Diego Velazquez enhanced his Classic claims with a runaway victory on his eagerly-anticipated racecourse debut at the Curragh.

A son of Frankel who cost 2.4million guineas as a yearling, Aidan O’Brien’s juvenile was already priced up for next year’s 2000 Guineas and Derby ahead of his first competitive outing, suggesting he has been showing plenty on the Ballydoyle gallops.

He was a 2-5 favourite to make a successful start to his career in the Bord Na Mona Recycling Irish EBF Maiden and while Ryan Moore had to niggle him along at various stages, the further Diego Velazquez went the better he looked.

Easy to pick out with a white blaze and four white socks, the youngster quickened up smartly entering the final furlong and passed the post just under five lengths clear of 80-1 shot Guildenstern, who pipped the winner’s stablemate Old Faithful to the runner-up spot by a nose.

Betfair and Paddy Power cut Diego Velazquez to 12-1 from 16-1 for the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket, while he is 10-1 from 14-1 for the Derby. O’Brien houses the ante-post favourite for both races in City Of Troy.

Of his latest winner, the trainer said: “We had him ready to run about a month ago and he got a little injury so we had to stop and start again. He was just ready to come racing today.

“We wanted to get him out. Ryan said he was very babyish, but he obviously has a massive engine. He doesn’t even know what he’s at yet.

“He said he only came on the bridle with 50 yards to go, he said he only realised he was racing then.

“(The blustery weather) is not ideal for a first time out two-year-old.”

Considering future plans, he added: “We felt with him at home he could go anywhere, but looking at today you’d like to give him another run somewhere before he goes for a big one.

“He was absolutely half-speeding with horses (at home) and came today and didn’t take hold of the bridle. That can happen first time. It happened to Paddington first time in Ascot last year, he never took hold of the bridle.

“He’s probably going to come on and learn a lot from it.”

O’Brien also outlined running plans for some of his other exciting juveniles.

He said: “Henry Longfellow will come here next week for the Futurity and City Of Troy will come here for the National Stakes.

“Ylang Ylang won’t come next weekend, she’ll go straight to the Moyglare.”

Inspiral returns to Deauville in search of back-to-back Prix du Haras de Fresnay-le-Buffard Jacques le Marois victories on Sunday.

John and Thady Gosden’s four-year-old bounced back from Falmouth Stakes disappointment to add the French Group One to her CV last season and is on a similar recovery mission this time around having got bogged down in testing conditions when faced with the almighty task of toppling Paddington in the Sussex Stakes.

Despite only an 11-day turnaround from Goodwood, connections have been encouraged by reports of drying ground on the Normandy coast and are happy to give the Cheveley Park Stud-owned filly the go-ahead for the defence of her title.

“Goodwood was a sort of disappointment having been the target, but with the ground conditions she just didn’t relish that at all,” said Chris Richardson, managing director of Cheveley Park Stud.

“Frankie (Dettori) made his move to come to the rail and his injection of pick-up was short lived in those conditions.

“Conditions in France look to have dried up. There is a chance of a few showers, but John and Thady Gosden were happy with her after her race at Goodwood and Mrs Thompson is happy to let her go back to France for another chance at the Jacques le Marois.

“Her finest hour after Royal Ascot came there last year.”

Inspiral has often been seen at her best when kept fresh, but there appears to be few concerns about the quick return to action, with the unseasonably wet summer highlighting the importance of taking opportunities both when they arise and when conditions appear most suitable.

“I think John and Thady were happy with the fact Frankie was kind to her once her chance was gone at Goodwood,” added Richardson.

“Of course there is always a slight concern (about the quick turnaround), but we know she’s talented, she’s only had two races this year and they tell me she’s in a good place.

“There should be plenty of pace and we will let the filly do the talking. It will be nice to see her back out again and we just don’t know how the autumn is going to unfold.

“Going forward you have races like the Matron Stakes and others to consider, but you just don’t know what conditions are going to be. She was kept in training to race on and that’s where we are at this point.”

Inspiral began her season by finishing a neck second to Triple Time in the Queen Anne Stakes and the Royal Ascot champion is reported to be in good order by Kevin Ryan ahead of the rematch on French soil.

