Wigan head coach Matt Peet promised more nights to match their nerve-shredding World Club Challenge win over triple NRL champions Penrith at a sold-out DW Stadium.

The hosts clung on for a record-equalling fifth triumph – to emulate Super League rivals St Helens – with a 16-12 victory in a thrilling game in which the lead swung five times and Penrith came within inches of levelling on the hooter.

Peet told the BBC: “Nights like this are the ones we crave and we’re going to have plenty more.

“It was a fantastic game between two outstanding teams and you could see all the way through what a fantastic team Penrith are.

“You play Penrith on another night and they beat any team, they never give in, but tonight we wanted it a bit more.

“It was going to take a special effort to get over against us tonight, we just wanted it so much.”

Tries from Abbas Miski, Kruise Leeming and Jake Wardle ensured the hosts matched their illustrious opponents who pressed valiantly with Taylan May denied a match-levelling try on the final hooter following a video replay.

“I couldn’t be prouder of the players, I love them to bits and everyone in the organisation deserves tonight,” added Peet.

“I thought the players were very brave with the ball in the second half, they kept playing and playing and obviously with our defence, it was a game we won by never giving in.”

Penrith head coach Ivan Cleary conceded the gap between the NRL and Super League was beginning to narrow after a second-consecutive northern hemisphere triumph for the first time in 16 years.

“Absolutely,” accepted Cleary on Sky Sports. “I think that’s the thing about this particular competition, we get to see the best teams together and Wigan were too good tonight.

“I guess we didn’t execute as well as they did. They had three opportunities and scored three tries and that was the difference. They executed better than us and maybe that was enough.”

Wigan clinched the World Club Challenge for a record-equalling fifth time after surviving last-gasp video drama to confirm a 16-12 victory over triple defending NRL champions Penrith Panthers at a sold-out DW Stadium.

Tries from Abbas Miski, Kruise Leeming and Jake Wardle, plus four points from the boot of Harry Smith, ensured Matt Peet’s men emulated Super League rivals St Helens, who edged the same team in Sydney one year ago.

Yet in an absorbing clash in which the lead swung in a different direction five times, Wigan were forced into an agonising wait for confirmation of their victory after Taylan May crashed over on the final hooter – only for replays to determine he had been bundled into touch.

As Wigan celebrated the big-screen verdict, the agony was evident on the face of Penrith’s resident superstar Nathan Cleary, who could not prevent his side, all-but three of whom also started in the golden point loss to Saints, failing in their quest to land the trophy for the first time.

It was a night for Wigan to add to their list of previous title wins – the most recent of which came in 2017 – and all of which were recalled in a pre-match presentation which saw representatives of all four of those illustrious sides parading their silverware.

Yet Wigan’s glory night began in ignominious fashion when Willie Isa spilled the ball on the edge of his own 10 in the opening set, but with inexperienced Penrith half-back Jack Cole still finding his feet, the hosts survived the early onslaught.

In their first foray forward after 10 minutes, Jai Field took advantage of a repeat set to jink inside the visitors’ danger zone and the ball was dispatched out to the right when Bevan French sent Miski over in the corner.

With Cole’s confidence growing in only his second top-level start, the triple NRL champions responded with more pressure, Brian To’o held up inches from the line on the last, and Moses Leota fumbling another fine opportunity.

Penrith’s leveller arrived just before the half-hour mark through Cleary, whose initial kick was flapped at by Miski, allowing Cole to feed the experienced scrum-half to dart over and subsequently convert to give the Australian side a 6-4 lead.

Just as Penrith’s speed and pressure seemed to be making a difference, Wigan dredged up another response, again down the right flank where Adam Keighran found Miski and he sent the ball in-field through Isa for Leeming to touch down.

Smith’s conversion from under the posts gave Wigan a four-point lead but their opponents responded on the stroke of half-time when lively full-back Dylan Edwards flopped over in a repeat set, Cleary having the last say of the first half to boot his side into a two-point interval lead.

Cleary continued to orchestrate Penrith’s assault at the start of the second half, his cleverness almost sending Sunia Turuva in the corner, but again Wigan withstood a tough spell and came back firing as Wardle twisted over to restore Wigan’s slender lead after 55 minutes.

Smith’s second-successful conversion put Wigan back four points in the clear and there were signs of frustration creeping into the Penrith ranks as Cleary, of all people, fumbled an opportunity after Isaah Yeo broke the Wigan line.

The hosts clung on as the clock ticked down, Field racing over for a stunning last-ditch tackle that dumped May into touch after the Penrith centre burst clear and looked a near certainty to level the scores.

French thought he had all-but won it when he raced onto a Smith kick with eight minutes left on the clock, only for Wigan’s celebrations to be cut short by an offside call.

The home side were forced to live on their nerves in the final moments as Cole barged close then May crashed over in the corner as the hooter sounded, forcing Wigan into an agonising wait until their famous victory was secured.

