Brendan Duke: There’s nothing flat about my haircut and tips for Lingfield

There’s nothing like a good hair day and our racing supremo is hoping his good fortune carries over to the Good Friday meeting…


The flat turf season beginning was the highlight of last week. A most enjoyable spring day in Naas promised much for the coming season.

Coupled with one of the most exciting haircuts of my life, the week has left me feeling pretty chipper. Haircuts are usually little more than perfunctory affairs.

I’ve had the same do since the age of 11. They vary in quality, but as the difference between a good and bad one is approximately 2 weeks, it’s not something to worry about.

Last week’s affair was a white-knuckle ride that hung in the balance until the traditional closing ceremony of seeing the back of my head for the first time in six weeks.

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It was my third visit to this particular barber shop and also, the third different barber. High staff turnover is a concern for any customer, but it’s early days and quite possibly I’ve just run into the three people who work there.

I’ll monitor the situation closely going forward. Anyway, I sat down and gave my instructions. As the guy set to work it was impossible not to notice a pronounced shake in his hand.

Granted they’re not surgeons, but still seems a tough line of work for a man so afflicted. You’re unlikely to see a shop named ‘scissors a quiver’ anytime soon I’ll wager. Upon asking him if it was a problem, he informed me that it only happens after drinking coffee.

I was sceptical, but didn’t press the issue by asking exactly how many cups he had consumed. From this rather unpromising start my man produced a masterclass of the mane.

Deftly moving from blade to thinning and then standard scissors. A calm fell over me and I even chanced my difference between good and bad haircuts gag.

Abandoned the punchline when he started chuckling early. Probably heard it before. That’s the problem with industry gags.

Not only did he deliver a premium cut, but as with most worthwhile experiences I learned something. Turns out I’ve what’s known in the game as a double crown.

From his hushed tones I take it this is the equivalent of an AB strolling into the blood bank. ‘Uneasy lies the head that wears the double crown’ I said. He didn’t chuckle at that. Can’t win em all.

That joke falling flat failed to detract one iota from one of my finest experiences in the barber’s chair – easily a top 5 haircut. Given how long I’ve struck with this style we’re dealing with a massive sample size here.

Hopefully he will be there for the next one, though I will still probably pass on the hot towel shave.

Apologies to readers who took my Lincoln advice. Totally overestimated the drying potential of Doncaster.

This week we can look forward to the AW Championships at Lingfield. Two horses catch my eye, while The Sprint Championship will be keenly contested. Gracious John defied a market drift to win over five furlongs at the track last time. That trip is probably his optimum, but he was a close second in this race last year.

He has his own ideas about the game, but is very talented on a going day. A repeat of that latest effort or indeed last year’s run should see him go close. 10/1 looks a fair price.

In the All-Weather Mile Championships Conditions Stakes Second Thought looks a worth favourite. He has yet to be beaten on an artificial surface. I reckon Arcanada should be closer to him in the betting though.

Tom Dascombe’s charge is in the form of his life. His previous three wins could hardly be working out better and this race has the potential to turn tactical. That won’t faze Arcanada, who is versatile in that regard.

Second Thought is inclined to hit a flat spot and that could leave him vulnerable in a falsely run race.

Also, he only has 2lbs in hand of my selection. At 11/4 Arcanada looks the best bet on the card.

The Easter Festival starts at Fairyhouse on Sunday. My Irish Grand National selection Pairofbrowneyes looks set to take his chance. Hopefully a few of you got some of the fancy prices. He should give us a good run for our money.

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* All odds correct at time of posting.

What do you think?