Thursday 6 June 2024

Harry Findlay: Betting Too Bravely

If you asked ten punter to name a professional gambler I think a fair proportion would say Harry Findlay. As a follower of online bookmakers free bets this book is right up my street. From what I would call modern professional gamblers in the United Kingdom, Findlay has definitely had his time in the limelight and plenty of column inches in tabloids and sports editions. A larger than life character he is the equivalent of a bull in a china shop with attitude and words. A man who has been liked and disliked in equal measure, especially by many of the elite in horse racing from media to authority. Harry Findlay has always been outspoken which came as a refreshing change to some while a pain in the arse to others. That was most definitely the tone from the establishment who he was convinced were out to get him at ever stage.

His success with Denman ‘The Tank’ meant there were many interested in his opinions of both horse and anything journalists cared to ask him.

I must admit hearing about Harry Findlay back in the day, I thought he was a big mouth who simply bet on odds-on shots. As any gambler knows, there can be value in many a bet, even odds on, and the proof of the pudding is in the eating. I can imagine the man himself tucking into the largest bowl of apple pie with custard. Although, saying that, he was more of a cultured man than many would imagine and he likes the finer things in life.

At heart, he was a normal man on the street, but with a wizard like brain and instinct for a good bet. Unlike most punters he wasn’t afraid to bet big. He was fearless when it came to money. I was surprised reading his excellent book: Gambling For Life, published by Trinity Mirror Sport Media (2017) how much he loves his sport. There is betting and betting, and he wasn’t one to hide away in the shadows or fear going broke in the pursuit of wealth. If he was going to be a millionaire (which he was) it was going to be pitting his wits against the layers.

That pursuit saw him live a life on the edge, betting like a man possessed. If there was one problem with his approach to gambling it may have been he was too brave. Considering he has always bet in such a fashion, why would he stop or behave differently?

He couldn’t. He didn’t have an off switch.

It was full stream ahead. Like a big, old stream train screeching towards the buffers which saw sparks flying and shouts and screams until everything went black.

Literally all black. With his devastating bet on New Zealand to win Rugby Football World Cup. A bet that was to be his retirement fund.

Their loss to Argentina was a kick in the teeth.

Perhaps Harry Findlay was a little too brave.

But what can you say of a man who always bet full throttle?

That’s Harry Findlay. Good luck, mate.

Saturday 1 June 2024

Ebor Handicap

Taking its name from 'Eboracum', the Roman name for York, the Ebor Handicap is worth £1 million in prize money, of which £600,000 goes to the winner, making it the most valuable race of its kind in Britain. Many punters look for online bookmakers free bets to coincidence with this unmissable event. Inaugurated, as the Great Ebor Handicap, in 1843, the race is run over one mile and six furlongs at York Racecourse, where it forms the centrepiece of the four-day Ebor Festival, staged annually in late August. Since 2019, when prize money was increased to its current level, the Ebor Handicap has been open to horses aged four years and upwards. 

Flint Jack, who recorded back-to-back victories in the Ebor Handicap in 1922 and 1923, remains the only horse to win the race more than once. The legendary Lester Piggott remains the leading jockey in the history of the Ebor Handicap, with five winners between 1958 and 1983. His quintet included Gladness, who also won the Gold Cup at Ascot and the Goodwood Cup in 1958, and Jupiter Island, who subsequently became the first British-trained winner of the Japan Cup, in 1983. Other notable winners of the Ebor Handicap include Sea Pigeon (1979), who went on the win the Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival twice, in 1980 and 1981, and Sergeant (2005), who completed a notable treble by winning the Northumberland Plate, Ebor Handicap and Cesarewitch Handicap in the same season.