy profited from inside information in racing? Yes, clearly they have.

    As Fawwon says, the question raised is why Harry and why now and that remains intriguing to me at least. A lot has been said about Betfairs systems. I won’t labour again the point of the systems only being as good as the operators want them to be but will add another thought. The idea that Betfair knows everything that’s going on all of the time and that their ‘cutting edge’ systems will flag up potentially worrying bets is , imvho, bollocks. It would be almost impossible to implement a system that joined up all the dots in terms of inter related owners via trainer etc. My guess is that they look for patterns and they look for bet sizes that are out of the ordinary and that much of that looking is done by humans rather than computers.
    One of the reasons I think this is that there is clearly doubt that Betfair informed the BHA of the first instance of Findlay laying Gullible Gordon. The big question is why not? Did they deliberately withold that information in contravention of their licence? Corruption. Or did they simply not know about it? Cock up. If such a bet can go unnoticed on an account like that (a 17k lay of a horse running in an individuals known ownership) it would be foolish to expect anything other than the tip of any iceberg to get flagged up elsewhere.

  13. fawwon Says:

    Santi’s jockey will now have to go into the drive position as he bids to defend the undefensible…………..

  14. Santiburi Says:

    Sean/fawwon, neither Betfair nor any other betting firm or agency could possibly monitor individual bets on individual horses in real time. Betfair’s only commitment unless I’m misreading their MOU is to open their books when asked.
    Actually, knowing exactly who the connections are of a specific horse is almost impossible so any actions taken today could only be after the event and based on information received.
    A lot of horses are owned by companies, syndicates and partnerships. I don’t know what the percentage splits are when you include those horses owned by a named individual but policing what you seem to both see as insider trading is all but impossible as things stand.
    If you want to change the way in which ownership of a horse is registered and force any firm or agency involved in betting to correlate bets or trades in real time then good luck. It won’t happen.
    Consequently, because nothing has really changed in my mind since horse racing and betting originated, why get distracted now from trying to develop your own edge and win at betting?
    Horse racing doesn’t exist without owners, trainers, jockeys and betting. Are you going to stop owners, trainers and jockeys talking to the media about the chances of specific horses? Are you going to stop punters who have a marked effect on markets whether they know something or not from betting? Are you going to stop bookies or individuals on exchanges from ‘testing the market’ by changing the price of certain horses to see the reaction of connections? You can’t. Live with it and hope that anything really crooked is sorted by the authorities.
    Re: the specific points in Sean’s last submission. Horse racing is always now going to be a low liquidity event by comparison with soccer, for instance, as the course market doesn’t really exist any more. Even 2 or 3 years ago, the rails and the ring bookies were trying to have some liquidity that they managed and kept on course. As best I can tell, that doesn’t happen any more. There aren’t enough punters on course to support a thriving set of ring and rails bookies. Typically, though, there are the connections and the stalwarts of the game ever present and so the majority of the business that the course bookies see is ‘informed’ in some way. It’s not that difficult to distinguish the ‘real’ money and so, no surprise, the course bookies link real time to the exchanges (and that’s not just Betfair) and start playing into those markets in the last 10 minutes or so to the off and, I suspect, in the race if they either need to balance their books or to trade for themselves. They used to do the same things amongst themselves on course but now don’t I suspect.
    However, the reluctance I suspect they had originally was not just that Betfair was about to take their market away but for most of them the new rules, i.e. that if you were going to lay a particular horse, you had to provide the matched money. So, unlike on course where you just took the bets from punters and tried to ensure you could pay out as and when the result was known, on the exchange, with every bet placed, you actually had to tie up cash for the matched portion and that I presume caused a shake out of the bookies who previously traded on the edge all the time. You can’t do that when you play into a transparent matched market.
    Sean, I suspect you’re giving giving Betfair and the authorities too much credit when you suggest that they’re looking for patterns or out of the ordinary bet sizes. I doubt Betfair is doing anything of the sort. Why should they? The authorities can’t as they don’t have access to a full set of transactions so why only sample a subset to which you have access; especially, when you don’t know what proportion of the set is represented by the subset.
    On Harry Findlay’s specific case, I suspect somebody with an axe to grind has found out about the Gullible Gordon situation and raised a flag. On a very personal level, if I thought for a second that Findlay was truly laying a horse with insider knowledge that the horse was a non-trier or whatever then throw the book at him. In the stated cases, it seems that he was backing a trier. The sums in question were hardly trivial for most of us but insignificant when compared to the sums that he and others trade into soccer markets.
    I guess it might be intriguing to know who ‘grassed’ and why but I have to say there are more important things in my life and particularly as regards today’s betting, although there’s no AW action so I’m not sure what I’ll find but will take a good look regardless.

