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Friends say final farewell to Derby winning lad Michael




Friends and former work mates gathered at the foot of Long Hill on Friday to remember and celebrate the life Derby winning lad, Michael Curran, who was found dead in Exning last month.

Permission had been given by the Jockey Club for a memorial plaque to be placed on a tree, at the start of the canter, which bore his name and the names of the two best horses he looked after, Derby winner Golden Horn, and four-time Group 1 winner, Kingman.

Racing chaplain Simon Bailey said: “I hope it is the last time we stand here like this” and added it was important that when anyone hit ‘rock bottom’ they had someone they could turn to and talk to.

Friends of Michael Curran around the tree where a memorial plaque has been placed. Picture: Mark Westley
Friends of Michael Curran around the tree where a memorial plaque has been placed. Picture: Mark Westley

Elizabeth Clayton, who had been friends with Michael for more than 20 years, having worked with him initially at trainer Paul D’Arcy’s yard, proposed a toast. “I can’t quite imagine life without him,” she said, and Suzanne Backman unveiled the memorial plaque where flowers and a rainbow-painted racing plate were laid.

Helen Chrystal, who helped to organise the memorial tribute said: “Nearly every string of racehorses will go past it every day, and will be able to say hello and Michael will be able to laugh at the shenanigans.”

Michael Curran with his 2015 Derby winner Golden Horn.
Michael Curran with his 2015 Derby winner Golden Horn.

Just 54 when he died, Michael had enjoyed the most successful years of his life in racing when he worked for trainer John Gosden for whom he looked after 2015 Derby and Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe winner Golden Horn and champion miler Kingman.

The plaque which was unveiled on Friday. Picture: Mark Westley
The plaque which was unveiled on Friday. Picture: Mark Westley

His funeral service had been held the day before the Newmarket commemoration at Eastlands cemetery in his home town of Galashiels, in Scotland, where he was buried next to his father. He is survived by his mother Lily and brother Welsh.