Adrian Maguire has been blessed to partner and train some some top-class horses in his career.

Widely regarded as a supreme talent in the saddle, it has been 21 years since a broken neck forced his premature retirement from the rigours of riding National Hunt horses.

“Fit and well”, he is now a key cog in the well-oiled machine at Ballydoyle, riding out each day for Aidan O’Brien. And he has the pleasure of partnering a certain Paddington.

“I’m making a living. If we’re doing that, we’re doing all right,” said Maguire.

“I’ve been here five and a half years now. I am enjoying it. It’s very good. We have the best of everything.

“When I came here first, I found it very, very boring. All I was doing was going up a straight gallop and it took a while to adjust and just take myself back a few steps and relax into it.

“All’s good, my health is good.”

Maguire rode over 1,000 winners in his career, with plenty of big-race success which included a Cheltenham Gold Cup with Cool Ground in 1992, a Champion Chase with Viking Flagship a couple of years later and a pair of King George VI Chase wins with Barton Bank and Florida Pearl.

Once retired, he was also responsible for the development of 2008 Gold Cup hero Denman, before he was sold to Paul Nicholls.

He dabbled with pin-hooking and then joined the training ranks himself, saddling some decent horses, such as multiple Grade Two-winning hurdler Celestial Wave and versatile 10-time winner Golden Kite.

Increased competition and escalating costs forced him to call a halt in 2017. But you cannot keep a good man down for long.

He is now associated with a Flat champion in Paddington, who won his fourth consecutive Group One when taking the Sussex Stakes at Goodwood.

“I ride out Paddington every day,” said Maguire. “For what he has achieved so far, he’s the best I’ve ever ridden.

“He’s an amazing horse. He was always a good horse, but what he’s doing on the racecourse, to win with great authority, is leaving no doubt in people’s minds.

“It’s great. I can only imagine how far he’ll go and seeing the reaction here at Ballydoyle, everyone is so delighted to have what people are calling a superstar horse at the moment in the yard.

“Everyone gets great joy out of watching him do what he is doing.”

Paddington has surprised even O’Brien with the rapid improvement he has shown this season.

Though bred in the purple, the son of Siyouni showed precious little hint of what he would achieve when beaten eight lengths in a seven-furlong debut at Ascot in September.

He he has remained unbeaten in seven races since, however, including victories in the Irish 2,000 Guineas and the St James’s Palace Stakes, before claiming a 10-furlong Coral-Eclipse win.

Invariably all the good ones have their own unique personality and Maguire says Paddington knows he is something out of the ordinary on the gallops.

“He knows he’s good. He just seems very solid,” he said.

“It’s always nice to ride a special horse. It is what we all do it for – to find that special horse.

“I have been lucky through my riding career to find special horses to ride. I had one or two when I was training also – and Paddington is a very special horse.”

Maguire’s riding career will always be remembered for the epic race for the 1993-94 jump jockeys’ title, a battle that pushed both he and eventual champion Richard Dunwoody to mental and physical limits that few will ever know. Maguire lost 194 winners to 197 in that brutal season.

Considered “a true horseman” by the late, great trainer David Nicholson, the 52-year-old learned plenty in his time as a jockey under ‘The Duke’ and he holds O’Brien in high regard.

“The one thing I admired about Aidan O’Brien before I came here was not only was he a world-class trainer, but he was able to handle the men he was involved with and keep them happy,” said Maguire.

“Then of course, there is the extra pressure of these big races. It is not an easy job.

“I can’t say I know the man more now than when I came here first. He is a very straightforward man. You know what you are going to get. He is a very fair man.

“He is obviously a world-class trainer and he’d be a good diplomat, too.

“Having trained myself, I do certainly have plenty of empathy with what he has to go through, but he does have some great people around him, so that has to be a help.

“It is a lot about delegating, but he likes to have his finger on every pulse.”

Maguire makes the hour-long journey from his home near Mallow every morning to play his part in the powerful Coolmore operation and while Paddington is the apple of his eye, he is always startled at the talent on display.

“I ride a couple of two-year-olds as well,” he added. “Every horse in Ballydoyle is bred to be a superstar. You think you have a nice horse one week, until you sit on another one the following week. It is unbelievable, the talent.

