• On This Day in 1981: Shergar won the Derby by a record 10 lengths

    Going off at odds of 10-11, and ridden by 19-year-old Walter Swinburn, Shergar stormed to victory by 10 lengths.

    03 Jun 2020, 05:00 CEST

    After a promising season as a two-year-old, Shergar, owned by the Aga Khan and trained by Michael Stoute, was targeted at the 1981 Epsom Derby, amid a growing confidence in its prospects. As a warm-up for the big event, Shergar was entered into the Chester Vase in May of that year, sweeping home to triumph by 12 lengths, making the horse an even stronger Derby favourite. Going off at odds of 10-11, and ridden by 19-year-old Walter Swinburn, Shergar stormed to victory by 10 lengths, the biggest winning margin in history, but also the slowest winning time since the War. After a subsequent disappointment at the St Ledger, Shergar was retired to stud in Ireland, from which the horse was stolen by a group of armed men on February 8, 1983. Ultimately a seven-figure ransom was demanded for the return of the horse, but negotiations stalled abruptly amid rumours Shergar had been killed, and the horse was never recovered.

  • On this Day in 2004: Tottenham choose Jacques Santini

    France coach announced as new manager of White Hart Lane club.

    03 Jun 2020, 05:00 CEST

    On June 3, 2004 Tottenham announced that France coach Jacques Santini would become their new manager after Euro 2004. Here, the PA news agency takes a look at his appointment and what happened next. Pioneer of French footballSantini was little known in England, but he had a great reputation in France after helping to turn Lyon into the country's best team. He took over from Roger Lemerre as manager of the national team in 2002, given the task of rebuilding after the golden generation that won the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000 had broken up. However, before Euro 2004, where France lost in the quarter-finals to Greece, Santini had already quit his post, with Spurs enticing him to the Premier League Spurs' search for successSpurs had been in the doldrums for the best part of 15 years as a host of managers had failed to finish higher than seventh in the Premier League. They had big ambitions under Daniel Levy and looked abroad for the man to replace Glenn Hoddle. They tried to get Claudio Ranieri, who instead chose Valencia after his Chelsea sacking, so turned to Santini in a bid to earn a seat at the top table of English football. 155 days of chaosJust 155 days later and after only 13 games Spurs' Santini's experiment was over. The Frenchman quit on November 6 citing personal reasons, but it was widely understood that disagreements with sporting director Frank Arnesen led to his departure. In his short stay he still managed to create something of a legacy, though, as Spurs' tactics in a 0-0 draw at Chelsea led Jose Mourinho to coin the now famous phrase "parking the bus" phrase. Santini went on to manage Auxerre but has not worked since 2006, while Spurs appointed Martin Jol as his replacement and their climb up the Premier League began in earnest.

  • Eintracht Frankfurt vs Werder Bremen

    03 Jun 2020, 00:00 CEST

    There is a 25.5% chance of a draw. In simulations where the game is not a draw Werder Bremen, at 40.0%, are solid favorites to beat Eintracht Frankfurt who have a 34.5% chance. In simulation wins, Eintracht Frankfurt upsets Werder Bremen by averaging 11.0 shots and 4.7 shots on goal. They average 2.7 goals in simulated victories vs just 0.9 in simulation losses. Overall, the average simulation score is Werder Bremen 1.8 to Eintracht Frankfurt 1.7.

  • Jack Grealish ‘deeply embarrassed’ by lockdown incident

    The Aston Villa captain accepts he set a poor example by agreeing to visit a friend.

    02 Jun 2020, 23:09 CEST

    Jack Grealish is hoping to draw a line under the controversy surrounding him agreeing to visit a friend during the coronavirus lockdown in March.


    Police were called to the Dickens Heath area of Solihull to reports a Range Rover had crashed into two parked cars, with pictures emerging online of the Aston Villa captain at the scene in slippers and a bright blue hoodie. The midfielder later said he was "deeply embarrassed" by the incident – less than a day after launching a video appeal for people to stay at home during the Government-enforced lockdown. And in an interview with The Guardian, he said: "I knew straight away that I had to come out and apologise myself, which I wanted to do; I didn't want to hide behind a club statement. "I am old enough now and mature enough to know that I'd done wrong. "I know I am a footballer but I'm still human and we all make mistakes and straight away I knew I'd made a mistake. I'm also a role model as well to a lot of people out there, especially young children who might look up to me. "So I try to act in respectable manner but since then I have tried to keep my head down, work hard and do as much charitable work as possible."


    Grealish, who has donated GBP 150,000 to Birmingham Children's Hospital and raised a further GBP 55,000 for the NHS by raffling off one off his Villa shirts, accepts his misdeeds will always be placed under greater scrutiny. He added: "That's just the way things are in this world that we live in. Everyone knows when you do something it's always going to be the bad stuff that gets out there. "That's what I have to deal with. I respect my job, absolutely love what I do, and wouldn't change it for the world."

  • Jonny Clayton completes PDC Home Tour semi-final line-up

    The Welshman will play again on Thursday night.

    02 Jun 2020, 21:48 CEST

    Jonny Clayton produced a flawless display to claim the last semi-final spot on the PDC Home Tour.


    The world number 15 won all three of his games in Group Eight of the last-32 stage to progress. The Welshman averaged over 100 in 6-3 wins over Scott Waites and Max Hopp, then saw off Carl Wilkinson 6-2. "A win is a win," said Clayton. "Obviously I'm happy to win three games. I'm a happy man." Waites had kept the pressure on Clayton throughout the evening by following his narrow defeat in the opening game with convincing victories. After thrashing Wilkinson 6-0 he beat Hopp 6-1, with his impressive leg difference meaning Clayton had to beat Wilkinson to go through. Clayton reeled off four successive legs to take control of the decider, and although Wilkinson took a leg against the darts to threaten a comeback, a 121 checkout for a 12-dart leg provided a fitting finish to Clayton's night.

  • Opportunity is there for Sheffield United to do something special – Ben Osborn

    The Blades have their sights set on European qualification and FA Cup progression.

    02 Jun 2020, 21:30 CEST

    Sheffield United are determined to take this opportunity to do "something special", with Ben Osborn prepared for an intense mini-season that could bring European qualification and FA Cup glory.


    Having been promoted as Sky Bet Championship runners-up, Chris Wilder's men have been the surprise package of the 2019-20 season and sit seventh in the Premier League standings. Not only are they tantalisingly close to European football with 10 matches to go but they have an FA Cup quarter-final against Arsenal to look forward to.


    Osborn knows it will be hard to pick up where they left off following the three-month coronavirus suspension, but the Blades' determination to capitalise on their surprise position is clear. "It's going to be tough to carry on from that, the whole world has changed since we last played a game," the midfielder said. "We've just got to attack it like a mini season, with the last few games and the FA Cup to play. We've got to try to condense it and hopefully do something special. "We know there's an opportunity for us now that doesn't come around very often, so we've got a chance to try to do something special and we're going to give all we can to try and do it."


    When the prospect of European football was mentioned, Osborn added: "Yes, obviously the league is being flashed up on Sky Sports News and it's been everywhere during the whole time of this lockdown. "Just seeing where we are, seeing what's left and what's at stake is a massive incentive. "Everyone is aware, obviously there's the old cliche take each game as it comes, but we know we've got an opportunity here and we will do all we can to try and take it."


