IRVINESTOWN man Barney Curley’s betting prowess has finally landed the top trainer and a number of his friends and relatives a share of £852,000 that had been withheld by Betfred.com and 888sport.com.
Dubbed ‘the Barney Curley coup,’ the racing legend with strong links to Omagh, along with four other punters, collected a cool £4 million when they linked four horses in combination bets in May 2010. Three of the horses romped to victory.
All four horses had been trained by Curley and had they all been first past the winning post, would have netted the punters a staggering £20 million. The subsequent winnings were paid by UK bookmakers but Gibraltar-based online bookie Betfred.com withheld £823,000 claimed from them, pending an investigation by the Gibraltar Regulatory Authority, and 888sport withheld a further £29,000.
Barney Curley has had strong business links with Omagh. He owned the Cheltenham Arms on Castle Street in the 1970s and a bookies shop next door. Legend has it the drinking tavern was named after a betting coup he pulled off at a race meeting in Cheltenham.
He also managed a band from Sion Mills and Strabane fronted by Hugo Duncan way back in the heyday of the Showband era. Barney’s sister Mary is married to well-known retired bookie from Omagh, Danny McBride.
A statement issued last week by the ‘interested parties’ announced that Gibraltar’s gambling commissioner was no longer pursuing the matter while the five claimants are no longer pursuing a judicial review. Betfred and 888sport have agreed to pay on the winnings.
The Gibraltar Chronicle quoted the statement, “Barney Curley joins with the Claimants and Petfre (Gibraltar) Limited (Betfred) in expressing satisfaction that this matter between the account holders and the Gibraltar online bookmaker has been satisfactorily resolved.”
It has also emerged that the settlement prohibits the parties from divulging further details.