Frustrated Steve Borthwick felt his work-in-progress England team were taught “a real painful lesson” by a Duhan Van Der Merwe-inspired Scotland after the Red Rose crashed to a fourth consecutive Calcutta Cup defeat at Murrayfield.

The visitors arrived in Edinburgh hoping to make it three Guinness Six Nations victories in a row, but after a bright start in which a George Furbank try helped them carve a 10-0 lead in the opening quarter of an hour.

However, they lost their way and were put to the sword by their clinical hosts who ran out 30-21 winners.

Van Der Merwe – who scored a double in the Scots’ win at Twickenham last year – was again England’s tormentor-in-chief as he became the first man in a dark blue jersey to score a Calcutta Cup hat-trick.

“After a defeat and performance when you don’t think you’ve maximised your potential, it’s always disappointment,” said head coach Borthwick.

“I don’t think the team maximised their potential today.

“When you make that number of handling errors at this level, it’s very difficult to win, especially against a team of Scotland’s quality.

“Ultimately we made it too easy for Scotland to score, but they were very clinical.

“It’s a huge lesson for our team as we develop. The number of turnovers made it very difficult to win.”

England arrived in Edinburgh on the back of one defeat in nine matches, but they received something of a reality check at the hands of a Scotland side who are more established as a team under Gregor Townsend.

“We’d all love progression to be a nice linear path but ultimately it’s not, especially when you are trying to do it at this level,” said Borthwick.

“What you saw is a team that is trying to develop, a team that is trying to add layers to their game.

“We made errors today and got punished – sometimes you get away with it, sometimes you don’t. Against a team like Scotland, you don’t.

“It’s a big learning experience, it’s a real painful lesson against a Scotland team that’s been together a long time. They had a lot of experience.

“I think that’s the first time our 10, 12 and 13 had started together and it looked like that, didn’t it? There was a lack of cohesion and too many fundamental errors.”

Van Der Merwe’s match-winning treble – including a stunning burst from his own half to edge the Scots ahead – took him to 26 tries for Scotland, within one of the national team’s all-time record try-scorer Stuart Hogg.

Co-captain Rory Darge admitted it was a huge advantage to his side to have a powerful, jet-heeled outlet like the Edinburgh wing to get them up the pitch in such barnstorming fashion.

“It’s game-changing when he has a half-opportunity, takes it and scores,” said the back-rower. “That (second try while trailing 10-7) is a massive momentum-swinger.

“As a forward, it’s definitely nice when you’re working hard in the rucks and you see Duhan run the length. It’s such a good feeling.”

A fortnight after their agonising home defeat by France, Darge was delighted that Scotland got their championship back on track as they made it two wins from three, with trips to Italy and Ireland to come next month.

“It’s a very different feeling in the changing room compared to two weeks ago,” he said. “Even though there were bits we didn’t do well, to win with a nine-point margin, we’re delighted.

“It was scrappy to start with for sure, but we weathered that. We made a few mistakes and part of that was the pressure England put us under.

“But Finn (Russell) and Benny (White) controlled the game and put us in the right places, and the forwards went to work on the back of that.

“We had spoken about momentum through the week and when it was with us, we really leaned into it.”

Scotland have lost only one of their last seven meetings with England, although this was Darge’s first taste of the fixture.

The 23-year-old dismissed any notion that victories over the Auld Enemy can now be taken for granted by the Scots.

“We’re definitely delighted to get the win – it’s the Calcutta Cup,” he said. “It’s my first one so I’m delighted personally.

“I thought the atmosphere was outstanding and I’m going to enjoy it. You have to enjoy it then put it to bed so we can come back and really get after the Italy game.”

Though disappointed by their hefty defeat to Chile in their opening friendly contest, interim Head coach Xavier Gilbert maintain that his youthful senior Reggae Girlz outfit will learn from the setback, as he anticipates an improved performance in the second encounter on Tuesday.

In fact, Gilbert is confident that the more his new-look team plays, the better the performances will be, as they continue to introduce and expose players to the senior programme, mainly due to the current standoff between the World Cup players and the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF).

The Chileans through goals from Michelle Olivares (12th), Maria Jose Urrutia (22nd), Yestin Jimenez (61st), Yenny Acuna (70th) and Paloma Duarte (88th), outclassed their Jamaican counterparts at the Juan Pinto Duran Stadium in Chile on Friday. Chinyelu Asher (77th) with her seventh international goal, pulled one back for the Jamaicans.

“I don’t think we were good enough to be honest, we started off really shaky and allowed them too much space to play despite what we said we wanted to achieve and how we wanted to approach the game. We were a little bit tentative on the back foot and they exploited those areas that we left opened,” Gilbert told SportsMax.TV.

“We were much better in the second half, so we will look to build on that because it is a learning process, and so we will see how best we can carry that momentum over into the next game,” he added.