    Osborn says they will have to keep reminding each other what is at stake during a strange period that will be without supporters backing them at a rocking Bramall Lane or on the road. Talks continue about how best to present the remaining matches with fans locked out, with the option of pumping in fan noise an ongoing discussion point. "I'm not a fan of that idea, I think that's horrendous," Osborn said. "Wouldn't people rather listen to shouts and listen to what footballers are saying, arguments on the pitch, than fake fan noise? I'm not for that. "If people want to listen to it at home then fair play to them, but anything fake like that I'm not up for that."

  • Premier League clubs given green light to organise friendlies before resumption

    The league sent guidelines to the 20 teams on Tuesday outlining restrictions.

    02 Jun 2020, 20:46 CEST

    Premier League clubs have been given the go-ahead to organise friendlies ahead of the competition's resumption, the PA news agency understands.


    Top-flight action has been suspended since March due to the coronavirus pandemic, but 'Project Restart' is well under way and play is set to resume on June 17. Players stepped up from socially-distanced, small group training to contact sessions last week, with some clubs going on to take part in in-house 11-a-side matches. The PA news agency now understands that Premier League clubs are allowed to organise friendlies at training grounds of stadiums to fine-tune ahead of the resumption of action.


    The league sent guidelines to the 20 teams on Tuesday outlining restrictions, including the need for a full risk assessment to take place before matches that members of staff would have to officiate instead of referees. Clubs are not allowed to travel more than 90 minutes for these friendly games, which players must go to in their own cars as social distancing and hygiene measures are implemented. The development will come as a surprise to some expecting intra-squad matches to be the only way to prepare in an 11-a-side match. Liverpool, Southampton and Sheffield United are among the sides to have done internal matches, with the latter increasing the workload as fitness improves.


    Blades midfielder Ben Osborn said: "I think they might be trying to (get friendlies), if it gets passed by the Premier League or Government. "But at the moment we're just gearing up the minutes. "It was 50 minutes the other day, 70 minutes today and next week we'll have a couple more games to try and get that intensity back, trying to get the fitness back."

  • Dettori and Moore return in style at Kempton

    Two of the best make class count on first rides since racing’s resumption.

    02 Jun 2020, 17:34 CEST

    Frankie Dettori and Ryan Moore hit the ground running on their return to action at Kempton on Tuesday. Two of the best jockeys in the world, the pair sat out the opening day of the sport's comeback at Newcastle on Monday, but wasted little time in getting on the scoresheet at the Sunbury venue. Moore struck first as First Receiver proved a cut above his rivals in carrying the colours of the Queen to glory in the Unibet Extra Place Offers Every Day/British Stallion Studs EBF Maiden Stakes. Having hit the frame in both starts as a two-year-old, the Sir Micheal Stoute-trained son of New Approach hit the target on his third start with an impressive display in the mile prize. Overcoming the widest draw of all in stall 12, the 11-8 favourite quickly got to the front before moving through the gears late on to pass the post seven lengths clear of Defence Girl. Moore said of the 11-8 scorer: "Maybe the race fell apart a little bit with Hugo's (Palmer) horse (Imrahor) being pulled out and it was a bit of a mess down at the start, but it is good to get him started. "He is a very straightforward colt and hopefully he will do well. It was just how the race unfolded being out in front. I suspect we will see him over further at some point." Dettori only had one ride and his fans took the hint, with the John Gosden-trained Galsworthy sent off the 4-5 favourite for the Unibet Casino Deposit GBP 10 Get GBP 40 Bonus Maiden Stakes. Settled in second in the early stages, Galsworthy kicked four lengths clear in the straight, leaving the jubilant Dettori to celebrate just to the television cameras as racing is currently being staged behind closed doors. He said: "We went a bit slow. He is a horse with more experience and I asked him at the two and he quickened really well. This surface gets really tiring so he was a little bit lethargic. I would like to see him on grass, but we got a race into him and hopefully it is upwards now. "He is very laid back. There was a lot of first time out horses in the race and he did everything I asked him to and I suspect he will improve again on fitness. He ran well and we will try again. "He has run twice and that counts for a lot. He is a big horse, but he probably needed this race to get him to better things." Commenting on having his first ride back, Dettori joked on Racing TV: "It's good – I'm away from home. "I think my wife is more pleased than me, I'll be honest with you." While racing's return has been relatively low-key in terms of class so far, it kicks up a gear on Wednesday with the Classic Trial at Kempton, while Thursday also sees the four-day Qipco Guineas Festival begin at Newmarket. Dettori is set to renew his partnership with top stayer Stradivarius in Friday's Hurworth Bloodstock Coronation Cup, before taking Classic mounts on Saturday and Sunday and the ever-popular Italian is relishing the pace of the rejigged calendar. He said: "It is great when you think about it. In two days' time I have Stradivarius and then the 2000 Guineas and 1000 Guineas, then two weeks today we have Royal Ascot. "It's all happening now. We usually have a stop-start season, but now it is full on. "I hated it (the break from racing) like everybody else. We are the first to start. At the moment I've seen everything running smoothly and long may that continue. "It is the start of sport – we are a non-contact sport and it's great we are able to start." Army Of India secured his ticket to Royal Ascot in digging deep to make a triumphant debut in the British Stallion Studs EBF Maiden Stakes. The Mark Johnston-trained son of Sepoy claimed the honour of winning the opening two-year-old race of the season with a game victory in the six-furlong contest. Racing front rank from outset the 7-2 winner pulled out enough to deny favourite Science by a short head and earn a 16-1 quote for the Coventry Stakes with Paddy Power. He was ridden by Joe Fanning, who said: "He had done good work at home and we fancied him strongly. We would have been disappointed if he wasn't there or thereabouts. "I think in time he will stay further, but at the moment six is fine. I'd say he will be off to Royal Ascot." Meraas (7-1) went one better than on his debut to complete a double for Johnston and Fanning with a front-running victory in the Unibet 3 Uniboosts A Day Maiden Stakes.

  • Newcastle winners stake Royal Ascot claims

    Gosforth Park victors have feature meeting in their sights.

    02 Jun 2020, 17:24 CEST

    There were plenty of Royal Ascot pointers on offer at Newcastle as the resumption of racing picked up pace on the second day. As a card at Kempton was running alongside the action at Gosforth Park, the industry can finally feel like it is getting back on its feet following a near-80-day absence due to Covid-19. With the first two months of the Flat season decimated, Royal Ascot is swiftly upon us this year, coming as it does in just two weeks, and those who took the decision to race at the earliest opportunity may have an advantage, especially in the two-year-old division. There were four races for juveniles at Newcastle with perhaps James Tate's Victory Heights (6-1) putting down the strongest marker in what looked a decent contest for the second division of the colts' five-furlong maiden. The result showcased the vagaries of racing coming as it did just 24 hours after a nasty fall for PJ McDonald, in which his mount December Sound sadly lost his life. "Ascot will be different this year, but ironically the buzz of the crowd wouldn't have bothered him one iota," said Tate. "I was thinking he'd progress to six furlongs there having started over five, but given how he quickened up, I now think a stiff five at Ascot might suit. "Whether that is for the Windsor Castle or Norfolk, we'll see how the times and form compares to the other races." The first division was won by Phil Makin's Muker (20-1) who held on from the fast-finishing Significantly. The latter is trained by Karl Burke who wasted no time in getting off the mark by winning the next, the first division of the fillies' maiden with Dandalla (7-1). He said: "I think the colt, who was in front two strides past the line, will get in at Ascot but the ground would be key, I wouldn't want it too quick, if it is we might think of the Prix Robert Papin. The filly will go to Ascot." Mark Johnston signalled his intention for the season with a double at Kempton and was also on the mark with Pelekai in the second division for fillies with a professional display that marked her out for Ascot, too. There were Ascot pointers among the older horses as well, with Sir Busker a landmark winner for William Knight in the Betway Handicap. Knight has been based in Sussex in his career to date but moved to Newmarket during lockdown and Sir Busker (13-2) was his first winner and the first leg of a double of Ben Curtis, who also rode Dandalla. Sam Hoskins, of owner Kennet Valley Thoroughbreds, said: "We're delighted, it's so nice for the owners who have been very patient, he was supposed to be going for the Lincoln, but obviously that was never going to happen. "I'm so pleased for William, too, to get his first winner from his new yard, it's an emotional day." Hoskins added: "Hopefully he might go to Royal Ascot now, for the Hunt Cup or something." It would be no surprise should Sir Michael Stoute's Mubakker (7-4 favourite) end up at Ascot either, if the ground is suitable. So far the lightly-raced colt has only won on the all-weather and disappointed on his only run on soft. Jockey Dane O'Neill said: "The only time he has disappointed on grass was on soft ground and on his breeding you'd suggest that if he's to go on the turf, he'd want a sounder surface." Hollie Doyle and Archie Watson hit a double courtesy of Canagat (3-1 favourite) and Medal Winner (13-2), while Tim Easterby followed up a winner on Monday when Al Erayg (12-1) won the opening Betway-sponsored one-mile handicap. Richard Fahey was another to bag himself a winner on the opening two days as Gabrial The One (13-2) was a decisive victor in the Betway Handicap over 12 furlongs for David Nolan.

