Horse Racing Tips: Brendan Duke’s weekend 4 for Leopardstown & Cork

Dukey's taken in all the angles for Leopardstown and Cork this week


The action comes thick and fast again this weekend. Not on a par with last week. Hard to match that in fairness. Having four classics, and an Eclipse over two days was a function of these unprecedented times. We do have another Group 1 all the same. I quite liked Sceptical for the July Cup but the weather gods have not been kind. A watching brief methinks. I will concentrate my tipping energies on Leopardstown and Cork.

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The Meld Stakes (5.15 pm) is the highlight of Saturday’s card in the Leop. Rapid improver Patrick Sarsfield adds some intrigue to this Group 3. He will need another big step up to overcome proven top-level performer Zabeel Prince. The Prince will be a short price though. Here are a few selections that should go off at more rewarding odds.


Cerberus jumps off the page in the 12-furlong handicap at 4.15 pm. This horse enjoyed a highly productive juvenile hurdle campaign last winter. He really should have won a Grade 1 at the Dublin Racing Festival. He appeared to get distracted after jumping the final flight. He generally looks to have a good attitude though. He ultimately couldn’t cope with the big guns in the Triumph Hurdle. No shame in that, particularly when placed in the context of a flat handicap for horses rated 45 to 75. He was a close second on his last flat start.

He’s three pounds higher here but looks to have improved. I’m not saying he has the stone in hand that a literal translation of his jumps mark would imply. He should have enough up his sleeve to cope with some generally exposed rivals here all the same.


Lightning Amber is worth chancing in the last at 5.45 pm. I tipped this filly up on her latest start. She is better than the bare form of that run. She got chopped for room early, and that seemed to light her up. It was to her credit that she finished her race off reasonably well despite running with the choke out. She was also pretty weak in the market that day. Granted everything drifted in the face of sustained support for the winner. It’s probably still reasonable to infer that the Lightning will come on for the run. I think she travels well enough to cope with a drop back to seven furlongs. The combination of trailblazer Geological, and easy ground should make this a decent test. This filly is still lightly raced, and appeals as well handicapped off a mark of 81. She can strike here.


Over to Cork on Sunday. Settle For Bay might be worth a tickle, at what should be a juicy price, in the premier handicap at 5.15 pm. This horse contested the same race that Lightning Amber ran in recently. He was well beaten but showed enough to suggest the fire still burns. This is a horse who bolted up in a Royal Hunt Cup two seasons ago. That is the last time he won but the handicapper has shown some love.

He’s now three pounds lower than that Ascot demolition job. He was a very eye-catching fourth in a Leopardstown listed race last summer. He has tended to come on quite a bit for his comeback run in the past. The ground is currently good in Cork. My forecast is predicting very little rain. Hopefully that proves correct. On decent ground, with the promise of a decent pace to aim at, this horse could have another big handicap in him.


The Brownstown Stakes (5.45 pm) looks a race full of holes. Silk Forest will probably head the betting. The rattling fast ground in the Curragh didn’t suit last time up. She strikes me as overrated though. So Wonderful has serious question marks hanging over her too. It might be worth chancing Lynn Britt Cabin at a price.

This filly is only rated 84. She is well treated off that rating. She looked an unlucky loser in a fillies handicap on Irish Derby weekend. It seems strange that her trainer is willing to risk blowing that mark by contesting a group race. Perhaps he’s after some nebulous black type. I say nebulous, a complete cod would be more accurate. Mind you, some bloodstock acquaintances of mine insist it has real value. Whatever the reason that Fozzy Stack sends her here, I think he has found a weak race for the grade. She should be able to cope with the drop back to seven furlongs. This race looks ripe for an upset. Perhaps Lynn can cause it.

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What do you think?