Brendan Duke: O Brother! A siren’s call sets alarm bells ringing

A weekend wedding transported Brendan Duke back to his youth but he soon snapped out of it to focus on getting some weekend winners



Well that was quite the weekend. I spent the vast majority of it at a wedding in East Cork. Most enjoyable it was too. I rarely spend any time in churches these days but when I do they usually get me to thinking. Almost impossible to avoid pondering what with the evocative visual imagery dripping from every pore of the building. It’s a curious thing how the mind can wander though.

The choir did a sterling job and at one stage sung the hymn from the baptism scene in O Brother, Where Art Thou? This led me to thinking about the scene in the same film where our bumbling heroes meet the Sirens. Which in turn led me to remember the film Sirens. I’ve a very linear imagination. The sight of a naked Elle Macpherson was seared into my adolescent consciousness back in the day.

This remembrance led to me becoming aroused. Not a good look in a church. I seem to recall from my days in confession that it carries a heavy fine too. Five Hail Mary’s and four Our Fathers was the entry-level penance back then. Luckily the priest invited us to kneel post hymn. Standing could have proven tricky. The first even money winner I’ve backed in a while.

Of course the weekend was all about one man. After bubbling up nicely all season, the Tiger roared at East Lake. He’s always been my number 1 sporting hero. 18 months ago he seemed doomed. His physical problems appeared to have led to mental health issues. I suppose you could argue that as the greatest closer in sports, he would be a prime contender to overcome these travails, but I wasn’t hopeful. His comeback last November offered hope.

This season, like Keyser Soze, he showed these men of will what will really was.

I spent most of Saturday night popping out for a gasper to check his progress on shot tracker. He seemed to birdie every hole. I got home in time on Sunday to watch the final round. In truth, he limped over the line but no matter. The sight of such a totemic figure leading his people up the 18th has also been seared into my consciousness. Magnificent man.

It’s another big week for golf. If you believe Sky Sports it’s the biggest week. That’s complete cobblers of course. A team event can never be the pinnacle of an individual sport, no matter how many times they say it is. It’s amazing that they even try. Golf has a serious sense of tradition and the Ryder Cup has a relatively brief history as a competitive entity.

Traditionally it was a biennial turkey shoot, with GB&I playing the turkeys. In the late 70’s, the Americans, presumably bored with winning all the time, came up with the perfectly sensible notion of allowing the rest of Europe in. This has led to some stirring contests in fairness. As for who will win this year, you’re asking the wrong man. I’m the opposite of a golf guru. Just call me Mr Flog Urug.

My hunch is the Yanks will do enough but it’s such a difficult format to predict. For example, I would like to ask a sports psychologist what causes Ian Poulter, one of the biggest hounds in training during regular events, to turn into a combination of Hardy Eustace and Persian Punch come the Ryder Cup. I won’t be having a wager but hopefully it all comes down to the last match.


Also an exciting week for racing fans. The return of Ten Sovereigns being a personal highlight. I expect him to win Saturday’s Middle Park Stakes comfortably for which he is 8/13f at the moment. With this in mind I think the 8/1 available for the Dewhurst Stakes in October is worth a tickle. While he would have to bolt up to usurp Too Darn Hot as fav, I could see him being more like a 7/2 poke come Sunday. He will almost certainly run in the Dewhurst if he wins on Saturday. I think the 8/1 is a marginal spot of value.

One that looks significantly overpriced is at HQ this week is Hidden Message in the Rockfel Stakes (3pm) on Friday.

She currently trades at 8/1 but I expect her to start favourite. The front end of the market doesn’t excite me, though I may again be guilty of underestimating the Skitter Scatter form. Hidden Message was fully expected to deliver on debut at Yarmouth. She did so in some style. That form has some substance to it and it’s not hard to see her receiving plenty of support on the day.

Finally Fairyland looks rock solid e/w material in the Chevely Park Stakes (2.25pm) on Saturday. She will have to come on a lot from her York win to trouble likely favourite Pretty Pollyanna. She should do though. The stable were going through a lean spell at the time. She’s currently 5/1 for Saturday. Probably best waiting until the day to back her though. I can’t see her starting much shorter.

Gallop over to all the latest odds on now

What do you think?