  • Juddmonte mourning tragic death of champion Arrogate

    Brilliant Bob Baffert-trained runner was twice named world’s best racehorse.

    02 Jun 2020, 17:12 CEST

    Arrogate, twice crowned the world's best racehorse, has been euthanised after suffering from an unspecified illness. The seven-year-old retired at the end of 2017 having won over GBP 13.6million in prize money, with notable victories in the 2016 Breeders' Cup Classic and both the Pegasus World Cup and Dubai World Cup in 2017 when trained by Bob Baffert. He retired to owner Prince Khalid Abdullah's Juddmonte Farm in Kentucky where he was standing his third season before being taken ill last week. A statement from Juddmonte said: "It is with great sadness that Juddmonte confirms that Arrogate was euthanised this morning, after a battle to save him after an illness that began last week. It is still unclear what the illness was and a post-mortem is currently being carried out. "Arrogate had a very successful breeding season this year until last week when his breeding was suspended due to an initial suspected sore neck. "Later in the week, he fell to the ground in his stall and efforts to get him back up proved unsuccessful. He was transported to the Hagyard Clinic under the care of Dr Bob Hunt and Dr Nathan Slovis with Dr Steve Reed representing the insurance company. "They worked tirelessly with the staff from the Hagyard Clinic eliminating all the obvious causes and performing all available tests, including spinal tap evaluation, X-ray, ultrasound, CT Scan and many blood tests. "Unfortunately, Arrogate was still unable to stand after four exhausting days for him. His will to fight, so valuable to him on the racetrack, became a challenge in his care. When serious secondary health issues set in, the decision was made to put him to sleep." Douglas Erskine Crum, CEO of the Juddmonte Group, paid tribute not only to the horse, but also those who had cared for him. He said: "This is very hard on everyone at Juddmonte, most especially on Steve Dotsey, stallion manager, and Jorge Chavarria who cared for Arrogate daily and who had such a great rapport with him. "It was a bold decision to ask Bob Baffert to purchase and train top dirt horses for Prince Khalid and, assisted by Donato Lanni, the selection of Arrogate was one of the success stories of the decade on the racetrack. "Arrogate has bred three crops at stud, has his first yearlings to present to the sales this year and his physical and personality traits are passing very strongly to his offspring." Garrett O'Rourke, general manager of Juddmonte USA, added: "We will never forget the ride Arrogate took us on. "Those four amazing races established him as one of the great racehorses of our time, breaking two track records, taking down champion California Chrome in a battle for the ages and then running by Gun Runner in another worldly performance in Dubai. "We hope that the heartbreak of losing him so young can be soothed by proudly watching the achievement of his runners."

  • Yerry Mina becomes latest Everton player to suffer injury before season restarts

    Mina will join Jean-Philippe Gbamin on the treatment table.

    02 Jun 2020, 16:40 CEST

    Yerry Mina is expected to be sidelined for a number of weeks because of a partial tear in his left thigh in a fresh injury blow to Everton before the resumption of the Premier League season.


    The Colombian centre-half has established himself as a regular in the current campaign, which is set to restart on June 17, after an injury-hit 2018-19 season, his first with the Toffees after joining from Barcelona. However, Mina will join Jean-Philippe Gbamin on the treatment table after suffering a muscle injury in training last week. A short statement on Everton's website said: "Everton Football Club can confirm Yerry Mina is set to be sidelined for several weeks after sustaining a muscle injury. "A scan confirmed the Colombia international suffered a partial tear in his left quad muscle during training last week. "The 25-year-old is now in the early stages of his rehabilitation under the care of the club's medical staff and making good progress."


    Gbamin will undergo surgery this week and the club expects the Ivory Coast international to require an "extensive period of rehabilitation". The 24-year-old only managed two matches for Everton following his GBP 25million move from German side Mainz in August 2019 before being sidelined by the quad problem, which required surgery in February.

  • Victory Heights heading for Royal Ascot assignment

    Tate thrilled with Newcastle triumph.

    02 Jun 2020, 16:37 CEST

    Victory Heights could be another nice one for James Tate and PJ McDonald following a taking debut success at Newcastle. Invincible Army was a flag bearer for the pair in recent seasons, but with the sprinter now retired to stud there is a gap to be filled. With Royal Ascot coming up so quickly this year all juveniles who win in the coming days will have the big meeting as a target, and while it remains to be seen how strong division two of the Betway/British Stallion Studs EBF Maiden was, the winner's future looks bright. "He's a lovely horse despite not being a thing of beauty!" said Tate from his Newmarket base. "Saeed (Manana, owner) picked him out himself from Book Two (Tattersalls Sales) and we joked about his looks and the way he walked, but he does have a lovely temperament. "PJ sat on him last week and liked him and I was thinking if he won we'd be looking at Ascot. "Ascot will be different this year, although ironically the buzz of the crowd wouldn't have bothered him one iota. "I was thinking he'd progress to six furlongs there having started over five, but given how he quickened up I now think a stiff five at Ascot might suit. "Whether that is for the Windsor Castle or Norfolk, we'll see how the times and form compares to the other races." Former jockey Philip Makin made a successful start to his training career last season and also looks likely to head down south as Muker (20-1) held off the late challenge of Significantly to win the first division. Despite showing signs of playfulness in the paddock, the son of Mehmas was professional enough in the race. The 3-1 favourite got flying late on, but Makin's newcomer held on by a neck. Winning jockey Paul Mulrennan said: "He's done it very well. He's got a great mind and a good attitude, he's done everything right and it was quite easy for him." Makin's partner, Sammy Jo Bell, said: "Muker was supposed to go to Doncaster, he was ready to go the first day and Phil's done a good job to keep him ticking along nicely until now. "He's been really good at home, we've done plenty with him and we make sure they know their job, which he did today. He's been really professional and he couldn't have done it nicer. The owner will be absolutely thrilled to go to Ascot – if he won or ran well today that was the plan." Karl Burke's Dandalla (7-1) was a clear-cut winner of the first division of the fillies' maiden. A second success on the card for Ben Curtis following the earlier victory of Sir Busker, she will also head to Ascot, along with Significantly, of whom Burke spoke of in glowing terms. "Significantly is a lovely colt while the filly will be better over six," said Burke. "She's handle quicker ground, but I think the colt might want a bit of juice in the ground. "I think the colt, who was in front two strides past the line, will get in at Ascot but the ground would be key. I wouldn't want it too quick, if it is we might think of the Prix Robert Papin. The filly will go to Ascot." Mark Johnston, out of luck on the opening day, soon made amends and following a double at Kempton took the second division of the fillies' maiden with Pelekai. Franny Norton grabbed the rail on the daughter of Kodiac and the result was soon put to bed. Assistant trainer Jock Bennett said: "Pelekai had been working very well at home. "We've done it a few years now where we've kicked off with winners that have gone on to win at Ascot, so let's hope this is the same."

