Dettori defends Barney Curley crown at storm-hit Bellewstown

By Sports Desk September 27, 2023

Frankie Dettori enjoyed a convincing victory over Willie Mullins in a storm-reduced Barney Curley Charity Cup at Bellewstown.

Despite free admission being sponsored by the Irish National Bookmakers Association, it was only the hardiest of racegoers who braved treacherous conditions caused by Storm Agnes.

However, they were rewarded with a competitive afternoon of action on a day organised to help raise funds for the Direct Aid for Africa (DAFA) charity championed by the late Curley.

Jamie Spencer was unable to make the journey over due to the weather, and Dettori – also successful 12 months ago – declared: “I can’t believe the boys are still doing it.

“I take my hat off to them and the staff and the guys taking the horses (around) and the horses themselves. It is a good effort.

“We raised money at golf yesterday and today we are racing. This day in the calendar is set in stone.”

Mullins had hoped the wind and rain would suit his squad, declaring: “We are going to win – this is jumping weather!”

But Team Dettori established a 31-10 lead after the opening contest and that proved enough for victory as the second leg fell to deteriorating ground conditions, along with the day’s seventh and final event.

It was apt that Mogwli came with a wet sail to win the first section of the Barney Curley Charity Cup under Wesley Joyce for Willie McCreery.

Rampage, partnered by Robert Whearty instead of Spencer, made it a one-two for Dettori’s team by plugging on for second, with the front-running Sunday Sovereign getting Team Mullins on the scoresheet in third.

Ampeson and Imposing Supreme also contributed to the Mullins tally in fourth and fifth, with Mercurial securing the final point for Dettori in sixth.

“It is tough out there, but I knew he would stay going,” said Joyce. “Thanks to Frankie for picking me.”

Elsewhere on the card, Miss McHenry kept on well to grind out victory in the one-mile claiming maiden for Ger Lyons and Colin Keane.

Assistant trainer Shane Lyons reflected on the prevailing conditions when stating: “Sure is survival of the fittest!

“She ran over a mile and a quarter before, so we knew that would stand her in good stead. That’s the minimum trip that she wants.

“She goes on the ground, she is by Starspangledbanner and would like that ground. She should get another outing over a mile and a quarter. If not, she could be one for summer jumping.”

Manhattan Dandy was given a positive front-running ride by local jockey Whearty when making all in the Seamus Murphy Memorial Handicap over a mile.

Trainer Thomas Coyle said: “He ran well the last day, so we were confident enough as he had form on the ground.

“The last day we landed in front, but it actually may be the right way to ride him around these tighter tracks anyway.

“With Rob claiming 5lb off him, we knew he had a nice light weight on his back. He was in great form at home and I couldn’t believe it on Monday when he got drawn one, I thought all the stars were aligned.

“It is a little family team, but it means a lot. I’m in Batterstown just beside Fairyhouse, so it is literally half an hour up the road. There might be a few celebrations tonight!”

Edward Lynam’s Keke kept on well to wear down Rathbranchurch in the Grimes Maiden over five furlongs and give Keane a double on the day.

“He had a good run the last day and Eddie said once you get him relaxed he is very straightforward,” said the jockey.

“In the first furlong, he was on it a fraction, but he switched off and travelled through it well and was probably only doing enough when he got there.”

Joyce also made it a double when Mickey The Steel travelled strongly throughout the Colm Quinn BMW Handicap before drawing clear of Transcendental in emphatic fashion.

“That’s 26 winners now and my first double – good to get that on the board,” stated the rider. “He loves that ground and he was just keeping going and going. He did it well.”

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