Christopher Samuda knows sport is so much more than a game. He knows it inspires collaboration and teamwork, increases confidence, reduces stress and improves mental health.

It is with that in mind, that the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) president considers the $25 million allotted to the Reggae Girlz as a small token to positively impact their journey to compete, as they again seek to rewrite the history books.

The Girlz, who will lock horns with Canada in a two-leg Olympic Qualifying playoff at the National Stadium on Friday, and again in Toronto, next Tuesday, are hoping to become the first Caribbean country to qualify for women's football at the Olympic Games.

And if the Girlz required any further inspiration to secure positive results against the reigning Olympic champions, they would have taken it from the JOA’s support, which is in collaboration with the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) and the Bob Marley Foundation, as $15 million goes directly to the programme, with the remaining $10 million to be paid out as player incentives.

Those incentives include bonuses for goals scored, assists made, clean sheets, and team prizes for Olympic qualification.

According to Samuda, the funding and, in particular, the incentive is to alleviate whatever pressure the Girlz may feel approaching this, another significant hurdle, along their path to success.

“The JOA’s investment of $25 million is not by coincidence, we understand that the infrastructures for the talent of sport, the aspirations of our athletes and our footballers, must be funded if we are to achieve the results that we so desire. The Reggae Girlz are ready to write and dramatize another chapter in the history of football in qualifying for the Olympic Games in Paris.

“They're ready to raise the curtain and to give a command performance. They're ready for the road, for destiny shall arrive on the 22nd at the National Stadium,” Samuda told

As it has been from the onset, Samuda again reminded Jamaicans that the Girlz accomplishments at the Fifa Women’s World Cup in July, is a source of national pride.

For as much as the Girlz gave when they held top-ranked France and Brazil to goalless stalemates, followed by a 1-0 win over Panama on their way to being the first Caribbean team –male of female –to contest the knockouts since Cuba in 1938, Samuda believes a little love from Jamaican supporters would be a mere drop in the bucket to repay the players’ efforts.

“What the Reggae Girlz need from Jamaica is solidarity and love, sweet love, and they want it in the National Stadium. Our Job is to be with the Reggae Girlz on the 22nd. The business of sport is that job in respect of which we are given a line of credit to make meaningful and profitable lives being lived in sport and to earn dividends for sport and a nation,” Samuda said.

“But in all cases of credit, there is payback time. The Reggae Girlz have gifted us very creditable performances, they have given us credit and now it is payback time. So, on the 22nd bring your wallet, bring your purse, bring your safety deposit box and support the Girlz. There must be a pilgrimage to the National Stadium on the 22nd,” he added.

On that note, Samuda declared his association’s long-term commitment of our resources, focus and energy to help break down barriers that not only limit access to sport, but also hinder the growth of sport locally.

“The JOA continues to be driven to use sport in giving our sportsmen and women a sense of purpose and being. Sport for all, all for sport, continues to motivate us in affording all sport opportunities for growth and development. For we, the JOA, we have a business contract with our member associations and federations to fuel current hopes to ignite tomorrow's ambition to inflame every aspirational talent in any and every sport to be and to become an Olympian, not only in performance, but more importantly in character,” Samuda asserted.

“As a local apex governing body for Olympic sports, we also have a business contract with the people of Jamaica to build a nation in sport and among all of us, the Reggae Girlz, fans, stakeholders, there is a social contract to make legendary the contribution of the sport of football to the fabric, to the soul and to the spirit of Jamaica,” he ended.

After being re-elected president of Jamaica Squash Association, Karen Anderson is intent on building on the platform laid from her previous term to ensure the continued growth and development of the sport locally.

Anderson, who took the reins of the sporting body last year, was returned for second one-year term which she said represents an opportunity to achieve certain personal ambitions and, by extension, bring visions for the sports progression, to fruition.

To that end, she hopes to finish the governance process of a name change, among other things by mid-2024, as well as to possibly hire a Technical director to assist in the country’s competitiveness at various tournaments.

“As you know, a few years ago all sporting bodies were encouraged to become charitable entities, which is an arduous process and it's also quite expensive, so we had put off for quite a while. But part of my mandate and my manifesto was to do that aspect of it, to become a charitable entity,” Anderson told

“So, the first resolution spoke to the association becoming a charitable entity; the second one spoke to a name change from Jamaica Squash Association to Jamaica Squash Limited trading as Jamaica Squash and then the third one was to the approval of current constitution of Jamaica's Association subsumed by Articles of Incorporation, which is what governs charitable bodies. So, all of the resolutions were passed and passed unanimously,” she added.

