Brendan Duke: Poet’s Word can cast a spell at York

Our brave boy Brendan has survived an air scare this week, so we should all be grateful he's here to provide some fine tips for York...


This week I’ve pondered on bucket lists. Not in terms of adding to mine you understand. More that I would like to start an alternative list. Similar to the Ig-Nobel prize.

The working title is a f**kit list. Things that you never want to experience.

The notion occurred to me during an aborted landing on a flight to Birmingham. I’m not a fan of flying, or travelling generally come to think of it.

General Sport – BOA Welcome Home Team GB Olympians – London Heathrow Airport – 25/8/08
Team GB land at heathrow in a plane with a gold nose
Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Paul Harding

Make a safe landing with

I know the data says you’re more likely to be kicked to death by a postmistress than die in a plane crash but shaking the primal sense that there is something fundamentally wrong with taking flight has always proven a struggle.

The response of my fellow passengers was interesting.

More than a few rose as high as their seatbelts would allow and turned around meerkat-style to look for reassurance.

The captain came on to calm things. He explained that an unexpected tailwind had led to him deciding against landing. He further elaborated that we were now on a vector and would be on the ground in 5-to-7 minutes.

I’m sceptical about the wind, it was a fierce mild day, but have to say the vector spiel calmed me. Nobody ever died on a vector.
I don’t actually know what a vector is but would surely have heard if it were fatal.

The 7 minutes was a good choice too. People who say “5 or 10 minutes” rarely fill me with confidence but 7 smacks of someone who has things in hand. The second landing was a doozy. 9.9’s all round.

It would have been a cruel week to shuffle off this mortal coil.

The Ebor meeting is always interesting but both the Juddmonte International and Yorkshire Oaks are shaping up to be particularly compelling renewals.

Added to that we get to think fast and slow with Battaash and Stradivarius trying to cement places at the top of their respective divisions.

Now to find a couple of winners. Regular readers will know that The Pentagon has befuddled me all season.
An ante post wager for the Derby has pride of place on my gambling wall of shame. I had given up on him before the Irish Derby but just when I thought I was out, he pulled me back in. In a mess of a race he emerged with great credit, finishing fastest of the held-up horses.

I’m reluctant to get carried away with that run but will give him one more chance on Wednesday.

Nelson looks set to ensure a strong pace for Ballydoyle’s penalised first string Kew Gardens. This will also play to The Pentagon’s strengths. The fact he plays second fiddle should ensure his price holds up and anything around the current 13/2 looks a fair bet.

Poet’s Word looks banker material in the International. His King George win after a titanic tussle with Crystal Ocean could have left a mark, but if none the worse for that, I think he’ll win.

I’m not convinced the three-year-old colts are a great bunch and don’t think any of them could put nine lengths into Coronet. Latrobe should ensure an honest gallop. The long straight at York sets up perfectly for the Poet’s run style. Expect him to grind out a professional win.

The Yorkshire Oaks has an appealing betting make up. Eight runners and I think the top two in the betting are vulnerable. Sea Of Class is clearly a very talented filly but her campaign and the way she is ridden perhaps suggests a lack of robustness. It will be interesting to see how she backs up from the Curragh.

YORK, ENGLAND – AUGUST 25: Jockeys make their way to the parade ring at York racecourse on August 25, 2017 in York, England. (Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images)

Laurens put in a remarkable shift to win the French Oaks. It’s hard to believe though that she could be as headstrong this week and win. This looks a better race and of course is over further.

Magic Wand looks the play. She was sent off odds on in the Irish Oaks on the back of hammering Wild Illusion at Ascot before finishing a well beaten fifth. That clearly wasn’t her running.

At the prices, she looks worth an each-way bet to prove that form all wrong and regain the winning thread.

Win by a nose with

What do you think?