  15. Santiburi Says:

    fawwon, on your last post, it’s got nothing to do with defending the indefensible. The situation exists for potential cheats to benefit from betting markets because horse racing is set up and administered the way it is. Fact.
    There’s very little you or I can do to change the way in which horse racing is set up. Ergo, if you want to bet on racing, live with it and find an edge. If you don’t want to bet on racing or don’t think you can find an edge then there are loads of other markets to bet into.

  16. fawwon Says:

    Santi – The basic issue is this. Why has it taken until now for BF and BHA to pull Findlay in? BF having spent loads of time and money telling us how their audit trails keep us mere mortal punters safer than we have ever been! Then when Harry gets banned it’s lo and behold BF defending him.

    How many punters have BF banned or kicked off the site because they were obviously laying non triers for certain connections? I can’t recall ever hearing of any!!!

  17. Santiburi Says:

    fawwon, you’re obviously fixated by Findlay for some reason. As a fellow punter, I have no idea why that is the case?
    Betfair haven’t “pulled Findlay in” as best I can tell. The BHA has had cause to put him in front of a panel. The panel has found him guilty and, quite rightly IMVHO, based on the evidence that seems to be in the public domain, Findlay is appealing.
    Again, my personal opinion based on what I’ve read and heard and bearing in mind how many parties involved directly in the racing and betting industries seem to be coming out in support of Findlay, including Betfair, unless there’s some evidence we don’t know about then he ought to get the original decision reversed or converted to a small fine.
    On the evidence to hand, he was technically guilty but was a backer not a layer of his own horse. Obviously, rules is rules but, in this case, in my personal view, the law is an ass. If the case causes the rules to be rewritten then maybe there will have been some reward for the costs involved in bringing the case.
    The answer to the question in your final paragraph is none I hope, as why would it be reasonable or expected for a private company to act as judge and jury on a matter that’s nothing to do with them?
    Others contributing to this forum, including you maybe, like to read the reports from the BHA’s disciplinary panel so can probably answer the question as to how many times has Betfair been asked to open its books and/or how many times as a result of Betfair opening their books has anyone been banned for breaking the rules of racing. I don’t know the answer to either question nor do I care very much what the answer might be.
    I’m glad that the authorities are trying to stamp out cheating.
    I’m very glad that Betfair are willing to open their books when asked.
    I know for me that things are better for the punter now than they were previously during my 40+ years of betting although racing itself is in a mess.
    I hope UK racing’s future will be rosy but am fearful. A lot of really major changes are needed and I can’t see the leaders of those changes emerging yet.

  18. fawwon Says:

    If anyone is fixated with Harry it’s a lot of the media, people who he pays money to, and sycophantic punters. Do you think that anyone actually believes that Findlay is the biggest culprit. I certainly don’t. I think he is just a mug now who is about to be done in. It’s not unlike the CIA and Saddam one minute he was their golden boy then when it suited them it was ta ta try this noose for size.

    It very much looks like he may about to be sacrificed as a PR stunt for the BHA, Bf and god knows who else. As Harry has pointed out himself he was given an exemption so that he can lay runners trained by trainers that he employs. Findlay went to the bother of getting an exemption and then Paul Roy turns around and says that Harry dosen’t have the green light to lay his trainers runners.

    They can’t both be telling the truth can they? and do you think that Harry is the only big time Betfair layer who has a special exemption?

  19. Santiburi Says:

    fawwon, I can’t imagine for a minute that Findlay pays a penny to the media. He doesn’t need to. What would it achieve?
    I also don’t for a minute accept that Findlay should be referred to as a mug. He is a lot brighter than that.
    I’m sorry but I hope you’ve been out having a good evening and that you will forget that you wrote that last forum entry as it seems somewhat unstructured and not really thought through.
    Have a great Sunday.

  20. seanboyce Says:

    For me, the interesting thing here is not Findlay himself but the processes involved. I’m most interested in what this story will tell us about how the exchanges interact with the sports they cover.

    I certainly don’t have unrealistic expectations of Betfair (indeed I’d argue I’m the only journalist who has ever pointed out the realistic limitations on what they might be expected to do) but the racing and betting media do. The editor of our trade paper the Racing Post thinks the BHA has ‘unfettered access’ to punters accounts on Betfair! The argument that the transparency and the ‘audit trail’ of exchanges is a boon has been made on too many occasions to mention. Betfair’s ability to promote this line has been a cornerstone of their success in reputation management and lobbying. If the systems turn out to be a little less than cutting edge, or turn out to be either non existent or flawed that’s a story. Not because of what the exchange is obliged to do by law or by MoU but because of what they are perceived to be doing.

    Corrupt owners have played a key role at the heart of some of the biggest corruption stories in the sport in recent years. The role of the owner as ‘he who pays the piper’ means that owners have significant influence over the actions of both trainers and jockeys and it’s absolutely right therefore, especially given those cases over the last several years, that the penalties for owners should be substantial enough to act as a deterrent. The increase in penalties was well publicised and even if it weren’t, ignorance of the rules and the penalties is no defence.