“When I was riding, no matter where I was, I always enjoyed it. Cartmel, Kempton, Cheltenham – it didn’t make a difference.

“But this is a great job and there is a great bunch of staff here, both riding out and on the ground, and it is an extremely well-driven operation.”

Enjoying life, content with his lot, Maguire will happily remain in the shadows. Like every one of the team, he watches with equal measure of pride and wonder at the progress Paddington is making.

But just how far can he go?

“I think anyone watching him run and watching him winning knows as much as I do,” he insisted.

“He is very authoritative in his wins. He leaves no doubt in people’s minds. He does what it says on the tin and he can’t do any more. He is just a very special individual.”

World Cup winner Alex Hales will join the Jamaica Tallawahs for the 2023 Republic Bank Caribbean Premier League. Hales will replace Naveen ul Haq who is no longer available. 

Hales has played more than 400 games of T20 cricket and is one of just nine players to have scored more than 10,000 runs in the format. Hales is the highest English run scorer in the T20 format and has experience of playing in the CPL having won the tournament with the Barbados franchise in 2019. 

Hales will join the Tallawahs once his commitments in England are completed. 

Saint Lawrence will attempt to continue on his upward curve in Haydock’s Betfair Sprint Cup next month, with connections keen to praise Archie Watson’s influence since taking over training duties.

The five-year-old has been at the peak of his powers since switching to Watson earlier in the season and having won the Wokingham at Royal Ascot on stable debut, proved he could be a force in the leading sprint events with a near-miss in Deauville’s Prix Maurice de Gheest.

Although beaten half a length in third, things could have been different for Saint Lawrence granted a smoother passage in the contest, but the performance was enough to convince connections to continue campaigning the speedster in Group One company, with a trip to Merseyside on September 9 up next.

“He was probably a bit unlucky in the run,” said David Hilton, stud manager at owner John Deer’s Oakgrove Stud.

“The first and second probably got first run and he’s just had to wait and then he’s made up ground in the final furlong on ground which is probably not ideal for him, it was very tacky and holding ground.

“There will be stronger Group Ones but at the same time that might just suit him. They didn’t go that quick, probably sensibly on that ground, but his likely next target is going to be the Haydock Sprint Cup where they are bound to go very fast.”

Saint Lawrence is a son of owner Deer’s popular multiple Group One winner Al Kazeem, who last year was one of the leading British sires of three-year-olds in terms of winners to runners percentage.

However, even though Saint Lawrence’s achievements further highlight Al Kazeem’s impact in the breeding sheds, it is Watson’s handling of the resurgent sprinter that has been the catalyst for the gelding taking his form to a new level.

“It’s all credit to Archie and his team really,” continued Hilton. “They have found improvement in the horse and John and the Deer family are delighted, especially with the horse being by Al Kazeem. It’s very exciting.

“I think what Archie has done with him in a short space of time is astonishing really. He has run two lifetime bests in a row and he’s still improving. Both of those races since Archie has had him, he’s really tanked through the race and it’s possible we are maybe still learning about him and just scratching the surface.

“He does have some really good form as a young horse and then had a few problems mid-season as a three-year-old which probably led to the horse losing a bit of confidence.

“We decided as a team after his second run this year that a change of scenery was probably the right thing to do and Archie was probably the obvious choice given his track record of improving horses and also there is probably no better trainer of sprinters in the country at the minute. He has a fantastic record and a team going places.”

Jamaican hammer thrower Erika Belvit has expressed her profound disappointment at not being selected to her country’s team to the World Athletics Championships in Budapest, later this month.

In June, Belvit threw 70.04m, her second best throw this season to win a silver medal at the CAC Games in San Salvador, a testament to her dedication and hard work. Though, her season-best throw of 70.09m falls short of the 74m automatic qualifying standard, her performance earned her a spot among the top-ranked hammer throwers in the world, reaching as high as 34th in the World Athletics rankings.

Yet, when the Jamaican team for the World Championships was announced, her name was conspicuously absent.

On hearing of her non-selection, Belvit reached out to a JAAA official, a ‘Mr Smith’, whom she had met during the CAC Games, asking why she was not selected.