While Anderson reveled in the success of the country’s junior and senior teams at their respective Caribbean Area Squash Association (CASA) tournament recently, she noted areas in which the country can improve to become more formidable on the regional stage and the appointment of a technical director, she believes is a key component.

“Based on some of the things we saw last year, we added a strength and conditioning coach as a fitness element. All of the juniors and seniors worked with this strength and conditioning coach to get them up to standard and we saw a marked improvement in that and that's something that we're actually going to continue to do,” Anderson shared.

“We have also seen the success of other Caribbean countries that have technical directors and that’s a significant way to increase our competitiveness within the region. We haven't identified the person yet because we need to identify the money first, but we believe that we can turn some of our silver and bronze medals into gold and maybe start to contend and be part of the top two in the region.

“As I've said to the players, if we can't compete and be competitive in this region which is the Caribbean region, then there's no point even trying to take it outside of the Caribbean. Because you need to be able to do it at home first and home for me is the Caribbean. So, that's really where we're looking. It's expensive, but we believe that is direction that we have to go in,” she reasoned.

That said, Anderson, a former National and Caribbean singles champion, pointed out that starting a school programme is also high on her agenda to not only widen the sport’s reach but also the pool from which players are selected for national duties.

“Currently, if you can hit the ball you almost can he selected. We want the kids to fight for a spot so that they become more competitive and learn how to win. So those are the areas that we're going to focus on to improve on some of those results. I would also love to be able to host a Professional Squash tournament attracting the world’s best players to play in Jamaica,” she declared.

Anderson’s executive committee includes Joey Levy, vice president, Gill Binnie, secretary and Deanne Pryce, treasurer. Committee

members are Douglas Beckford, Nathlee Boreland, and Tahjia Lumley.

Jamaican 800m specialist Natoya Goule-Toppin rebounded from a disappointing outing at the 2023 World Athletics Championships in Budapest where she failed to reach the final by establishing a new national 800m record at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, Oregon on Sunday.

Goule-Toppin finished third in the race behind American superstar Athing Mu, who rebounded from a bronze medal at the World Championships with an American Record 1:54.97 to win, and British World Championship silver medallist Keely Hodgkinson who ran a British Record 1:55.19 in second.

Goule-Toppin’s time in third was 1:55.96, bettering her own previous national record 1:56.15 set back in 2018.

Despite not taking the win on Sunday, the 32-year-old was delighted to end her season with that performance.

“I wanted the win because I know I have the ability to do it but I’m really happy with the third especially the national record,” Goule-Toppin said.

“I’ve been longing to run 1:55 and today was the day. The last one was the best one. It’s the last race of the season and I’m going home happy,” she added.

Goule-Toppin had been flirting with a sub 1:56 time for a number of years and she says the presence of competitors like Mu, Hodgkinson and World Champion Mary Moraa, who finished fourth, pushed her to this time.

“I kept saying once I stay with them I know I’ll run fast as well so when I saw 1:54, I knew I ran something fast but I didn’t know what it was. I was congratulating the girls then I looked back, saw my name and started rejoicing,” she said.

The 2018 Commonwealth Games bronze medallist also gave credit to the man above for her exploits on Sunday.

“I was patient and I prayed a lot. I said God, let your will be done and just help me to go out there and be strong and smart,” she said.

“All day I was talking to myself. It sounds crazy but I kept saying run through the line. Before I went out, my coach said the same thing,” she added.


Mawj will skip the Sun Chariot at Newmarket in favour of the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup at Keeneland on October 14.

Trainer Saeed bin Suroor had it between those two races for the comeback of the 1000 Guineas winner, and he has plumped for the $600,000 contest over a mile and a furlong.

Mawj has not been seen since beating Tahiyra at Newmarket in early May and subsequently Dermot Weld’s filly has won the Irish Guineas, the Coronation Stakes and the Matron Stakes.

“She worked on Saturday and she worked well, she’s in good form,” said Bin Suroor.

“The plan is we are going to head to Keeneland for the QEII, that’s what we decided, she’s in good form and she’s working well.

“It was Keeneland or the Sun Chariot, but we thought the Keeneland race was a better prep for the Breeders’ Cup. We’ll bring her back in between.

