Brendan Duke: I’m backing Palais to polish up my punting fortunes

A visit to the dentist isn't half as painful as some of El Duke's recent wagering woes ...



Things could be going better. A series of unfortunate wagers, have left my betting tank doing a passable impression of a betting cistern. The chilling spectre of gainful employment looms. Physical issues have also taken a financial toll. Tooth betrayal saw me drop the guts of a monkey at the dentist.

It was arguably my own fault. Took a laissez faire attitude to the six-month check up law. In the intervening two years, my old dentist had decamped back to his native Donegal. This came as a blow. His soft, lilting tones always managed to calm a patient who had watched Marathon Man too young. My new guy came highly recommended. He was good, if slightly too talkative. The occasional reminder that I’m doing very well is always appreciated.

An in-running commentary was probably a bit much. Chiselling away at a cavity he explained that he had discovered more decay than expected. I was tempted to say that anyone wearing mini binoculars on their glasses, might be inclined to overstate the scale of problems. He had his fingers in my mouth at the time though. Shame to see such a dazzling piece of wit wasted.


Gallop over to now for all the latest racing odds

During cleaning, he mentioned that the bunching of my lower teeth, was making him work extra hard.

‘That’s why you get the big bucks son’ was my immediate, again unexpressed, thought. He also explained, pre-filling, that he had given me a little extra anesthetic. The lower back teeth are more sensitive it seems. My options now were either silver or white.

I tried to make a crack about my dream job being that of a gangsta rapper.

Sadly with the smack now taking full effect, it sounded like Lester Piggott trying to say 50 Cent. Another quip lost. My white filling cost an extra tenner. A grain of salt, in the ocean of recent losses.

Hopefully this weekend will see a turn in the punting fortunes.

”Necessity is the mother of invention they say”. Of course others will tell you that “scared money, is dead money. That’s the problem with relying on maxims. They’re constantly in conflict. “Absence makes the heart grow fonder”, yet “out of sight, out of mind”. Anyway, “nothing ventured nothing gained”. “Discretion is the better part of valour” though. This is no way to live.

The Adonis Hurdle (2.25 pm) at Kempton promises to be a keenly contested affair. U.K based juvenile hurdle fans haven’t had much in the way of excitement this term. An impressive winner here, would be just the ticket. It should be a good sized field. Connections will want to find out whether the Triumph is worth a stab. The one that catches my eye is Petit Palais.

Tom George looks to have a decent recruit on his hands. He only managed three runs on the Flat for John Gosden. Mind you, there was plenty of promise in those runs. His sire’s progeny tend to do very well with time and distance. The dam is by Galileo. It’s probable that Petit Palais will want further in time.

I think Saturday’s race will be strongly run. The form of his debut win took a bit of a knock during the week. Think it will prove a decent race in time though. The second brought some decent French form to the party. Petit Palais put in a mixed round of jumping. The last two leaps were particularly scruffy. He did jump well in the main up to then though.

I expect an improved round on Saturday. He’s 8/1 at the moment. I assume he’ll run, but the same is true for his opposition. There shouldn’t be much difference in his price post declaration time tomorrow. Anything around 7/1 looks worth a tickle.


The Eider Chase (2.40 pm), will be run on unseasonably decent ground. This should see more than the usual five or six finish. It is still a savage test though. Potters Corner might be the answer. This lightly raced nine-year-old arrives in good nick. He won his penultimate start, and my hunch is he’d have won the last day too but sadly the second-last proved an insurmountable obstacle.

He’s inclined to clout the odd fence. That’s a worry, Generally a sound jumper, he has obvious upside with his lightly-raced, improving profile. He’s now 12 lbs higher than his last win. This remorseless galloper could really improve for the extra trip though. I think he will, and will back him to do so. Again this field looks likely to hold up. Potters is currently 12/1. Again I’d recommend waiting for the decs. This is the type of race Paddy usually obliges us with extra places in.

One race where the field doesn’t look likely to holding up, is the Bobbyjo Chase (4 pm) at Fairyhouse on Saturday. When I say field, I’m of course referring to Presenting Percy. Connections have avoided quick ground all winter. Spring has well and truly sprung this week. Were he to run, which he won’t, it would make the decision to miss Gowran last week even more unfathomable.

He will line up for the Cheltenham Gold Cup off the back of an almost unprecedented prep. His trainer seems a bit odd. The owner has his back though. That’s the important thing. Although, a good run at Cheltenham probably assumes greater significance in that relationship now. We shall see. The Bobbyjo should still be a good race. Aintree hopefuls Alpha Des Obeaux, Rathvinden and Magic Of Light will probably turn up. Were she to run, and be around the 3/1 mark Magic Of Light is probably worth supporting. She has a penalty, but is an improving mare who will relish the trip on Saturday.

It’s probably a tune up for Rathvinden, and I’d be inclined to take Alpha on too.

Gallop over to now for all the latest racing odds

What do you think?