For all the talk about not only breaking a 16-year medal drought but also improving on the quality of their three bronze medals won in the Netball World Cup history, Jamaica's Sunshine Girls will face their moment of truth when they square off against Australia in what is expected to be a nail-biting semi-final contest in Cape Town, South Africa on Saturday.
The Connie Francis-coached Sunshine Girls will enter the encounter brimming with confidence, having won all six games contested at the tournament so far, the most recent one being a 59-48 triumph over reigning champions and number two-ranked New Zealand on Wednesday.
Though Australia suffered a last minute 55-56 defeat to England in their top of the table clash, Francis is well aware of the quality the 11-time World Cup champions possess and, as such, knows her team has to produce their best and most efficient performance of the tournament if they are to continue their gold medal hunt.
Game time is 8:00am Jamaica time, after Emgland and New Zealand contest the other semi-final. 
“We are expecting it to be another tough game, but we are intent on going into this match the same way we did all the others. The ladies know what is at stake, so I expect them to play hard and execute all the strategies while enjoying the game and work as a unit by supporting each other,” Francis said.
In their previous meetings at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England, the Jamaicans defeated Australia 57-55 in group stage play, but lost the all-important final 51-55 to the Australians and had to settle for silver.
While it is not a gold medal contest on this occasion, Australia stands in the way of Francis and her team possibly giving the country much more than just Independence Day to celebrate on August 6.
“Victory here and making it into the finals on Sunday, would mean a lot for these ladies who are hungry and determine to win a World Cup medal and it would also to give our country something special to celebrate for Independence.
“So, it is just about maintaining our focus and limiting our attacking turnovers as best as possible. So far in this tournament it has been remarkably low, but we hope we can get it even lower by looking for easier options where the passes are concerned. I am extremely happy with how they have performed up to this point, but this is our make-or-break moment so again we are expecting their best," Francis noted.
Recollecting the win over New Zealand, Francis pointed out that the day off was well deserved, even though it was one that the number four-ranked Sunshine Girls used to lock into game plans and strategies, which is testament to their determination to go all the way.
“They performed to expectations against New Zealand, and they are hoping to take lessons from that game into this one. Having a day's break helped us to work on different combinations that work successfully against the different style of play, and we are hoping that will come to the fore here,” Francis stated.
“I can't stress enough that we have to execute our game plans well and must be clinical in the shooting circle while maintaining our composure in mid court and defence for the entire game.
 We are just going out there against Australia to play our brand of netball with confidence, strong in mind and body,” she ended.

Brazil bounced back from disappointment over hurdles 24 hours earlier to bag a big prize on the Flat at Galway on Friday.

Winner of the Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle at Cheltenham in March last year, he was pulled up in the Galway Hurdle on Thursday.

But the Padraig Roche-trained, JP McManus-owned five-year-old showed no ill effects back on the level in €110,000 Guinness Premier Handicap over a mile and a half, powering home to edge 5-2 favourite Teed Up and Chally Chute by a head and the same in the hands of Niall McCullagh.

“Yesterday was the plan, but unfortunately that didn’t go to plan and in fairness to Mark (Walsh) he looked after him,” said Roche following the victory of the 14-1 chance. “We had him in today and it was great, Niall gave him a great ride, so I’m delighted.

“When I was only a young lad, Niall was in India when dad (Christy Roche) was over there so I’ve known Niall a long time. It’s great and he gave him a great ride.”

On being pulled up in the Galway Hurdle he added: “Look it’s Galway, the start is everything. Fair play to Mark he looked after him and he knew he was in today. He’s a hardy horse and there’s no bother with him. He came back, ate up last night and was bouncing this morning so we said we’d give him a chance.

“His pedigree is great, he came from Ballydoyle and I’m lucky to have a horse like him.

“He has a load of options, it was a bit morbid last night but today is great. It’s a great game.”

Toss Again (11-2) produced a performance full of class to win the Guinness Galway Blazers Handicap.