Along with the lack of preparation heading into the games, Gilbert pointed out that niggling injuries also marred their performance, as a number of the college players are just getting back into season, while former Liverpool midfielder Jade Bailey is still gradually working her way back from a knee surgery.

“It was difficult because some players are recovering from injury and some college players are just heading back into season, but it is what we have to work with, and we just have to put a better showing in the next game. The more we play oppositions like these, the better we will get. As I said before, this is new for a lot of them on the international stage, so the more we play, the more competitive we will be,” Gilbert reasoned.

Still, with the next game scheduled for Tuesday, the veteran tactician is keen on using the remaining time in Chile to work on certain aspects of the team’s game, with hopes of conducting more intensive work when they next assemble for the April window.

“But for now we are just going to recover and assess the game, look at where we went wrong and improve some things that we could have done better. There are some areas that needs more work than what we will be able to fix here, but we are going to ensure we have good defensive organisation,” Gilbert declared.

“So, we are going to give a few other players some minutes to get back into fold and we are going to continue to work to make sure that defensively we are solid, and also tighten up on how we match up against opponents like these, so we should give a better account of ourselves in the next game,” he ended.

Senor Buscador grasped victory in the final strides to land the Saudi Cup for American trainer Todd Fincher.

The six-year-old was ridden by Junior Alvarado and started in stall four for the Group One, which is worth nearly £8million to the winning connections.

Saudi Crown made the running around the one-mile-one-furlong trip and as the field of 14 rounded the home turn, Senor Buscador had only fading horses behind him and a significant amount of ground to make up.

The bay, who was second to National Treasure in the Pegasus World Cup last time out, then began to accelerate and pass horses in the home straight.

He made his way to the front of the race and fell into stride with Japanese raider Ushba Tesoro as Saudi Crown slipped into third place.

The former two horses both lunged for the line and it was Senor Buscador who just came out on top to take the Saudi Cup back to America.

Joe Peacock jnr, who bred the horse with his late father and owns him alongside Sharaf Mohammed S Al Hariri, said after the victory: “Todd said early on that this race was set up perfectly for him.

“It’s the perfect distance, it’s just the one turn which is beneficial given his running style as we know he is going to come from way back and with two turns, he just gives up too much ground.

“I couldn’t be happier with the result. He knows where he needs to be and he got there on the day.

“I always worry about him because he gets so far back but we have a lot of confidence, a lot of faith in the horse.

“He has a big heart, he doesn’t always get there but we knew that given time, he would put it all together and win a big one. We didn’t really think it would be the Saudi Cup but we’ll take it.

“He’s the last horse my dad and I bred together so it’s very, very special.”

Fincher had expected the race to suit Senor Buscador and was delighted to see him show his ability despite his late-finishing style.

He said: “The set up was perfect, there was plenty of speed in there. It’s a track that plays fair, we’ve been on some really speed-biased tracks but we felt this one plays fair and it did.

“He ran with the best horses in the world and he showed what he can do.

“I can make excuses for him but he puts himself in that position a lot of the time, he gets behind 10 or 11 horses and has to weave his way through.

“He doesn’t get a clean trip and always gets dirt kicked in his face but he does it to himself, he sure tries to overcome it every time!

“It’s a big purse and the best horses in the world. This horse, he has never got the credit he deserves and I was just so adamant that I wanted him to prove how good he is and he finally proved it.”

Alvarado added: “I always knew he was a very good horse, we just needed to have a fair track where he can have a better chance to win and he proved that today,” he said.

“He is a horse that when he’s ready he lets you know and starts picking up horses late on, you just ride along with him.

“It’s just a matter of time to get there, you try to measure it perfectly.”

Magnificent Duhan Van Der Merwe became the first player to score a Calcutta Cup hat-trick for Scotland as they soared to their fourth consecutive victory over England in an intoxicating Guinness Six Nations showdown in Edinburgh.

The jet-heeled wing – who scored a stunning double at Twickenham just over 12 months ago – had the home crowd in raptures as he produced a Murrayfield masterclass to inspire his team to a 30-21 victory and move to within one of Scotland’s all-time record try-scorer Stuart Hogg.

England started brightly and opened up an early 10-0 lead, with George Furbank scoring his first international try, but Steve Borthwick’s men offered little thereafter as their unbeaten start to the championship shuddered to a halt.

Remarkably, the Red Rose have now won only one of the last seven meetings with Scotland.

Led into battle by courageous captain Jamie George just over a week after he lost his mother to cancer, England made a strong start.

Having forced the Scots back from the outset, the Red Rose got themselves ahead in the fifth minute when Northampton full-back Furbank – making his first start in almost two years – bounded over gleefully from close range after being played in by Elliot Daly at the end of a brilliant move.

Scotland suffered a further setback moments later when Zander Fagerson had to go off for an HIA, although the influential prop was able to return to the fray in the 18th minute.

By that point, England had opened up a 10-0 lead, with Ford kicking a penalty in the 15th minute.