“I’ve been very pleased with her, her condition is good and I’m pleased with everything I’ve seen.

“American racing should suit her, she’s a tough filly, the flat track will suit her better, I think. She beat Tahiyra in the Guineas and no one else has managed that.”

Kerry native Oisin Murphy bagged a first winner in his home county after a thrilling climax to the Kelleher Feeds & Agri Suppliers Ballymullen, Tralee Handicap at Listowel.

Born and raised in nearby Killarney, the three-time British champion jockey had never previously ridden in County Kerry but did not take long to open his account.

Having been narrowly denied on his first ride aboard Zephron, Murphy went one better in the following race as he and Pat O’Donnell’s 100-30 favourite Dragon Of Malta got up in the final stride to win a pulsating three-way finish by a nose and the same from Mercurial and Brave Troop.

Murphy, whose previous competitive rides in Ireland have been at the Curragh, Leopardstown and Dundalk, said: “I have lots of family here today and they’ll be over the moon. The horse is also trained by an old family friend of ours so it is a brilliant day.

“He had won well at Galway and while he didn’t run so well at Roscommon, today he was perfect and I had a willing partner up the straight.

“The O’Donnell family are from County Limerick and not too far from here and I’ve known them for years so it is great to ride a winner for them.”

He added: “It’s great to be here. I spent lots of time as a child hanging around the weighing room, trying to get goggles off Ruby Walsh and Davy Russell and wanting to be a jockey.

“To ride a winner here is a big relief.”

There was a huge shock in the feature event on day three of the Harvest Festival as Jessica Harrington’s 80-1 shot Maud Gonne Spirit lunged late to secure Listed honours Edmund & Josie Whelan Memorial Listowel Stakes, with Nathan Crosse the winning rider.

“She loves soft ground, Jessie and all the team have done a great job getting her ready for today as she hasn’t had a whole pile of runs this year. It’s very important for her to get a black-type win today,” Crosse said.

“We went a good gallop, her fitness was good and she is a good, honest filly. Everything worked out perfectly.”

Alan King is keen to see Trueshan bid for a second win in the Qatar Prix du Cadran next week following his return to winning ways in the Doncaster Cup.

The seven-year-old had looked a shadow of his former self after being beaten in his first two starts of the campaign, but a mid-season wind operation appears to have done the trick judged on his resurgent performance under Hollie Doyle last Friday.

King said: “He did quite a lot wrong because he was so fresh. Surprised (by the win) I’m not so sure, but it was a certainly a relief more than anything.

“Obviously the wind op has helped big time. In his previous two races he hadn’t finished off at all so we were hoping it would make a difference, but you always want to see them go and do it on the track.

“We were delighted with him, I don’t know how strong the piece of form was but it certainly was a huge step to getting back towards his best.”

King has the option of waiting for the Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup at Ascot on October 21, a race Trueshan has won each of the past three seasons.

However, the Barbury Castle handler is first aiming to send his seven-year-old back to Paris for a Group One contest in which he memorably defeated Stradivarius in 2021.

He added: “I’m going to try to get him to the Cadran. I’m away this week, but the boys at home seem pretty happy with him. He’s had two or three days on the water treadmill, which he loves.

“He will be back cantering at the end of the week, we’ll be doing a bit of work early next week and if everyone is happy, he’ll head to France.

“We did do the Cadran and Ascot a couple of years ago when there was only a fortnight between them and there’s three weeks this time, which gives me a bit more of a chance.

“We’ll go one stage at a time, but if I’m happy with him he’ll head to Longchamp.”

King raised the intriguing possibility of Trueshan pursuing a career over hurdles following his defeats at Nottingham and Ascot in the spring, but those plans have been shelved for the time being.

He said: “I would hope that if he runs well at Longchamp or Ascot or both then he won’t be going jumping.”

Mister Sketch will be sporting the colours of Wathnan Racing when he returns to Newbury for the Dubai Duty Free Mill Reef Stakes.

The Eve Johnson Houghton-trained youngster – who is one of 14 confirmed for the Group Two event – was narrowly beaten at the Berkshire track on debut in July before setting the record straight in style at Salisbury last month.

There the strapping son of Territories romped to an emphatic nine-and-a-half-length success which alerted his new ownership team to his potential and they are excited to see him take the leap into deeper waters when he wears their silks for the first time on Saturday afternoon.