With just one previous outing over fences to his name when winning a beginners’ chase at Limerick in May, the Henry de Bromhead-trained six-year-old belied his inexperience with a fine round of jumping.

Pressed hard on the long run for home, Darragh O’Keeffe’s mount was not for passing, with a length and three-quarters the margin over Quantum Realm.

De Bromhead – who has a fine recent record in the valuable handicap – said: “I’m delighted for Tom O’Connor, his owner. He and his brother and his mum are here, so that’s great. He was brilliant, and Darragh was brilliant on him.

“It’s only his first run in a handicap and second run over fences, obviously he lacked experience but his jumping is savage and he was brilliant the whole way.

“I thought it (handicap rating) was fair, off his hurdle mark. We hoped he had improved for fences, he won his beginners’ chase nicely in Limerick. The lack of experience around here (was a worry), but you wouldn’t have thought it with the way he jumped.

“He really stayed at it and I thought Darragh gave him a super ride.

“We won’t rush, today was the plan and he’s still a novice. He has options.

“He probably prefers nicer ground, I’d say he’s better on better ground.”

The redoubtable Hamish bagged his sixth win at Group Three level in the l’Ormarins King’s Plate Glorious Stakes at Goodwood.

The lightly-raced seven-year-old had won eight of his 16 previous starts in all, most recently pipping Scriptwriter to success in the John Smith’s Silver Cup at York three weeks ago.

Trainer William Haggas declared Hamish for a stellar renewal of the King George at Ascot last weekend, but fast ground scuppered his participation and he instead arrived at Goodwood as a 5-6 favourite in the hands of Tom Marquand.

Ridden patiently in midfield for much of the mile-and-a-half-contest, the son of Motivator – who is owned by the trainer’s father, Brian – burst into it late before powering to a four-length verdict over Jack Darcy, with the winner’s stablemate, Candleford, best of the rest in third.

Haggas said: “The horse has been an absolute nightmare today to saddle. Poor Maureen (wife) has been jumped on about eight times, she’s got blood coming out of the top of her head because the horse struck her, but she adores this horse and she does everything with him. I’m taking no credit myself, the credit and the praise should go to her.

“I rang my father, who is a very proud Yorkshireman, and said ‘he’s been a bloody nightmare today, when he’s like this he never runs his best’, and he said ‘I think he’s like the north!’.

“He’s quite good at York, the horse, so he’s probably right.”

He went on: “I didn’t think this was a strong race for the grade and he was always travelling well. Tom said after the race this was the best the horse has felt this year. He scrambled home a bit at York last time, and while he likes a bit of cut in the ground he likes it wet.

“He won and poor Candleford was cantering, but got lost in the ground – it’s too tacky for him. He wants top of the ground. Candleford ran a good race, but Hamish was better.

“He won’t run in the Ebor. He’s hard to place, and while people said I should have run him in the King George I couldn’t do that on drying ground. You can run in a race like this on drying ground, but the King George is a different thing. My father quickly pointed out he has only run against one of this year’s King George horses, and that was Hukum and he beat him (in the September Stakes at Kempton in 2021)! He was lambasting me for not running.

“The Irish St Leger is a possibility, but he wants soft ground. We’ve been lucky this summer – ha, ha, what summer? – that we’ve had some soft ground. He’s run twice in a fortnight, while last year we couldn’t get anything out of him at all.”

Hamish was making it a good two days for the Haggas team, after the King and Queen’s Desert Hero booked his St Leger ticket with victory on Thursday.

Confirming Doncaster for the world’s oldest Classic as the plan, Haggas said: “He’s in the Voltigeur, but doesn’t need to run there, so all being well he will go straight to the Leger. I think we ought to try it because there’s plenty of stamina on the dam’s side and he’s by Sea The Stars, a very versatile stallion.

“He has a chance of getting the trip. Gregory will be hard to beat, but we will give it a go.”

