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Bellewstown: Barney Curley remembered

The Association of Irish Racecourses represents all 26 racecourses nationwide. this week’s column features Bellewstown Racecourse and they are set to host a very special race meeting on Thursday next, September 30th.

The second of the two-day fixture at the Co Meath track will be dedicated to the late, great Barney Curley, and it will raise much needed funds for his charity, Direct Aid for Africa (DAFA).

Alan Delany, Bellewstown committee member and fundraising co-ordinator, said: “Barney Curley will forever be associated with Bellewstown after pulling off one of racing’s greatest betting coups here in June 1975, when Yellow Sam won at 20/1. He was a remarkable man and one of the great characters of racing. He raised millions to fund his work in Zambia through his charity DAFA.”

The upcoming meeting at Bellewstown is the final on their annual racing calendar. The track hosts a festival in July and August also. Thursday’s race meeting is shaping up to be rather special indeed, as sponsorship and support pours in to celebrate the life of Barney Curley who passed away in May of this year. All funds raised will go to DAFA which Barney set up in 1996 to support the underprivileged people of Zambia.

Barney was an incredible character of the game and he had a wide and far reaching impact on so many. Jockeys based in Britain will be flying in to take part in the raceday. Frankie Dettori, along with his English weigh room colleagues Jamie Spencer, Tom Queally and Shane Kelly, will join Ireland’s top flat jockeys to ride in a special race in memory of Barney on the day.


A legend of the saddle, Frankie Dettori said: “Tom, Jamie, Shane and I are really looking forward to visiting Bellewstown to ride in The Gannons City Recovery And Recycling Services Ltd supporting DAFA race in memory of our great friend and his charity. Barney was very good to all of us from the moment we arrived in England.

“He was always at the end of the phone with good advice and, while Barney didn’t say a lot, when he did you listened very carefully. His advice helped us with the many successes we have had in our respective careers. The lads and I would encourage everyone to get behind this special race, donate what you can and support the wonderful work of DAFA.”

The race is sponsored by Barney Curley’s friend Tony Gannon. The €20,000 Gannons City Recovery and Recycling Services Ltd Supporting DAFA Handicap, over one mile, will be the feature race on an action-packed day at the Co Meath venue.

Special race

Tony Gannon, owner of Gannons City Recovery and Recycling Services, commented: “I am delighted to sponsor this very special race in aid of my late friend Barney and his brilliant charity DAFA.”

The first race will go to post at 1.25pm and gates will be open from 10.30am for this outdoor only event. Tickets are €25 per person and must be pre-booked online and in advance. Ticket prices include a limited-edition special commemorative race card and €10 of every ticket purchase will go direct to DAFA.

Due to Covid-19 protocols, racegoers are advised that the name of the person attending must be on your ticket, and that tickets are non-transferable and non-refundable. Please bring an electronic or paper copy of this ticket and a valid form of ID to guarantee your admission. Please note paper copies are preferred to assist with efficient admission. To buy your tickets or find out more visit or on their social media channels.

By Leo Powell

Irish field 

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