With members of last year’s senior Reggae Girlz FIFA World Cup squad and the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) still yet to amicably agree on the way forward, interim Head coach Xavier Gilbert has once again pooled a fairly inexperienced team for a two-match friendly against Chile later this month.

Gilbert, who welcomed the fixtures, and his Reggae Girlz is expected to assemble in the South American country on February 21, ahead the two games scheduled for February 23 and 27.

“It is always important to utilize the FIFA windows so getting these games is a good move from the JFF and, of course, we get to expose some of the young talent that we have to offer to top level competition so they can gain the necessary experience that will be required as we look ahead,” Gilbert told SportsMax.TV.

The 22-player squad comprises mostly players that contested last year’s Women’s Gold Cup qualifiers, with former Liverpool midfielder Jade Bailey, who recently signed with London City Lionesses, making a return to the national setup following a knee surgery, while National Under-17 representative Naya Cardoza, makes her transition to the senior team.

“It is very good to have Jade back she is a very good player who was out for quite some time, so it is good to have her back in the fold giving her level of experience and we expect her to be one of the leaders in the team where guiding the younger players is concerned,” Gilbert noted.

This will be the second two-match friendly series between the two teams following their 2019 meeting in Jamaica, which the Reggae Girlz won 1-0 and 3-2. However, Chile came away 6-0 winners in their most recent meeting at last year’s Pan American Games.

“We are expecting another good game from Chile, obviously they are a pretty good team with a lot to offer. It is never comfortable going into another team’s base to play, so we just have to go there and give of our best, because like I said, these games are important for players to not only gain experience, but also to develop some semblance of cohesion going forward,” Gilbert reasoned.

Squad: Theanna Burnett (Sacred Heart University), Serena Mensa (Fordham University), Malikae Dayes (AAB, Denmark), Zoe Vidaurre (George Mason University), Nevillegail Able (University of Maine, Fort Kent), Chinyelu Asher (SCU Torreense), Alika Keene (SK Slavia Praha Zeny), Ricshya Walker (LaSalle University), Marlo Sweatman (Viktoria Haladas), Christina Salmon (William Carey University), Davia Richards Player (Hill College),Mikayla Dayes (Rodez AF, France), Shaneil Buckley (Excelsior High), Melissa Johnson (Charlton Athletic Women FC), Aliyah Morgan (George Mason University), Jade Bailey (London City Lionessess), Destiny Powell (Excelsior High), Lachante Paul (Burnley FC), Isreala Groves (London City Lionesses), Naya Cardoza (Brown University), Njeri Butts (University Of Florida), Sydnie Street (Seneca College)

The Windward Islands Volcanoes are firmly in the drivers’ seat at the halfway stage of their 2024 West Indies Championship opening round fixture against the Jamaica Scorpions at Sabina Park in Kingston.

The Volcanoes started day two 157-2 off 41 overs trailing the Scorpions by just two runs and looking to build a substantial first innings lead on Thursday.

The pair at the crease for the Windwards, Johann Jeremiah and Sunil Ambris, carried the score up to 180 in the 52nd over before Ambris was dismissed by Peat Salmon for a 75-ball 45.

The Scorpions then built some much-needed momentum going into the lunch break with the wickets of Jeremiah, Shadrack Descarte and Tevyn Walcott leaving the Volcanoes 219-6 at lunch, leading by 60 runs.

Jeremiah, who entered day two unbeaten on 66, eventually made 80 off 115 balls including 11 fours and a six while Descarte and Walcott made one and 20, respectively.

The post-lunch session, however, was anything but fruitful for the Scorpions as Shamar Springer and Ryan John, the pair who did most of the damage with the ball in the Scorpions first innings, repeated their exploits with the bat.

The pair batted excellently on their way to a 118-run seventh-wicket partnership that killed all the momentum the Scorpions may have built before lunch.

The partnership was finally ended when John went caught off the bowling of Gordon Bryan for 57 to leave the Windwards 328-7 off 97 overs at tea.

His knock lasted 85 balls and included five fours and three sixes.

Shortly after the resumption, Springer was next to fall for a well-compiled 131-ball 71 including seven fours.

