Brendan Duke: We’ll go Again looks the best bet on the Curragh card

New Jacket. New Dukey. Let's hope it was worth the effort.

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Fierce changeable weather of late. Hard for a man to accessorise. Have to pack both brolly, and sunglasses. The sometimes sharp temperature variations have also meant my summer jacket got an outing. Brown in colour, it goes with most things. Not with my chocolate brown cords though. This was pointed out by a friend of mine with a keen interest in history. ‘Really rocking that 1930’s fascist look’ was his observation.

That fashion faux pas aside, the jacket has served me well. As with most things I’m fond of, it has a nickname. When not quite nippy enough for my winter coat to be justified, ‘The Brown Bomber’ has been my go to choice for many years now. It’s not strictly speaking a bomber jacket, but I’ve a weakness for alliteration.

While my sister isn’t a big fan, my mother behaves like the jacket hurts her eyes. ‘The Brown Abomination’ is her preferred title. Not bad to be fair to her. For as long as I have have had it, she’s waged a propaganda campaign. She must have sensed my resolve weakening of late as a cold, calculated hit was taken out on the bomber earlier this week. I arrived down for breakfast to be greeted by a navy jacket on the back of the chair. The timing was exquisite.

I’m always at my weakest in the morning.

Basically I consider any money spent on clothes as a direct threat to my bankroll. I looked at the price tag. A tenner. Cheap at twice the price. I agreed to take it. ‘You can get rid of that god awful brown thing so’. I mumbled assent while reaching for my cereal. The bomber now faces an uncertain future out in the charity shop badlands.

We move on.


The forecast suggests I will be modelling my new jacket at the Curragh on Friday. The rain should clear by afternoon. Those 12mms mean we’re looking at soft ground.

Sir Dragonet is the star turn on the card. He should have far too much for the opposition in the Royal Whip (18.45). He ran very well in the Derby, My worries about his effectiveness on quicker ground proved unfounded. I still expect him to be best served by an ease. Friday looks the ideal springboard to a profitable autumn campaign. He will be a very short price. Best to look elsewhere for a bet.

The Irish St Leger Trial (18.15) looks interesting. Master Of Reality put up a massive career best in the Gold Cup at Ascot. It’s possible he’s thriving under the care of Joseph O’Brien. It may have been a fluke though. Under a penalty he’s passed over. Capri travelled well for a long way in the same race. Maybe his stamina ebbed away. It’s more likely in my view that he chucked it in. He looks a horse who’s had enough of the game to me. Southern France has run his best races on better ground.

It’s too early to say he’s ground dependent but it’s still a concern for Friday. Eminent Authority looks the one. I’ve great faith in the weight-for-age scale. It has basically proved fit for purpose for over 150 years after all. If there is an edge, it might be towards three-year-olds in staying races. Eminent Authority is proving a very slow learner. He was slow to break, and slow to respond when the race heated up in the Queen’s Vase. I’m convinced he has a big engine. It will reveal itself when his mind clicks into gear. With some doubts over the opposition, and the likelihood of a decent price, he will carry my money.


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We’ll Go Again rates a sporting wager in the competitive mile handicap (19.50). He showed plenty on handicap debut at Roscommon in June. He was too keen through the race. Those early exertions took a toll late on. Subsequent efforts by the horses around him suggest the race is solid form. He should have derived considerable benefit from the experience. He was also the only horse in the race to stay on the rail up the home straight. That may have made no difference but as a fan of the wisdom of crowds, I’m inclined to think it did. He travelled very well in that race. The drop in trip isn’t a concern. His low draw should help. With plenty of runners to come around him, there should be plenty of cover available. His sire is a soft-ground influence.

He appeals as the best bet on the card.

Blairmayne may be worth a poke in the last, the 6f finale at 20.20. This horse loves the Curragh. Indeed, he seems to reserve his best efforts for valuable handicaps at the track. He ran better that his finishing position suggests in the Scurry Handicap on Irish Oaks weekend. There seemed to be a draw bias towards the far rail that day. He was a little disappointing in Leopardstown last time. He did get a bit messed around in the run, mind.

Back at his beloved Curragh, with all ground seeming to come alike, he should go very close.

*Prices correct at time of publishing 

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What do you think?