  • Southend given suspended three-point deduction for breaching EFL regulations

    The League One club have also been fined £7,500.

    02 Jun 2020, 16:34 CEST

    Southend have been handed a suspended three-point deduction for breaches of English Football League regulations.


    The League One club, who have also been fined GBP 7,500, were punished by an independent disciplinary commission for late payments to players in December 2019 and February 2020. They were also charged with fielding an ineligible player in the league match against Lincoln on February 1. A club statement said: "The club accepted the charges and submitted arguments in mitigation to explain the specific circumstances which led to the breaches occurring. "The disciplinary commission accepted these arguments and in reaching its decision noted in particular the club's previously "unblemished" disciplinary record. "The deduction of three points has been suspended for the remainder of the 2019/20 season and the first six months of 2020/21, and will only come into effect upon the club being found to have committed (or admitted) any further breaches. "In addition, the club will be responsible for payment of the legal costs related to this hearing." The Shrimpers are currently 22nd in League One, 16 points from safety ahead of next week's expected vote on ending the season.

  • Jubilant Dettori back in business at Kempton

    No crowds, but still celebration time on winning return.

    02 Jun 2020, 16:28 CEST

    Frankie Dettori was straight back to business as he steered Galsworthy to victory at Kempton on his first ride following the resumption of racing. Dettori did not travel to Newcastle on Monday for the opening day, opting to ease into action with one ride at the Sunbury venue on Tuesday. His fans did not miss the hint and the John Gosden-trained Galsworthy was sent off the 4-5 favourite for the Unibet Casino Deposit GBP 10 Get GBP 40 Bonus Maiden Stakes. Settled in second in the early stages, Galsworthy kicked four lengths clear in the straight, leaving the jubilant Dettori to celebrate just to the television cameras as racing is currently being staged behind closed doors. He said: "We went a bit slow. He is a horse with more experience and I asked him at the two and he quickened really well. This surface gets really tiring so he was a little bit lethargic. I would like to see him on grass, but we got a race into him and hopefully it is upwards now. "He is very laid back. There was a lot of first time out horses in the race and he did everything I asked him to and I suspect he will improve again on fitness. He ran well and we will try again. "He has run twice and that counts for a lot. He is a big horse, but he probably needed this race to get him to better things." Commenting on having his first ride back, Dettori joked on Racing TV: "It's good – I'm away from home. "I think my wife is more pleased than me, I'll be honest with you." While racing's return has been relatively low-key in terms of class so far, it kicks up a gear on Wednesday with the Classic Trial at Kempton, while Thursday also sees the four-day Qipco Guineas Festival begin at Newmarket. Dettori is set to renew his partnership with top stayer Stradivarius in Friday's Hurworth Bloodstock Coronation Cup, before taking Classic mounts on Saturday and Sunday and the ever-popular Italian is relishing the pace of the rejigged calendar. He said: "It is great when you think about it. In two days' time I have Stradivarius and then the 2000 Guineas and 1000 Guineas, then two weeks today we have Royal Ascot. "It's all happening now. We usually have a stop-start season, but now it is full on. "I hated it (the break from racing) like everybody else. We are the first to start. At the moment I've seen everything running smoothly and long may that continue. "It is the start of sport – we are a non-contact sport and it's great we are able to start." With travel restrictions meaning riders will not be coming over from Ireland for the Guineas meeting, Dettori has picked up a spare ride for Aidan O'Brien in the 2000 Guineas – although he is not quite sure which colt he will be riding. He added: "Whatever Ryan (Moore) doesn't ride I will be on, but that is still to be decided. I ride John's in the 1000 now, Shimmering. "I was on Raffle Prize. We didn't think Shimmering would get in with her low rating, but they didn't fill the race up and she is running."

  • Wycombe chairman fears losing over £2.5million during coronavirus pandemic

    Furloughed staff have been encouraged to find alternative employment once the Government scheme ends.

    02 Jun 2020, 16:15 CEST

    Wycombe have advised their furloughed staff to look for alternative employment once the Government scheme ends.


    The League One club, who are warning of losses in excess of GBP 2.5million because of the coronavirus pandemic, have also said they can no longer afford to make up their salaries to 100 per cent. Chairman Rob Couhig said on the club's official website: "The club has essentially been without revenue since the beginning of March. Our loss of revenue even with the utilisation of the furlough plan has exceeded GBP 1m through the end of May. "On a going-forward basis, we anticipate our loss of revenue will continue at the rate of GBP 350,000 a month. "While no one really knows for sure when we will be able to return to playing in front of crowds, it seems reasonably certain that it will not happen until at least September and many speculate not until at least December. "It is apparent that the club's losses as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak may exceed GBP 2.5m. If we are required to play games behind closed doors, whether to try to complete the season or in play-offs, these costs will go up. "We have informed all our non-football staff presently on furlough that their pay will be limited to that which we receive from the furlough plan. "Through May 31, everyone has received 100 per cent of their pay.


    The club has made up the difference. "Going forward, these furloughed employees will receive 80 per cent of their salary with a maximum payment of GBP 2,500 per month. We are also recommending that they begin the search for alternative employment once furlough ends." Wycombe's fate on the pitch this season remains up in the air as League One clubs have still yet to vote on whether to end the season, with a decision not likely to come for another week. The Chairboys have indicated they will vote for it to end, even though that would mean they will be involved in the play-offs, which would be set by a points-per-game basis. If they are involved in the play-offs, they will be without loanee Jason McCarthy, who Couhig says they cannot afford to pay any more "I have also informed our manager (Gareth Ainsworth) that the club will be without the services of Jason McCarthy. "Jason is a wonderful player and a terrific guy. He was on loan to us from Millwall. "While they and he were willing to extend the agreement through the remainder of this season, and he would unquestionably be helpful if play resumes in any circumstances, we simply can't afford him. "I am confident that the remainder of the team can achieve success when we are allowed to return. "The club will survive this crisis as it has in the past. However, it will only do so by taking hard necessary steps to deal with the reality of our economic situation."

  • Vaclav Hladky cuts Paisley ties

    St MIrren goalkeeper rejects new contract offer.

    02 Jun 2020, 15:34 CEST

    St Mirren have lost Vaclav Hladky after the goalkeeper rejected a new contract offer.