Scotland had been in a state of disarray for most of the opening quarter, but they suddenly sparked into life and got themselves back into the game in the 20th minute.

Huw Jones made a dash for the line on the right and after being dragged to the ground, the centre flipped the ball up into the path of Van Der Merwe, who produced a superb piece of skill to find a gap and bolt over.

The early wind had been removed from England’s sails and Van Der Merwe edged the Scots in front on the half-hour mark with a breathtaking score from his own half.

As the visitors mounted an attack, Ford’s heavy pass bounced off the face of Furbank and into the hands of Jones, who instantly offloaded to Van der Merwe 60 metres out.

The wing put on the after-burners and raced clear up the left, leaving a trail of white jerseys in his slipstream. Finn Russell added the extras before stretching the hosts’ advantage to 17-10 with a penalty shortly afterwards.

England were wobbling, but Ford kept his cool to reduce their interval deficit to four points with an opportunist drop goal from 35 yards out.

Scotland suffered what appeared to be a blow within seconds of the second half kicking off when Sione Tuipulotu limped off to be replaced by Cam Redpath.

However, the substitute centre was instrumental in the hosts going further ahead in the 45th minute when he burst through a gap on the halfway line.

A ruck ensued as Redpath was halted in his tracks, and Russell produced one of his trademark cross-field kicks out to the left for Van Der Merwe, who burst over for his hat-trick and his 26th try for Scotland.

Ford reduced the deficit to 24-16 with a penalty in the 50th minute, but Russell put the home side firmly back in command with a couple of penalties either side of the hour mark.

England – having offered little since the opening quarter – gave themselves a glimmer of hope in the 67th minute when replacement wing Immanuel Feyi-Waboso bolted over on the left.

Fin Smith – with the chance to bring his side within a converted try of victory – hit the post with the conversion, leaving the Scots nine points ahead and able to see out the remainder of the match in relatively comfortable fashion.

Not even a yellow card in the closing moments for a tip tackle could take the shine off Van Der Merwe’s day.

Wales boss Warren Gatland backed Ireland to clinch back-to-back Grand Slam titles after his side suffered a 31-7 Guinness Six Nations defeat in Dublin.

Tries from Dan Sheehan, James Lowe, Ciaran Frawley and Tadhg Beirne kept Andy Farrell’s reigning champions on course to become the first team to achieve the feat in the Six Nations era.

Ireland travel to Twickenham to take on England on March 9 before hosting Scotland on the final weekend of the tournament.

Gatland, who led Wales to three Grand Slams during his first spell in charge, believes Ireland’s ominous march towards another clean sweep will be difficult to stop.

“I think they’re definitely capable of doing it,” he said. “They’ve got the experience and the composure and players who can carry and get them on the front foot.

“I think they will be a hard team to knock over.”

Wales finished the opening period scoreless for the third match on the bounce at 17-0 down.

An improved second-half showing, which brought the consolation of a penalty try followed by a yellow card for Ireland lock Beirne, sparked brief hope of a fightback before the visitors slipped to a third successive loss following narrow defeats to Scotland and England.

Gatland felt his inexperienced team showed “huge heart and character” at the Aviva Stadium and thought the margin of victory flattered the hosts.

“The scoreline at the end probably didn’t reflect the effort we put in,” he said.

“At 17-7, attacking their 22, we didn’t come away with anything.

“We just didn’t get a foothold in the game in the first half. I thought there were a couple of tough calls against us so it was difficult to get momentum.

“I can’t question the effort of the players and how hard they worked.

“We showed some huge heart and character today.

“The scoreline’s probably not right. But it does reflect the difference between the two sides at the moment, where we are and where they are in terms of experience.”

Mick Appleby pulled off another lucrative overseas raid as Annaf landed the Saudi National Bank 1351 Turf Sprint.

The five-year-old was drawn in stall 12 as Rossa Ryan took up the reins in Riyadh, but under a clever ride he was able to take cover on the inside rail when switched across at the rear of the field.

From there he allowed other horses to fold ahead of him and after the home turn, he accelerated away to to cross the line comfortably ahead of Takashi Saito’s La La Christine.

“He gave him a great ride – it’s all down to Rossa, not my training!” Appleby said.

“He keeps improving and keeps surprising us. Where we go next, god knows. He’s got an invite to Japan so we’ll maybe go there next.

“We’ve always thought he was a good horse and that he would get better with age, there’s more to come still.”

Of his recent successes in big oversea events, Appleby, who trained Big Evs to win the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint in November, added: “It’s becoming a habit, sky’s the limit!”

Ryan, who has struck up a good bond with the horse, said: “I’ve always ridden him for luck and it’s always just seemed to work.

“He lets the hard hitters make the running early and just picks up the pieces. Obviously today the trip was a massive concern after he’d won a Portland over five and a half (furlongs), a Group Three over six and was third in a Group One over five.