“The team is very excited to have one with Eve,” said Richard Brown, racing adviser to the owners.

“He’s a lovely, big horse and I was really taken with him when I went to see him and we’re looking forward to seeing him run in the Mill Reef.

“He’s a big lad and whatever he does this year, I’ll be really surprised if he doesn’t do better next year.”

The Qatar-based ownership enterprise have another smart two-year-old on their hands in Richard Fahey’s Native American, who has impressed in two unbeaten performances so far, and was last seen scooping a valuable sales race at the Curragh earlier this month.

He has a plethora of big-race options both at home and abroad for the autumn with connections keen to test the son of Sioux Nation in Pattern company in his next start.

But with the feedback from jockey Colin Keane indicating Native American would prefer a sounder surface, all options remain on the table for now, with his next outing set to be determined by the weather forecast.

“Richard was keen to take him over there for the experience – travelling overnight and all those things that go with it,” continued Brown, reflecting on Native American’s successful raid to Ireland.

“We were delighted he won and hopefully we can build from here, but Colin said he did not enjoy the ground and I think we’ll be avoiding soft and/or tacky ground, from now on.

“I suppose we just we have to be on weather watch now for the autumn targets and we would be keen to avoid soft ground.

“He’s a big horse and he’s got all the scope to be a better horse next year. We’re obviously keen to run him again, but it wouldn’t be the end of the world if he didn’t run until next year.

“Hopefully we’ll be able to find somewhere with decent ground before the end of the season to drop him in at stakes level.”

Eydon is out to prove the fire still burns brightly when he returns from a long absence in the Chasemore Farm Fortune Stakes at Sandown.

The one-time Derby hope created a real impression when winning the Feilden Stakes in the spring of 2022, but has not been seen on a racecourse since finishing fourth in last year’s 2000 Guineas, with a series of injury setbacks keeping him on the sidelines.

Switched from Roger Varian to Andrew Balding prior to the 2023 season, another issue arose in the spring to extend his layoff, but the son of Olden Times is finally ready to make his eagerly-awaited reappearance after 508 days out of action.

Connections had been weighing up a run at Sandown with a trip to Ayr for the four-year-old’s comeback outing, but it is the Esher track that will be graced with the presence of Prince Faisal’s colt on Wednesday afternoon.

“I think Andrew felt that, on reflection, going up to Ayr after such a long lay-off, it was easier to go just down the road to Sandown,” said Ted Voute, racing adviser to Eydon’s owner.

“Andrew seems quite optimistic, Oisin (Murphy, jockey) has ridden him at home and in his work he seems to have stayed in one piece this time.

“I think everyone feels he might be a little bit ring rusty and he is running over a mile rather than a little bit further, but it is a great place to start and it will give us a good indication of whether he progresses to something major this year or stays in training and we tackle it next year.”

Eydon holds an entry for the Qipco Champion Stakes on October 21 with the Ascot contest seen as the perfect spot for the colt to return to Group One competition if passing his Fortune Stakes test.

However, connections are well aware it would take a mammoth effort following such a long layoff and they will simply be satisfied with a run full of encouragement at Sandown.

“Ascot would be the dream, but in reality it is one step at a time and let’s see what happens in the aftermath of this race,” continued Voute.

“We are hopeful, but we are all well aware it is a big ask following the amount of time he has had off.

“While we have that target (Ascot) sitting there, it is not the be-all and end-all, and as long as he came back in one piece and showed he had that brilliance of the Feilden and fourth in the Guineas, then he can build on that in the forthcoming year.

“It’s a credit to Prince Faisal who has kept faith and it means quite a bit to him that he is by Olden Times, who he also raced. It’s a lot of his own breeding on both the female side and the sire which is rare nowadays and I think it is a credit to him as an owner to keep persevering.”

Also on the comeback trail is William Knight’s Sir Busker, who has been off the track since finishing down the field in the Dubai Turf in March.

The evergreen seven-year-old suffered an eye infection while in Dubai and his owners Kennet Valley Thoroughbreds are delighted to see him return in a race which could determine future aspirations.

“We are thrilled to see him back, that will be great and we’re really looking forward to it,” said Sam Hoskins, racing manager for the owners.

“He got an eye infection in Dubai, but he is ready to resume which is brilliant.

“I think Sandown should suit him well, but he’ll improve for the run whatever he does. It’s not all about winning on Wednesday, we just hope he runs a nice race and shapes well for the future.

