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Barney's just sensational!


Horse trainer Barney Curley
PIC: Getty

Horse trainer Barney Curley PIC: Getty

Horse trainer Barney Curley PIC: Getty

IF I owned a trilby, I can assure you, one week on, I would still be tipping it to Barney Curley.

There is still no confirming that Barney Curley was as hands on in the massive betting coup that pricked the ears of racing folk like only Curley can, but from this corner he gets full credit because I have yet to meet or hear of the man, woman or beast that could even attempt something similar, never mind pull it off.

Hurricane Fly and all about him is a fantastic story and he is a horse of a lifetime who is trained by a magician of his craft, but what Barney Curley pulled off last week in England was one of the most incredible feats that we are likely to see in the sport of horseracing.

A lot has been said and written about the victories of Eye Of The Tiger, Seven Summits, Low Key and Indus Valley last Wednesday, but for the magnitude of the feat, Curley is getting short changed when it comes to the credit he deserves.

Some say it's wrong, some say it shines a dim light over the sport and some feel sorry for the everyday punter. I disagree.

In 2010, Curley was behind a similar raid on the bookmakers' satchels when he laid out four horses and backed them to win heavily. Three of them won, but it was enough to add seven figures to his retirement fund.

Last week Curley was nowhere to be seen and ever since he hasn't been heard of, but have no doubt this had his name all over it.

Eye Of The Tiger, Seven Summits and Low Key were all formerly trained by Curley, while Indus Valley was trained by Des Donovan, a former assistant of the Fermanagh native.



Prior to last week, Eye Of The Tiger last ran on September 2012, Seven Summits was off since June 2013, Low Key hadn't appeared on a racecard since February 2013 and Indus Valley had been absent since February 2012. On the same day, they were all well backed, they were all combined to be put into multiple bets and most importantly, they all won.

These were not horses that were using the racecourse as a schooling ground or horses that were misleading the public by not running on their merits in recent months, these were horses that weren't even running, because somewhere, presumably at three different destinations as they were trained by three different trainers, these horses were being primed to the minute for January 22, 2014 – described as Black Wednesday for some bookmakers.

Now, maybe I and plenty of others are about to do their respective trainers an injustice here, but I think you can take it that while these horses were being primed to the minute, Curley was an overseer to their progression. Is there something wrong with that? No, I don't think there is.

All over racing, you have trainers holding a licence whereas a lot of the credit can really be given to a body or bodies behind the scenes.



The enormity of the feat cannot be overlooked. To map a horse out for one day and get him to win is difficult, even if he is race fit. To manage it with four horses on the one day is simply sensational.

No stone was left unturned by Curley and indeed I would go as far as to say that the former licensed trainer even had a word in his good old pal Frankie Dettori's ear and persuaded him to come back on the same day to ensure the limelight was elsewhere.

How do we know it was definitely Barney? Well, we don't is the honest answer. But if you were the genius that pulled off such a sensational feat and somebody else was getting the credit for it, would you sit there and say nothing or come out and clarify the facts? I thought so.