“He’d shown plenty of speed but he got six furlongs on the grass at Ascot in heavy ground, so it was probably going to weigh up the same.

“We went a right good gallop and when I got out the gates and into stride and in on the rail, I was where I wanted to be.

“Luckily the gaps came and he’s very good. I know he has the pace to get me out of trouble, which is a great thing to have up your sleeve, and he can travel into gaps like good horses can.

“I didn’t have a lot of room but he stuck his head through it and away he went.”

Tower Of London had to pass nearly the whole field but still managed to prevail in the Longines Red Sea Turf Handicap.

Aidan O’Brien’s four-year-old was partnered by Ryan Moore for the Group Three handicap, carrying 9st 5lb on his first run of the year after finishing fourth in the St Leger last season.

Drawn wide in stall 12, the bay tracked across to the inner rail and settled at the rear of the field where he stayed until rounding the final bend.

In the home straight he had all but one or two trailers ahead of him, picking off each rival one by one and eventually drawing level with the race leaders, fellow Europeans Enemy and Giavellotto, before just getting his head in front on the line.

“He’s a lightly-raced horse and the only time he’s really disappointed was on bad ground in the Irish Cesarewitch,” Moore said.

“He’s been working very nicely, he’s a brother to Capri and it’s a family that has done very well for the yard.

“We always held him in high regard, he was drawn a bit awkward and they didn’t have any pace in the race.

“He was able to slide over to the rail and he had to be patient when it didn’t quite pan out as there were a few horses dropping back.

“We eventually got out and put his head down at the right moment and got us out of trouble.”

Forever Young has the Kentucky Derby as his ultimate aim after winning the Boutique Group Saudi Derby for Yoshito Yahagi.

The Japanese runner finished with a flourish to edge out Book’em Danno by a head in a flying finish.

Yahagi said: “He didn’t have a good start. He was wide out and it was a tough race, but he ended up winning, so we are very satisfied. He didn’t like the kickback, so the jockey kept him wide out. Still, he had a very good performance, so I’m very happy about that.

“We will first head to the UAE Derby before hopefully the Kentucky Derby.”

Graeme McDowell was happy to concede defeat to his hero Sir Alex Ferguson, as sporting worlds collided in the Coral Adonis Juvenile Hurdle.

The 2010 US Open champion was represented at Kempton by Harry Derham’s Givemefive, a horse he was obliged to purchase after losing a bet on the golf course to the young handler, and one who McDowell has also persuaded five-time major champion Brooks Koepka to become involved in.

Having impressed his owners watching on from Florida with impressive victories at Market Rasen and Warwick, there was no way the Northern Irishman was missing his biggest assignment to date, calling in at Sunbury on his way to play in the Middle East to get his first ‘in person’ taste of the ownership experience.

While green jackets and Claret Jugs were not up for grabs at Kempton, Givemefive showed all the guts and determination that has always impressed those close to the four-year-old, producing an above-par performance to claim a silver medal.

He went down by the barest of margins to Kalif Du Berlais, with not only Derham’s uncle Paul Nicholls spoiling the party but also the former Manchester United manager Ferguson, who was in Saudi Arabia to watch his Spirit Dancer land a very valuable prize.

“It’s my first experience as an owner live and Harry has made this an unbelievably cool experience,” said McDowell.

“We were gutted but Sir Alex is one of my heroes, so I’m happy to let him have that one there – he looks a hell of a horse as well.

“They think very highly of Kalif Du Berlais and I thought we had it for a second, but it was a lot of fun, it was a great race. I couldn’t have asked for anything more and if he popped his head in front there that would have been dream stuff, but it was a lot of fun.

“There are a lot of parallels to golf and you could get a horse with all the talent in the world, but the wrong attitude and it’s not a champion horse. Givemefive is not the biggest horse in the world, but we love his attitude and his work ethic and the team at Harry’s keep calling him a little dude. That was a hell of an effort.”

The three-quarter-length defeat did little to diminish the enthusiasm of McDowell who admitted to being bitten by the racing drug after this first visit to watch his charge.

He went on: “There’s nothing quite like doing it in the flesh, it’s a first time for me and it’s really cool. It’s a bit of a drug and I can see how people get hooked.

“Brooks was supposed to come, we’re on our way to the Middle East right now and on the road for three weeks, so it was tough to get away for an extra day away from the kids, but I really wanted to come and see this race and it was sort of on the way.

“I flew in this morning and I got a little red eye going, but a few beers and I’ll be OK.”

McDowell revealed Koepka has also been fully engrossed in Givemefive’s progress from his Stateside base and was immediately on the phone in the aftermath of his Kempton appearance.

“I think Brooks wants a stable full of the things and he wants to know if Givemefive is running in the Kentucky Derby this year!” quipped McDowell.

“It’s been a fun experience and Brooks has enjoyed it, he’s texting through and obviously we’re disappointed but we love the effort from Givemefive.