Shermon Lewis and Darius Martin fell soon after as the Volcanoes were bowled out for 341 off 105.2 overs, a lead of 182 runs on first innings.

Pacer Gordon Bryan led the way with the ball for the hosts with 4-64 from 23 overs while Peat Salmon took 3-78 from 31 overs with his off-spin. Marquino Mindley also chipped in with 2-60 from 22.2 overs.

The Scorpions reply then got off to a less than ideal start as, for the second time in the contest, their top three failed to significantly contribute.

Carlos Brown and Kirk McKenzie both fell to Darius Martin in the second over of the innings without troubling the scorers before, seven overs later, the Scorpions were three down with just 34 runs on the board after Chadwick Walton was bowled by Martin for 20.

Nkrumah Bonner and Captain Jermaine Blackwood then tried to lead the Scorpions recovery with a 36-run fourth-wicket partnership before Blackwood went for 16 with just 15 minutes left in the day’s play.

In the end, the Scorpions were 76-4 at stumps, trailing by 106 runs with Nkrumah Bonner on 36 and Gordon Bryan on one.

Darius Martin has taken 3-29 off seven overs for the Volcanoes.

Full Scores: Jamaica Scorpions 159 all out off 41 overs (Romaine Morris 35, Peat Salmon 26, Ryan John 5-43, Shamar Springer 3-53) & 76-4 off 18 overs (Nkrumah Bonner 36*, Chadwick Walton 20, Darius Martin 3-29)

Windward Islands Volcanoes 341 all out off 105.2 overs (Johann Jeremiah 80, Shamar Springer 71, Ryan John 57, Sunil Ambris 45, Gordon Bryan 4-64, Peat Salmon 3-78, Marquino Mindley 2-60)

Dunskay booked his ticket to Aintree in the spring when capping off a fine afternoon for Ben Pauling at Huntingdon in the manner of a smart operator.

Pauling had earlier won the feature M1 Agency Sidney Banks Memorial Novices’ Hurdle with Handstands and was doing somersaults after seeing Dunskay bounce back to his very best in the concluding PHP Architects Open National Hunt Flat Race.

A taking winner at Exeter on debut, he was disappointing in Listed action at Ascot prior to Christmas, but carried a penalty to a comfortable success at odds of 4-1 in the hands of Harry Cobden to tee-up another step up in class at the Grand National meeting in April.

“It’s been a good day and this is a lovely horse,” said Pauling.

“He trach washed dirty after Ascot and I was fairly easy on him between there and now, so I thought he might need today. He’s done it nicely, so I’m really pleased.

“He’s a very nice, straightforward, big, gorgeous horse – a big, powerful horse. He’s going to be one for the future again, but he’s a lovely horse and I was delighted with that. Winning under a penalty is never easy, so I’m pleased.

“He will go to Aintree for the Grade Two next. We have some nice novices and bumper horses and it’s going the right way – we’re building a nice team of young horses, which is what it is about.”

Gavin Sheehan’s fine season continued with a double at the Cambridgeshire track.

He got the day off to a brilliant start aboard Christian Williams’ Fortunefavorsdbold (16-1) in the Newlands Developments Mares’ Novices’ Handicap Chase, before following up on Katy Price’s 6-4 favourite King Of Brazil in the Winvic Construction Handicap Chase.

Another jockey hitting the headlines was 10lb conditional Lewis Saunders, who made the early mornings on the gallops at Olly Murphy’s Warren Chase base worthwhile when earning the praise of his boss after putting his claim to good use aboard Barricane.

It was just the second winner of the 20-year-old’s career and, having won aboard the nine-year-old at Uttoxeter in December, he showed his talent in the saddle to drive the 4-1 shot home to a three-length victory in the Urban Logistics Reit Handicap Hurdle.

“He’s a good little rider who came to me from Oliver Sherwood,” said Murphy.

“A lot of things went through my mind there. I was giving him a telling off for being left at the start, he was then getting a telling off for not pulling him up and then I thought, you know what, you have done the right thing and this is going to be the ride of the season.

“Well done to the young lad. He’s ridden his first two winners on Barricane and is good value for his claim and works hard.