Bouwahjgie Nkrumie and Jeevan Newby are both into the final of the Men’s 100m as the 2023 Pan-Am Junior Championships got underway on Friday at the Jose A. Figueroa Freire Stadium in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico.

Newby, who was runner-up at Jamaica’s National Junior Championships in July, narrowly won heat two of three in 10.75 into a -2.7 m/s headwind to advance to the final. The USA’s Cameron Tarver finished just one hundredth of a second behind to also progress.

Nkrumie, who became the first Jamaican junior to run under 10 seconds when he ran 9.99 for gold at the ISSA Boys and Girls Championships in March, ran a comfortable 10.60 into a -2.6 m/s headwind to win his heat and advance. Puerto Rico’s Adrian Canales Correa also made it through with 10.67 while Antigua and Barbuda’s Shaviqua Bascus ran 10.76 to advance as well.

The fastest qualifier to the final was the USA’s Tyler Azcano who ran 10.58 to win the first heat ahead of Canada’s Storm Zablocki (10.72) and Antigua and Barbuda’s Ajani Daley (10.74). Both Zablocki and Daley made it through to the final.

On the Women’s side, Jamaica’s Alana Reid and Asharria Ulett as well as Barbados’ Khristel Martindale all made it through to the final.

Reid, Jamaica’s national junior record holder with 10.92 done at the ISSA Boys and Girls Championships in March, ran 11.96 into a -2.6 m/s headwind to win heat three. Ulett ran 12.14 to finish fourth in heat two and progress while Martindale ran 12.19 to finish second in heat one.

The American pair of Kaila Jackson and Camryn Dickson were the fastest qualifiers with times of 11.47 and 11.75, respectively.

Both finals are set for Friday night.

Highfield Princess belatedly opened her account for the campaign with a runaway victory in the King George Qatar Stakes at Goodwood.

John Quinn’s superstar mare won three times at Group One level last term, landing the Prix Maurice de Gheest at Deauville, the Nunthorpe at York and the Flying Five at the Curragh.

She had to make do with minor honours in her first three outings of this season, but having placed in both the King’s Stand and the Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot in June she was the 4-9 favourite to get back on the winning trail.

Those who took the cramped odds about the six-year-old will have had few concerns for the duration of the five-furlong contest, with Highfield Princess initially taking a lead Czech raider Ponntos before bursting to the lead.

White Lavender came from out of the pack and just briefly threatened to make a race of it, but Highfield Princess found another gear in the last half-furlong under her regular partner Jason Hart and had three lengths in hand at the line.

Paddy Power make the winner their 2-1 favourite from 11-4 to successfully defend her Nunthorpe crown at York on August 25.

Epictetus inflicted a shock defeat on the much-vaunted Nostrum to land the Bonhams Thoroughbred Stakes at Goodwood.

Winner of his first two juvenile starts before finishing third in the Dewhurst, the Sir Michael Stoute-trained Nostrum was considered a legitimate Classic contender at the start of the year before injury ruled him out of the first half of the season.

Having made a dominant comeback in the Listed Sir Henry Cecil Stakes at Newmarket last month, there was talk of a tilt at Group One glory in the Sussex Stakes, but connections instead elected to take another step forward in this Group Three contest.

For much of the one-mile journey the race appeared to be going according to script, with Ryan Moore adopting the same pacesetting tactics which worked so impressively at Newmarket three weeks ago aboard the 4-6 market leader – but it was a clear with a furlong to run he had a race on his hands.

Having sat in Nostrum’s slipstream throughout, the John and Thady Gosden-trained Epictetus produced the better finishing kick of the pair and passed the post with a length in hand under Frankie Dettori.

Of the vanquished favourite, Stoute’s assistant James Savage said: “Ryan thought he had the horse in the perfect place and that the race was for us, but in the last 100 yards he said it was like having a puncture.

“We always thought he would handle cut in the ground, but it found him out in the final 100 yards.