“I think Brooks was wondering what I was dragging him into. The story is Brooks had won his fifth major last year and we had just got Givemefive and we’d spoken about it and I said to him ‘I think we’ve got a horse here you need to get involved with’.

“We have a WhatsApp group and it’s lighting up all the time and Brooks is texting away.”

McDowell and Koepka are far from the first members of the golf fraternity to flirt with horse racing, with the legendary Gary Player, Justin Rose and Lee Westwood just a few who have a keen interest in the sport.

Following Givemefive’s progress has proven far from straightforward due to the busy nature of the golfing calendar, but the latest duo to swap their golf clubs for the racecourse have been extremely impressed by the way Derham has made them feel part of his close-knit community of owners.

McDowell added: “There is a big crossover with golf and horse racing and I have spent a lot of time around guys like JP McManus. I think for the guys growing up in the UK and Ireland like myself, then racing is kind of in the blood.

“I got to know Harry through AP McCoy actually and when he was talking about getting his own yard, I said ‘hey when you do, let’s do something together’. I’m so happy for him and he’s such a nice guy with a great team. It’s been great to see his success and also to be a small part of it.

“I was walking behind Harry coming out from the stables into the paddock and I was thinking ‘this is kind of cool, what you have to do’. You see these guys training at home and getting to see them grow into the athletes they are and then coming out of here and competing.

“We’ve had so much fun so far and Harry and his team have really made it fun and exciting and interactive, living in Florida and still feeling very connected to the yard and the training and everything that is going on.”

In Givemefive, both Koepka and McDowell now have a high-class performer to take them on the next stage of their ownership journey.

Having provided one half of the golfing duo with a day to remember at Kempton, exciting plans for the future will now be formed over a celebratory drink at the 19th hole.

“I’m going to spend some time with Harry because I’ve not seen him since I lost the bet with him in London last year about Givemefive,” said McDowell.

“It was a decent bet to lose and if you are going to lose a bet, it may as well be that one!

“My heart was racing harder than it’s raced for a long time there and with what they think of Kalif Du Berlais and what he could go on to achieve, for Givemefive to hold his own as a smaller horse and to hang in there the way he did shows his work ethic.

“He’s a cool horse and I think we’re going to have some fun with him.”

Spirit Dancer landed another huge prize for part-owner Sir Alex Ferguson when flying home to take the Howden Neom Turf Cup at the Saudi Cup meeting.

Trained by Richard Fahey and co-owned by Ferguson, Ged Mason and Fred Done, the Frankel gelding is the usual ride of jockey Oisin Orr.

The pair travelled out to Bahrain last year to tackle the Group Two Bahrain International Trophy and after succeeding there, they set their sights on the Neom Turf Cup after first visiting Meydan in January.

Another Group Two event, the Neom Turf Cup had attracted a deep field that included Aidan O’Brien’s Luxembourg, Andrew Balding’s The Foxes and John and Thady Gosden’s Jack Darcy.

The latter cut out the running early on and was closely followed by Luxembourg, who was given a positive ride by Ryan Moore and looked the winner in the home straight.

With two furlongs left to travel it was Spirit Dancer who was going best of all, however, cruising down the centre of the track to sweep to an impressive and valuable victory.

Ferguson also bred the horse alongside Niall McLoughlin and said of the performance: “It was fantastic. After the triumph in Bahrain and coming to this level and looking at the field – the performance from Oisin and the horse was unbelievable. Absolutely unbelievable.

“Richard has made the point a few times that the horse hasn’t had a lot of racing, he has been trying to step it up and I think you’ve seen the evidence today.

“Oisin said to me that the horse is improving all the time and the evidence is there. I’m delighted.”

Mason, who owns several other horses over both Flat and National Hunt codes, added: “It still feels like a dream, I have to pinch myself.

“He finished like a steam engine and Alex said ‘He’s a Frankel, remember that’. I’m delighted, it’s absolutely brilliant.

“That was a class act of entries there, that performance was extra special.

“If he doesn’t mind me saying, Alex had a dream this morning and he dreamed that we won!”

Fahey, who has trained the seven-year-old to win eight times now, added: “I’d say it’ll be very hard not to send him to Dubai, we’ll see how he is and make a decision but I’d be a little bit shocked if he doesn’t line up in something on World Cup night.

“I’ve always wanted to stretch him out to a mile and a half, but the horse hasn’t stopped blowing yet, so let him blow and we’ll work it out!

“Any horse that can win on the international scene like this, they become the people’s horse and he’s heading that way.

“He’s got a huge fan base, he’s a progressive horse that’s heading the right way.

“He gets his head down and gallops all the way to the line, people who are involved in horse racing love to see horses do that.”

Military Order denied Lord North a second win in the BetUK Winter Derby Stakes at its new home of Southwell.

Now eight, Lord North was having his third run in the race having also been second in 2022 and it has worked well in teeing him up for the Dubai Turf on World Cup night, which he has won for the last three years.

