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Oh Barney Curley, you little rascal! How Paddy Power was stung for £1m

One of the most ambitious gambles in recent memory landed on Wednesday featuring four horses, three courses and one colourful character

by Josh Powell | January 23, 2014

A couple of all-weather meetings on a Wednesday afternoon doesn’t normally get the pulse racing. It’s hard enough to get some of the hairy pigs on the all-weather racing, let alone your heart rate.

However yesterday was different, courtesy, we presume, of legendary gambler and former trainer Barney Curley.

Four horses were heavily backed all morning in multiple bets and those in the know executed a coup costing Paddy more than £1 million. There’s a hat-tip if you were one of the eagle-eyed punters – We’re impressed and annoyed we didn’t get on ourselves in equal measure.

Eye of the Tiger – formally trained by Curley – was having his first run for Des Donovan off a mark of 56 at Lingfield. He was backed in from 4-1 to Evens and romped home to a nine length victory.

Ten minutes later at Catterick, Seven Summits – another ex-Curley horse – made it two out of two. The Sophie Leech-trained Seven Summits won the two-mile handicap hurdle by a length and a half and had been backed in from 11/2 to 9/4.

All eyes were on Kempton from then on, and at 4.25 the biggest of the three gambles was landed. Indus Valley – another Donovan-trained horse – came back from a 700 day absence to win a seven furlong handicap. He went off the 4-6 favourite having been 10/1 earlier in the day.

The coup was secured by Low Key two hours later in a Kempton Handicap at 6.25. Trained by Curley’s former assistant John Butler, Low Key was a 4/7 shot after being as 5/1 and as low as 1/3 during the day.

It’s fair to say we might not see another Wednesday like it for quite some time.

The Coup

1.30 Lingfield: Eye of the Tiger – From 4/1 to Evens
1.40 Catterick: Seven Summits – From 11/2 to 9/4
4.25 Kempton: Indus Valley – From 10/1 to 4/6
6.25 Kempton: Low Key – From 5/1 via 1/3 to 4/7

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