Barney Curley, one of horse racing’s most famous gamblers passed away this week at the age of 81…
Sharp punters and traders would eagerly watch the markets with interest every time he had a runner. His links to connections that gamble was well known, even if he preferred it not to be.
With this in mind, I thought it would be a good time to share a few thoughts on the man that had a significant edge.
Barney Curley Gambles:
I fondly remember trading horses associated with Curley in the early stages of my own personal trading career. At times, the fear, swings on Betfair, and large stakes that would track the prices up and down the ladder were breathtaking.
Curley’s reputation was so powerful that not only would late money half a horses price, but a lack of money would have the opposite effect. You just wouldn’t see stable price-action on a Curley horse in the final minutes of a live show.
Here’s a chart from the 4th August twenty-fourteen to highlight what I’m talking about:
The money would often come late and hard. In the example above, you can see that traders had begun to pin their hopes on a colossal drift. Moments later, the whole market had been turned on its head with repeated matches of £500 – £750.
It could be highly confusing and extremely painful for new traders, and I include myself in this early on. On one occasion I remember flipping my position along with the late market sentiment, turning a £100 loss into a £200 win, pre-race. At this point, such profits were a big deal to me. I had latched onto the market antics surrounding Curley gambles.
Check out the clip below if you’re not familiar with how Curley came to be a multi-millionaire through backing horses.
One hell of a life to have lead. I don’t think anyone could disagree!
Barney certainly got his money worth in the time he was with us, RIP.
If you want the finer detail, Nick Townsend’s book the sure thing is worth a read.
Not everybody was so fond of the racing maverick though with plenty of critics branding his antics as unfair or crooked.
In the week, I posted a quick poll to see what others thought. I was surprised to see such a split!
In honesty, I can see why some may have clicked the second option. If you’d bet a different horse in a Curley race to then see the price crumble it was nerve-wracking. However, he was often open when questioned and willing to go against the common opinion, which is an admirable characteristic in my book.
Also, he managed to do it all on his own, as per this quote from a previous Guardian article:
“I’m the only person who’s ever run a stable of horses, owned them myself, had no factories or oil wells or anything else, and made the job pay, every year, simply from betting.”
Furthermore, he always made a point of talking honestly about bookies! An equally cunning set of rule-benders.