“If all goes well then he will be kept on the go. There’s races for him at Newmarket and we could consider the all-weather or the Middle East as well, depending on how he gets on.

“We don’t have any grand future entries, but there are plenty of options and it will just be great to see him back and he owes his syndicate members nothing.”

Richard Hannon’s Chindit makes a swift return to action having claimed a Group Three at Haydock recently, while Simon and Ed Crisford’s Celebration Mile runner-up Knight will sport first-time cheekpieces when he lines up at the Esher track.

Roger Varian claimed the Listed event with subsequent Queen Elizabeth II Stakes scorer Bayside Boy 12 months ago and it is somewhat interesting he saddles the half-brother Lord Of Biscay in a bid to do the double.

A total of 10 will go to post including Dylan Cunha’s improving Silver Sword who will compete in Pattern company for the first time.

Sense Of Duty is “ready to roll” ahead of her eagerly-anticipated return at Newbury on Saturday.

William Haggas’ filly climbed the sprinting ranks rapidly and brought up a fourth straight victory when claiming Newcastle’s Chipchase Stakes in June last year.

However, injury curtailed her progress shortly after impressing at Gosforth Park and she has spent over 450 days on the sidelines, as connections opted for a cautious approach with their talented speedster.

Having now shown all the signs she is ready for a return to the racecourse, she is booked to reappear in the Dubai International Airport World Trophy Stakes which her handler won with Hurricane Ivor two years ago.

“She’s obviously had a few little niggles – nothing too serious – and we’ve just been very patient with her,” said Richard Brown, racing manager for owners St Albans Bloodstock.

“We think she’s very good and we’ve just given her all the time she’s needed until William is 100 per cent happy with her, which he is.

“Her work has been very good and it looks like she retains all of her ability. She’s ready to roll and is in great shape, working well and bouncing, and we’re very much looking forward to getting her back on track.”

Sense Of Duty will run over the minimum distance for the first time at Newbury where a bold showing could tee-up a return to further and a first shot at Group One glory in the Qipco British Champions Sprint Stakes at Ascot on October 21.

Brown added: “We’re not sure if she is going to be ready to win over that trip, but the idea is to run her with Ascot in the back of our mind.”

St Albans Bloodstock look to have a strong hand in the Group Three contest and as well as the returning Sense Of Duty, they are also poised to be represented by Nymphadora.

Trained by Andrew Balding, the four-year-old claimed the City Walls Stakes at York earlier in the season and, often seen at her best when the mud flies, will head to the Prix de l’Abbaye for one final career outing after her trip to Berkshire at the weekend.

“They will probably both take their chance,” said Brown.

“Nymphadora will almost certainly run and then she will have a swansong in the Abbaye before heading to the paddocks.”

Royal Ascot disappointment Al Asifah bids to get her season back on track in an intriguing renewal of the EBF Stallions John Musker Fillies’ Stakes at Yarmouth on Wednesday.

Following an emphatic victory on her racecourse debut at Haydock in May, the daughter of Frankel made a huge impression in a Listed event at Goodwood the following month, prompting connections to stump up the supplementary fee to add her to the Ribblesdale Stakes just 11 days later.

The gamble failed to pay off, though, with John and Thady Gosden’s youngster finishing a well beaten sixth behind subsequent Yorkshire Oaks and Prix Vermeille heroine Warm Heart and she has since been given an extended break to recover from her exertions.

Angus Gold, racing manager for owner-breeders Shadwell, said: “We gave her a nice break after Ascot and she seems in good form, so it will be very interesting to get her back on the track.

“Until she disappoints again, I would say it all just came a bit quick for her in the Ribblesdale. Lots of clever people said she didn’t stay the mile and a half, but for me that wasn’t what got her beaten as she wouldn’t have won at a mile and a quarter either.

“I just think she was very flat on the day. She’s a big, immature filly and while she’s not temperamentally unsound, I think everything just got on top of her a little bit (at Ascot).

“I’m sure she’ll be better in time and we hope she does well enough that we can keep her in training next year.”

Al Asifah faces a far from straightforward task, with Sir Michael Stoute’s Infinite Cosmos making her first competitive appearance since finishing third in the Musidora at York in the spring, while Sapphire Seas is stepped up in class by Charlie Appleby having won her last three starts.