In his reply on WhatsApp, Mr. Smith told the distraught thrower that only one quota athlete could be selected for any one event. However, this is not true as under the World Athletics rules up to three athletes can be selected.

Three years ago World Athletics overhauled its qualification system in an attempt to create a fairer system where half of athletes would qualify for major championships through achieving an automatic qualifying standard and the other half through their world rankings.

Belvit subsequently fired off an email to President of the JAAA Garth Gayle stating her case and inquiring about her non-selection. He replied saying, “The selection committee would have made its recommendation and you were not selected for this occasion. Please continue to persevere in your training for future events.”

Sportsmax.TV reached out to Lincoln Eatmon, an executive of the Jamaican Athletic Administrative Association (JAAA), who provided insight into the JAAA selection process. He explained, "We had to make up our minds because you can't afford to take everybody who is ranked and as a quota athlete. So we made a policy decision that we're only going to take a certain amount and we will give the preference to the national champions who are quota qualified. We decided that we would keep the number at five and so the others who were selected have made the finals at the last because the last World Championships like Kimberly Williamson and Kimberly Williams," he said.

“And then Rasheed Dwyer was selected because he provides possible cover for the sprint relay because well, they seem to have a problem finding healthy people.”

Eatmon explained further that the existing policy was in part based on cost containment and that Belvit had subsequently fallen down the rankings.

“It would cost to start, you know, I would think somewhere about that JMD $1,000,000 because you have to think of the camp and all of those expenses. So it's a lot of money to take a one person. So it's a matter of controlling costs as well.”

Regarding Belvit’s ranking, Eatmon, stated, “She medalled at CAC but you have to look at where she's ranked. As of the 30 June, Erika was ranked 44 in the world. It doesn't make sense taking somebody who is ranked over 40 in an event unless there are other compelling reasons or even over 36, you have to bear in mind it’s cost containment.”

It should be noted that 15 athletes in the top 44 have not thrown farther than Belvit this season.

Meanwhile, Caltha Seymour of the Heaven to the Yeah Foundation, a former hammer thrower herself, has recognized Belvit's potential and the need for more opportunities for athletes in field events.

The foundation has expressed willingness to fund Erika's trip to Budapest, emphasizing the importance of experience and competition for an athlete's development. Seymour stated, "Erika has worked very hard to be in the Top 40 in the world in her event, and being left off of the world's team is disheartening, as it displays that the JAAA is not committed to providing opportunities to develop their world-class athletes in the field events.

“Athletes require experience to develop, especially a year from Paris 2024. There is a process to development, and our JA athletes in the underrepresented sports need to compete with the world's best... to be the world's best. They need to be provided the opportunity for experience... competition requires development."

As discussions about Erika's exclusion unfolded, she voiced her heartache: "I am extremely disappointed. I can't even express how extremely disappointed I am, especially because I qualified and I worked so hard to get to this point. It's not just me, it's other people as well who have worked so hard just to get to qualify and then to be told, not even to be told but to find out you're not going to be able to make it and not being told why is very disheartening."

She explained further that her disappointment is not just about not being selected.

"This means so much to me. This is more than just going and being there. This is about building and creating this legacy, specifically for women’s hammer. This is such a big thing for me, it always has been. Just becoming closer with the people I have, a lot of throwers, coaches in Jamaica and seeing how important it is. There is more to Jamaica than just track, there is more to Jamaica than just running. There are some great people, especially on the field side, who have been showing up and showing out and I just want to be a part of that and the fact that I wont even be able to do that is so disheartening. And I am upset. I am very upset,” she said.




Vauban staked his Melbourne Cup claim with an impressive victory in the Ballyroan Stakes at Naas.

Willie Mullins’ five-year-old is a three-time Grade One winner over obstacles, but has begun to make a real name for himself on the Flat, winning the Copper Horse Handicap by seven and a half lengths at Royal Ascot.

He needed to finish in the first three of this mile-and-a-half Group Three to secure his berth in the Flemington showpiece on November 7 and did so in fine style.

Vauban was ridden forward, tracking the pace set by Gooloogong and Pivotal Trigger in the hands of Colin Keane and loomed up menacingly as they straightened for home.