“He’s never not hit the line and we felt he just didn’t hit the line today. We’ll give him a good check over and regroup.

“All of our horses are trained to hit their heights at a certain time, and this horse – for sure he’s a very good horse this year, but he will be an even better horse next year.”

Epictetus, trained by John and Thady Gosden, was a 6-1 shot to notch a first win since making a successful reappearance at Epsom in April, having since failed to trouble the judge in the Dante, the French Derby or the Hampton Court Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Dropping back to a mile for the first time this season Epictetus looked the real deal, much to the delight of his connections.

“The horse has shown plenty of speed over a mile and two (furlongs), we thought he’d progress to a mile and a quarter this year,” said Thady Gosden.

“Obviously it hasn’t necessarily panned out, he’s run good races without getting his head in front but dropping him down in trip today on ground he’s enjoyed has suited him well.

“It was a perfect ride. He broke well, sat where he was happy on the fence and it panned out, he followed Ryan and it was a Houdini move to get out of there with a furlong to go. Being Frankie, he obviously managed to do it!

“Obviously there is a mile race back here, the Celebration Mile, which fits in well.”

Dettori added: “We tried three times over a mile and two furlongs and we always had an excuse – the ground, the competition in the Jockey Club, and we thought maybe George (Strawbridge, owner) was right when he said, ‘Maybe you guys are running this horse too long!’

“John and Thady found this race over a mile and the favourite looked very hard to beat, I had a good passage and he passed the horse and was not stopping, I give him full credit

“He is ready to go up in grade – the Celebration Mile in three weeks springs to mind and then there are lots of races in the autumn – at Newmarket, maybe over Arc weekend. He has beat a decent field today in style and we can go back and make big plans.

“As he handles some ease in the ground, we can look to the autumn.”

Annabelle Hadden-Wight produced a composed performance to land the Markel Magnolia Cup aboard Scott Dixon’s Fosroc.

The 22-year-old, who is a work rider and racing secretary to trainer Jack Jones, partnered the seven-year-old gelding known under rules as Ebury.

The partnership got off to a good start over the five-and-a-half-furlong trip and travelled near the head of the field, pulling away two furlongs from home and holding on to narrowly finish ahead of the closing rival Eliza McCalmont.

“It has not really sunk in, it was so much fun, I want to do it all over again! I have only ridden the horse once and I didn’t know what to expect,” said Hadden-Wight.

“He jumped really well, we got a good start, and I was in front most of the way, and I had two each side and I decided that I was not going to let them come past.

“My legs were good, but I did jump off and my knees buckled. I am pretty tired now!

“It has been an amazing experience, a lot of cameras, but the whole thing has been really well organised and we have been very well looked after.”

The victory had a special poignancy for Hadden-Wight, who at one point thought she would never walk again, let alone ride, after falling ill with meningitis when she was 18.

“Four years ago I was in the Philippines and I got really ill on my 18th birthday on just the second day we were there,” she explained.

“I ended up spending months and months out there – I had meningitis with lots of complications and my legs weren’t working, I was in a wheelchair. They said I may never walk or ride again.

“After making a full recovery, I like to take every opportunity, it really changed my outlook on life. It was for the best, but at the time pretty scary.

“It is so nice to have my friends and family here, some I have not seen for ages.

“Mum is here, she is not horsey at all and has found the whole thing terrifying!”

Free Wind looks to put defeat at Royal Ascot behind her in the Qatar Lillie Langtry Stakes at Goodwood on Saturday.

A winner at Group Three and Group Two level in 2021, the daughter of Galileo made just one competitive appearance last season, claiming another Group Two prize in the Lancashire Oaks at Haydock.

She made a successful comeback in the Middleton at York in May and having seen the runner-up Rogue Millennium go one better in the Duke of Cambridge Stakes, Free Wind was a hot favourite to claim a Royal Ascot success of her own in the Hardwicke.

