More Newbury success for Godolphin at Dubai Duty Free Spring Trials Weekend

More Newbury success for Godolphin at Dubai Duty Free Spring Trials Weekend
Life Of Dreams, in Godolphin’s dark blue, powers to the front to win the Highclere Thoroughbred Racing Maiden Fillies Stakes at Newbury. (Screengrab)
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Updated 18 April 2022

More Newbury success for Godolphin at Dubai Duty Free Spring Trials Weekend

More Newbury success for Godolphin at Dubai Duty Free Spring Trials Weekend
  • Life Of Dreams’ victory in Highclere the highlight as Maktoum family wins five races
  • The yellow colors of Sheikh Mohammed’s brother, Sheikh Ahmed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, were carried to victory by Razeyna in the Coln Valley Stud Maiden Fillies Stakes

Day two of the Dubai Duty Free Spring Trials Weekend at Newbury Racecourse saw more success for Maktoum family, as Godolphin continued to hoard the prizes on the eight-race card.

Sunday’s highlight was the emphatic victory of Godolphin’s home-bred three-year-old filly Life Of Dreams in the Highclere Thoroughbred Racing Maiden Fillies Stakes, a victory which promoted the daughter of Dubawi toward the head of the leading fancies for the Epsom Oaks.

Alex Merriam, representing Godolphin’s trainer Charlie Appleby, said Life Of Dreams had been given time to develop and had done what it was hoped she would — make a winning debut to continue Godolphin’s astonishing success rate.

In the previous race, the yellow colors of Sheikh Mohammed’s brother, Sheikh Ahmed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, were carried to victory by Razeyna in the seven-furlong Coln Valley Stud Maiden Fillies Stakes. She too was a debutante for trainer William Haggas, whose wife Maureen, daughter of the legendary Lester Piggott, did the honors saddling the winner and then collecting the prize.

The 10-furlong $21,000 Dubai Duty Free Golf World Cup EBF Conditions Stakes attracted a small but select field of three-year-olds for which Godolphin provided first and second favorites — both sons of Godolphin stallion Dubawi.

Walk Of Stars, home-bred and the mount of James Doyle, wore the white cap of Godolphin’s second colors. William Buick was aboard the $2.7 million purchase Hafit. Both colts are still in the Derby and there may be a rematch in York’s Derby Trial, the Dante Stakes, Merriam said.

There was only a neck between them here with Walk Of Stars maintaining a narrow, hard-won lead throughout the final furlong.

After a succession of short-priced winners, the seventh race, the $33,000 Dubai Duty Free Handicap over the minimum five furlongs, produced the shock of the meeting. At nine, the oldest of the seven runners Blue De Vega got up in the final strides to head another outsider, Mountain Peak.

The concluding race of the meeting, the seven-furlong $26,000 Dubai Duty Free Full of Surprises Handicap for three-year-olds, did not live up to its name.

Early favorite was Godolphin’s Private Signal but strong late support came for Whoputfiftyinyou trained by Clive Cox.

Cox’s Mine’s A Double had been a let down in the previous race, losing his unbeaten record. Whoputfiftyinyou retained his unbeaten status cutting down Private Signal.

With five winners over the two days, Appleby’s record at the opening meeting of the Berkshire course’s Flat season was nothing short of astonishing.

Dubai Duty Free’s Executive Vice Chairman and CEO Colm McLoughlin — who together with Salah Tahlak, executive vice president for corporate services, and Sinead El Sibai, senior vice president of marketing, hosted a lunch in the Royal Box — said: “It has been a great pleasure to return to Newbury and welcome our guests to another hugely successful edition of the Dubai Duty Free Spring Trials Weekend.

“We extend our thanks to Newbury’s CEO, Julian Thick, and his team for delivering an outstanding event, and to the owners and trainers who continue to support this important trials meeting. We look forward to following their progress as the Flat season unfolds.”


Kyrgios happy to make ‘top 10 players look ordinary’

Kyrgios happy to make ‘top 10 players look ordinary’
Updated 26 June 2022

Kyrgios happy to make ‘top 10 players look ordinary’

Kyrgios happy to make ‘top 10 players look ordinary’
  • Kyrgios has been defeating the stars and upsetting officialdom while delighting his army of fans ever since

LONDON: Nick Kyrgios resumes his bittersweet relationship with Wimbledon vowing to continue making “top 10 players look ordinary.”

The volatile Australian shot to fame at the All England Club in 2014 when ranked 114 in the world, he stunned two-time champion Rafael Nadal.

Kyrgios has been defeating the stars and upsetting officialdom while delighting his army of fans ever since.

“I’ve played top-10 players in the world this year and made them look pretty ordinary,” the 27-year-old said Sunday.