Keane soon asked his mount to launch his challenge and he immediately set about putting the race to bed, storming clear up the home straight with Joseph O’Brien’s Valiant King the only horse to get near the winner as the 4-6 favourite recorded a bloodless length-and-a-half triumph.

“We’re delighted with him and Colin was happy. He said they went a good gallop, a nice even pace, and it suited him,” said Mullins’ assistant trainer David Casey.

“It ticked a box, which we were here for today, to get placed to qualify for the Melbourne Cup.

“I think there is plenty of improvement in him. He had a little break after Ascot and was ready to start back today.

“Everything was right today, there was a bit of ease in the ground and there weren’t many runners, so it suited to come today. We’re obviously delighted with what he did.”

Vauban holds entries for York’s Lonsdale Cup as well as the Comer Group International Irish St Leger Trial Stakes and the Irish St Leger itself, both at the Curragh, and Casey says it will be down to Mullins whether the gelding takes up those engagements or heads straight to Australia for his Melbourne Cup bid.

He added: “He’s in all those races but I don’t know whether he’ll have another run or not, or go straight there. Willie will decide that.

“All those races are options, the Leger Trial and the Leger. I don’t know what he’s going to do but he’s entered in them all if he needs them.”

On the prospect of returning to hurdles next season, Casey said: “I’d say yeah, why not. I’d imagine so, but it depends on what happens.

“If he goes to Melbourne he doesn’t get back to the middle of November, so he wouldn’t be running at Christmas anyway.”

Coral make Vauban their 5-1 favourite from 6s for the Melbourne Cup, while the Closutton inmate is available at slightly bigger odds with Paddy Power who go 6-1.

Clive Cox will be keeping his eye on the weather forecast with a tilt at the Prix Morny a possibility for his crack two-year-old Jasour.

Although beaten a neck on debut, the son of Havana Grey gave a glimmer of his potential and having opened his account next time in a Nottingham maiden, he successfully moved up in class with a taking victory in the July Stakes at Newmarket.

He was due to try to build on that success in the Richmond Stakes at Goodwood last week, but with the ground turning soft and bigger assignments lying in wait, Cox decided to hold fire with his star speedster.

Jasour could now take aim at Deauville’s Prix Morny on August 20, but if conditions are testing across the Channel, he could be diverted to York’s Gimcrack Stakes five days later.

“He’s in the Morny and the Gimcrack,” said Cox. “Obviously the ground was quite soft in Deauville last weekend, but the forecast is hopefully a lot more settled and I hope that continues to be the case.

“If conditions fall suitable there, we would be very much pleased to be heading that way and with the Gimcrack the following week, we have options if weather conditions turn against us.

“That was our reason for there being no urgency to run in the Richmond with the conditions how they turned out. While I was very happy with the horse, we knew we had some serious targets we were inclined to run in as well and it made that decision more pleasing with that in mind.”

A run in the Morny would represent a first taste of Group One action for Jasour, but with a Group Two under his belt, Cox believes his charge has all the attributes to follow in the footsteps of his 2012 Deauville scorer Reckless Abandon and strike at the top-table.

He added: “I hope it (his class) was visible in the July Stakes. We held him in high regard and amongst our really nice team of two-year-olds at home, he was our only entry for the Gimcrack which confirms our thoughts prior to the July success.

“He has done everything really well and I think especially that last run, that was the first time that we probably achieved what we had been seeing at home on the track.

“It was pleasing that everyone got to see that and he is a horse that has always encouraged our opinion to think top-end and I hope that continues to be the case.”

Another Cox youngster who could be sighted on the Knavesmire during the Ebor meeting is Symbology, who holds an entry for the Lowther Stakes and was an impressive winner at the track on debut.

She has since placed in a competitive renewal of Ascot’s Princess Margaret Stakes and the Beechdown Stables hander is pleased with her progress since her first foray into Group company.

“She has come out of the race really well and I think she was beaten by a really nice Dark Angel filly of Charlie Johnston’s (Sacred Angel),” continued Cox.

“I think she is a filly that has really only just started to come to herself and I hope there is much more progress and improvement to be seen following that pleasing placed effort in a Group Three.

“It was a big step from her maiden at York and she is a filly we hold in high regard.

