LEGENDARY English punter, racehorse and greyhound owner Harry Findlay was at Wentworth Park last Saturday night and came away a winner after backing Lochinvar Hugo and Bolt Like Bekim in their 720m races.
Findlay is famous for wagering 2.5 million pounds (well over $4 million Australian) on the New Zealand All Blacks when they were beaten 20-18 by France in the 2007 Rugby World Cup.
He had began backing the All Blacks at $1.78 before a ball had been kicked, convinced their great five-eighth Dan Carter would kick them to victory.
But Carter limped off the field injured in the final, with France snatching a last minute win off what Findlay insists was a forward pass!
But while he says he bets on everything, with tennis and darts among his pet punts, Findlay is a huge fan of long-distance greyhound races.
“When I heard that there were two six-bend (720m) races on Saturday night’s card I could not wait to get to Wenty,” Findlay said.
“I have been watching Lochinvar Hugo’s tapes and I’m a massive fan of this phenomenal greyhound.
“Everyone seemed to be saying Ebby Ripper would relish the small field of four and would run him down, but she did not beat him home in the Newcastle Cup and after watching replays of their recent races I thought Hugo was over the line tonight.
“Similarly I could not see Zipping Floyd getting off box seven and beating home Bolt Like Bekim, who is such a strong stayer.
“Again I looked at all their recent race replays and thought Bolt Like Bekim was a special.”
Findlay’s biography “Gambling For Life” was published in 2017, and on the cover he comments: “When Warren Buffett dies he’ll leave over 80 billion, but in his lifetime, he spent less than two million.
“There will be less than 80 per cence in my will, but I’ve already spent over 20 million. Who do you think has got the maths right?”
Findlay owned champion thoroughbred Denman, who won the 2008 Cheltenham Gold Cup, which is English hurdle and steeplechase racing’s equivalent to the flat’s English Derby at Epsom.
But to Findlay, his win in the 1999 Irish Coursing Derby at Clonmel, with his champion greyhound Big Fella Thanks, easily surpasses that in the thrills department.
In his book the always candid Findlay reveals his love for greyhound racing when he writes: “First horse to win for me at Royal Ascot was High Standing, but I wouldn’t know him if he walked in here now. I used to sleep with my greyhounds, they are a different kettle of fish. You had them at home as pets, you fell in love with them and they’d do anything for you, great animals. Beshabar (a thoroughbred) won the Scottish Grand National for us but he bit his stablehands, trainers, everybody, he was a bloody nightmare. I started working at dog racing kennels the day after I left school and have never been bitten by one in my life. Owning horses was a bollocks (rubbish) game, meant for kings and queens.”
Findlay attended WP last Saturday with his charming wife Kay, who also far prefers greyhound to thoroughbred racing, along with a half a dozen greyhound enthusasts from Sheffield, in the UK.
He is due to return to England early next week but is trying to postpone his flight so he can take in Saturday week’s Summer Plate final over 720m. “What a race that will be, Lochinvar Hugo and Bolt Like Bekim clashing around six bends. I’d love to see that,” Findlay said.