So legendary punter Barney Curley has passed away at the age of 81.
Curley did a lot of good in this world. That is without doubt. And for all his shouting and screaming at some of us, he had a huge heart.
In some ways, in that sense, he was like John McCririck. Neither men were understood by many. Both had sides to them – but one of those sides was goodness.
That all said, for most punters no Barney Curley means no looking at a race with a Curley runner and having no idea what to do.
Curley horses could be smashed up in the betting and finish tailed off.
Curley horses could be smashed up in the betting and win. You just had no idea.
I’m not absolutely convinced Curley always knew, despite the image of a God, but of course we all know he landed some incredible touches that any sane person would acknowledge were masterstrokes.
The most famous of those gambles was the infamous Yellow Sam coup of June 25, 1975.
It probably wouldn’t be legal now, but the blocking of certain phone lines to deny bookmakers access to information was just part of the plot.
Curley will not be missed by some. His gambles seen as against the spirit of fellow punters.
However, for anyone who likes the fact racing can be mysterious Curley will be a figure admired and even worshipped. He was certainly one of a kind.
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What is it about jumps trainers on the Flat? Martin Pipe, Nicky Henderson, Alan King, Willie Mullins, Jessica Harrington and now Noel Meade have all shown that anyone who thought they could only play the jumps game got it hopelessly wrong.
Pipe landed juvenile Flat races at Royal Ascot, and now Meade has taken a Tattersalls Gold Cup with Helvic Dream.
I’ve always loved jumps horses going Flat racing, as I think the skill of jumping strengthens them up. That is not proven in any way, but just my theory.
But jumps trainers can clearly train Flat horses. It doesn’t seem to quite work as well the other way round, although of course Aidan O’Brien did have a certain Istabraq! Well done Noel.
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I should be at Windsor today for Sky and Attheraces. It’s off. I’m gutted. In mourning.
The weather is crazy wet at the moment, and it seems it’s going to take a real heatwave next week for the ground to dry out for Derby day a week Saturday.
That’s a great shame for the greatest Flat race of them all, especially as it would likely see leading contender Mohaafeth miss the race for William Haggas and he is a real spice horse.
Remember lockdown this time lat year? It was glorious sunshine almost all the way through! Arghhhhhhhh.
Finally well done to Jim Bolger for landing the Irish 2000 Guineas with MacSwiney.
I was so sure Poetic Flare would score I was a little gutted, and I actually think the latter should have won on the day.
But hey, credit to Bolger who pulled off a monster 1-2.
Jim is like Curley in a right old character. There aren’t many left in racing. Embrace them while you can…
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Remember to gamble responsibly
A responsible gambler is someone who:
- Establishes time and monetary limits before playing
- Only gambles with money they can afford to lose
- Never chase their losses
- Doesn’t gamble if they’re upset, angry or depressed
- Gamcare – www.gamcare.org.uk
- Gamble Aware – www.begambleaware.org
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