“She has a Lowther entry and we had to make that entry before she had even run. It would nice to think she could run there, but we have options with her and I’m delighted with her following her second run.”

Spycatcher will be targeted at the Betfair Sprint Cup at Haydock following his near-miss in Sunday’s Prix Maurice de Gheest.

Having impressed in a Group Three at the track four weeks earlier, the five-year-old returned to Deauville for Sunday’s Group One feature and looked set to provide trainer Karl Burke with a first top-level success in almost four years when quickening clear of the field.

In the end he was mowed down by King Gold, with just a short head separating the pair at the line.

Burke said: “It was a bit frustrating as it was literally a nod of the heads, wasn’t it? Sometimes they go for you and sometimes they go against you, it’s just a shame it went against us in a Group One.

“I think he was probably the best horse in the race. Take nothing away from the winner, who stays really well, whereas we have that turn of foot and got away from them by that two or three lengths and probably thought we had the race in the bag at the furlong pole.

“The winner just cut us down and then we battled back again, credit to Spycatcher, but it was heads up heads down and it went against us.”

The Spigot Lodge handler is now hoping similarly testing conditions prevail on Merseyside on September 9 to give his charge the best chance of going one better ahead of a likely tilt at the Qipco British Champions Sprint at Ascot in October.

“Fingers crossed he stays in one piece and Haydock will be the plan, presuming the ground is right, and also Champions Day at Ascot, which nine times out of 10 does come up in our favour,” he added.

“We’re in the lap of the gods really as if either of those races are run on fast ground he won’t be there, but hopefully we’ll find some nice sprint races for him here or in France or wherever.”

Two and a half lengths behind his stablemate in fourth at Deauville was Cold Case, who Burke feels is now in need of more of a stamina test.

“He ran well, Cliff (Lee, jockey) just felt he was a little bit behind the bridle for whatever reason and he didn’t show his usual dash,” said the trainer.

“A step up in trip is definitely in the offing for him. He’ll go up to seven furlongs and we’ll probably try him at a mile before the season’s out.

“He’s a high-class horse but is probably not at that level just yet. Something like the Park Stakes at Doncaster next month could be a good one for him.”

The Jamaica Olympic Association has lavished praise on the country’s netball team that won the bronze medal at the just-concluded Netball World Cup in South Africa. After losing their semi-final 57-54 to eventual champions on Saturday, the Sunshine Girls rebounded on Sunday to defeat prior champions New Zealand 52-45 to secure the bronze medal, their first at the championships in 16 years.

According to the JOA, the Sunshine Girls quest for gold at the Cape Town International Convention Centre in South Africa, which had been the home of the Netball World Cup for the couple of weeks,  ended with a well-deserved bronze. But their heroic journey remains imprinted in the sporting landscape and hearts of many and foremost the apex local body.

“Gold was not the medal but golden was the achievement, golden is the future of the sport and golden will be the legacy,” said Secretary General and Chief Executive Officer, Ryan Foster.

“The JOA is reveling in the sunshine as we celebrate the commitment, courage, purpose and professionalism of our girls who continue steadfastly to keep their appointment with destiny.”

The hour will come when the world will acknowledge the Sunshine Girls as its champion in netball and the hope is “that the cup will, in the near future, come home to Jamrock where it will become the cornerstone of the ambitions of young girls in the sport and the foundation of Jamaica’s dominance on the global stage,” Secretary General Foster further commented.

The JOA is of the view that netball has earned a right locally to be a flagship sport and with the accomplishment in Cape Town and the historic gold medal in the recent inaugural tournament at the Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games in San Salvador, it has nothing more to prove.

“Netball’s credentials are well established and its pedigree as a leading sport is not up for debate for as we say ‘argument done,” JOA President Christopher Samuda stated.

“The Tricia Robinson-led netball administration and national coach, Connie Francis, can be justly proud of the sport’s achievements which continue to gain the applause of a global audience. The future continues to be bright and secure in safe hands.”

England stalwart Jade Clarke believes they have broken the glass ceiling with their record-breaking Netball World Cup showing.

The Roses lost out 61-45 to Australia in Cape Town on Sunday with the Diamonds able to achieve a 12th world crown.