“I’ll give young lads chances if they work hard and muck in. I make them work hard and they ride early lots – all my conditionals are in at 6.30am riding an early one – but I do it for the right reasons.

“You have to work hard for what you get in life – and if they work hard and have ability to go with it, I will look after them.”

Harry Derham’s gamble to run Nordic Tiger (11-10 favourite) quickly after his wide-margin win at Wincanton last week paid dividends when the game five-year-old held on by a neck in the Mulberry Developments Novices’ Handicap Hurdle.

“I was so nervous about running him because it was only seven days after his last race and it is not normally my style at all,” explained Derham.

“But he’s about to go up 10lb, which is a fair old hike, so we said we would try our luck and Alice (Stevens, jockey) takes off 5lb, which is very helpful – and he’s just a lovely, genuine horse.

“When it was raining all morning driving up here, I thought it was his chance gone, but he really knuckled down well.

“He’s going to be 10lb higher now and life will get tough, but when you have an attitude like him and you jump and try like him, then he will always have a decent chance and he is a horse who will probably win a few more races next season.”

Meanwhile, you may have seen Hermes Le Gris (2-1 favourite) on your television in adverts in the past, but he put his name in lights when gaining compensation for a fall when leading at Southwell last week by claiming the Oxenwood Real Estate Handicap Hurdle for Robbie Llewellyn.

“He’s been in a Coral advert, so he’s had a few spins round Newbury,” said the trainer.

“After last week, where we thought he would have won and it was disappointing for him to fall, to come back six days later and produce a performance like that shows he obviously has a bit more left in the tank.

“You never quite know when you run them that quick if they will bounce, but I’m delighted.”

Oliver Greenall expects another bold showing from Windtothelightning in the TrustATrader Warwick Mares’ Hurdle on Saturday.

While the six-year-old is taking a big jump in class and is facing Jamie Snowden’s Cheltenham Festival winner You Wear It Well, Greenall is buoyed by the fact that only four will go to post for the Listed race.

The winner of four of her seven races under rules, Greenall, who trains in partnership with Josh Guerriero, hopes she can pick up some black type before potentially going chasing next season.

“She’s a mare on the up and I couldn’t believe that there was only four runners,” he said.

“She seems well, she’s had plenty of time since her last run, she should like the ground and she’s a tough, honest little mare.

“I can’t quite believe we are where we are with her to be honest, because she’s not flashy at home at all. She wasn’t over-expensive and when we first got her, she was a bit workmanlike and we didn’t have great expectations.

“We’re just delighted really that she keeps progressing and hopefully she’ll run well again.

“I think she’ll get three miles in time and, while she is a little bit small, I think she’ll go chasing.”

Dan Skelton’s Get A Tonic also runs, along with Mel Rowley’s Blue Beach.

Having watched the Soca Warriors parade their skills at the 2006 FIFA World Cup with tremendous amount of pride, Trinidad and Tobago’s Denmark-born Marc Gangia was inspired to push to one day boast a successful career in which he achieved a similar World Cup feat.

Fast forward 18 years later, Gangia has now found himself in the right place to possibly bring that dream to fruition, as he was invited to the Soca Warriors setup by Head coach Angus Eve.

However, Gangia, 26, who earns his Trinidad and Tobago stripes through his father, knows all too well that breaking into Eve’s final squad for the upcoming Copa America qualifying playoff against Canada on March 24 and, by extension for the World Cup qualifiers later this year, will take some doing, but he intends to make the most of the opportunity.

"It is nice to be here. It is a big opportunity hopefully to be a part of (the squad). I remember the 06 World Cup and also following the (English) Premier League (with T&T footballers) Dwight Yorke and Kenwyne Jones and players like that," Gangia said, during a meet the press hosted by TTFA on Tuesday.

"It is a big step for the country if we could qualify for the (2026) World Cup and also (for the Copa America tournament) in the summer. It is a big match ahead in Canada, so we will see if we could get through,” he added.

Though it was his first time being called to a training camp with the Soca Warriors, Gangia, who is a striker for Danish fifth-tier side Dalum IF, pointed out that he is no stranger to the twin island republic.