He said: “Triple Time has had a nice bit of time between Ascot and now.

“We’ve had a lovely clear run with him. He’s working nicely and we’re delighted with him going into the race.”

Triple Time is joined in the line-up by stablemate Hi Royal who placed in both the 2000 Guineas and Irish equivalent earlier in the season and now returns to a mile with cheekpieces added having disappointed over seven furlongs in the Prix Jean Prat.

“The race didn’t pan out for him the last day,” added Ryan.

“He missed the break and when cutting back to seven furlongs he couldn’t afford to do that.

“He’s back up to a mile and I’m very happy with him going into the race.”

Hi Royal is owned by Jaber Abdullah and Philip Robinson, assistant racing manager for the owner, is also hoping the Kodiac colt can bounce back to his best.

He said: “To have a realistic good chance Hi Royal will have to find his form from the Irish Guineas when he was just over two and a half lengths behind Paddington.

“You just have to forgive him his last run and they are always allowed to throw the odd bad one in.

“If you totally forget that then he is a proper Group One horse and you keep your fingers crossed he will have a chance.”

The final UK-trained raider is Light Infantry who will attempt to go one better than when a neck second to Inspiral 12 months ago.

He was last seen finishing a keeping-on third in the Queen Anne and trainer David Simcock is full of admiration for his consistent Group One performer.

“He’s never done a lot wrong and circumstances haven’t seemed to work out each time,” explained the Trillium Place handler.

“But he’s a model of consistency and has run at the top level a lot of the time and we’ve always been pleased with him.

“It looks a warm event and probably a tougher race than last year if anything. He’s got a bit to find but he goes there in good order and we’ll be hopeful.”

There is a strong challenge from the home team headed by Christopher Head’s Big Rock who found just star middle-distance colt Ace Impact too good in the Prix du Jockey Club, while a few lengths further back in third at Chantilly was Marhaba Ya Sanafi.

Like Hi Royal, Marhaba Ya Sanafi is owned by Jaber Abdullah and now returns to the distance he scooped Classic honours earlier in the campaign when landing the Poule d’Essai des Poulains.

Robinson added: “He’s got form over a mile, but I think the French Derby is his better form. He’s obviously got a bit to find with Big Rock on that run. These races you have to be in them to win them, but it is going to be very tough.

“Big Rock I think has a great chance and if Inspiral comes back to her best she must have a great chance as well. Triple Time also looked impressive at Ascot and if he finds that form to the table he will be in with a shout as well.

“This race brings out all the top horses, but our two are there and will have some kind of shout if at the top of their game. I think they will both run good races and won’t be far away, but they are going to have to find a little bit better and improve a bit to win.”

Last year’s Grand Prix de Paris winner Onesto races over a mile for the first time in over a year as he makes a belated seasonal reappearance, with his trainer Fabrice Chappet also represented by impressive Prix Jean Prat scorer Good Guess.

Andre Fabre’s Life In Motion brings Group One course and distance form to the table having been narrowly denied in the Prix Rothschild, while Jean-Claude Rouget’s Erevann and Mario Baratti’s German 2000 Guineas winner Angers add extra spice to a red-hot contest.

Frankie Dettori is set to partner Mostahdaf in the Juddmonte International at York later this month.

John and Thady Gosden’s colt was a brilliant winner of the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot but will require a new rider for his next test, with Jim Crowley – retained jockey for owners Shadwell – sidelined by the suspension he incurred for his winning ride aboard Hukum in the King George.

Having enjoyed a Saturday morning spin on the five-year-old, Dettori has been booked to take over on the Knavesmire on August 23.

“John put Frankie on him this morning and said ‘I think Frankie’s the man’, so he will ride him at York,” said Shadwell’s racing manager Angus Gold.

“He had a sit on him this morning and seemed very happy with the horse. We’ll try and keep him in one piece and then they’ll both be reunited at York.”

Dettori does not regularly don the famous blue and white silks of the late Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum, but Gold is delighted to have him on board.

He added: “He obviously won on Sakhee back in the day and more recently I remember him winning the Greenham at Newbury on Muhaarar (in 2015).