Gold added: “It always is a good race this and a great race to have on the calendar. You have fillies coming back from little niggles and different things, so it will be a good test for her.”

The Shadwell colours will also be carried by Roger Varian’s Mukaddamah, who has been placed in Listed company before – but Gold acknowledges this is a tough assignment for the grade.

He said: “She’s a nice, solid filly and we’ve been trying to win a Listed race with her.

“With the other filly in here I wouldn’t expect her to win this, but we don’t have many options as she doesn’t really like soft ground, so I think they just felt this was the obvious race for her.”

Constitution Hill will stay over hurdles this season, trainer Nicky Henderson has announced.

The six-year-old is unbeaten in seven career starts to date, with six of those victories at Grade One level, including a nine-length triumph in last season’s Champion Hurdle.

Following Constitution Hill’s Aintree Hurdle verdict in April, Henderson, owner Michael Buckley and jockey Nico de Boinville discussed a possible switch to chasing over the summer.

However, they have now decided to remain over the smaller obstacles, with another Champion Hurdle success the ultimate aim.

Henderson told the PA news agency: “The news on Constitution Hill is that after a lot of deliberating and a lot of advice from everybody in the world, because everybody wants a piece of this, he is going to stay over hurdles.

“At the end of the day I don’t think it was the hardest decision I’ve ever made. People will ask if we’ve schooled him over fences and why have we come to this decision.

“He would jump fences with his eyes shut, if we wanted him to, but the basis of the decision was we had to be 100 per cent sure that he would stay three and a quarter miles (in the Gold Cup).

“There was nothing to be gained by switching to fences by running in an Arkle, Champion Chase and possibly a Ryanair, great races though they are, but the Champion Hurdle is the Champion Hurdle, so if you are going to run in anything you might as well stick to what you know.

“I dare say there will be plenty of people saying this is unimaginative, but there was no doubt in Nico’s (De Boinville) mind, stamina was likely to be a major issue and the only point in doing it was if one felt he could become a Gold Cup horse.”

“For all three of us the decision was unanimous. You might say why did it take three months, but we all felt it was the right decision.”

Ante-post favourite Vauban has been given a weight of 55 kilograms for the Lexus Melbourne Cup.

Willie Mullins’ charge, who won the 2022 Triumph Hurdle, heads the market for the November 7 contest after winning each of his two starts on the level this term – chalking up a seven-and-a-half-length verdict in the Copper Horse Handicap at Royal Ascot before landing the Group Three Ballyroan Stakes in fine style last time.

The five-year-old’s weight, which equates to around 8st 9lb, has him 3.5kg behind last year’s winner and top weight Gold Trip.

Mullins has a second string to his bow in Absurde, who is guaranteed a start in the Group One contest after winning the Ebor under a fine Frankie Dettori ride at York last month.

He finished second to Vauban at Ascot and has been given 53kg for the Flemington showpiece, while Aidan O’Brien’s Broome, winner of the Dubai Gold Cup back in March, has 56.5kg.

O’Brien also has St Leger fourth Tower Of London on 50.5kg, with son Joseph – already a dual winner of the race with Rekindling (2017) and Twilight Payment (2020) – having Valiant King (50kg) and Okita Soushi (51.5kg) in the field.

The William Haggas-trained Desert King, who finished a gallant third for the King and Queen in Saturday’s St Leger, has been given 51.5kg.

Fellow Newmarket-trained runner West Wind Blows is on 54kg for Simon and Ed Crisford, with the four-year-old already in Australia ahead of a possible run in the Turnbull Stakes on October 7.

Dermot Weld, who broke new ground when sending Vintage Crop to become the first northern hemisphere-trained winner of the race in 1993 before adding another victory nine years later with Media Puzzle, has Harbour Wind in contention this year but his weight of 50kg leaves him well down the field, which has a limit of 24 runners.

Other familiar names in the field include ex-Haggas runners Alenquer (56.5kg) and Soulcombe (53.5kg), last year’s second Emissary (52kg) plus Francesco Guardi (54kg) and El Bodegon (55.5kg), who were both previously trained by James Ferguson, and last year’s Irish Oaks victor Magical Lagoon (51kg).

Racing Victoria’s head of handicapping David Hegan said: “Gold Trip is the standout performer among the entries for both Cups (Melbourne and Caulfield) and the natural topweight with Broome the only Group One winner among an international contingent that boasts an assortment of rapidly emerging stayers.