Supporters of John and Thady Gosden’s mare were ultimately left counting their losses, with the five-year-old beaten three lengths into fifth place by the popular winner Pyledriver – but hopes are high that she can get back her head back on track with plenty in her favour.

Thady Gosden said: “She won the Middleton over a trip below her optimum on her first run of the year and then she found the ground a little too fast for her by the Saturday of Ascot.

“Obviously we’ve had rain at Goodwood this week and there’s more forecast. Hopefully it doesn’t get too deep, but she seems to be in good form.

“She has course form and we’re looking forward to running her.”

Connections of Time Lock began the year with high hopes after the Frankel filly pushed fellow high-class Juddmonte-owned filly Haskoy close in the Galtres Stakes at York last summer.

She kicked off her campaign with a runner-up finish to Luisa Casati in a Listed race at Goodwood and has since finished fourth in both the Pinnacle Stakes and the Lancashire Oaks at Haydock.

Having expected the prevailing quick ground on Merseyside to suit the four-year-old, Juddmonte’s racing manager Barry Mahon is now looking forward to seeing her return to an easier surface.

“She’s in good form and we think a mile and six (furlongs) will bring out a bit more improvement in her,” he said.

“It’s similar opposition to what she’s met so far, apart from Free Wind.

“I think we’ve got her wrong ground-wise. Last year one of her most impressive performances was on quick ground at Newmarket and she looked to skip off it, but Ryan (Moore) felt she really didn’t like it at Haydock.

“Looking at her we always thought she wanted soft ground, but that performance at Newmarket had us thinking we were wrong.

“Over a mile and six with a bit of cut in the ground, I’m not saying she’ll win, but I think she’ll be competitive.”

Luisa Casati beat Time Lock at Goodwood in the spring, but finished a length behind her when fifth in last month’s Lancashire Oaks.

Her trainer Tom Ward also expects a return to softer ground to yield an improved performance.

“She’s in good shape and I thought she ran well the other day at Haydock, although she got back in a slowly-run race on slightly quicker ground than ideal,” he said.

“A step up in trip and slower ground should really suit her, so she’s going there with a nice chance on Saturday I hope.

“She likes the track, it’s not a big field and Richard (Kingscote) knows her well, so fingers crossed.”

River Of Stars is a leading contender for Ralph Beckett, having backed up a York success over Free Wind’s stablemate Mimikyu with a narrow defeat in a French Group Two three weeks ago.

Gosden second string Ghara, Roger Varian’s Peripatetic, Paul and Oliver Cole’s Sumo Sam and Divina Grace from Rae Guest’s yard complete the field.

Charlie Hills has few qualms about either the ground or the draw for lightly-raced sprinter Orazio, who is a warm order for the ultra-competitive Coral Stewards’ Cup at Goodwood on Saturday.

The four-year-old, who came home sixth in the Wokingham at Royal Ascot, is the sponsors’ favourite for the six-furlong cavalry charge.

Jockey Jim Crowley will ride the Caravaggio colt for the first time, as he bids for another big-race victory, following successes with Hukum in last weekend’s King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot and Al Husn in the Nassau Stakes on Thursday.

Crowley partnered Khaadem to win the race in 2019 for Hills, who also landed the prize four years earlier with Magical Memory.

Drawn in stall six and proven on easy ground, Hills is confident of Orazio’s chance.

He said: “Orazio will like the ground, which was too firm at Ascot. He’s nicely drawn and though a short-priced favourite, the trip and ground should be perfect for him.”

The Lambourn handler also fields Tanmawwy, drawn in stall eight of the maximum 28-runner field.

The mount of Connor Planas, the five-year-old has won five of his 12 starts and bids to follow up a Windsor handicap success under a 6lb penalty.

Hills added: “Tanmawwy won nicely at Windsor and will like the ground. I think he’s entitled to go well and is no slouch. You can’t rule him out.”

