BARNEY AND FRIENDS, I SALUTE YOU.

The site has been very quiet of late due to the normal pressures and it is in profit to the tune of 8.75 points. Lots has happened of course in the interim and I will discuss one of those events with you here.

The monster coup landed by Barney Curley and friends is surely one of the greatest ever pulled off in the history of this great game. It took some doing and obviously a huge amount of expenditure laid out over two years to successfully execute the plan. People and commentators alike seem to have overlooked this aspect of the operation. As a racehorse owner at every level I can unfortunately report how expensive this business is. Let us take a simple example.

You buy a flat horse like I did at the sales called Bluberry Tart for 6,000 guineas at the February sales in 2006. By the time she arrived in John O’ Shea’s yard with transport etc the cost was 8,500 euros. She had a handicap mark of 60. It took us until April 2008 and a mark of 52 to land a mini private gamble at Dundalk. John is very reasonable with his fees but the cost of the intervening two years was approx 24,000 and this is at the very low end of the scale charges wise and I was lucky as John is a farrier also so that deal was all in. The fees would have been double or even treble if she was was trained in the Curragh or Newmarket. So when you add the purchase price and training fees that comes to 32,500 and another 4,000 in HRI charges the entire episode cost 36,500. I was lucky enough to win 16,000 combined on betting the both days she won and just 9,000 after deductions in prizemoney but even by my math I lost approx 7,500 overall.

So when you think of the amount needed in setting up the coup you must consider the cost of buying the horse [original sum ] the training and farrier and vets costs, the BHA Wetherby charges and the other miscellaneous outlays and then multiply the whole thing by four and you are talking one serious amount of money. After all that then the amount staked on the day itself. There is also a very strong belief that the total won by Barney and friends could easily be upwards of nine million in sterling. That is what the people in the know are telling me and this figure seems to be correct. The bookmakers are playing it down because they have to. Don’t mind this bullshit of bookies crowing about losses to encourage punters in the next day, they were genuinely hurt and fair play to Paddy Power for admitting the truth about their liabilities.

The amount of planning that went into this coup cannot be underestimated. Each trainer had to have his charge in perfect condition. The bloods on the horses would have had to be spot on no matter what class of opponent they were taking on, this is no easy feat, ask any trainer. The type of horse that was chosen to carry out the coup. There were two ex German horses who had form to die for if anywhere near back to former levels against the type of opponents they were to face on the famous day. You just cannot beat an honest German horse almost in any class when they are right. That was the cornerstone of the entire gamble. The doubles on them alone were going to help save the day if the other two went west but of course they read the script and the rest is now history.

RUK had to quickly change track on their reporting after a few typically stupid remarks by the smug Alex Steedman and it was such a pity that the equally smug and out of touch Lydia Hislop was not presenting on the day also. Some of you will no doubt be fed up of my stance on her reporting but until such time as she retracts her sarcastic ” wonderful” comment about a Barney horse that was gambled and won at Kempton one night that she was presenting then I will not let go. In fairness to Yeats and Luck they at least did call it right in the studio that evening but all the positive e mails from the watchers no doubt helped them see the light. The young journalist on the Sunday Forum on Attheraces yesterday [ cannot remember his name but you know him and I am sure some of you will enlighten me ] should apply to Hislop for a job at RUK. He let himself down. He was questioning whether this coup is good for the integrity of racing. I have news for him, the answer is YES. I also have a question for him. Does he and the likes of Hislop and Steedman think the Nicky Henderson and Godolphin doping scandals are good for the integrity of racing ? Answer please.

The beauty of this coup is almost paradoxical , despite the huge planning and intricacies of the operation it was it’s simplicity in the final analysis that made it such a masterpiece of sheer cunning and brilliance. It is to be applauded. The BHA or anyone else will never be able to question it despite the wishes of some. They [the doubters] will have to argue that the handicapper was complicit if they want to find any wrong doing. How wonderful is that ?

It was great that a lot of genuine everyday punters latched on to Barney and friends and made a hefty profit and that those same punters can keep the rest of the better off in good jobs higher up the food chain for the future.

Barney, I for one salute you. Simply wonderful

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