Notable racing figures and TV presenters pay tribute to icon and inspiration behind gambling Barney Curley who died on Sunday at the age of 81.
Racing TV revisited archive interview from March 2019 when Kerli joined Niku Lacu at the Luck On Sunday studio, in which he talked about his "extraordinary '' career, from priesthood to punting.
Speaking to Luck about how he survived a near-fatal case of tuberculosis, Kerley explained two years ago: "I was sent to boarding school at 11, then when I was 16 my father passed away so we landed in England, we both. . It was a big achievement for me - it was hard.
“We had a small room, which was maybe half the size of this studio, and we went to work every day, received money and sent it home. In the end, after 12 months, the debt was paid off, and we returned home.
“I guess after that I decided I was going to study for the priesthood so I was there for about 18 months or two years, maybe that’s why I was always on the ‘A’ football team, but I ended up on the ‘C’ team.” 'and the coach was telling me, "Curly, you're not trying." But in the end, I passed out on the football field and ended up in a sanatorium.”
The professional gambler, born in Irvinestown, County Fermanagh, became a horse trainer and is best known for a betting coup involving the illiterate Yellow Sam in 1975 at Bellewstown Racecourse, which was considered one of the biggest betting conspiracies of all time.
By winning the race on 20/1, Yellow Sam, described by Kerley as "one of the worst horses I've ever had", adjusted for inflation, and secured a win of over £2 million.
Bellewstown Races tweeted a tribute to the late Curley, writing: "His name, along with this phone booth, is an integral part of our history on the hill. Condolences to his family and friends."
In addition to racing, Kerley has also made significant charitable donations throughout his career, founding in 1996 Direct Aid for Africa (DAFA), dedicated to supporting low-income people in Zambia.
jockey champion A.P. McCoy shared his thoughts on social media: “Very sad to hear that Barney Curley has passed away. I was lucky that he enjoyed his company, a man with a well established legendary coach/player status but who also raised a lot of money for Direct Aid for Africa charity. TEAR."
Matt Chapman called the legendary figurehead "one of the people who made racing fun by being fun" while coach John Butler who had previously acted as his assistant, said that "he was just one of those people".
Famous jockeys who have saddled Curly horses have included Frankie Dettori, Jamie Spencer, Tom Qually, Tommy Carmody and Declan Murphy , with the coach winning his last victory in 2012.
The Racing Industry Pays Tribute to the Late Barney Curley First Appeared on GamblingTV.com.