Peter Charalambous, who owns and bred Apollo One, is happy enough with a draw near the stands rail in stall 27.

The five-year-old has won four and been placed on eight other occasions in 23 starts and has thrice gone close to picking up a big handicap prize this term, finishing runner-up on his last two, in the in the JRA Tokyo Trophy at Epsom and in the Wokingham at Royal Ascot.

Charalambous, who holds a joint training licence with James Clutterbuck, said: “I’m happy with the draw. We’d probably like to have some rain on Saturday to loosen up the sticky ground.

“He ran well at Ascot, but probably just did a bit too much in front and could have done with a little bit of a lead, but he ran a great race.

“The ground is the only slight concern. I wouldn’t put anyone off having a bet and I wouldn’t tell anyone to have a bet!”

Badri, drawn in stall 18, beat Apollo One by a neck at Epsom and was runner-up over five furlongs at Ascot last month.

“It is one of those lottery races, unless you happen to have a Group horse lurking there – which obviously we don’t!” said trainer Ruth Carr.

“You never know. He’s in good form and has held his form well. Hopefully the ground will dry out a bit. It had dried out at Ascot from what it was given as (good to soft).

“That six furlongs should suit and we go there on the back of a good run. We’d be hopeful that he could sneak a bit of prize money.

“I don’t think going up in trip will be a problem. There’s a lot of downhill and we won over a stiff six at Newcastle, albeit off a lower mark.

“He’s been consistent – the sort of horse you dream about owning and training, and even better he’s taking us to the bigger meetings.

“At the beginning of this year we thought we had an all-weather horse, and we wouldn’t be thinking he’d be a Stewards’ Cup horse.”

Mr Wagyu is 5lb below his previous winning mark, having had 13 races since taking a valuable handicap at the Curragh last July.

Beaten under three lengths in the Wokingham, Jason Hart’s mount, who is drawn in stall 14, will be one who will handle softer conditions.

Trainer John Quinn said: “He’s had three very good runs and ran very well in the Wokingham, where he had a hard race. I ran him back too quick (at Thirsk) – it was my fault.

“He won the Stewards’ Cup consolation race a couple of years ago here on soft ground, so soft ground won’t bother him. He’s pretty consistent and he bolted up off 91 and he is 95 on Saturday – he has a squeak.”

Ed Walker is delighted Came From The Dark, drawn in stall 10, gets into the race at the foot of the handicap.

David Egan’s mount has been dropping down the handicap despite a string of decent efforts in defeat this term and the Newmarket handler feels he will be one sprinter who will benefit from the recent rain.

“He’ll love the ground,” said Walker. “Now he is getting a bit older, he needs that step back up to six (furlongs). I’m excited.

“He is a horse who has plenty of problems and to be honest, he is a horse who has not got many runs left in him.

“But if he can recapture some of his earlier form this year, I reckon he will go close, because he has been tumbling down the weights. I think he’ll run a big race, I really do.”

Makanah, a close-up seventh last year for Julie Camacho, is 4lb lower this time and her husband and assistant Steve Brown, feels he could figure in the finish again.

“He ran really well last year and with the benefit of hindsight Paul (Mulrennan) might have done one or two things differently, as we were prominent throughout. We just got caught close home,” said Brown.

“Soft ground should be fine, he’s won on soft ground. My main concern it looks like being a real ‘draw’ race, with a bias up the stands side.

“He is in really good form and we’ve had this in mind since Newcastle. He’s been trained for the day. We hope he runs well. We were really proud of him last year and off a lower mark, you’d like to think he’d be a little bit closer this year on ground he doesn’t mind.”

India and West Indies have been fined for maintaining a slow over-rate in the first T20 International in Trinidad and Tobago on August 3.

India was fined five per cent of their match fee for falling one over short of the minimum over rate, while West Indies have been fined 10 per cent of their match fee for falling two overs short of the minimum over rate.

