Brendan Duke: My grumbling gut says Flintrock at Haydock a solid prop

Brendan's stomach wasn't in great shape over the weekend, but it's back in working order now as he looks at a Wednesday runner from Haydock...

haydock races jun18


Just catching my breath after a hectic few days. Racing in Leopardstown on Thursday, The Curragh Friday and Saturday followed by a christening on Sunday. Sorry to report this all took a physical toll. The cause of my illness is not easily identified. Perhaps the sun was a factor, all three meetings were blessed with warm weather. Seems unlikely though. While I should have slipped on a hat, headaches were not among my symptoms and two of the fixtures were in the evening.

The most likely culprit is a burrito I consumed on Saturday evening. Damn tasty it was too though not enough to justify the tummy torment. The only reason I didn’t write a strongly worded email to the Mexican embassy is that I can’t rule out my affliction being psychosomatic. The result of chilling news that reached me on the very same Saturday evening.

A friend of mine was in town for the weekend. He’d come all the way from L.A. We met in ‘The Old Stand’ pub where, surprisingly, seats were plentiful. During general chitchat the subject of my blog came up. Probably because I raised it to be fair. My amigo informed me that he couldn’t read it as the Paddy Power website is blocked Stateside. Potentially 300 million readers are being denied to me.

HAYDOCK, ENGLAND – AUGUST 4: General view of Haydock Park Racecourse on August 4, 2016 in Haydock, England. (Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)

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I was shaken to my very core and ordered a second pint to steady myself. Whether it was the shocking news from across the pond or the burrito starting to work some gut voodoo, that beer proved tough sledding. I left it unfinished as our party of four headed for the Dame Tavern. Standing outside, and now drinking water, I took a bad turn. Stomach churning, forehead clammy, legs leaden, I made my excuses and left. Walking up Exchequer Street I was trading a very short price in-running to throw up.

Bearing in mind that I’m nursing a Jerry Seinfeld-esque vomit streak, having not been physically sick since Leitrim in the late nineties, you can imagine how unsettling this felt. With the aid of some deep breaths I made it to the taxi rank. The driver took a chance and the combination of a fair wind and fully wound down window saw me home safely.

I awoke the following morning with wicked indigestion but the role of godfather at the christening meant calling in sick wasn’t an option. Bisodol and a cigarette was my breakfast. Good old Bisodol. A titan of the digestive industry. Like Vaseline and other great brands they have never felt the need to change. My tummy settled down to the extent that I enjoyed a light lunch and only minor inconvenience for the rest of the day.

Whatever the reason for my suffering the American question must not be ignored. The gravity of the issues facing their interests in the Middle East and Korean Peninsula are not lost on me. However my friend assured me that inaccessibility to my musings is affecting literally dozens of U.S citizens. This is intolerable. It’s unlikely, given they can’t read this, but we must hope that news if this injustice is somehow brought to the attention of the Trump administration.

As you might expect on the eve of Royal Ascot this week’s racing is fairly low key. One that catches my eye runs in the first at Haydock on Wednesday at 14:10. Flintrock was value for much more than the winning distance on his last start. He got the better of a heavily backed favourite that day despite obvious greenness. The form of that race has taken a couple of knocks and he has to shoulder a penalty on Wednesday. I rate him a promising stayer though and think he’ll win. He should be put in around the 4/1 mark and that’s a price worth taking.

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