    The 29-year-old played a major role in keeping Saints in the Scottish Premiership during his 18 months in Paisley, especially when saving three penalties in a play-off final shoot-out against Dundee United a year ago. Oan Djorkaeff is also leaving the club with immediate effect while first-team players Stephen McGinn, Danny Mullen, Gary MacKenzie, Ross Wallace, Tony Andreu and Cody Cooke have also played their last games but will be retained under the UK Government's furlough scheme before leaving. Academy players Conor McBrearty, Scott Glover, David Wilson, Matthew Grant, Kyle Girvan and Dominic Lavelle have also signed short-term deals so they can be paid 80 per cent of their wages under the scheme. A club statement read: "An offer was made to Vaclav but he has decided he wishes to pursue options elsewhere and leaves with immediate effect. We'd like to thank Vaclav for all his efforts in the Black and White."


    Midfielder Ryan Flynn, who suffered a serious knee injury in February, has been offered a contract extension and the club say they are "hopeful this can be resolved very soon". Akin Famewo, Calum Waters, Lee Hodson, Alex Jakubiak and Seifedin Chabbi have also left following the end of their loan spells. St Mirren manager Jim Goodwin said: "It has been really difficult to have to say goodbye to these players, especially in the current circumstances. "However, the opportunity to support the players through the close season is one the club felt was important. It goes without saying that everyone at the club wishes all of them the very best for the future."

  • Touchdown for Moore at Kempton with First Receiver

    Queen’s colt impresses with promise of better to come.

    02 Jun 2020, 15:29 CEST

    Ryan Moore recorded his first winner of the new season as First Receiver proved a cut above his rivals in carrying the colours of the Queen to glory in the Unibet Extra Place Offers Every Day/British Stallion Studs EBF Maiden Stakes at Kempton. Having hit the frame in both starts as a two-year-old, the Sir Micheal Stoute-trained son of New Approach hit the target on his third start with an impressive display in the mile prize. Overcoming the widest draw of all in stall 12, the 11-8 favourite quickly got to the front before moving through the gears late on to pass the post seven lengths clear of Defence Girl. Moore said of the 11-8 scorer: "Maybe the race fell apart a little bit with Hugo's (Palmer) horse (Imrahor) being pulled out and it was a bit of a mess down at the start, but it is good to get him started. "He is a very straightforward colt and hopefully he will do well. It was just how the race unfolded being out in front. I suspect we will see him over further at some point."

  • Newcastle officials receive positive feedback on new protocols

    Social distancing just one of the measures to be well observed.

    02 Jun 2020, 15:22 CEST

    Officials at Newcastle have been pleased with the reaction of participants to the new safety protocols put in place for the resumption of racing. The north-east track was chosen to host the first meeting for a variety of reasons, the main one being there is ample space to employ previously unused areas within the grounds to use as a separate unsaddling enclosure. Jockeys are also using a makeshift changing room to enable the two-metre social distancing which is needed at all times. Feedback to clerk of the course James Armstrong has been positive and he praised the efforts of those who had planned the return of racing for the past few weeks. "Considering Monday was the first day back and given there were a lot of new protocols to take on board, I think everyone did really well," said Armstrong. "Stable staff, the trainers that were here, groundstaff, medics, doctors and everyone else, they (the changes) were very well received as everyone has had a lot to take on board recently. "It all went very smoothly and we were very pleased with how things turned out. "The jockeys were very happy. Firstly they are just glad to be back working, but they are all happy with the lay out and the set up and how efficiently it is all working with the one-way system. "Luckily the lay out of the track lends itself to that well, so we haven't had the logistical headaches other tracks may have, but the changes have gone down well. "David Williamson (executive director) has been here since March and has been heavily involved in the Resumption of Racing Group so he has done the bulk of the work. "We were always mooted as among the first to come back because of the lay out of the track, it lends itself well to a smooth transition. "The unsaddling area we are using has worked perfectly, it is shaded and allows enough space for what is needed. "I know the jocks were blowing a bit but we can't moan about the weather too much – and it is supposed to change soon anyway. A few of our sister tracks are crying out for rain, everywhere is parched. "Rain will also help our track and come Thursday and Saturday we should be bang on standard, which is what you want for Group races." One aspect of the day which was not bargained for was the appearance of a drone flying over part of the course. Arena Racing Company racing division managing director Mark Spincer said: "There was a drone on a section of the estate that is no longer owned by us, where seven houses were built. The operating vehicle was running out of there. "Executive director David Williamson and the head of our security went to the property and spoke not only to the people operating the drone but also the people who were allowing them on their land. "We informed the drone element of the police, who've informed aviation – is it in the fly zone of Newcastle airport? "We've informed the BHA and RCA and we actually had the police out last week because we believe we saw it then, testing it out. "I don't think it was up for the last two or three races of the day after we'd been to see them and we'd like to think it won't happen again."

  • Forest Green chief sceptical about Tranmere’s proposal for ending the season

    EFL clubs had until 2pm on Tuesday to submit their own plans for how to cut short the 2019-20 campaign.

    02 Jun 2020, 14:59 CEST

    Tranmere's alternative proposal for ending the English Football League season has been designed "specifically" to help them avoid relegation, according to the chairman of League Two club Forest Green.


    EFL clubs had until 2pm on Tuesday to submit their own plans for how to cut short the 2019-20 campaign, with the league itself in favour of a framework including promotion, relegation, a four-team play-off competition and a final table based on an unweighted points-per-game system.


    Tranmere chairman Mark Palios has put forward an alternative where a 'margin for error' is built into the points-per-game system, and only clubs who still occupy a promotion or relegation place after that has been factored in should go up or down. The margin of error would open up the opportunity for more teams to compete in an expanded play-offs too, if they wished to. Palios told the PA news agency on Monday that his club's plan "reflects the wishes of the majority of clubs" but Dale Vince, the chairman of Forest Green, questioned whether that was the case. "Surprised to read this.


    Tranmere's proposal is complex and looks designed specifically for their circumstances – to avoid relegation. I see no equity or logic in it," he wrote on Twitter. Tranmere are currently in 21st place in League One and would be relegated if unweighted PPG was applied. Clubs will vote for their favoured framework at a meeting next Monday, and after that each division is set to vote on whether to play on or end the season using the agreed framework.


    The Championship is set to play on, with a provisional restart date of June 20 set at the weekend, albeit to the surprise of some second-tier clubs. Nevertheless, it would use the same framework if the competition restarted but was subsequently forced to stop again. League One sides are undecided on how to proceed, while League Two clubs have indicated a desire to end the season but wanted to do so with the threat of relegation removed.


    Vince said at the time of the initial curtailment vote that taking away relegation was "all kinds of wrong" and the EFL kept it as part of its framework, saying promotion and relegation were integral to the integrity of its competition. As things stand Stevenage would be the one team relegated from League Two, but Macclesfield could yet occupy bottom spot if they are docked further points, with fresh charges having been laid against them by the EFL on Monday.


    National League leaders Barrow would still be expected to come up and take the league back up to 72 members, after Bury's demise last summer. But other clubs in the fifth tier, including second-placed Harrogate, are expecting there to be a second promotion place available.

  • Born With Pride faces Classic test at Kempton

    Haggas filly puts Epsom hopes on the line.