Richie Richardson of the Emirates ICC Elite Panel of Match Referees imposed the sanction after Hardik Pandya and Rovman Powell’s sides were ruled to be one and two overs short respectively of the target after time allowances were taken into consideration.

In accordance with Article 2.22 of the ICC Code of Conduct for Players and Player Support Personnel, which relates to minimum over-rate offences, players are fined five per cent of their match fees for every over their side fails to bowl in the allotted time, subject to a cap of 50 per cent of the match fee.

Pandya and Powell pleaded guilty to the offences and accepted the proposed sanctions, so there was no need for a formal hearing.

On-field umpires Gregory Brathwaite and Patrick Gustard, third umpire Nigel Duguid and fourth umpire Leslie Reifer leveled the charges.

Little Big Bear will miss out on a planned appearance in the Prix Maurice de Gheest at Deauville on Sunday after suffering a stone bruise.

The No Nay Never colt was brilliant in winning four of his five starts as as a juvenile, but his three-year-old campaign has so far not quite gone according to plan.

Aidan O’Brien’s charge returned lame after contesting the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket – and while he bounced back to winning ways in the Sandy Lane at Haydock under Frankie Dettori, he had to make do with the runner-up spot behind Shaquille in the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot.

Having subsequently endured a nightmare passage in the July Cup, Little Big Bear was on Thursday supplemented for the Deauville feature at a cost of almost €30,000. However, he was not declared on Friday morning and O’Brien revealed why he we will not be making the trip to France this weekend.

“He just has a stone bruise so he doesn’t run,” said the Ballydoyle handler.

In Little Big Bear’s absence a field of 10 are set to go to post for the six-and-a-half-furlong Group One, including a seven-strong British contingent.

The raiding party is headed Tim Easterby’s Art Power, who a fortnight ago won the Group Two Sapphire Stakes to maintain his unbeaten record at the Curragh.

Karl Burke saddles Hackwood Stakes third Cold Case as well as Spycatcher, who heads back across the Channel following a Group Three success at Deauville four weeks ago.

Archie Watson’s Saint Lawrence, the David Evans-trained Rohaan, Andrew Balding’s Sandrine and Brad The Brief from Hugo Palmer’s yard are also in the mix.

The West Indies secured a narrow four-run win over India at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy on Thursday to go 1-0 up in their five-match T20I series.

The hosts posted a subpar 149-6 from their 20 overs after winning the toss and batting first.

Captain Rovman Powell hit a 32-ball 48 to lead the West Indies while Nicholas Pooran, fresh off a brilliant 137* to lead MI New York to the Major League cricket title on Sunday, continued his good form with 41 off 34 balls.

Powell hit three fours and as many sixes while Pooran hit two fours and two maximums.

Brandon King had earlier hit 28 as Yuzvendra Chahal and Arshdeep Singh each took two wickets.

India’s chase didn’t start well losing openers Shubman Gill and Ishan Kishan in the first powerplay with just 28 runs on the board.

A 39-run third wicket partnership between Suryakumar Yadav and debutant Tilak Varma provided some stability for the Indians before they fell in quick succession leaving India 77-4 after 11 overs.

Varma made a top score of 39 while Yadav made 21.

Hardik Pandya (19), Sanju Samson (12) and Axar Patel (13) were next to go.

India eventually found themselves 140-8 needing 10 to win off the last over with Kuldeep Yadav and Arshdeep Singh at the crease facing Romario Shepherd.

The first ball of the last over saw Shepherd bowl a brilliant Yorker to dismiss Yadav. India lost a second wicket in the over when Singh was run out by Shimron Hetmyer for 11 leaving India needing six runs of the last ball with one wicket in hand.

In the end, Shepherd’s last ball was hit for just a single by Mukesh Kumar meaning India ended up 145-9, securing the win and a 1-0 series lead for the hosts.

Jason Holder was excellent with the ball with 2-19 from his four overs while Shepherd and Obed McCoy also took a pair of wickets, each.