"This is probably my fifth time now. My dad has a lot of family here, so we have been here a couple of times,” Gangia shared.

He also revealed that his call up was only a matter of timing, as things have been in process for almost a decade.

"Approximately ten years ago it started, but it has been a long process with the passports and all those kinds of things,” he said.

With his appetite for international action now open through the just-concluded four-day camp at Larry Gomes Stadium, which launched the Soca Warriors preparation for the campaign ahead, Gangia is now ready to raise his game even further to become a staple in Eve’s side.

“The weather is hot compared to Denmark so there is a transition I have to get used to, but I think the boys have been nice and taking good care of me, so it has been good so far,” he noted.


Handstands appears to have earned himself a place on Ben Pauling’s Cheltenham Festival squad after maintaining his unbeaten record in the M1 Agency Sidney Banks Memorial Novices’ Hurdle at Huntingdon.

Bought for £135,000 after winning his only start in the point-to-point field in October, the five-year-old made an immediate impact under rules at Hereford two months later before following up under a penalty at Newcastle early in the new year.

Pauling’s charge faced a step up in class for his hat-trick bid, with Nicky Henderson’s Grade One winner Jango Baie among his rivals, but he proved more than up to the task under Harry Cobden.

Bugise Seagull took the four-strong field along for much of the two-and-a-half-mile journey before 9-4 shot Handstands took over before the home turn, at which stage Jango Baie was being niggled along by James Bowen and was briefly caught in behind the other two runners.

The 5-4 favourite, winner of the inaugural Formby Novices’ Hurdle at Aintree on Boxing Day, stuck to his guns in the straight and was not far behind Handstands at the final flight, but the latter never looked in any serious danger of being caught and had a length and a half in hand at the line.

“He’s so raw and looking at him walking around the paddock there against a couple of those he looked a shell,” said Pauling.

“He looks a horse for next year, but there is just no bottom to him and he has just lobbed round there as easy as you like and when Harry wanted him he’s come alive really – he didn’t pick up the bridle for the first two miles and it’s really pleasing.

“I don’t think he is short of speed either and I’m very pleased. I don’t think he has had to try too hard again there and I couldn’t be happier. He was a bit careful at the second but other than that he has jumped brilliantly and it was a brilliant ride from Harry.”

Coral cut Handstands to 16-1 from 33-1 for the Baring Bingham Novices’ Hurdle at next month’s Cheltenham Festival, while Paddy Power offer 10-1 from 20-1 in their non-runner money back market.

Pauling added: “It’s job done today and then we will see what we do next. He’s an exciting horse for the future and we might look at the Baring Bingham.

“I think we will probably go (to Cheltenham), why not? He doesn’t have to do an awful lot does he and that won’t have taken too much out of him. He’s won on good ground and he’s won on heavy ground – it doesn’t really matter to him.

“There’s not much to separate him and Tellherthename (runs in Saturday’s Betfair Hurdle at Newbury). I still think Tellherthename is probably a bit better, but that isn’t to say this lad is not class in his own right.

“They are different horses – Tellherthename travels that bit sweeter, whereas this lad goes to sleep then comes alive afterwards.”

Henderson was far from disappointed with the performance of the runner-up Jango Baie, who was conceding 5lb to Handstands.

“James said it was a bit of a stop-start sprint,” said the Seven Barrows handler.

“I’m sure he got the trip all right and he stayed on well. He got messed around a bit (in running) but I’m not making excuses. We were giving them 5lb and well done to the winner. I think they are two smart horses, it is always a decent race and I think it was.

“He probably wants all of this trip. He’s finished both of his races very strongly – he certainly did at Aintree when he stayed it out very well and finished very strong.”

On whether Jango Baie could run at Cheltenham, he added: “These are young horses and we’ve got to see who is coping with what.

“Aintree (over two and a half) would look the obvious place for him, but we will see. I will talk to the owner.”

Friday’s card at Bangor has been abandoned due to a waterlogged track.

Early on Thursday afternoon, it became apparent the course could be in difficulty when an inspection was called for 4pm due to areas of the track being under water.

