Brendan Duke: My fab 5 for a hell of a day’s racing on Sunday

It’s hard not to be excited for this one!



An Irish double-header, and one of the better Sunday cards in England to get our teeth into tomorrow. The theme of testing ground continues though.

Battleoverdoyen bids to build on the considerable promise of his jumping debut in the Florida Pearl Novice Chase (14:50) at Punchestown. He looked a natural in Galway.

While he faces legitimate opposing tomorrow, it will be disappointing if he can’t take care of them.

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Future Proof at 13:40 looks the best bet on the Punchestown card. He’s been in solid form on the flat. His hurdles mark looks attractive in comparison.

It’s possible he might ideally want a bit further. Conditions should ensure an adequate test tomorrow though.

He has plenty of physical scope for the winter game. It would surprise me if he isn’t rated a good deal higher come the end of the season.

The first step up the ladder should come here.

Sumos Novios drops in trip to contest the 15:10 in Cork. It’s not an obvious move for a horse who will be 12 in a few weeks. He’s not your standard 11-year-old though.

A fragile sort, he hasn’t stood much racing. He has a decent career strike rate though. He was unfortunate to run into a well-handicapped, highly progressive rival on his seasonal bow in Galway last month.

It was a long way back to the third that day. A three-pound rise doesn’t look harsh in the circumstances. He’s also highly effective in deep ground and we can anticipate an aggressive ride from Johnny Burke.

The horse has a considerable class edge in this race. That may be what tempted connections to think outside the distance box. Their imaginative race planning can reap a rich harvest tomorrow.

The Arkle Trial at 13:50 in Cheltenham is a fascinating race. Getaway Trump is favourite to gain revenge over Al Dancer. That’s understandable.

Paul Nicholls had stated before that race over course and distance in October that his charge was badly in need of the run. His performance backed that statement up. Having looked all over the winner he appeared to blow up late in the piece.

Al Dancer, despite an iffy round of jumping, picked up the pieces. Both are opposable on tomorrow’s ground though.

Rouge Vif looks the bet though. This horse actually beat Getaway Trump in Kelso last season. It’s best not to take that literally, but the subsequent efforts of the placed horses suggest it’s strong form. His fencing debut came at Market Rasen. He will need to jump better here and that’s entirely possible.

With fewer ground concerns than his main rivals, Put The Kettle On to ensure an honest pace, and the sizzling form of trainer Harry Whittington, I reckon we have enough in our favour to bet on a minor upset.

It’s a surprise to see Defi Du Seuil priced up as favourite for the Shloer Chase 14:25.

This trip looks too short, and his record fresh is a concern too.

Politologue, on the other hand, has a fine record first time up. He has a fine record full stop. This bold jumper keeps elite company.

While this may not be his optimum trip either, his second in last season’s Champion Chase shows he can cope admirably at the minimum trip.

Even factoring in the weight concession tomorrow, he rates clear favourite in my book. Paddy must be punished for their generous pricing.

Brendan Duke’s tips summary:

13:40 Punchestown: Future Proof – 5/2
14:50 Punchestown: Battleoverdoyen – 8/11
15:10 Cork: Sumos Novios – 3/1
13:50 Cheltenham: Rouge Vif – 9/2
14:25 Cheltenham: Politologue -6/4

Find a full range of betting on all these races over on

* All odds correct at time of posting.