“I know where my game’s at. I know if I’m feeling confident, I’m playing well, I’m able to just light it up kind of whenever I want.”

The facts back him up.

Having sat out the entire claycourt season, Kyrgios has excelled on grass this summer, reaching the semifinals back-to-back in Stuttgart and Halle.

World No. 6 Stefanos Tsitsipas fell to the Australian in Halle. That was the Greek’s third loss in four meetings with Kyrgios.

Fellow members of the top such as Andrey Rublev and Casper Ruud have also fallen victim to a sometimes inspired Kyrgios in 2022.

Kyrgios made the quarter-finals at Wimbledon in 2014 on the back of his famous win over Nadal.

However, recent visits have not been so fruitful and he has yet to get past the fourth round in his last six visits.

Along the way, he has been accused of tanking, complained about the state of the grass last year while admitting he deliberately speared a ball at Nadal in the pair’s bad-tempered 2019 rematch.

Kyrgios knows he has the tools to make the second week at Wimbledon again.

“I know if I’m serving well and I’m playing well, I can beat anyone. I have pretty much beaten everyone in the draw before,” he said.

“It’s hard. It’s like not many people have gotten over the hump of winning a slam. I’m one of the people that has to deal with that every week.

“Like, Oh, he’s probably one of the biggest wastes of talent. He should be winning a Slam.”

Kyrgios will still play to the crowd.

In recent seasons, he has sought the advice of fans on serve placement, perfected the underarm serve.

The darker, flip side has seen thousands of dollars in fines and a suspended 16-week ban in 2019.

“The crowd knows I’m going to try and bring a lot of energy, bring a lot of flair and entertainment,” Kyrgios said.

“I think that’s just something I come with now. I can’t really get rid of that. It’s just something I want to do as well.”

Something else he’d like to see is a relaxation of the All England Club’s strict all-white dress code, suggesting allowing a black sweatband or headband.

“I think it would look cool. Obviously Wimbledon doesn’t really care what looks cool,” he said.


Bagnaia wins Dutch MotoGP after Quartararo crashes out

Bagnaia wins Dutch MotoGP after Quartararo crashes out
Updated 26 June 2022

Bagnaia wins Dutch MotoGP after Quartararo crashes out

Bagnaia wins Dutch MotoGP after Quartararo crashes out

ASSEN, Netherlands: Italy’s Francesco Bagnaia won the Dutch MotoGP on Sunday to reignite his title challenge after championship leader Fabio Quartararo crashed out of an incident-packed race.

Frenchman Quartararo fell twice, flipping spectacularly over his handlebars in the second incident although he walked away afterwards, shaking his fists in anger at his error.

Bagnaia, in contrast, stayed out of trouble on his Ducati to record his third victory of the season and a welcome full points score after failing to finish in the last two races.

“I am so happy after two difficult races,” the Italian said.

In a great day for Italian riders, Marco Bezzecchi on a Ducati for Valentino Rossi’s VR46 team was second while Spanish rider Maverick Vinales rounded out the podium in the 11th race of the 20-season.

Quartararo heads into the summer break with a 21-point lead over Aleix Espargaro, who was fourth on Sunday.

The Frenchman fell on the fifth then on the 13th lap out of 26 in front of an enthusiastic crowd in the Netherlands.

Even if he quickly got back on his feet, he had to give up after this second accident.

The Frenchman got off to a bad start and was quickly overtaken by Aprilia rider Espargaro.

It was while he was trying to recover second place, in an attempt on the inside of a bend, that Quartararo lost control of his Yamaha, ending up in the gravel although he was soon back in the saddle, albeit in last place.

But a few laps later, his race was over after an acrobatic tumble.

“I made a rookie’s mistake. I attacked as it was the last lap and the last bend,” Quartararo said of his first fall, which he said had left something feeling “not right” with his bike.

As soon as the race was over he apologized to Espargaro for forcing him off the track in the fifth lap.

This was the first time since 1994 that Yamaha have failed to score a point at Assen.

For Bagnaia, taking the chequered flag was a welcome change of fortune.


Indian cricket legend Irfan Pathan lauds progress of sport in Saudi Arabia

Indian cricket legend Irfan Pathan lauds progress of sport in Saudi Arabia
Updated 26 June 2022

Indian cricket legend Irfan Pathan lauds progress of sport in Saudi Arabia

Indian cricket legend Irfan Pathan lauds progress of sport in Saudi Arabia
  • Former allrounder meets SACF chair Prince Saud bin Mishal in Jeddah visit

RIYADH: Indian cricket legend Irfan Pathan has lauded the rapid progress of the game in Saudi Arabia after meeting with the Kingdom’s top officials.

