Brendan Duke: This 16/1 play can prove better than the Rest at Lingfield

While the Duke spent last weekend stalking the Tiger he's got his priorities straight now...

Brendan Duke_2 Main Image 991

That went well then. Finished last week’s piece with the hope that Tiger might win the Masters. He’s only gone and done it. Immersed myself in the golf for all four days. It really is an experience beyond compare. I suppose test cricket is similar, but I don’t watch that. Over half the week spent effected by slow-burning tension, gradually being ratcheted up.

First day, two under. Missed a few short putts, but you can’t win it on the first day, yada, yada, yada. Second day, four under. Getting his groove on now. Spectacular iron play, just three shots off the lead. Third day, five under. More precision iron play, coupled with a bit of luck. Generally need some to win a ball game. Heads into the last day just two shots back. My cousin was visiting from England. Was supposed to meet her for lunch, and see the new baby.

Unfortunately the Georgia weather intervened. An early start meant I had to stay in my golf lair. My cousin understood. It’s Tiger after all. Also, newborn babies are minus craic. Winston Churchill lookalikes, who distract people from my zinging one liners, by noisily, and hilariously to most, dribbling on themselves.


Hop, skip or jump[ over to now for all the latest racing odds

Front nine on Sunday. A knot in my stomach. Two shots back, one shot back, two shots back. Back and forth we went. Not playing that well, but finding a way to hang in there. Think he may have dropped three shots off the pace at one stage actually. Then the twelfth. Wasn’t the only one with a knot in my stomach it seems. Of the last six players on course, four hit their tee shots into the water. Tiger kept his ball dry. Tied for the lead. From that moment, he was imperious.

Birdied three of the next five holes, and could even afford an indulgent bogey at the last. That 18th hole was glorious. Knowing he was going to win, my tension washed away, replaced by what must be close to pure joy. My soul soared, and the bankroll now looks healthier than it has in some time.

What a man he is.

Another realisation that dawned on me over the four days, is that I must be careful who I let stop me on the street. Think I would be very susceptible to cults. As mentioned before, I’ve weak sales resistance. Wasn’t until last week though, that I discovered how easy, and comforting, it was to give myself up completely to a leader. For four days, almost all my focus was Tiger related. My own welfare, secondary to his. He was my first waking thought. As I ate my lunch, which on Tiger time was really breakfast, I hoped he was eating a balanced diet for the week.

My stroll along the pier, was preoccupied with him getting his reps. To distract myself, I went to Naas on Saturday. No good. Everyone there had Georgia on their minds. When I heard he was getting up at 4 am to get “this body ready” for the Sunday tee time, five hours later, I briefly questioned his sanity. As any prospective cult member would though, I decided the leader can never be wrong, and resolved, in future, to rise at a similar time every morning. I haven’t actually done that, so there may be some hope for me yet. Will monitor the situation.

Hop, skip or jump[ over to now for all the latest racing odds

We must move on. I will probably never be as happy again, but winners are always welcome. The Good Friday, or not nearly as bad as it used to be Friday, card at Lingfield is up to the usual high standard. Thought it was difficult to find a bet though. Wissahickon and Kachy will be very hard to beat. The bookies are well aware of that fact though.

The All Weather Mile (4.45 pm) is uber competitive. Above The Rest looks overpriced at 16/1 though. He’s one of the highest-rated horses in the race. Perhaps his age, and the fact he rarely runs over this trip have influenced Paddy’s decision. The form of his last win at Wolverhampton looks strong. Meydan aside, he’s generally a reliable performer. The wide draw isn’t ideal, but there’s plenty of pace on here. Clifford Lee should be able to settle him out the back. Hopefully he can get the horse home too.

At that price, it’s worth chancing him.


The Easter highlight is of course the Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse on Monday 5pm. Paddy are paying six places here, so the temptation to throw a couple of e/w darts is obvious. This time around, I will content myself with just the one.

Having recommended Tout Est Permis as a value outsider in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, it would be silly not to row in again for this handicap. He has risen 19 lbs in the handicap since his Troytown romp at Navan in November. Not ideal, but that is strong form, and he showed a lot of heart to reel in Sub Lieutenant, over an inadequate trip, at Thurles. He’s only six. He shapes like he should relish the trip and the 9/1 looks a perfectly fair price about him winning.

Probably best to wait until after decs though. He’s almost certain to run, but the ground could be on the quick side come Monday. It’s hard to see him being a much shorter price after the declarations, so no point risking it.

*Prices are correct at time of publishing 

Hop, skip or jump[ over to now for all the latest racing odds