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Frankie Dettori’s duel with Willie Mullins can light up Bellewstown battle

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Frankie Dettori will be at Bellewstown today for the inaugural Barney Curley Charity Cup. Photo: Sportsfile

Frankie Dettori will be at Bellewstown today for the inaugural Barney Curley Charity Cup. Photo: Sportsfile

Frankie Dettori will be at Bellewstown today for the inaugural Barney Curley Charity Cup. Photo: Sportsfile

BELLEWSTOWN is the place to be today as teams captained by Frankie Dettori and Willie Mullins do battle across two races for the inaugural Barney Curley Charity Cup.

It is nearly 50 years since Curley orchestrated one of the finest gambles in racing history with victory for Yellow Sam at Bellewstown netting him the equivalent of €2 million, and the legendary punter will be the focus once again at the Meath track today.

Curley, one of racing’s rare personalities, passed away last year but his memory lives on with legendary Italian rider Dettori making his second visit to Bellewstown to pit his wits against Irish jumps training king Mullins.

Punters are set to flock in their thousands with the ever-popular Dettori leading a team spearheaded by Tom Queally and Jamie Spencer into battle against a Mullins squad which is led by all-conquering jumps rider Rachael Blackmore and Irish champion flat jockey Colin Keane.

The title will be decided across two races on the card – a pair of Barney Curley Charity Cup handicaps (3.10 and 5.25) – with 50pc of the entry free going towards Curley’s Direct Aid For Africa (DAFA) charity.

Meanwhile, the big prize at Cork yesterday went the way of the aptly-named Statement (100/30 favourite), as Joseph O’Brien’s charge made virtually all under a positive ride from Dylan Browne McMonagle to take the Listed Navigation Stakes.

Having just his second start in O’Brien’s care, the daughter of Lawman was well supported before the off and a race-winning surge at the two-furlong pole was ultimately the difference as she held off a late surge from Monaasib (13/2) by a neck.

“He made plenty use of her over a mile today, stacked them up and started stretching them from three-and-a-half (furlongs) out. She is going the right way, and I think there is more improvement in her,” assistant trainer Brendan Powell said.

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