With rain, sleet and snow all falling, the decision was an easy one as the two furlongs after the winning line were under water, with further rain forecast.

Thursday afternoon’s meeting at Doncaster was called off due to heavy snow.

Having initially passed an early morning inspection, snow began to fall about an hour before the first race.

As the opening contest approached at 12.55pm, it was snowing heavily and by the time the jockeys had entered the paddock to mount, an inspection was called.

A deputation of course officials, jockeys and stewards went out on the track but even in the short time that took, visibility was getting worse and the meeting was soon abandoned.

Clerk of the course Paul Barker told Sky Sports Racing: “It’s very disappointing.

“When I walked it this morning, it was nice and we’d had nothing overnight. I walked it again at 10.30am with the stewards panel chair and it had just started to sleet and no snow, but nothing was settling.

“Jockeys were arriving and so were the trainers – and all were happy.

“Then about 45 minutes before the first, the snow started falling heavier and never really stopped.

“Concerns were raised by everybody during the inquiry and I spoke to the weather station, who said we had about 45 minutes more snow and then it wasn’t going to thaw.

“You just can’t beat Mother Nature.”

Doncaster was not the only fixture called off on raceday, with officials at Thurles cancelling their card due to heavy rain.

Friday’s National Hunt fixture at Kempton is also subject to a precautionary inspection at 7.30am due to the threat of rain.

Major champions Brooks Koepka and Graeme McDowell are poised to swap their golf clubs for the racecourse later this month to watch their Cheltenham prospect Givemefive run in Kempton’s Coral Adonis Juvenile Hurdle.

Trained by Harry Derham, the four-year-old has made a flying start to his juvenile hurdling career, impressing at Warwick when an 18-length winner last time.

Givemefive carries the colours of Smash Racing, a syndicate that includes Northern Ireland’s 2010 US Open hero McDowell and his American colleague Koepka, who claimed back-to-back victories in the same event in 2017 and 2018 and has also won three PGA Championships.

They became owners in Derham’s yard after McDowell challenged the young handler to a nearest the pin shoot-out during a Pro-Am golf tournament, promising to put together a syndicate to own a horse if Derham came out on top.

Koepka’s good friend Daniel Gambill is also involved with the gelded son of Holy Roman Emperor and a break in the golfing calendar means both Koepka and McDowell are hoping to pay a visit to the Sunbury venue on February 24 before carrying on to their next assignments.

Derham said: “They are going to come because they are flying from Florida to the Middle East and are going to stop over, hopefully watch ‘Five’ run really well and then carry on to the Middle East.

“I don’t think Brooks has ever been racing, but he’s a first-time owner who has had a horse who has won two races so is obviously enjoying it.

“He’s really enthusiastic about it and he and one of his best mates, Daniel, own the horse with Graeme. They are obviously loving it because they have a really exciting horse and it will be good to give them a nice day out at Kempton – and hopefully ‘Five’ will read the script.”

Givemefive’s run in the Adonis could tee-up a shot at the Cheltenham Festival for the big-name owners and after winning his first two outings with ease, the Grade Two event will determine if they have a genuine Triumph Hurdle contender on their hands, or if they should aim at the Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle.

“Givemefive is going to run in the Adonis and depending on how he gets on there, he could run at Cheltenham,” continued Derham.

“The Adonis will tell us more (about him). He was really impressive last time out, but that form didn’t work out yesterday (when Orchestra was beaten at Ludlow).

“I don’t think he has done enough to run in the Triumph straight away and officially on ratings he has a stone to find with the favourite, which sounds quite a lot, and the Adonis will tell us.

“I’m not using the Adonis as a stepping stone though, and for a trainer who has only been training a year, it is an enormous deal to have a runner in that race and we will go there all guns blazing.”

Title-chasing rider Sean Bowen was delighted to return to the saddle at Huntingdon on Thursday, despite being narrowly denied a dream comeback aboard Roccovango.

The 26-year-old has been leading the race to be crowned this season’s champion jockey for several months, but has been sidelined by an injury since suffering a nasty fall from from Gordon Elliott’s Farren Glory in the Grade One Formby Novices’ Hurdle at Aintree on Boxing Day.