This time he was having his first run since bagging a hat-trick in that Group One and his lack of race sharpness, and the extra distance now the race takes place over 11 furlongs at Southwell, seemingly caught him out.

Military Order had the benefit of a recent run when second in the trial for this race but this was a definite return to his best form.

Having won the Lingfield Derby Trial last spring, he was sent off a 9-2 chance for the Derby but finished last of the 14 runners and fared little better on his next outing at Chester.

Danny Tudhope always looked confident on Charlie Appleby’s charge, though, and having taken up the running from Forest Of Dean, he was able to able to hold off Lord North’s late run by a length.

Tudhope told Sky Sports Racing: “He travelled great into the race and probably got there too easy. He might have just let me down but today we had a nice pace to aim at.

“He’s a proper horse this fellow and he’s always been highly thought of. That was nice.

“He’s probably a little bit cute and I said to Charlie I’d ride him a bit quieter today. He’d obviously improved for his run as well.

“An extra furlong would be no problem, he’s a lovely, big horse.”

John Gosden, who trains Lord North in partnership with his son Thady, said: “They did a wonderful job with him at Wood Ditton Stud (when injured), a lady called Geraldine looked after him.

“He’s come here at 80 per cent and he’s running over a a lot further than he wants – a mile and three is not his game – but I’m absolutely delighted with him. He’s run a lovely race, enjoyed his day out, he’s having a blow and it will set him up lovely for Dubai.

“It was super run, Rab (Havlin) looked after him well, the winner had had a race and outstayed him. I’d have loved it to have been over a mile and a quarter.”

Diligent Harry showed all of his speed to blaze to victory in the BetUK Hever Sprint Stakes.

Carrying a 3lb penalty following a Listed win last time out, the Clive Cox-trained runner started the 9-4 second favourite under John Fahy and he galloped home for a length victory.

“The way he got into a nice, even rhythm I was always in control, really,” Fahy said.

“I got my hands on his neck and found a good rhythm, he picked up nice and he was just idling a bit in front but he’d enough done.

“He’s not the easiest but that being said, his training is going a lot better this year than it had last year.

“I think he might finally be showing us the horse we’ve seen all along at home.

“Sometimes he hits the lids very sharp and you’re fighting a losing battle trying to hang on to him but a fast pace, where you can get your hands on his neck and find a rhythm, probably suits him.”

I Am Maximus booked his Randox Grand National ticket with an easy victory over last year’s Aintree runner-up Vanillier in the Tote.ie Bobbyjo Chase at Fairyhouse.

Trained by Willie Mullins, I Am Maximus was returning to the scene of his finest hour having won the Irish Grand National last season and after this display, he is now a general 12-1 chance for Aintree on April 13.

Mullins used the Bobbjyo as an Aintree prep for Hedgehunter, who went on to win on Merseyside in 2005, but I Am Maximus looked to face a stiff task giving 12lb away to Gavin Cromwell’s Vanillier.

Jody McGarvey did the steering on the evens favourite, travelling well throughout the near three-mile-two-furlong affair before thoroughly asserting his authority in the straight, cruising home by 14 lengths.

Mullins said: “I thought it was a magnificent performance considering how badly he jumped going away from the stands.

“He just missed one or two there and Jody left him alone and let him find his own feet.

“When he got half down the back and around the fifth last once he saw the stands, I think he just clicked into a another gear.

“I don’t know how good he is but he’s certainly improving with every run. However, he does love Fairyhouse and maybe this is his track, he certainly has an engine.

“It’s very hard to quicken in this ground, he has a big engine in there.

“I’d imagine he goes for the Grand National, he would look a Gold Cup horse in time but I’d imagine Aintree is his objective.

“I’m not worried about ground for him. I don’t know how good he is yet because he just keeps improving.”

Sean Flanagan was not too disappointed with Vanillier’s effort in second, with the gelding having finished a half-length second in the race last year to Kemboy before going on to the National itself.

Vanillier will have a reduced 8lb advantage over I Am Maximus at Aintree and his rider is eager for the big day.

He said: “I’m very happy and I think he’s run better in the race this year than he did last year. There were a lot higher quality horses in the race this year.

“He’s probably got going a bit early in the race, but I wanted to get a proper race into him as I didn’t think they were going to go quick. Without forcing him I was trying to force the tempo of the race. I think he’s ran well.

“I’m looking forward to Aintree.”

Forward Plan came from the clouds to deny Al Dancer victory in the Coral Trophy Handicap Chase at Kempton.

Dylan Johnston was positive from the off aboard the grey Al Dancer, making full use of his 5lb allowance aboard the Sam Thomas-trained runner in the three-mile feature.

Despite looking a sitting duck at the top of the straight as half a dozen jockeys appeared to be travelling better than Al Dancer, one by one they began to come under pressure.

Flegmatik, Killer Kane, Bowtogreatness and Blackjack Magic were giving chase but approaching the last, Al Dancer appeared to have them all cooked.