“We have effectively lifted Gold Trip 2kg from his true weight last year, which is less than the penalty afforded other Melbourne Cup winners in recent times, however we are mindful that it is 48 years since a horse has carried 58.5kg to victory in either Cup so a significant challenge awaits.”

Patrick Mullins reached another landmark in riding his 800th winner courtesy of Luckinthecity at Listowel on Monday evening.

Partnering the 6-5 favourite for his father, Willie, he came with a wet sail to land the Eric Browne Memorial INH Flat Race going away in the end, by a length and quarter from Big Dee.

It marks another fine achievement for the County Carlow native, who has been crowned champion amateur jockey in Ireland a record-breaking 15 times. In 2012, he beat the record of 72 winners for an amateur rider in a calendar year in Ireland, which had been set by Billy Parkinson in 1915, setting the new mark at 74. His best seasonal tally is 68 winners in the 2012/2013 season.

He beat Ted Walsh’s long-standing amateur record of 545 winners in July 2018 at Sligo when taking the bumper on Queens Boulevard.

Mullins said: “I probably should have a few more, but the aim is to get to 1,000 so I have a few more years to go.

“We have had a huge amount of summer bumper fillies in this year and obviously with Jamie (Codd) taking the summer off it is a big help.”

Regarding the Roger Brookhouse-owned Luckinthecity, he added: “He just shied at the tape although doing a circle at the start was probably a good idea! For luck nobody wanted to make the running so we were able to make up the ground quite easily.

“We went steady so didn’t lose much ground and he showed a great turn of foot, which he doesn’t show at home. Obviously on grass he is better and the owner stands the stallion and he looks a nice type.”

Elsewhere on the card, Samui may have earned himself a trip to Cheltenham later in the year after lunging late to secure top honours in the Liam Healy Memorial Lartigue Hurdle.

A field of 18 runners went to post for the €60,000 feature on day two of the Harvest Festival, with Samui the 4-1 favourite as part of a four-strong team for trainer Gordon Elliot.

With heavy rain before the race ensuring conditions were testing, plenty had cried enough by the time the leaders rounded the home turn, at which point Dark Note appeared to be travelling best of all.

But Samui was delivered with a well-time challenge by 5lb claimer Danny Gillian and got up in the dying strides to prevail by a head.

“I was worried about the ground, which is yielding, but he went through it better than most. I was actually very nervous about my four runners due to the rain which came,” said Elliott.

“Whatever happened he choked with Jack (Kennedy, jockey) the last day at Ballinrobe, but it worked out today.

“I don’t think he is a winter horse but is definitely a type to head to Cheltenham in November. We might then put him away as he could also run on the Flat next year.”

Mayor’s Walk had earlier impressed on her rules debut for Henry de Bromhead in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Mares Maiden Hurdle.

Bought after winning a point-to-point for Colin Bowe, the 5-1 shot looks a promising recruit judged on this six-and-a-half-length success in the hands of Rachael Blackmore.

“She won a point-to-point for Colin Bowe and is really nice. She a lovely mare and hopefully that’s just the start of her now,” said the jockey.

“She had done a nice bit of work at home but at this time of year they will always improve and she gave me a lovely feel. Her jumping is really good and professional and she was very straightforward for me.”

Aeros Luck (3-1) led home a one-two for Gavin Cromwell in the Connolly’s RED MILLS Irish EBF Auction Maiden Hurdle, with his stablemate Pampar Lady (66-1) clear of the remainder in second.

“Aeros Luck deserved that as he had been banging on the door. He was very keen the last day but is learning and settled lovely on the flat track today,” said Cromwell.

“Pampar Lady ran a cracker and I fancied her to run a cracker. I told one of the owners to have a fiver each-way and he did the forecast!”

Cromwell doubled up in the Adare Manor Opportunity Handicap Hurdle with Patrick O’Brien steering 5-1 shot The King Of Prs to a clearcut win.

Jamaican Olympian Toni-Ann Williams has achieved a remarkable milestone by obtaining her Master's Degree in Ethics and Integrity, with distinction, a significant feat made possible through an Olympic Solidarity Scholarship provided by the Jamaica Olympic Association.

Having pursued her postgraduate degree at renowned institutions across Europe, including Ku Leuven in Belgium, Charles University in Prague, the University of Peloponnese in Greece, the University of Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona, Spain, and the Johannes Gutenberg-Universität in Mainz, Germany, Williams absorbed diverse cultures and communities throughout her academic journey.