The second T20I will take place on Sunday at the Providence Stadium in Guyana.

The aptly-named Zarak The Brave had to dig deep to fend off Jesse Evans to land the valuable Guinness Galway Hurdle.

A smart juvenile hurdler last season, some thought he may lack the required experience for such a test but he found plenty for pressure to deny last year’s runner-up, meaning Noel Meade’s Jesse Evans has now been placed in the race three times.

Mighty Tom had taken up the running from Cash Back three out and was still in with a chance when joined at the last.

However, Willie Mullins’ Zarak The Brave took it up under Paul Townend and could not have shown more determination in first fending off My Mate Mozzie, then the late thrust of Sean Flanagan’s mount.

Zarak The Brave (9-2) held on to score by a head from Jesse Evans, with My Mate Mozzie three-quarters of a length further back in third.

It was Mullins’ fifth win in the race since 2016 and his third in the last four years.

Christopher Head felt the tactical nature of the Qatar Nassau Stakes meant Goodwood racegoers did not get to see odds-on favourite Blue Rose Cen at her best.

Blue Rose Cen, who had won both the French 1000 Guineas and French Oaks, got little luck in running under Aurelien Lemaitre and she could finish only fourth behind surprise winner Al Husn.

Lemaitre ended up stuck behind Ryan Moore aboard the eventual runner-up Above The Curve and failed to quicken when the belated gap finally arrived.

Head said: “It was a good opportunity to challenge for a Group One, but things didn’t work out for her. I will have to speak to the owners and we will discuss a plan. It could include the Prix de l’Opéra.”

He went on: “It was a very tactical race so of course it was a possibility that kind of thing could happen. She ran a nice race, she did her race, and for sure would have been closer in a different position.

“I still think Blue Rose Cen ran a very nice race and she will get into the rest of the programme at the end of the season.

“It’s different here, so we need to respect and go into the racing with the fact that, even with a strong possibility of winning, there is still a possibility to fail.”

On Lemaitre having not ridden at Goodwood before, the Chantilly-based handler added: “The Yeguada Centurion team and Leopold (Fernandez Pujals, owner) are always interested in working with the young ones for the future, because it’s important for them to build a team that follows them and we are still working together. Of course, Aurelien was part of the team.

“We will have to discuss with Leopoldo and we will come back with a programme.

“I need to talk to see what the team want to do with her. This was a nice opportunity because we need to exist at that type of race. It hasn’t been won by France since the beginning, so it was still a challenge.”

Nashwa found a combination of soft ground and an extra two furlongs from the Falmouth Stakes, in which she was at her brilliant best, costing her dearly as she finished in third place.

Thady Gosden felt the ground blunted the class of Hollie Doyle’s mount.

He said: “She’s run a very good race, obviously. They went a slow pace and it’s very difficult to pick up in this ground.

“She travelled into the race well but you can’t quicken on ground like this and that’s sucked the class out of her.

“She ran on very well, but she’s a filly who won last over a mile and she showed a brilliant turn of foot there in ground that was soft, but obviously not as soft and easier to quicken through, whereas today she’s run a very good race but couldn’t quite show that brilliance we’ve seen before with her.

“It was a testing mile and a quarter but they didn’t go overly fast in front, and obviously the winner is a very good filly. Hollie gave her a great ride.”

Doyle also pointed to the extra two furlongs not playing to her strengths, with the winner franking the form of their previous clash in the Hoppings Stakes on the all-weather at Newcastle.

She said: “There was no pace early on, but she relaxed beautifully. They got racing early enough coming down the hill and I was just trying to sit and hold on to her as long as I could, and I went there with a double handful at the two-pole.

“A furlong and a half out I went to win my race, pushed the button and she quickened. I just think in the final furlong I lacked a bit of stamina. It’s happened a few times now, and even today I rode her the opposite way and it confirmed what we might have thought.

“Take nothing away from the winner, who is very good.”

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.