During the intervening period, Harry Cobden has significantly eroded Bowen’s advantage, with only four winners splitting the top two prior to Thursday’s action.

Bowen headed to Huntingdon for a solitary ride for his boss Olly Murphy, with Roccovango a 3-1 shot for the Mulberry Developments Novices’ Handicap Hurdle.

Despite being hard at work some way from home, Roccovango responded to his rider’s urgings to ensure he was still in the fight jumping the final flight, but in the end he had to make do with the runner-up spot, going down by a neck to 11-10 favourite Nordic Tiger.

“It’s nice to be back and the horse ran well. We didn’t quite get there in the end, but it was a nice one to get me back started on,” Bowen said.

“To be fair he absolutely winged the last and showed a good attitude, but he just couldn’t get me the fairy tale comeback.

“All felt in good working order and I’m good to go.”

When asked if it has been tough watching Cobden eat into his lead since the turn of the year, the jockey added: “You can’t get frustrated by it because when I was off, unless Harry was doing something seriously wrong, he was going to ride a lot of winners in that time.

“It was inevitable what was going to happen and I just need to come back and ride plenty of winners.”

Weather permitting, Bowen’s next port of call is Kempton on Friday before he heads to Newbury to partner the Murphy-trained Go Dante in the Betfair Hurdle.

The latter has been saved for this lucrative prize since winning at Cheltenham in mid-December and his rider is looking forward to being reunited with the eight-year-old this weekend.

“I’ll have a couple of warm-up rides and he’s the exciting one for the weekend,” said Bowen.

“I saw him the other day and he seems in really good form, so he’s one you’ve got to be looking forward to.”

This afternoon’s meeting at Doncaster has been called off due to heavy snow.

Having initially passed an early morning inspection, snow began to fall about an hour before the first race.

As the opening contest approached at 12.55pm, it was snowing heavily and by the time the jockeys had entered the paddock to mount, an inspection was called.

A deputation of course officials, jockeys and stewards went out on the track but even in the short time that took, visibility was getting worse and the meeting was soon abandoned.

Clerk of the course Paul Barker told Sky Sports Racing: “It’s very disappointing.

“I walked it this morning it was nice and we’d had nothing overnight. I walked it again at 10.30am with the stewards panel chair and it had just started to sleet and no snow but nothing was settling.

“Jockeys were arriving and so were the trainers and all were happy.

“Then about 45 minutes before the first, the snow started falling heavier and never really stopped.

“Concerns were raised by everybody during the inquiry and I spoke to the weather station who said we had about 45 minutes more snow and then it wasn’t going to thaw.

“You just can’t beat Mother Nature.”

Doncaster was not the only fixture called off on raceday, with officials at Thurles cancelling their card due to heavy rain.

Friday’s fixture at Kempton is also subject to a precautionary inspection at 7.30am due to the threat of rain, while Bangor’s card will have to pass an initial 4pm inspection with the course currently waterlogged.

Three Jamaican female athletes have once again stamped their mark on the prestigious Bowerman Watch List for the week of February 7, 2024. Lamara Distin, Brianna Lyston, and Ackelia Smith have earned well-deserved spots on the coveted list, showcasing their exceptional prowess in the world of collegiate athletics.

The Bowerman Award, presented annually to the most outstanding NCAA male and female athletes in the USA, is a testament to the incredible talent and hard work displayed by these athletes. The recent announcement follows the historic achievement in 2023, where two Caribbean athletes, Jaydon Hibbert and Julien Alfred, claimed the coveted award for the first time ever.

Lyston's inclusion in the list is particularly noteworthy as she joins teammates Alia Armstrong and Michaela Rose, making LSU the eighth program to place at least three athletes on the same Women’s Watch List.

From Portmore, Jamaica, Lyston won the 60m dash at the Razorback Invitational in 7.07 becoming number four all-time on the collegiate list. She has also run 7.14 in a 60m prelim as well as 23.16 in the 200. Lyston is the 12th athlete in LSU women’s history to be named to the Watch List.