It has nevertheless been a memorable 10 days for Jess Thirlby’s side after they beat Australia earlier in the tournament and defeated 2019 World Cup winners New Zealand in the semi-finals, which ended the Southern Hemisphere stranglehold on the final of the competition.

New Zealand and Australia had contested the last six World Cup finals before this weekend but England, who won Commonwealth gold in 2018, are eager to go one better in four years time.

Clarke told the PA news agency: “Obviously we’re so disappointed to lose the final but today we have the bigger picture in mind and what we achieved just to step foot into that final.

“We’ve got to be so proud from the turnaround of coming fourth at the (2022) Commonwealth Games and with all the hard work the players and staff have done.

“I’m just so happy. Creating history is something I’ve always talked about and been my main driver so really cool to do that and for all the fans at home watching.

“We have broke the glass ceiling. We know Australia have been in 12 finals and that was our first, but we want to make this a regular occurrence.

“We want all the girls watching or playing netball at home to see it as something normal that England can get into finals, so we want to carry on that positivity.

“I’m so happy we have a lot of young players who have now stepped on that court in a World Cup final and hopefully those young players can go on and get gold next time.”

Thirlby, who replaced Tracey Neville in 2019, challenged England to go into uncharted territory ahead of the 16th edition of the World Cup.

After scoring more than 200 goals to top Group B, England firmly captured the imagination of the public back home with victory over Australia in the second group stage of the competition.

The thrilling 56-55 win over the Diamonds was backed up by an historic semi-final success by six goals over New Zealand and while Thirlby’s team depart South Africa with a silver medal, a sense of satisfaction is the overriding feeling for the most experienced member of the squad.

“We have very much been in our own bubble but we love to see what the fans are saying at home and let in that support. We’ve actually had a lot of people fly over here and seen so much red and white in the crowd,” Clarke added.

“They were singing Three Lions before we went on in the final and we could hear them all the time.

“Even though we have been in our bubble, we’ve been so aware of the growing support and I just hope a lot more people take up netball, carry on netball or get back into netball for watching this. We’re really grateful for all the support.”

Sunday’s appearance in the World Cup final is set to bring the curtain down on Clarke’s remarkable international career, which started in 2002.

England’s record cap holder was left off next year’s central contract list and this sixth World Cup is now expected to be her last alongside team-mate Geva Mentor, who confirmed her own plans to retire from international duty earlier this summer.

The 39-year-old is hugely proud of the strides made by the sport during the past two decades and has maintained her stance of not officially retiring in case the call ever comes again.

The London Pulse star insisted: “I will carry on playing domestic netball and I think while I’m playing and training my hardest, I will always be available for England netball.

“But if this is my last hurrah, I am so happy with it and so proud we could break into that final like we always wanted to do.

“It is my sixth time trying so really cool it happened right at the end of my career and for Geva as well.

“It has been a rollercoaster journey. Sport is so up and down. We believed we could get into that final and we made it happen, but this team still wants more.”

Quinault could bid to extend his remarkable winning sequence to seven at the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup on Saturday.

Having begun the season with a basement rating of just 59, the Stuart Williams-trained three-year-old has rattled off six successive victories, seeing his mark rise to a much loftier perch of 97.

Mill Stream, who was beaten a nose by Quinault in a valuable sprint handicap at Newmarket’s July meeting, gave the form a significant boost with a dominant Listed success in France on Sunday.

Williams though is looking at another handicap for his fast-improving speedster and views Saturday’s Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup Sprint as a suitable target.

“I’ve been very happy with him since the July meeting, he’s been training well,” he said.

“I’ve just entered him for the Shergar Cup on Saturday in the six-furlong race for three-year-olds only. Hopefully that will be his next port of call.”

With jockeys in the Shergar Cup team competition allocated by a series of ballots, Williams will have no say in who rides Quinault in Berkshire.

But with world-class riders like Frankie Dettori, Olivier Peslier, Tom Marquand and Hollie Doyle among those set to be in action, the Newmarket-based trainer is not overly concerned.

He added: “They’ve got some top-class jockeys, so you’d be hopeful that whoever rides him will be able to ride him fine. He’s not a difficult ride on the racecourse.

