Brendan Duke: What happens in Galway – stays in Galway

Good man Dukey. Foot in both camps!

Brendan Duke_2 Main Image 991


I’m typing this from the passenger seat of a car winging its way west. After a couple of false starts, my annual trip is under way. Just the one day at the track. Better than nothing. Hopefully my one night in the city will prove eventful. Could do with an anecdote. Then again, what goes on in Galway, stays in Galway. I’ve until next week’s blog to decide whether that’s a flexible rule.

There are plus points to being a stay at home punter. Wednesday night provided some rare entertainment. The J.P McManus owned Ilikedwayyurthinkin came home on his own in a handicap. Backed from 6/1 into 2/1, his supporters probably started popping champagne on the home turn. The handicapper may have reached for something stronger.

This was the horse’s first win. He had already generated more column inches than many multiple winners though, but runners in those colours are always watched carefully.

Ilikedwayurthinkin makes a quick reappearance in the first race at Galway on Sunday. If none the worse for his mid-week exertions, another visit to the winners enclosure looks a formality. Hopefully, there are a couple of others on the Sunday card who can deliver at more rewarding odds.


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Bit of a struggle to find bets this weekend. One that does look a bit over-priced on Saturday is Blakeney Point in the Summer Handicap (2.25 pm) at Goodwood. This horse has been a good servant to the Roger Charlton yard. Last season was his best. He won a listed race, and generally competed well in Stakes company. His one handicap run came in the Ebor. Fifth place there was a perfectly respectable effort.

This season hasn’t gone so well. He was stuffed on comeback in Newbury. He was also among the back-markers on his subsequent run in York. That was a better effort though. He probably found the trip a bit sharp. That run was back in May. The handicapper has dropped him 4lbs on the back of those two efforts.

The subsequent break isn’t a massive concern. He has gone well off a break in the past. Also if connections harbour any aspirations of another crack at the Ebor, he’ll need a winner’s penalty. Blakeney Point was a close second in this race two years ago. He races off a 6lb higher mark now.

I expect him to be competitive. The 16/1 with Paddy looks fair. The extra place – Paddy’s paying 6 – will tempt me into an each-way bet.


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Some Neck heads the weights for the 4.30 pm on Sunday. This could easily be renamed ‘The Light Of Former Days Chase. Valseur Lido, Theinval, and A Toi Phil all fall into that category. Yorkhill is the only other credible runner. He’s the likely favourite.

As I wouldn’t fancy him in a walkover, there must be value elsewhere.

Some Neck is selected. This horse has been well fancied for some hot handicaps of late. Unfortunately the fences keep getting in the way. That’s obviously a concern. Hopefully the softer fences in Galway will help. He’s not favoured by the conditions of the race. That will mean a better price. I don’t think it will take a while lot to win this race.

His best days might still be ahead.


Sbrasse (5.30 pm) is also worth a bet. He’s thrived for a change of scenery. Given he was housed with Gavin Cromwell, that seems strange. To borrow the phase du jour, it is what it is. He won well in Ballinrobe, before a narrow defeat in Ayr.

That day he gave an erstwhile stablemate all she could handle. She was very well treated, and subsequently won two more handicaps. There was a further seven lengths back to the third. Sbrasse is 7lbs higher on Sunday. Not ideal – but he has been competitive off higher marks in the past.

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What do you think?