    02 Jun 2020, 14:55 CEST

    Born With Pride starts what could be a high-profile season in the Unibet Classic Trial at Kempton on Wednesday. Tom Marquand will ride the daughter of Born To Sea in the Group Three affair, looking to replicate her excellent debut victory in Listed company at Newmarket in November – a success that has left her prominent in the ante-post market for the Investec Oaks. Up against the Ralph Beckett-trained Max Vega and John Gosden's Hypothetical, Born With Pride will also have to contend with a slightly longer distance and an all-weather surface for the first time. "We are hopeful of a good run," said trainer William Haggas. "It is a tough race. It's against the colts which I don't like, but our hands are tied to get some experience into her before the bigger races, so we've got to go. "We will see what happens. It's not an ideal race for her, but she has to start somewhere and we have to get on. "If you look at her pedigree, she is totally better at a mile and a quarter than a mile, so we're hoping that's right." The second-favourite behind Born With Pride is Max Vega, the winner of two of his three starts as a juvenile. A son of Lope De Vega, Beckett's charge was an impressive winner of Zetland Stakes at Newmarket in October and Kempton was decided as the best starting point to get him up and running ahead of a potential Derby bid. Beckett said: "It is not going to be easy around there for him as it is a tight 10 furlongs, not like the galloping one he won over at Newmarket. "He will enjoy the surface and I see him running well and getting involved. We decided to run him here rather than in the Lingfield Derby Trial as I didn't want to run him on fast ground and there weren't many other options, and he needs a run before we go to Epsom. "If he gets beat it isn't the end of the world, as this is only a prep run for the Derby. This will be a good trial for him." He will be ridden by Harry Bentley, who said: "I've ridden him quite a few times at home and he seems to be in good spirits. He has not run on the all-weather and that is very much the question mark. He seems to be in good form, though we will know a lot more after this. "He is rated 110, so on paper he is certainly the one to beat. William Haggas' filly Born With Pride looked very impressive first time out, but I wouldn't swap my ride." A colt that is unlikely to be at Epsom is Pyledriver, with trainer William Muir looking more towards targets in France. "I am in the French Derby, but not the English Derby, although we still could enter because entries have gone back to six days," he said. "He is in great form, I'm really pleased with him and he is going to do us well this year. "We were going to go with the Irish Guineas, but it is virtually impossible to go there and quarantine for two weeks with nowhere for him, so we decided to go here and see what happens." Pyledriver ran out a fine winner at Haydock in September before he concluded the season with a below-par effort in the Group Two Royal Lodge at Newmarket. But Muir added: "His last run, you can forget it. He lost his strength. He is a big, tall horse and lost his strength and Martin (Dwyer) looked after him. He had a great winter, so I am looking forward to it." The other feature on the card is the EBF/Unibet Snowdrop Fillies' Stakes, which sees the reappearance of Richard Hannon's Billesdon Brook, winner of the 1000 Guineas two years ago and victorious last season in the Sun Chariot Stakes. Hannon said: "I took her to Kempton for a gallop and she worked well. "She's in the Windsor Forest at Royal Ascot and we'll have a good look at the Sun Chariot again and the owners are quite keen to travel. There's a good few options, the Rothschild is there as well. "She takes her racing well and it's lovely to have her there for another year. It's very sporting of Mrs McCreery to keep a horse like that in training for people to keep seeing. "She gives her a lot of pleasure and is a beautiful filly. She's the sort of filly that when she's on form, she never looks like getting beat, she's that sort of quality. When she won the Guineas she looked awesome and it was nice to see her do that again in the Sun Chariot."

  • Hold Fast speeds to Kempton success

    Balding and Probert on the mark.

    02 Jun 2020, 14:50 CEST

    Hold Fast appeared to appreciate a step up in trip to get off the mark at the third time of asking with a battling success in the Unibet Thanks The Frontline Workers Maiden Stakes at Kempton. Despite the race being delayed by nearly 10 minutes after debutant Father Of Jazz broke through the stalls before being withdrawn, the Andrew Balding-trained three-year-old kept her cool to get the better of Nashy by half a length on her first start over a mile and a quarter. Winning jockey David Probert said of the 7-1 shot: "She is a pretty consistent filly. She ran well last year at Glorious Goodwood in defeat. She has come on quite a bit over the winter. I thought the 10 furlongs around here would be a bit sharp for her, but fair do's to the filly – she jumped well and travelled good and hit the line pretty nice. "I'd say she would improve again going up in trip. She has got a great attitude. Her home work has been good. She is a very straightforward filly." It was a winning first ride back for Probert since racing resumed at Newcastle on Monday following an enforced shutdown of more than two months due to the coronavirus pandemic. He added: "It was hard work. I'm delighted to be back as there has been a lot of hard work to get us where we are and doing the job we love, so it is great." Benny And The Jets ended his losing run stretching back to last May with a decisive victory in the Unibet Handicap. The Sylvester Kirk-trained four-year-old showed too much speed for his rivals, crossing the line three and a quarter lengths clear of Spoof to claim his first win over five furlongs. Kirk said of the 6-1 winner: "That was his first win over five furlongs and he has strengthened up and is moving better than ever. I was pleased with the way he was going at home. "I said to Rob (Hornby) if he pings out don't disappoint him and that is what happened. It would be great if he could sneak into one of those big sprint handicaps over five or six furlongs later in the year." Army Of India secured his ticket to Royal Ascot in digging deep to make a triumphant debut in the British Stallion Studs EBF Maiden Stakes. The Mark Johnston-trained son of Sepoy claimed the honour of winning the opening two-year-old race of the season with a game victory in the six-furlong contest. Racing front rank from outset the 7-2 winner pulled out enough to deny favourite Science by a short head and earn a 16-1 quote for the Coventry Stakes with Paddy Power. He was ridden by Joe Fanning, who said: "He had done good work at home and we fancied him strongly. We would have been disappointed if he wasn't there or thereabouts. "He jumped and travelled so comfortably there – I was always so happy with him. I thought it was a good performance. He wasn't doing a lot in front, but he was just always finding. "I think in time he will stay further, but at the moment six is fine. I'd say he will be off to Royal Ascot." On the Johnston juvenile team as a whole, he added: "I felt two weeks into lockdown a lot of them really started coming to themselves and they've done plenty of work. They never got laid off as we kept on top of them, so I would be hopeful of a good few winners." Meraas (7-1) went one better than on his debut to complete a double for Johnston and Fanning with a front-running victory in the Unibet 3 Uniboosts A Day Maiden Stakes. Making the most of a quick exit the son of Oasis Dream found plenty from the sharp end to defeat even-money favourite Cold Front by three lengths. Fanning said: "I probably should have won him last time. I chased the two market leaders and probably just fell in a heap little bit. "Today he jumped and travelled well and I was always confident he would pick up. At the junction I thought it would take a good one to get by me. I don't think he is a bad horse. "I'd probably say we will take in another small race, but I'd leave that to Mark. I was pleased with those last two runs. "He is a horse that shows plenty of speed early on, but he might get seven later on in the year."

  • Sir Busker hits the right notes at Newcastle

    Winner could have Hunt Cup target at Royal Ascot.