“He’s obviously surprised us – you wouldn’t have said at the start of the season he’d have a rating pushing 100 at this stage of the year.

“He hasn’t run on anything softer than good ground, but it’s usually fairly good on the straight course at Ascot unless it rains on the day and it’s supposed to be dry towards the end of the week so I can’t see it being a problem.”

A trip to Paris on Arc weekend and an appearance at the Breeders’ Cup are among the exciting options under consideration for Brave Emperor following his latest success in France on Sunday.

It has been quite the rise through the ranks for the Archie Watson-trained three-year-old, who began his campaign with a runner-up finish at Southwell in late January.

He had since won a Listed race at Cagnes-Sur-Mer, a conditions prize at Kempton, a Group Three in Germany and finished third in a Group Three in Sweden prior to his latest trip across the Channel.

Brave Emperor looked to face the toughest test of his career in the Group Three Prix Daphnis, but rose to the challenge under a power-packed ride from Luke Morris, leaving members of the Middleham Park Racing syndicate that own him eyeing loftier targets.

“It was a great piece of placement again from Archie. He’s placed him to perfection all season and I think Luke rode him to perfection as well,” said Middleham Park racing manager Tom Palin.

“You still need the horse to be able to do it, of course. It’s one thing finding these opportunities, but you’re still relying on a willing partner underneath you and this horse is definitely brave by name, brave by nature.

“He had to carry a 3lb penalty on Sunday, but he loves his racing and thrives on it. We’ve not really spared him, but he travels well and he’s just an absolute dude of a horse and a bit of a legend.

“There’s a small cohort of owners who follow him around. They’ve been to Sweden, they’ve been to Germany and they’ve been to France twice. He’s well supported wherever he goes and has a bit of a cult following here at Middleham Park.”

While plans for Brave Emperor’s next run remain fluid, Palin views the Prix Daniel Wildenstein – a Group Two run at ParisLongchamp in early October – as a likely objective for the autumn.

He added: “We’re probably going to have to start looking at bigger, sexier and dare I say scarier things with him going forward, but he’s fully entitled to now.

“The Wildenstein would be lovely and a very sensible target and we could look at the Prix du Moulin before then. I know that’s a Group One, but you are into Group Two/Group One territory now.

“We love to get our owners over for the Arc meeting if we can, it’s a meeting that’s served us well in the past, and maybe we’ll take in the Moulin on the way. It’s that or a Group Two in Germany, I think.

“I quite like the idea of the Wildenstein and then who knows, it could be onto the Breeders’ Cup. Archie and I have briefly mentioned that, but let’s see.

“Of course he’s going to have to improve, but that attitude he possesses is a huge asset, so why not give him a spin in those kind of races? You’re probably pitching him in for places, but who knows?”

Ground conditions will dictate whether Mick Appleby supplements Ascot and Goodwood hero Big Evs for the Nunthorpe Stakes at York.

The two-year-old was a Royal Ascot winner when landing the Windsor Castle Stakes in mid-June, sprinting to three-length victory having started a relative outsider at 20-1.

He was not so overlooked when stepping up to Group Three level in the Molecomb at Goodwood, where he started as the 9-4 joint favourite on ground vastly different to Ascot’s good to firm.

Rain had left the South Downs track soft underfoot, but Big Evs showed a great will to win when prevailing by a neck from Andrew Balding’s Purosangue.

Immediately after the race, connections discussed a supplementary entry for the Group One Nunthorpe on August 25, which would cost £40,000.

The race has not been won by a two-year-old since Kingsgate Native in 2007 and the state of the ground in the lead up to the fixture will determine whether or not Big Evs bids to become the latest juvenile to feature on the roll of honour.

“He’s fine, he’s all good and he’s come out of the race really well,” Appleby said.

“He didn’t really like the ground but he’s obviously quite tough and he toughed it out.

“We’ve got a great attitude, now we’ve got to decide whether we supplement for the Nunthorpe or not.

“We’ve had discussion about it with the owner, a lot will depend on the ground and we will probably not decide until the week before when we have to supplement.

“If it was soft ground we’d probably not go there with him, but we’ve got plenty of time until we have to decide.”

Marco Botti is eyeing a return to York for Giavellotto following his fifth-placed finish in last week’s Goodwood Cup.