"Being able to adapt and integrate myself into different communities and cultures was really exciting," said a grateful Williams whose post-graduate thesis was themed “Safeguarding regulations in American collegiate sport: Ethical comparative analysis of Title IX and SafeSport.

The now 27-year-old athlete, who made history in 2016 as the first gymnast to represent Jamaica at the Rio Olympic Games, embarked on this academic journey with determination, studying various aspects of sports ethics and integrity.

Reflecting on her two-year educational odyssey, Williams expressed immense fulfillment, stating, "It was very fulfilling. I'm very excited to be able to celebrate two years of hard work to accomplish this master's degree." She underscored the critical importance of studying sports ethics and integrity, given the myriad decisions and governance challenges that pervade the sporting world.

A graduate in Legal Studies and Social Welfare from the University of California, Berkeley, in Europe Williams delved deep into topics such as anti-doping policies, ethical considerations, safeguarding, corruption, and betting within the realm of sports. Her scholarly endeavors were fueled by a desire to effect positive change in the sporting arena, particularly in gymnastics and her native Jamaica.

“Being able to bring that back to not only gymnastics, but to Jamaica and how I can bring positive change to the sporting world for everybody, it was really fulfilling to be able to accomplish something like this, especially within a program overseas,” she said.

“Never living in Europe for the, you know, ever, and being able to put myself into a new culture and community, it's really fulfilling to be able to accomplish something like this."

One of the most rewarding aspects of her program was the opportunity to connect with individuals passionate about sports and ethics from around the world, expanding her network and forming valuable friendships. "I got to meet so many great people, so many smart, intelligent, important people," Williams remarked.

However, her academic journey was not without its challenges, as she navigated the complexities of studying in different countries every six months, requiring meticulous planning and organization.

"I think the most challenging part about the program is, as I mentioned, is being is traveling to different cultures and communities and countries every six months.

"It's tough because alongside studying in academia, um, you're also having to be a travel agent. You're having to sort out your own visa, your accommodation, your flights and plan everything well in advance on top of studying and reading and doing all these things for research.

“So this is a very unique part about this program and probably was the most difficult and more mentally draining. And I think that's what makes it super unique and it made it really challenging but it has taught me so many skills that I can bring now into my life in terms of being able to multi-task in project management and do all sorts of things like that.”

Her academic journey also equipped her with the tools and perspective to drive positive change, and she is committed to fostering a more empathetic and understanding sporting environment that transcends stereotypes and celebrates diversity.

“I think the most eye-opening thing was understanding that there are stereotypes and that people also come with stereotypes about you being Jamaican with an American accent definitely raises a lot of questions,” she revealed.

"And being able to be empathetic and understanding and also encouraging other people to be empathetic and understanding and to understand that you're not your stereotype or who people think you are, or judging a book by its cover.

“Being able to be empathetic and being respectful when in other people's countries and understanding their differences and celebrating it. I think that's something I feel like I've learned.”

Now armed with a wealth of knowledge and experience, Williams has taken up a position with LA28, the organizing committee for the 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games to be hosted in Los Angeles, California. As part of the athlete fellowship program, Williams contributes to LA28's initiative to provide athletes with a more prominent voice within the organization of the Olympic Games.

In her role within the community relations department, Williams is focused on enhancing community preparedness for the international influx that accompanies the Olympic Games. She is actively involved in initiatives to bolster youth sports, engage local businesses in decision-making processes, and strengthen the bonds between the Olympic Games and the Los Angeles community.

Williams is optimistic about the future and her ability to contribute to the development of sports, particularly gymnastics, in Jamaica. She emphasized the importance of ethical governance, transparency, accountability, and athlete-centered leadership in building a stronger foundation for the sport.

"I think in many ways I can help gymnastics in Jamaica, and not just gymnastics but other sports, but specifically for gymnastics, understanding, learning about governance and the ethics behind governance and transparency and accountability and how ethical leadership could can conduct themselves in order to be more athlete centered," she concluded.

"And I think we can help build a stronger organization and association for gymnastics, have a stronger foundation, give athletes what they need to thrive mentally and physically. I know it's not going to be immediate help right now, but it's something that can be built over the years and I think we need to start with a strong foundation to be able to build upon and be able to have a better sport for Jamaica.”


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