    02 Jun 2020, 14:18 CEST

    Sir Busker came with a late rattle to provide William Knight with his first winner from his new Newmarket yard in the Betway Handicap at Newcastle. Knight moved his string from his old base in Sussex during lockdown into Rathmoy Stables, recently vacated by David Lanigan. Mark Johnston's Dark Vision, a Group Two winner as a juvenile, shot clear inside the final furlong and looked set to return to winning ways. However, Ben Curtis, leading jockey on the all-weather through the winter, had yet to ask for everything on Sir Busker. Having been momentarily outpaced, Sir Busker picked up well and won going away by a neck. The winner is owned by Kennet Valley Thoroughbreds and among the winning syndicate is Arena Racing Company executive Martin Cruddace. Kennet Valley's Sam Hoskins said: "We're delighted, it's so nice for the owners who have been very patient, he was supposed to be going for the Lincoln but obviously that was never going to happen. "I'm so pleased for William, too, to get his first winner from his new yard, it's an emotional day." Hoskins added: "Hopefully he might go to Royal Ascot now, for the Hunt Cup or something. "He progressed quietly last year and he's at his best on a straight track. A race like the Balmoral at the end of the season might be perfect for him. "I never thought I'd be so excited about having a winner at Newcastle!" Hollie Doyle wasted no time in picking up from where she left off before the lockdown as Canagat showed plenty of determination to hold on in the Betway Casino Handicap Stakes. Doyle rode over 100 winners in 2019 and was in fine form before racing was forced to shut down due to Covid-19. She had formed a fruitful partnership with Archie Watson and the two young guns look set to be profitable to follow in 2020. Canagat (3-1 favourite) won on his second of two outings last season and given he was blowing plenty in the paddock afterwards, he looks sure to improve for the run also. Despite looking like being swallowed up a furlong out, with the rail to help he stuck to his task gamely to win by a neck and the same from Ayr Harbour and Jean Baptiste. Doyle said: "It's good to be back in action and get a winner under my belt. "Canagat was very gutsy. I thought the (Mark) Johnston horses (Overwrite and One Hart) weren't going to let me have it easy, so I let him cross over to the rail and it gave him something to aim at. "The stamina really kicked in, he stays a lot further. He's a big unit and there's more to come." Sir Michael Stoute has made a good start to the season and followed up a winner on the first day when Mubakker took the Heed Your Hunch At Betway Handicap. Unbeaten on the all-weather, the Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum-owned four-year-old defied a mark of 95 in style, suggesting there are good prizes to be won with him. The 7-4 favourite beat the 100-rated Glen Sheil by two and three-quarter lengths. Jockey Dane O'Neill said: "I think Mubakker did it well in the end. It's riding a bit slow and he was a little rusty in behind them early, they were going a nice gallop, but he picked up well in the end. "They weren't stopping on the front end, they haven't been, so I was conscious of that and he's been off a while. You're trying to do two things at once, you're trying to ease him into the race and you're trying to win your race at the same time, but I thought it was a pleasing performance and he can build on that. "The only time he has disappointed on grass was on soft ground and on his breeding you'd suggest that if he's to go on the turf he'd want a sounder surface."

  • PFA Players’ Player of the Year 2006 – Steven Gerrard

    The Liverpool favourite made the right impression.

    02 Jun 2020, 12:00 CEST

    Steven Gerrard had some making up to do with Liverpool fans after the summer of 2005.


    The euphoria of that magical Champions League final in Istanbul soon wore off as contract negotiations between Liverpool and their captain broke down. Fans gathered outside Anfield to burn Gerrard shirts after club chief executive Rick Parry announced he had rejected a new deal and was close to leaving. Twenty-four hours later, amid much backtracking,


    Gerrard had signed a new four-year deal but still had much work to do to reconnect with the Kop. But his performances over the next season would pretty much do the job. Liverpool's season began early – on July 13 – as they had to go through qualifying to defend their Champions League title but, inspired by their skipper, they maintained a relentless pace. Gerrard topped Liverpool's goalscoring charts, scoring 23 goals in 53 appearances as the Reds finished third in the Premier League, nine points behind Chelsea, and lifted the FA Cup, with Gerrard scoring twice in a 3-3 draw before Liverpool beat West Ham in a penalty shoot-out.


    Before that day – widely remembered as 'The Gerrard Final' – the 25-year-old's performances saw him become the first Liverpool player since John Barnes in 1988 to be voted the PFA Player of the Year. Gerrard would win only one further trophy with Liverpool, the League Cup in 2012, but when he left Anfield to join the LA Galaxy in the summer of 2015 he did so recognised as one of the greatest players of his generation, and as one of Liverpool's best.

  • Olivier Giroud keen to prove worth at Chelsea after nearly leaving in January

    Giroud was due to be out of contract in the summer but has recently penned a one-year extension.

    02 Jun 2020, 10:33 CEST

    Chelsea striker Olivier Giroud admitted he "very nearly" left in January but now wants to carry on winning trophies with the club.


    Giroud was due to be out of contract in the summer but has recently penned a one-year extension that will keep him at Stamford Bridge for the resumption of this season and the whole of next. The France international would have left in January had Frank Lampard been able to find a replacement, with Tottenham interested in taking the former Arsenal striker across the capital. That never materialised and he was subsequently given more game time, scoring a decisive goal against Spurs in the race for the top four. "I was supposed to leave in the January transfer window because I wasn't playing much and I needed more game time to make the France squad for Euro 2020," Giroud told the club's official website. "I very nearly left the club but I really think that God wanted me to stay at Chelsea. "The manager told me that he couldn't let me leave because he didn't have anyone to replace me.


    Everyone knows what happened so I won't go back over it but the coach spoke to me privately and told me that he'd give more games. "He kept his word and what then mattered to me was proving to him that he could count on me when I was called upon. "I simply seized my opportunity and I repaid the faith that the manager had shown in me. That's why the club ultimately offered me the chance to continue my time at Chelsea and I accepted immediately because I like it here. "I want to keep winning trophies and I want to continue to show the manager that he can count on me."


    Giroud is back training with his Chelsea team-mates ahead of the proposed June 17 resumption of the Premier League, with clubs now in a restricted phase of contact training. It is effectively a pre-season period, but players can only see physiotherapists for 15 minutes after training. And at 33, Giroud has said he would like more after-care than that. He added: "Something else that's changed compared to usual pre-seasons is that we only get 15 minutes of treatment after training. "Normally in pre-season, you're very demanding with your muscles and use them a lot, especially when you haven't been training for over two months. "Muscles strain and creak but we respect the rules from the Government and the Premier League. "I'll admit that if I could have more care and treatment to look after my body, it would be better."

  • Gosden has three set for Lingfield in bid for Oaks Trial repeat

    Epsom winner Anapurna was successful 12 months ago.

    02 Jun 2020, 10:27 CEST

    John Gosden fields three in Friday's Betsafe Top Price All Runners Oaks Trial Fillies' Stakes at Lingfield as he looks to follow up Anapurna's win in 2019. That filly went on to glory in the main event at Epsom and the Newmarket trainer has three contenders this time in Group Three-placed Miss Yoda, all-weather winner Lake Lucerne and Anastarsia, who was last seen finishing down the field in the Fillies' Mile. Mark Johnston's Sweet Solera winner West End Girl makes her return, while Nottingham maiden winner So I Told You takes a leap to Listed level for Richard Hughes. Ralph Beckett relies on Heart Reef, with Golden Lips, Le Dragontea and Sly Mix completing the nine-strong field. The Betsafe Derby Trial Stakes has eight contenders, topped by Pontefract Listed winner King Carney for Charlie Fellowes. He must concede 3lb all round for that victory, with Andrew Balding's Group Three-placed runner Berkshire Rocco and the Brian Meehan-trained Sound Of Cannons, who was tried in Group One company last year, appearing to be two other leading hopes. Johnston runs two in Dark Heart and King's Caper, while English King, Pride Of America and dual all-weather winner Summeronsevenhills round out the field.

  • High-class field assembled for Coronation Cup at Newmarket

    Ghaiyyath, Stradivarius, Anthony Van Dyck and Defoe all part of seven-strong line-up.