Distin, representing Texas A&M, returns to the Watch List after an impressive high jump clearance of 1.94m at the Ted Nelson Invitational. With a personal record of 1.97m indoors, Distin aims to secure her third consecutive NCAA DI Indoor crown, adding to her already illustrious career. Her PR of 1.97m indoors puts her number three all-time. This is her eighth career Watch List appearance.

Smith, hailing from Clarendon, Jamaica, has showcased her versatility by dominating the long jump event so far this season. With a series of impressive leaps, including a 6.85m victory at the New Mexico Collegiate Classic, Smith is making her mark as a force to be reckoned with in collegiate track and field.

Last year’s NCAA DI Outdoor long jump champion, Smith is number two all-time collegiately at 7.08m and also has chops in the triple jump – an event she hasn’t contested this year but rates No. 3 all-time outdoors 14.54m and No. 5 indoors (14.29m. This is her fourth career Watch List appearance.

 The next Bowerman Watch List will be announced on February 28.

Plans for Gaoth Chuil are still to be finalised after Ted Walsh’s consistent mare continued her fine campaign when finishing second at the Dublin Racing Festival.

The six-year-old, whose name translates to tailwind in English, has proven a progressive performer this term and after two placed efforts over two and a half miles, relished the step up in trip at Christmas when striking at Leopardstown in a Pertemps qualifier.

She looked poised to add to her tally in the Irish capital last weekend when fighting out the finish of the valuable Listed handicap with Maxxum, but eventually went down fighting by less than a length to her game rival.

Walsh said: “She’s a good, sound filly, a nice little filly who does everything well. She tries her heart and soul out and is probably getting to the limit of what she can do now after crawling up the handicap, but she has had a good year.

“It would have been nice if she had won the other day, it was a big pot, but she ran nicely to be second.”

Gaoth Chuil is currently disputing favouritism for the Pertemps at the Cheltenham Festival, but despite being delighted with his charge’s efforts this term, Walsh is hesitant to commit the mare to Prestbury Park, pointing out there are other options which may appeal to owner Michael Ryan.

On Cheltenham, Walsh added: “It will all depend, it’s four or five weeks away and I’ll see what the race is looking like.

“If everything was suitable, she might, but Michael Ryan likes Liverpool, he’s had a lot of luck there over the years with Al Eile, who won four times there.

“If he feels like he wants to go to Cheltenham, we will go to Cheltenham – and if not, we will go to Liverpool. She could even stay at home for Fairyhouse and Punchestown, there’s no set idea yet.

“She’s good enough to run respectably at Cheltenham, but whether she is good enough to win it, there is a question mark.”

Gaoth Chuil may end up at Aintree in the spring, but one horse not making the trip to Merseyside this year is Grand National regular Any Second Now.

Third to Minella Times in 2021, he returned to finish second to Noble Yeats 12 months later. However, his third crack at the world’s most famous steeplechase saw the veteran pulled up early into the second circuit, with Walsh feeling he has now seen enough of the famous spruce.

“He ran disappointing in it last year and looked like he had maybe been there once too often,” continued Walsh.

“He’s 12 and not favourably treated in the handicap in England, so there are a whole lot of reasons and when you add them all together, he hasn’t shown a lot in his two runs so far this year and we decided not to go for the English National.

“He had a 10 or 11lb higher handicap mark in England when I entered him in Warwick. He can’t perform well off the mark he has here at the moment, so it is asking a big question to perform off such a figure in Liverpool when he was disappointing there last year.”

Any Second Now will now be campaigned closer to home, with Easter Monday’s Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse on the radar if returning to near his best over the coming months.

Walsh added: “Fairyhouse is on the Monday, 10 or 12 days before the English Grand National, so we decided maybe if he showed a bit of spark between now and Fairyhouse, he might run in the Irish National.

“If he is to run in one (a National), Fairyhouse seems to be the one, but it is a big if, he will need to be running better than he is at the moment.

“He might run at Punchestown in the National Trial (on February 18) and he will run a few times between now and Fairyhouse – he won’t go unless he has a good run somewhere.

“He wants to be competitive in some of those races and he won’t be going to make up the numbers; if he goes to Punchestown, or maybe the Leinster National at Naas, I would like to see him do something on track in one of them before I place him in any National.”