In a meeting in Jeddah with Chairman of the Saudi Arabian Cricket Federation (SACF) Prince Saud bin Mishal, the former allrounder discussed the progress and development of the sport in Saudi Arabia.

The SACF on Sunday tweeted: “Prince Saud together with SACF Executive Director Tariq Sagga received the retired legendary Indian cricketer Irfan Pathan and presented him with an inscribed cricket bat in honor of his visit.

“Pathan expressed his happiness at the rapid progress of his sport in Saudi Arabia and the many steps the federation is taking to expand its appeal and involvement — especially among female and youth players, both boys and girls,” the SACF added.

Hailing from Baroda, a city in western Indian state of Gujarat, Pathan was considered India’s next best allrounder after Kapil Dev during his playing days.

Pathan, who made his Team India debut at the age of 19 in 2003, announced his retirement from professional cricket in January 2020.

He played 29 Tests, 120 One-Day Internationals and and 24 T20s for India, and was part of the Indian team that won the T20 World Cup in 2007. He was given the man of the match award for his performance in the final.

The SACF said that there was a “firm and positive agreement” about the future of cricket in the Kingdom, under the umbrella of the Ministry of Sports and the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 initiative, which seeks to make sport a part of everyday life in the Kingdom.

Under Vision 2030’s Quality of Life program, the SACF, supported by the Ministry of Sports and Saudi Arabian Olympic Committee, is mandated to increase physical activity levels by 40 percent over the next decade.

Cricket has taken major strides in the Kingdom in recent years, with the game’s ruling body introducing a series of programs to encourage the nation’s youth to take up one of the world’s oldest and most popular sports.


Veteran Sjostrom, teenager McIntosh complete golden doubles at swimming worlds

Veteran Sjostrom, teenager McIntosh complete golden doubles at swimming worlds
Updated 26 June 2022

Veteran Sjostrom, teenager McIntosh complete golden doubles at swimming worlds

Veteran Sjostrom, teenager McIntosh complete golden doubles at swimming worlds
  • The Swede took her first European title at 14 and her first world title a year later in 2009
  • McIntosh claimed her fourth medal in Budapest in four minutes and 32.04 seconds

BUDAPEST: Sarah Sjostrom, who has been winning world titles for 13 years, and Summer McIntosh, who has been winning them for four days, both collected their second gold medals of the week in Budapest on Saturday.

Sjostrom, a 28-year-old Swede who won the 50m butterfly less than 24 hours earlier, added the 50m freestyle, her 10th world gold.

McIntosh, a Canadian 15-year-old, held off 16-year-old American Katie Grimes to win the women’s 400m medley title.

McIntosh, who won the 200m butterfly gold on Wednesday, claimed her fourth medal in Budapest in four minutes and 32.04 seconds.

Grimes was 0.63sec back, while another American, Emma Weyant, was a distant third ahead of Hungarian 33-year-old Katinka Hosszu, the defending champion.

“I tried to push my body as much as possible,” said McIntosh. “The crowd gave me so much adrenaline.

“I really felt my body in the backstroke.

“Katie is a top competitor, I like racing against her since we are in the same age group.”

Sjostrom finished her sprint in 23.98 seconds, 0.20sec ahead of Pole Katarzyna Wasick, with Australian Meg Harris and American Erika Brown tied for bronze.

The Swede took her first European title at 14 and her first world title a year later in 2009. This was her 20th world championship medal.

“Maybe my mind-set and also a lot of hard work, but also I love what I do,” she said of her longevity.

Sjostrom narrowly missed another medal when she anchored Sweden to fourth in the women’s 100m medley relay that closed the championships.

“It’s been a busy four days for me,” she said.

“I feel like it’s business for me too, I just go in and do my job I guess.”

The US won, anchor ed by 17-year-old Claire Curzan. Australia were second and Canada, with Penny Olesiak holding off Sjostrom, third.

The men’s 50m backstroke gold medal was presented twice, with the US anthem played twice.

In the first race of the evening, Justin Ress was disqualified after video review for finishing entirely under water as he touched the wall first.

His training buddy Hunter Armstrong was awarded gold, winning in 24.14 seconds.

Ksawery Masiuk, a 17-year-old Pole, initially took silver, 0.35sec back, with Italian Thomas Ceccon, who set a 100m backstroke world record on Monday, taking the bronze on loan.

Armstrong wiped a tear away as he stepped off the podium after accepting the gold in the evening’s first medal ceremony.

“I’m very disappointed my team-mate was disqualified and hopefully Team USA’s protest will be successful,” he said.

He got his wish, when a jury upheld the appeal. Ress came out alone to stand on the top step of the podium and receive his medal in the last medal ceremony of the championships.

Ceccon had taken pre-emptive revenge by swimming the breaststroke leg as Italy edged the Americans, the reigning champions and world record holders, in the 100m medley relay final. Britain were third.

