Owner Findlay set to quit racing and will sell his horses

HARRY Findlay – the colourful and outspoken gambler – is to sell his remaining horses.

His last runner is set to be the Ferdy Murphy-trained Big Fella Thanks in the John Smith’s Grand National.

Findlay, most famously associated with 2008 Gold Cup winner Denman, significantly scaled back his racing interests last summer following the BHA’s flawed handling of a betting controversy that saw him banned from the sport for six months.

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Even though Findlay, once a leading light on the South Yorkshire greyhound circuit, did bet on two of his horses to lose, thereby contravening racing’s rules, he overturned the ban when he proved these were technical breaches and he had, in fact, bet more money on the horses in question to win.

Having severed his links with Paul Nicholls following the champion trainer’s perceived lack of support, Findlay and his mother Maggie retained a small number of horses.

But his continuing concerns about the governance of racing, including a public clash with BHA bosses at Doncaster’s St Leger meeting, have prompted him to go through with his threat to quit racing.

As well as Big Fella Thanks, named after his one-time champion greyhound and placed fourth in last year’s National, Findlay’s string includes Inler – a one-time 2000 Guineas prospect – and Beshabar who is in training with Tim Vaughan.

“My mother and I have both decided that our position as racehorse owners in Britain is now absolutely untenable,” Findlay told the Yorkshire Post.

“All our horses, including Inler, Beshabar and Big Fella Thanks, will be going to the Doncaster Sales on April 21. It has been suggested that Big Fella should be sold in the March sale before the National, but that wouldn’t be fair on Ferdy or my mum. In all likelihood, Big Fella Thanks in the National will be our last runner.”

STRICKEN jockey Phil Kinsella is due to undergo surgery tomorrow after fracturing his skull in two places at Market Rasen last week.

The Northallerton-born rider, who has lost the use of his left ear, hopes the operation will improve his facial muscles – even though there’s a two per cent chance that he could be left with epilepsy.

“The way I’m looking at it is that there is a 98 per cent chance I won’t and I like those odds,” said Kinsella, 28, who had just returned from a nine-month lay-off with a fractured neck when he suffered the fall. There are a lot of people worse off than me.”

YORK teenager Ben Howe has been shortlisted for the National Stable Staff awards. The 17-year-old has been based with Stillington trainer Ruth Carr for the past year.