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Harry makes sense - poor prizemoney opens the door to corruption

It really isn't rocket science - when the rewards for competing are poor, then corrupt influences are more likely to be listened to. Sport at the biggest level - the Premier League, NFL, the Olympics, Group I races etc, has little problem from corrupt gambling influences. The incentive to win is so great that competitors are more likely to cheat to win, via performance-enhancing substances or illegal equipment. But when a sport is specifically run for betting and the prizes for competitors are so poor, then can you really blame someone for being tempted by corrupt influences?

Harry Findlay reckons horse racing's 'poverty' prize money could lead to corruption


Professional gambler Harry Findlay warned on Friday that "poverty" prize money could lead to an increase in corruption in racing.

Findlay said that a drop in prize money is likely to lead jockeys, trainers and other racing professionals to be more likely to bend the rules, or susceptible to approaches from corrupt individuals.

"I believe that the powers that run racing have got some people in racing into such a distressed state, with low prize money meaning people are losing their jobs and having houses repossessed, that it could lead people to corruption," Findlay said during a debate on integrity at the Leaders in Football conference in London.

"There are two races at Wolverhampton tonight with £1,300 prize money, and there's a couple more that just over £2,600, that's scandalously low when you consider what trainers have to spend to get horses to the line."


The BHA is treading a very fine line - it wants to stamp out corruption and has been highly visible in the way it prosecuted the Findlay case (re trading his own horse) earlier in the year and the Casela Park non-trier case this week. That stance is commendable IF they are completely consistent and do everything they can to provide a natural deterrent to breaking the rules. Will the Casela Park case (trainer Eamonn Tyrell and jockey Jason Behan were banned for three years) become a line in the sand so that now we will see several cases each month of trainers being pulled up with non-triers? Not a chance. Will the Findlay case lead to other convictions, more consistency or clearer rules? Unlikely.

The most natural deterrent to dodgy activity is making the prizes as valuable as possible, not wasting money in court rooms. Close some racecourses, stop running races for horses too slow to pull carts and stop wasting money prosecuting cases unless the BHA is 100% prepared to draw a line in the sand and be consistent and transparent with the cases it pursues. All this other headline-chasing stuff such as moving Champions Day to Ascot really is irrelevant until they underpin the base of the industry.

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