    For the reasons I’ve already outlined on the thread I think the penalty is both fair and proportionate. I wouldn’t anticipate that an appeal would be successful but we’ll see.

    I’ve nothing against Findlay at all, quite the contrary. I think his story is a great one for the promotion of betting. I’ve also nothing against Betfair. I’ve used the exchange since 01 and I’ve done plenty of work for them too over the years. They are a good operation in my experience. I am interested in the implications of this particular case and, as I say, in what it will tell us about the reality of how things work which may be a little different to the spin.

    One other thing. I’ve stated very clearly on the ‘joining in’ page (link at the top) that posters are responsible for everything they write here. Please be careful. You can and will be held responsible directly for anything that you say and that will of course include making untrue accusations.

  21. fawwon Says:

    Let me make it clear that the people who Harry pays money that I refer to to are his trainers. No slight intended just a statement of the facts. The media fawn over him because he makes good copy and is an interesting bloke.

    Sycophantic punters take the Findlay line in which he puts himself across as some sort of punters hero. He never fails to mention that both his parents were nurses, and berates the bookies for banning winners! It’s therefore somewhat ironic that this mess arises from his role as a layer. It’s like hearing that Robin Hood had a bailiffs license!

    I actually think that he is being very upfront about all this now. He didn’t have to reveal that he has a laying exemption. I do think that the leviathans he has become entangled with are going to mug him off now, after partly using him for their own ends.

  22. fawwon Says:

    The split with Nicholls is interesting is it not?

  23. Santiburi Says:

    fawwon, it is interesting. Roll on 14 July to see if the intrigue is dispelled.

  24. fawwon Says:

    If I was Harry I would give Dealey Plaza a miss for a walkabout and tell his chauffeur to give Parisien motorway tunnels the swerve as well. Stay indoors and get there in one piece.

    Presumably his “laying exemption” is going to be near the top of the agenda on July 14th. Who is Harry going to say gave him this exemption?
    Is it written or oral. Are there any witnesses? Thrilling stuffy it will be.

    This all looks fairly ominous and his crack about scarpering to Oz seems more and more relevant.

  25. Santiburi Says:

    My hope/expectation for the appeal and the fallout thereafter is different to most so let’s just see how things turn out.

  26. Santiburi Says:

    fawwon, I could hazard a guess but won’t. I don’t think it matters much now. As I’ve said in response to your other recent post, the important point now is to get the focus on Racing and how it can thrive going forward. Big changes needed.

  27. fawwon Says:

    Santi – Someone is clearly not telling the truth it’s either Harry or Paul Roy. They can’t both be honest and truthful can they. One of em has to pay trhe price. Racing aint going anywhere when issues like this remain outsanding.

    If the sport can’t police itself then it is finished. A sport that relies on betting and has no proper rile enforcement won’t last another ten years on its current scale.

  28. fawwon Says:

    If Betfair asked all owners with accounts to provide details of the horses they ahve interests in and then cross matched their database against lays made by the owners the BHA would be very busy slapping wrists! Matt Chapman would have a revolving door to ATR as the owners did their de rigeur Findlay impersonations including a token threat to pull out of “the game”.

    We all know that it is not in Betfair’s commercial interest to expose corruption executed via their services.

  29. fawwon Says:

    3.10pm: Harry Findlay is back with a bang as the buyer of five yearlings, three in partnership with the Sangsters.

    He says: “I’ve bought in the confidence that even before Goffs or the Newmarket sales next month there will be new men at the head of the BHA, and only then will it be possible to once again have the prize-money at acceptable levels.”

    Only just seen this on DBS site. WOW

  30. fawwon Says:

    More aggro with Harry confronting Coward at Donny. What is going on?

  31. R Hills is God Says:

    Mark (of Tom and Mark and Paul fame) sheds some light on the case:


    It’s still not clear what the code of conduct is there for. Whatever previous misunderstandings there were and whatever you think about Paul Roy, as head of the BHA he made it fairly unambiguous that, going forward at least, Findlay should not be laying horses from yards where he had runners. Yet last week Findlay was claiming to have laid Aim to Prosper.

    Is any action ever taken on breaches of the code of conduct? Are Betfair expected to report such breaches? If not, what is it there for?

  32. fawwon Says:

    I am very dubious of why Betfair, Alan Lee and now a BHA investigator are going out of their way to absolve Findlay. Alan Lee’s ATR appearance when he should have been billed as Findlay’s spokesman rather than as a journalist was excruciating to watch.

    What is also very strange in all this is that Findlay’s horse laying activities seem so important to him when he goes out of his way to promote himself as a fearless punter! We also have the matter of Findlay using other people’s accounts to lay with which he has now admitted. The spectre of Glen Gill, Harry’s “Form Man” lurks beneath. Harry may lose laying Nicholl’s horses but did Gill and the other accounts?

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