Trainer O’Neill likes I’ll Have Another’s chances for Triple Crown

Updated 22 May 2012
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Trainer O’Neill likes I’ll Have Another’s chances for Triple Crown

BALTIMORE: I’ll Have Another emerged from his dramatic Preakness Stakes triumph in excellent shape and has the temperament and stamina to win the Triple Crown, trainer Doug O’Neill said Sunday.
The Kentucky-bred chestnut can become the first horse to complete the holy grail of US thoroughbred racing winner since Affirmed in 1978 if he can win the $1 million Belmont Stakes on June 9 in New York.
“My dreams always ended with winning the Kentucky Derby,” O’Neill told reporters at Pimlico Racecourse on Sunday.
“They never were followed up with winning the Preakness and going to the Belmont. That’s a new dream now I’m waiting to pull off.”
I’ll Have Another overcame a three-length deficit in the stretch to pass the speedster Bodemeister in the final strides to win the $1 million Preakness Stakes by a neck on Saturday.
The race was a repeat of the Kentucky Derby two weeks ago when I’ll Have Another, ridden by Mario Gutierrez, chased down the fading Bodemeister to win by one and a half lengths.
“He looked great,” O’Neill said after checking on his colt early Sunday. “He had licked his feed tub. Once we cleaned the poultice off, his legs were ice cold. He had good energy.”
I’ll Have Another was loaded into a van and left for the Big Apple, where he will remain until the final and most gruelling race of the Triple Crown series.
O’Neill said the three-year-old colt should have no problems with the one and a half miles (2,414 meters) Belmont distance.
His sire, Flowers Alley, finished runner-up in the 2005 Breeders’ Cup Classic over a mile and a quarter (2,012m) while his dam, Arch’s Gal Edith, is from the same family that produced the 2010 Breeders’ winner Blame.
“He’s got a great confidence about him and he’s got the stride of a horse that a mile and a half won’t be a problem,” O’Neill said.
“He’s got the pedigree, so much stamina on the female side.
O’Neill said I’ll Have Another’s shin problems and subsequent five-month layoff had helped freshen him up for the demanding campaign.
He returned to the track this year to win the Grade II Robert Lewis on Feb. 4 and has raced only four times this season, and won them all.
“He’s lightly raced,” said the 43-year-old trainer. “He’s still a fresh, happy, thriving horse that just seems to be getting better and better.”
O’Neill will not have to worry about another challenge from Bodemeister, who flew back to California on Sunday and will skip the Belmont, known as the Test of Champions.
“I’ve had enough,” said trainer Bob Baffert.


Heartbreak for Mohamed Salah and Egypt as Russia all but secure last-16 spot

Updated 19 June 2018
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Heartbreak for Mohamed Salah and Egypt as Russia all but secure last-16 spot

ST. PETERSBURG: Russia scored three goals in a 15-minute span early in the second half to set up a 3-1 win over Egypt on Tuesday, moving the host nation to the brink of the World Cup’s knockout stage.
Mohamed Salah won and converted a penalty for a consolation goal on his return from injury but Egypt’s first World Cup in 28 years could be over in barely five days following a second straight loss.
Ahmed Fathi poked the ball into his own net — the fifth own-goal of the tournament — to put Russia ahead in the 47th minute. Then Denis Cheryshev and Artyom Dzyuba scored in quick succession to leave Russia on course for a victory that followed up a 5-0 opening-night win over Saudi Arabia.
It was Cheryshev’s third goal of the World Cup, putting him tied with Cristiano Ronaldo at the top of the scoring chart.
Russia’s place in the round of 16 will be assured if Uruguay wins or draws against the Saudis on Wednesday. Those two scenarios would also eliminate Egypt, which started with a 1-0 loss to Uruguay.
The hopes of 100 million Egyptians were raised when Salah was selected in the starting lineup, the Liverpool forward making his comeback after 3 1/2 weeks out with damaged ligaments in his left shoulder after a tangle with Real Madrid defender Sergio Ramos in the Champions League final.
Salah trotted out for his pre-match warmup to roars from Egypt fans, who at times appeared to outnumber their Russian counterparts. They shouted every time Salah’s face flashed up on the big screen and when his name was announced before kickoff.
Yet from the start, it was clear that Salah was staying out of anything too physical and there was no concerted effort from his Egypt teammates to pick him out each time. He didn’t touch the ball until the seventh minute.
He did win the penalty — confirmed by the video assistant referee after Salah was pulled down by Roman Zobnin. He converted it in the 73rd minute, but it wasn’t enough. Egypt is still without a victory in six World Cup matches.
Russia is nearly assured of advancing from the group stage for the first time since the Soviet era.
Cheryshev, who entered the World Cup as a fringe player, is proving lethal in front of goal, with his latest a side-footed effort from close range from Mario Fernandes’ cross in the 59th. Dzyuba’s goal was more direct, the striker chesting down a long ball from defender Ilya Kutepov, beating his marker and curling home a low finish.