Barney Curley honoured at scene of famous betting coup

BELLEWSTOWN racecourse will be forever synonymous with Irvinestown’s Barney Curley who master-minded the most famous betting coup in the history of Irish racing after he successfully pulled off the Yellow Sam coup in 1975.

In advance of the 50th anniversary of this landmark event in 2025, Meath’s Bellewstown racecourse has announced details of the inaugural running of the Barney Curley DAFA Apprentice Series Bursary.

The programme will be restricted to apprentice jockeys who have ridden fewer than 20 winners at the start of the 2024 turf season and will consist of six races starting at Bellewstown on April 13, moving to Roscommon in May, Gowran Park in June, two other dates to be confirmed, with the series finale to be held at Bellewstown on October 2.


Points will be awarded to riders after each race according to their finishing position.

“We believe this apprentice race series is a fitting legacy to the memory of Barney Curley who was globally renowned and respected for his nurturing, mentoring and coaching of young, immature apprentice jockeys over many decades,” said Alan Delany, vice-chairman of Bellewstown racecourse.

Legendary jockey Frankie Dettori, who is a regular visitor to Bellewstown and was a great friend of Mr Curley’s, expressed his delight at the creation of the apprentice bursary series and wished it every success. Mr Curley’s family were also delighted at the news.

“We are thrilled to continue our family’s enduring association with Bellewstown racecourse. We are particularly pleased to be associated with the apprentice series for young aspiring jockeys, a subject that was near and dear to my father’s beliefs and values,” a member of Mr Curley’s family said.

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