    02 Jun 2020, 10:08 CEST

    Ghaiyyath tops a select field of seven for Friday's Hurworth Bloodstock Coronation Cup at Newmarket – the first British Group One in 2020. The 12-furlong contest has been switched from its usual home at Epsom due to the impact of the coronavirus shutdown on the regular calendar, but it has still drawn a top-class line-up. Ghaiyyath, who is trained by Charlie Appleby, was a 14-length winner of a German Group One last year and after disappointing in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, he bounced back with a bloodless win at Meydan in February. The cancelled Sheema Classic had been his target, but the 126-rated runner gets his chance to shine now. Ghaiyyath faces some stiff competition, though – not least from top stayer Stradivarius, who drops back in trip for John Gosden. He has bagged a GBP 1million bonus in each of the last two seasons for his staying exploits and has a hat-trick in the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot as his big-race target after this prep run. The six-year-old had been on a 10-race winning streak before suffering a narrow defeat on Champions Day at Ascot on his final start last term. Aidan O'Brien has two contenders in last year's Derby winner Anthony Van Dyck, who failed to strike in five subsequent runs last term, and the Epsom fourth Broome. Defoe won the Coronation Cup for Roger Varian in 2019 and is back to defend his title, while David Simcock's Canadian International winner Desert Encounter and the Andrew Balding-trained Alounak complete the field.

  • Kenny Sansom remains ill in hospital and ‘receiving 24-hour care’

    The former England international does not have coronavirus.

    02 Jun 2020, 09:57 CEST

    Former England international Kenny Sansom remains ill in hospital. A message on the 61-year-old's Twitter account confirmed that Sansom is continuing to receive treatment.


    The message read: "Kenny remains ill in hospital and is receiving 24-hour care. "He's stable and does not have COVID-19. Kenny's family and close friends still kindly ask the media to respect Kenny's privacy and theirs, plus that of the healthcare workers treating Kenny."


    Sansom earned 86 caps for England – playing at the 1982 and 1986 World Cups – and won the League Cup with Arsenal in 1987. He started his career with Crystal Palace, helping them win the Second Division in 1979, before joining the Gunners in 1980. He also played for Newcastle, QPR, Coventry, Everton, Brentford and Watford before retiring in 1994.

  • Bentley relishing prospect of Guineas tilt with Kinross

    ‘I’ve sat on him a few times at home and he feels really good’.

    02 Jun 2020, 09:26 CEST

    Harry Bentley believes Kinross is capable of providing him with a first Classic success in the Qipco 2000 Guineas at Newmarket on Saturday. The 27-year-old will renew his partnership with the Ralph Beckett-trained colt at the scene of his emphatic debut victory in October. Despite Kinross tasting defeat upped to Group One company in the Verterm Futurity Trophy at Newcastle on his final start of last year, Bentley retains plenty of faith in the son of Kingman. Bentley said: "I can't wait to get back on him. I've sat on him a few times at home and he feels really good. I'm very excited. "I've not had many feel like he did on their debut. He gave me all the feelings that day of a very good horse. "We've put him in the deep end once before as we don't doubt that the ability is there. We think there is a lot of potential there." Defeat for Kinross at Newcastle may have left connections disappointed at the time, but Bentley feels the result could have been different with better luck in running. He added: "At Newcastle he got a big bump off one of the Aidan O'Brien horses and I don't think people realised how much of a bump it was. That didn't help us trying to get in the right rhythm. "He didn't get a clear run at a crucial stage and I'm not saying he would have won but he would have been closer. "You have to remember that was only his second run and the likes of Kameko were more battle-hardened than he was." While Bentley has plenty of respect for odds-on favourite Pinatubo, he is looking forward to taking on the challenge of trying to lower the colours of the Charlie Appleby-trained dual Group One scorer. He said: "I know Pinatubo is clearly an exceptional talent, but we are all having our first run of the season as three-year-olds and anything can happen from two to three. "We don't know if he still has that definite advantage or if we have made up the gap, all I can say is that I'm very happy with Kinross and he is in good form." Although Kinross will start this campaign over a mile, Bentley believes he could to get further later down the line should connections wish to look at such options. He said: "At the moment you would say he is a miler as he has got a lot of natural speed, like all the good horses have. "In time you might see him over 10 furlongs, but we will learn a lot more about him on Saturday."

  • Hasenhuttl signs new Southampton deal

    The 52-year-old was appointed in December 2018.

    02 Jun 2020, 08:56 CEST

    Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl has signed a new four-year contract with the club.


    The 52-year-old was appointed at St Mary's in December 2018 and has proved a popular appointment, turning around his side's fortunes after a 9-0 home defeat to Leicester in October. Saints chief executive Martin Semmens said: "From day one, Ralph has had a positive impact on the club, everyone within it and our fans. "He joined our club at a time when strong leadership was needed to drive the club forward. This he delivered, but it was the clarity of vision that has ultimately led us to this point."


    Hasenhuttl arrived at St Mary's to replace Mark Hughes, who was dismissed in December 2018 with the club sitting 18th in the Premier League table. Despite the Leicester embarrassment, there were few calls for Hasenhuttl's head, and the club entered the coronavirus lockdown in 14th place in the table, seven points above the relegation zone. Semmens added: "To witness first-hand the recovery of the first team around Christmas under his clear leadership has given us all a template of how to drive the club forward. "It is important now that the club, led by our director of football operations Matt Crocker, put in place all the support structures around Ralph to produce success, not just for the remaining nine games of this season, but into the long term future of the club. "There has never been any question in my mind that Ralph is the right man to lead our club, and I look forward to working in partnership with him over the next four years. "I know there is no one who will work harder to bring success back for our fans." Noting the "challenging" moments of his reign so far, Hasenhuttl said he had no hesitation about signing a deal which keeps him at the club until 2024.


    Hasenhuttl said: "This, for me, was a simple decision. Simple because of the relationship that I have built with the club, the players and the fans, and also because of the relationship they have built with me too. "I said when I arrived at the club that we were at the beginning of a long journey, and also a journey that would bring emotion and hopefully enjoyment. We have already had some moments where we could celebrate together, and some that have been emotional and also challenging. "The way we have handled this together as a group of people has been incredible for me, and I believe we now have strong foundations here that can allow us to take the next steps in our progress as a team. "For me, this is an important step in the journey.


    My players, our staff, and of course the supporters must understand my commitment to this club and to what we are trying to build together. "We value the same philosophies, and this is a big part of why I want to stay here, and I hope we can share in some very successful moments moving forward."

  • Jurgen Klopp warns Liverpool that the job is not done

    Klopp’s Liverpool sit a massive 25 points clear of second-placed Manchester City.

    02 Jun 2020, 07:01 CEST

    Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has warned his Liverpool side there is still much work to do be done as they are "close but close is not there" in their bid to win the Premier League title.


    With the campaign set to resume on June 17, three months after the coronavirus pandemic forced its suspension, Klopp's Liverpool sit a massive 25 points clear of second-placed Manchester City, chasing their first league title for 30 years. They could secure it as early as their first game back if City fail to beat Arsenal in one of two matches scheduled for June 17, but though it looks all but assured, Klopp wants no let up. "It's nice to think about it but we are not champions yet and we know that,"


    Klopp told BBC Sport in an interview to air in full on BBC Radio 5 Live later on Tuesday. "We know we are close but close is not there. There are 27 points left for us and we will try everything to take them all. "We are still not champions. We have to play football games and we have to win them. "We don't want to stop winning after two games or whatever it is. I don't see results written in the stars; we have to work really hard."


    Premier League players resumed contact training last week as they step up their preparations to complete the season behind closed doors, and Klopp said he was "really happy to be back". "I have missed it so much it's unbelievable," he said. "I know it's not the most important thing in life but it is my passion. I hope the people are looking forward to it because we are."