A narrow winner of the Yorkshire Cup on the Knavesmire in May, the four-year-old sidestepped the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot to be saved for the second half of the season.

He made his return to action on the Sussex Downs and while unable to land a blow on the front-running Quickthorn, he was beaten just half a length for second in a blanket finish for minor honours.

While frustrated with how the Group One contest was run as Quickthorn built up a big lead the chasing pack were ultimately unable to bridge, Botti was pleased with his star stayer’s performance.

He said: “It was a funny race to watch, obviously. The winner is a good horse and with that margin of a lead he was never going to be caught.

“I thought our horse ran his race and ran well, it’s just a shame we were beaten a short head, a short head and a neck for second. To finish fifth just leaves a bit of a bitter taste in the mouth.

“How the race was run was a bit disappointing, but credit to the winner. He’s a good horse and he has done that before, which is why I was surprised they let him take a big advantage.

“I think our horse he proved he’s up to that level and probably the ground was a little bit on the slow side for him – he’d definitely prefer better ground.”

Giavellotto is entered for the two-mile Lonsdale Cup at York on August 25 and the Irish St Leger over a mile and three-quarters at the Curragh on September 10.

And while Botti feels the shorter distance may be more suitable for his charge, Botti is leaning towards the Lonsdale due to likelihood of getting his favoured conditions.

“I think we have to say two miles is not an issue, but his optimum trip is probably a mile and six furlongs,” he added.

“He stays (two miles), he relaxes well and he enjoys the track at York, so we’ll see how he comes out and works in the next 10 days, but York has to be considered.

“The worry with the Irish St Leger would be if the ground went quite soft or heavy as that is not what he wants. I’m sure in terms of giving him a bit more time it wouldn’t be against him, but I don’t think I would run him on very testing ground.

“At the moment we’re waiting to see how he is, but we’re planning to go to York.”

England head coach Jess Thirlby admitted it would take some time to get over defeat by Australia in the Netball World Cup final, but believes her squad can be proud of their performances throughout the tournament.

The Roses were making their maiden World Cup final appearance and knew they had to be at their best to win the trophy against a side they had edged out by just a point in their group-stage match.

But Australia dominated the turnover battle and, after the first-quarter honours were shared, steadily built an unassailable lead to run out comfortable 61-45 winners and secure a 12th World Cup crown.

“We are really grateful for that silver medal and over time I think that will sink in, with that bit of history we made (in reaching the final), but right now it is a measure of the belief we had in ourselves, the route we took to the final… (that we are disappointed),” Thirlby told BBC Sport.

“We are obviously going to be gutted with a losing margin like that in our first final, but such is the difference between a team that has been in 12 of them and a team that has just broken into their first one, it’s a tough lesson.

“Today was always going to be a tough ask, you just can’t throw ball like that against Australia in a final. If we do that, we need to find a way to win it back. Unfortunately both of those things eluded us for long periods during the match.

“We fought very hard in the first half to keep a foothold in it, but you could kind of feel we didn’t quite have the flow and the confidence.”

England – bronze medallists at the last three World Cups and six times overall – had built on their group win over the Diamonds to go on to beat New Zealand as they booked a first World Cup final appearance.

Despite the setback, Thirlby feels the squad can return stronger.

“For us now it’s OK to feel a little bit disappointed just because of the level of belief and the capability of this team,” she said.

“I am incredibly proud despite the final result, we absolutely deserved to be there.

“We had to battle to get there and it’s just proven to us that you’ve got to be able to go again in a big game against the number one, and we just fell short today.”

Australia mid-court Ashleigh Brazill brought the curtain down on her netball career with a World Cup winners’ medal.

The 33-year-old – set to retire after the tournament – felt the Diamonds set the record straight following their defeat to England in the group stage.

“To beat England like that, they beat us in the group and everyone loved what Helen (Housby) said, that they were fitter and more energetic than us, that just fired things up,” Brazill told BBC Sport.

“The fact we have done it the way we wanted to, playing some of the best netball we have played in a long time. I’m just so proud of the girls.

“It has taken all of us to get here, the entire 22, all of us, and the fact we are stood here world champions, I couldn’t have asked for a better ending.”

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