Horse Racing Tips: Brendan Duke’s Lucky 31 in the Irish mud on Sunday

The Duke's casting his eye across the best of the action in Ireland on Sunday.


Something for everyone in Ireland on Sunday. Some smart flat performers get it on in the Curragh. Jumps fans get a Limerick card highlighted by the Munster National.

I say something for everyone. If mud isn’t your bag, best look elsewhere. Testing conditions will prevail at both tracks.

14:10 Curragh: A Case Of You

We start in the Curragh. It looks a fairly ordinary renewal of the Anglesey Stakes. Aunty Bridy sets the standard. It’s hardly a dizzying one, though. She still has potential but I will take A Case Of You to improve past her.

This colt was wildly impressive last time out. That was only an auction maiden but the third has since given the form a bit of substance. That run came over seven furlongs but, if anything, Sunday’s drop in trip rates a positive for A Case Of You.

He has travelled very strongly in both his career starts. A lack of experience, and or stamina, probably told on debut. He made no mistake last time out. He raced very kindly despite a lack of cover, and put the race to bed in a matter of strides.

There is no obvious pace in this race. With stamina assured, Gary Carroll might be tempted make the running. He could prove very difficult to peg back. With Colin Keane seeming to prefer Preamble, and the John McConnell yard not known for group class performers, I expect we will get a juicy price.

14:40 Curragh: Earth Strike

Ground conditions could hold the key to the Staffardstown Stakes. The track was borderline unraceable when Earth Strike made a winning debut in Leopardstown. It won’t be quite as bad on Sunday, but these juvenile fillies are still facing a fair slog.

That will suit Earth Strike far better than the quick ground she faced last time up. That run also came in Leopardstown. She just wasn’t quick enough there. She wasn’t ideally placed in the race either.

It was interesting that she was sent off a well backed second favourite that day. Winning debutantes from the Joseph O’Brien yard are notable, I suppose. She should relish this stamina test. Hopefully the punters are slow to forgive her last run.

15:10 Curragh: Raise You

Sonnyboyliston got a rating of 112 after bolting up in a handicap last time out. He makes the obligatory step up to pattern company in the International Stakes. He is greatly respected but will be a pretty short price.

Perhaps another Joseph O’Brien inmate can reward yet more forgiveness. Raise You looked a valuable acquisition for the yard in the off season. He had made up into a smart performer in just six starts for Andrew Balding.

Curragh Races Paddy Power


His value dipped somewhat after a dismal effort on Irish Derby weekend. It’s interesting that he hasn’t run since then. Perhaps he was unsound post race, perhaps they thought it best to wait for softer ground.

I’m guessing, but what I do know is that it was his only bad run in a previously upwardly mobile career. He could be at a tactical advantage too. Give him one more chance.

15:40 Curragh: Royal Illusion (e/w)

The Irish Cesarewithch is obviously very competitive. Paddy sponsor the race, and are also giving the lads a couple of extra places. It would seem rude not to throw a bit of business their way.

It’s a bit surprising to see Royal Illusion trading at a double figure price. She has to race off an 11lb-higher mark than when bolting up in this race last year. Her seasonal comeback suggests that she can cope with it.

She was a running on sixth in a premier handicap on Irish Champions Weekend. That reads like solid form, and this step up in trip on softer ground should elicit improvement. I expect her to go very close here. She looks a rock solid each way play.

16:00 Limerick: Doctor Duffy (e/w)

I thought the Limerick card looked very difficult. We get five places on the 16 runner Munster National. That’s enough incentive for a bet.

Portmore Lough is probably the best handicapped runner in the race. It would take a brave man to back him though. He seemed to spit the dummy out in Ballinrobe on his latest start. I thought Doctor Duffy should head the market here.

Paddy disagree, making Moyhenna the narrow favourite. Doctor Duffy gets a pull in the weights with Moyhenna for their Kerry National run. Also, she started 40/1 for that race whereas the Doctor went off favourite.

It’s possible that Doctor Duffy will prove better suited by this right handed track. He was inclined to jump slightly to his right in Listowel. He’s not exposed over fences. In a race where few appeal, he looks another solid each way bet.

Brendan Duke’s tips for Sunday

14:10 Curragh: A Case Of You
14:40 Curragh: Earth Strike
15:10 Curragh: Raise You
15:40 Curragh: Royal Illusion (e/w)
16:00 Limerick: Doctor Duffy (e/w)

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