That was a fifth gold for Italy after Gregorio Paltrinieri earlier swum the second fastest time in men’s 1500m freestyle history to win his third world title in the distance.

The 27-year-old Italian surged away from the start, setting a breakneck pace.

He was on world record pace for much of the race before fading at the end to finish in 14min 32.80sec and miss Sun Yang’s mark by 1.78sec.

American Bobby Finke was second, 3.90sec back, with Florian Wellbrock third at 4.14.

Paltrinieri said he had been motivated by finishing fourth out in the 800m

“I came out with the mindset that I wanted to destroy the pool,” he said after becoming the oldest ever 1500m world champion.

“I’m 28 in a couple of months,” he said. “But I’m still learning.”

Lithuanian Ruta Meilutyte won her first world gold since 2013 when she edged Italian 17-year-old Benedetta Pilato by 0.10sec in the women’s 50m breaststroke final. South African Lara van Niekerk was third.

Meilutyte had not won a major championship medal of any color since 2015.

“It’s nice to be a world champion,” she said.


Chun balloons to 75 as her lead shrinks to 3 at Women’s PGA Championship

Chun balloons to 75 as her lead shrinks to 3 at Women’s PGA Championship
Updated 26 June 2022

Chun balloons to 75 as her lead shrinks to 3 at Women’s PGA Championship

Chun balloons to 75 as her lead shrinks to 3 at Women’s PGA Championship
  • On a day the leaders had plenty of trouble, Chun was holding her own until she made a double bogey on the par-5 16th hole

BETHESDA, Maryland, USA: This was the moment the rest of the field needed: In Gee Chun standing near the trees, contemplating her situation and then eventually heading back to the point of her previous shot.

A shaky third round cut her lead at the Women’s PGA Championship in half.

Chun shot a 3-over 75 on Saturday, leaving her three strokes ahead going into the final round at Congressional Country Club. On a day the leaders had plenty of trouble, Chun was holding her own until she made a double bogey on the par-5 16th hole.

“Looking forward to an exciting final round already,” she said. “If it’s going to be too easy, then I feel it is boring.”

It looked like the final round might be boring — or at least anticlimactic — as Chun maintained a comfortable lead through much of Saturday. She bogeyed Nos. 1 and 11 but birdied 2 and 12. Her lead was at five when she had to play her third shot from some tall grass on the 564-yard 16th.

That shot put her in even more trouble, in an area with tall grass and some trees. She took an unplayable lie and went back to the previous spot to re-hit.

An 8-iron from there went over the green, but Chun did manage to get up and down for a 7. The two-time major champion from South Korea led by five shots after the first round and six at the halfway point. After the third round, she had an 8-under 208 total.

Lydia Ko (76) and Jennifer Kupcho (74) — Chun’s playing partners — had their own problems, but Lexi Thompson and Hye-Jin Choi both shot 70 and were tied for second with Sei Young Kim (71) at 5 under.

Thompson will play in the final group as she tries for her first major victory since 2014.

“You always want to be in the final group in any tournament,” she said. “I love that the hard work has been able to pay off for me. I’ve been putting in the time, so to see it pay off and pay dividends means the world to me.”

Ko wasn’t able to take advantage of Chun’s struggles. She bogeyed four of five holes during one stretch on the front nine, then birdied four of the next seven. She wrapped up the round with four straight bogeys.

Kupcho had three birdies and three bogeys in the first seven holes and couldn’t gain much ground on the leader.

Kim, who won this event two years ago, had a comparatively drama-free round with two birdies and a bogey. Choi shot 34 on the back nine while playing in a group with Thompson. They’ll be together again Sunday.

“It was the first time playing with her, and I actually watched her as a fan when I was an amateur,” Choi said. “It was a good experience to play with her. Of course, I tried to focus on my game.”

Thompson made three birdies on the back nine, including a putt from about 30 feet on No. 15. She has 11 LPGA Tour victories but none since 2019. She’s played her way into contention after a first-round 74.

Thompson finished second at Crown Colony in February and at Upper Montclair last month.

“I know I’m in a good state with my game and just my mental state, so going out tomorrow enjoying the walk with my caddie and hopefully a lot of fans out there supporting us,” she said. “Whatever score I shoot, I shoot.”

Hannah Green (72) was fifth at 4 under, a stroke ahead of Atthaya Thitikul (68), who was so far behind at the start of the day she was in one of the groups sent off on No. 10. Brooke Henderson (73), Kupcho and Jennifer Chang (73) were tied for sixth with Thitikul.

NOTES: US Women’s Open champ Minjee Lee (73) was 2 under. ... Defending champion Nelly Korda (72) was tied for 29th.