Willie Mullins claimed the Barney Curley Charity Cup bragging rights over Frankie Dettori on a memorable afternoon at Bellewstown, writes Paul Martin.
Both icons had a superstar line-up of jockeys at their disposal for the two-race contest and Mullins’ riders took the spoils in both, Declan McDonogh landing the first blow by leading home Fastman for local trainer John McConnell.
Dylan McMonagle followed up by steering 10/1 shot Bring Us Paradise home in a Mullins one-two, with Wild Shot in second.
The day as a whole saw vital funds continue to be raised for Direct Action For Africa (DAFA), the charity set up by Curley 25 years ago, with €10 from each of the Bellewstown punters going towards the fund to add to the €65,000 raised by Tuesday’s golf
Dettori, who enjoyed a memorable day riding a winner for Johnny Murtagh when he visited Bellewstown last year, relished being back on the track – albeit in a non-riding category – as he continues to keep the Curley flame alight.
“It was a great experience last year, winning for Johnny, and I’m here for a charity very close to me,” said Dettori, exactly 26 years on from his ‘Magnificent Seven’ when he swept the card at Ascot.
“Barney was a mentor to me and we’ve tried to keep the tradition going. It’s great to do that. Willie Mullins is taking me on and we both have nice teams.
“We want to keep the DAFA tradition going and it falls at a nice time of the year. We had a golf day yesterday, raising a few thousands, and today we have the race day. The weather is nice, there’s a good turnout – we’re very pleased.
“I knew Barney as a different person, not a gambler. He was great with people, I was a young tearaway and he put me on the straight and narrow.
“He was a good mentor for a young jockey and it’s great to remember him and carry on the charity. It’s great to see his family here today and it’s become an annual event.”