A race at Thursday’s evening meeting at Newcastle has been moved to Saturday’s card after it was scheduled to be run after sunset on a section of the track that is not covered by floodlights.

The Find More Big Deals At BetUK Handicap was due to be run over 10 furlongs with a start time of 5.05pm, with sunset just before 5pm in Newcastle.

A statement from the British Horseracing Authority read: “The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) and Arena Racing Company (ARC) can confirm that the Find More Big Deals At BetUK Handicap, which was due to be staged at Newcastle at 5.05pm today, has been postponed and will be run as part of Saturday’s card at the same venue.

“This move has been agreed after it was identified this morning that the race, which is scheduled to take place over 1m2f42y on the round course, was due to go off after sunset. Only the straight course at Newcastle is covered by floodlights, meaning that it would not be safe to stage the race as planned due to low light.

“The BHA’s General Instructions state that in no circumstances will a race time be altered so that a race is run earlier than the advertised race time. This is due to the implications for the betting public, alongside potential regulatory, safety and logistical issues. While alternative solutions were explored, the decision has ultimately been made to postpone the race.

“Connections of the 10 declared runners have been contacted by the BHA to advise of this change, as well as to offer an apology and a reimbursement payment to assist with costs incurred in having made arrangements for the race to be staged as planned.”

The BHA confirmed that while declarations will stand, non-runners will be allowed without penalty, adding: “We are sorry for any inconvenience and confusion resulting from this error. We will now take steps to identify what caused this issue to ensure it is not repeated.”

Brian Ellison, trainer of one of the favourites Explorers Way, said: “The BHA rang me to explain, what can you do?

“It’s the sort of mistake that if I’d made it, I’d get fined, but it won’t make much difference to us.”

Jason Mohammed has so far posted the first century of the 2024 West Indies Championship, as Trinidad and Tobago Red Force closed day one in a good position at 215-4 in their opening contest against reigning champions Guyana Harpy Eagles at Conaree Cricket Centre in St Kitts.

Mohammed, who came to the middle with Red Force in a spot of bother, after Ronsford Beaton removed Cephas Cooper (eight) and Jyd Goolie (three), ended Wednesday’s first day unbeaten on 101.

The 37-year-old will resume his innings, which so far includes 11 fours, on Thursday with Vikash Mohan, who was also unbeaten on 20.

Beaton and Veerasammy Permaul, shared the four wickets, as the latter accounted for Amir Jangoo (27) and Tion Webster (49). Beaton so far has 2-39, while Permaul has 2-49.

Scores: Trinidad and Tobago Red Force 215-4 (81.2 overs); Guyana Harpy Eagles (Yet to bat)

Elsewhere, Windward Islands Volcanoes are on course to secure first innings honours over Jamaica Scorpions, as they closed day one on 157-2, after restricting their hosts to 159, at Sabina Park.

Johann Jeremiah, on 66, and Sunil Ambris, on 30, will resume batting for the Volcanoes on Thursday’s second day.

After asking the Scorpions to take first strike, Hurricanes seamers Ryan John and Shamar Springer produced clinical bowling efforts to rip through the opponents’ batting line up. John bagged 5-43 in 13 overs, while Springer had 3-53 in 10 overs, including two maidens.

Only Peat Salmon, with a 30-ball 26, including three fours and a six, and Romaine Morris’s 29-ball 35, including four fours and two sixes, had notable scores in the Scorpions’ sub-par effort.

The Volcanoes response started positively, with Kimani Melius (31) and Jeremy Solozano (26), both getting starts, but were unable to push on. Melius, who had six boundaries in his 32-ball knock, was removed by Abhijai Mansingh, while Salmon accounted for Solozano, who had five boundaries in his knock.

However, that was all the success the Scorpions would taste, as Jeremiah and Ambris took the bowlers to task and saw out the day.

Scores: Jamaica Scorpions 159 all out (41 overs); Windward Islands Volcanoes 157-2 (41 overs)

Meanwhile, no play was possible in the contest between Combined Campuses & Colleges Marooners and Barbados Pride at Chedwin Park, in Jamaica, due to a wet outfield caused by a ruptured water main.

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