However, despite his chance seemingly having disappeared on jumping the second last, Forward Plan got a second wind and began to make ground and when he met the last running, he had momentum firmly on his side.

Anthony Honeyball’s charge, beaten just a short head in the Great Yorkshire Chase last time out, fairly flew up the run in and came home a comfortable length-and-a-quarter winner for Ben Godfrey.

“This race was always on the agenda for this lad and we were always going to go to Doncaster because we thought it would suit him and it did,” said Honeyball.

“We got beat a nose at Doncaster and you just think ‘are we going to get that chance again?’. But he is a horse who is just progressing nicely and our initial thought today was the going had gone too soft, but he’s proved he does go on it and today was three miles, rather than three-mile-two.

“Doncaster is definitely home games for him and we will be back here with him, that’s for sure. We were always working back from this and you can’t do anything about the weather.

“We were all geared up to run and he’s not going to run again until Aintree, so we thought if the ground is too soft today and that finds us out, at least we’ve got a nice race to go to in the spring where the ground might be better. Now it doesn’t matter what the ground is like at Aintree.

“He’s not very big, but he travels and he’s a handy horse who you can put where you want. I suppose he’s handy for races like this because he can travel away and he has a few gears. You have obviously got to be good enough to have a few gears and he had enough in reserve (stamina wise) to use them.

“Aintree will be next, the race we won with Sam Brown a few years ago.”

Honeyball also reserved plenty of praise for Godfrey, who was celebrating the biggest success of his fledgling riding career.

He continued: “It’s one of the biggest wins of any jockey’s career, it’s a £150,000 race and in a handicap what is there worth more than that?

“Ben has been based with us since he claimed 7lb. He just knows the horses and is learning to be cool and calm in a race.

“He’s gaining some great experience in races like this and on this horse in particular and it’s really standing him in good stead. He’s finding himself in the right places quite often which is not an easy thing.”

Ireland kept their quest for successive Guinness Six Nations Grand Slam titles on track by brushing aside spirited Wales with a dominant 31-7 victory in Dublin.

Andy Farrell’s men backed up crushing wins over France and Italy with a third consecutive bonus-point triumph to keep themselves in pole position for further championship glory.

First-half tries from Dan Sheehan and James Lowe paved the way for the reigning champions to equal England’s tournament record of 11 wins in a row.

Wales avoided embarrassment at the Aviva Stadium and briefly threatened an improbable fightback thanks to a second-half spell which brought a penalty try and a yellow card for Tadhg Beirne.

But a first Test try for stand-in Ireland full-back Ciaran Frawley broke their resolve before Beirne atoned for his earlier error by securing the bonus point at the death on an afternoon when flawless fly-half Jack Crowley kicked 11 points.

Ireland’s ominous march towards another clean sweep continues next month against England and Scotland, while winless Wales host France in round four ahead of a possible wooden spoon shoot-out with Italy.

A largely inexperienced Wales team crossed the Irish Sea as overwhelming underdogs on the back of narrow defeats to the Scots and Steve Borthwick’s side.

Visiting head coach Warren Gatland insisted he travelled with belief rather than hope and urged his players to make “everything uncomfortable” for the fancied hosts.

Wales’ bid to disrupt began with some colossal defending as the home team’s early dominance was initially rewarded only by a long-range Crowley penalty.

Yet Ireland’s well-oiled machine persisted with wave after wave of attack to break down the staunch resistance and take control of the scoreboard.

Hooker Sheehan powered over at the end of a line-out maul in the 21st minute to claim his fourth try of the tournament before Calvin Nash later teed up Lowe to touch down in the left corner.

Wales finally enjoyed some forays into Ireland’s 22 just before the break.

But Sam Costelow’s decision to kick a penalty to the corner failed to pay off, while a couple of costly fumbles ensured they went into half-time scoreless for a third match on the bounce, at 17-0 down.

Any potential fears Wales had of joining Italy in being nilled in Dublin were extinguished within three minutes of the restart as Tomos Williams’ quick tap penalty led to a momentum shift.

Italian referee Andrea Piardi awarded a penalty try at the end of a lengthy review of a collapsed maul on Ireland’s line, with Beirne sent to the sin bin for illegally changing his bind.

Fired-up Wales were well and truly in the ascendancy at that stage but failed to make further inroads on the scoreboard in Beirne’s absence before Ireland restored order.

After the bulldozing Bundee Aki was denied a try on review for Robbie Henshaw’s knock on, Frawley, deputising for the injured Hugo Keenan, gleefully dived under the posts to celebrate his first Test start in style.

Wales came close to a consolation score in the closing minutes, during which Ireland replacement James Ryan was sent to the sin bin.

Yet, with Beirne’s late finish compounding their misery, they ultimately slipped to a 10th defeat from their last 11 Six Nations fixtures as their wait for a first championship win in Dublin since 2012 goes on.

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