Why professional punter Harry Findlay is just wild about Black Caviar
- by:Brent Zerafa
- From:The Daily Telegraph
- October 22, 2011 12:00am
Professional punter: Harry Findlay from the UK enjoys the day out at Randwick. Picture: Mark EvansSource: The Daily Telegraph
IT’S 2.43pm last Wednesday on a sunny afternoon at Royal Randwick and one of Britain’s most publicised and prolific professional punters gazes down at his settling sheet.
Unbeknown to the usual suspects that exist in the almost bare betting ring, he makes a few scribbles on his Daily Telegraph form guide with the pen and soon enough is staring at a profit of $95,000 for the day.
Welcome to the wonderfully whacky world of Harry Findlay, where sport is the only religion and punting his daily existence.
This larger than life character, who barely raises a sweat betting in figures that would settle the average mortgage, is in Australia for the sole purpose of watching Black Caviar in the flesh.
He sees the unbeaten champ as a licence to print money and like he did with Roger Federer and Tiger Woods in their prime, is prepared to jump on a plane and fly anywhere in the world to get his fix.
He left school at 16 and began work in greyhound kennels. He tried his hand at a few different occupations but none lasted more than a fortnight. Harry wanted to live for the moment and so he did, rising from the ashes to be one of the most fearless punters on the planet, turning over millions and millions of dollars a year on anything that moves.
He famously turned a debt of 80,000 pounds into a two million quid profit within the space of a month at the 1998 World Cup soccer tournament but now at 49, Findlay insists he has mellowed.
“I probably will still back her, I am a nice few quid in front with Black Caviar and it would be hard not to,” he said. “I would imagine the right price is $1.03 and anything over that might be a little bit of value. She is something else, I just love watching her and that is why I am here.”
Findlay’s life is never dull, and after the likelihood of dumping hundreds of thousands of dollars on Black Caviar today, his attention will turn to the Rugby World Cup final where he has roughly $400,000 riding on the All Blacks tomorrow.
It seems a decent wager but is a mere a splash compared to his unbelievable actions back in 2007.
Findlay had 2.6 million pounds in combined bets on the All Blacks to win. He was convinced they were unbeatable and was very vocal in his belief that they would not get beat. “To be honest after last time it was almost never again (betting on the All Blacks). But once Ireland beat Australia and had to play South Africa I thought NZ were an even better bet this World Cup,” he said.
Findlay’s biggest single result was landed when Roger Federer miraculously fought back to beat Rafael Nadal in 2007 at Wimbledon.
“I was brought up as a teenager making more money in June than any other month of the year purely from backing pure grasscourt players at Wimbledon. I was all in on Federer, having dropped the two biggens on New Zealand, I ended up with over two (million pounds) on him and I was all in,” he said.
“Nadal had two-outside in forehands down the line and break points in that fifth set and I was numb, I was literally numb.
“It nearly went very wrong.
“I remember bumping into Roger in the pool at Crown Casino 12 months later and talking about it and he shivered and still to this day I have no idea how Nadal missed those shots in the fifth set.”
He rates Federer along with Tiger Woods as the greatest sportsmen he has seen, largely because they have financed his lavish lifestyle. Horses, especially jumpers, are almost closer to his heart.
“All my life my favourite buzz of all, less so in my later years, was betting on a novice chaser (horses) over fences, nothing has quite turned me on as much as that in my life time,” he said.
“A couple of times I came close to the day-job scenario but once you’re a punter you only want to be a punter, how much money you have got doesn’t matter. You have just got to survive and as long as you’re in the game that is all that matters.”