“He’s ridden plenty for us over the years and it will be very nice to hopefully give him a decent ride in his final year.”

Mostahdaf is the clear second-favourite for the the Juddmonte International with several bookmakers behind the the brilliant Paddington.

With last year’s Derby hero Desert Crown also in contention, a mouthwatering renewal is in store.

“It’s a fantastic race, as it should be. Let’s hope they all there in one piece,” said Gold.

Warnie continued his rise through the ranks with a decisive victory in the Coolmore Stud Churchill Stakes at Tipperary.

The Joseph O’Brien-trained colt made his racecourse bow at Royal Ascot in the Chesham Stakes, where he was a creditable ninth at 40-1, before readily landing the odds in a Bellewstown maiden.

Sent on his way at 9-2 for this step up to Listed class, Dylan Browne McMonagle’s mount broke well before taking an ideal position just off the pace set by Courageous Strike.

He edged to the lead after straightening for home and while 4-5 favourite Deepone had travelled nicely and looked a threat, Paddy Twomey’s previously unbeaten runner could not quite get on terms with the winner, who had three-parts of a length in hand at the line.

McMonagle – who enjoyed a winner for Ireland in the Racing League at Chepstow on Thursday evening – said: “He’s a lovely colt and keeps on improving. The pace was steady and it got a bit messy off the bend and I got a bump.

“It took a little while to get him organised in the straight, but he picked up really well when I got after him and wasn’t for stopping.

“He’s not slow and he stays well which is really nice to see. He gets through that ground well, but is a good mover and could be even better on top of the ground.”

Indian batter Ambati Rayudu has joined the St Kitts & Nevis Patriots for the 2023 Republic Bank Caribbean Premier League. Rayudu will replace Tristan Stubbs who is now no longer available.

Rayudu is a veteran of 61 international matches for India and has played 291 T20 matches so brings a vast amount of experience with him. Rayudu was part of the Chennai Super Kings that claimed their fifth IPL title in May this year.

With over 4000 runs in the IPL and international pedigree, Rayudu represents a big signing for the Patriots who will be looking to reclaim the CPL title they won in 2021.

The 2023 CPL season gets underway on 16 August with the Patriots playing their first match against the Trinbago Knight Riders on 19 August.

Mahesh Ramani, Chairman of St Kitts & Nevis Patriots, said: “As the Chairman of St Kitts & Nevis Patriots it has always been my endeavour to try & attract impact making talent to our team in pursuit of our goal to be Champions.

“In that endeavour, it is my pleasure to let the Patriots fans know that we have signed Ambati Rayudu as one of our overseas players for the 2023 season.

“I am sure Ambati’s seasoned expertise of having won multiple championships with various teams in an illustrious career in India will undoubtedly enrich the experience of our young players as we chase our second CPL title in 2023.”

The best young cricketers in the West Indies are assembling in Trinidad & Tobago for the West Indies Rising Stars Boys’ Under17 Regional Tournament that features both 50-Over and two-day formats and will run from August 12-31.

For this 2023 edition, Cricket West Indies (CWI) is introducing a two-day red ball format to add to the pre-existing 50-Over format for the Rising Stars Under 17s Regional Championships. Teams will compete for the West Indies Rising Stars U17s 50-Over Cup and the West Indies Rising Stars U17s 2-Day Championship.

Graeme West, CWI’s High-Performance Manager said: “The introduction of the Two-Day component at the Under 17s level is a significant step forward in the development of multi-format cricketers for the future. It is essential that our young talent enjoy the challenge of the red ball format, igniting their ambitions to play Test Cricket.”

The West Indies Rising Stars Under 17s Tournament will feature five rounds of 50-over white ball matches from August 12-20 and three rounds of two-day red ball matches from August 23-31 to be played at the National Cricket Centre (NCC), Inshan Ali Park, PowerGen Sports Ground and Gilbert Park Cricket Ground (GPCG). A champion will be crowned at the end of each format, as WI Rising Stars Under 17s 50 Over Cup Champions and WI Rising Stars Under 17s 2-Day Champions.

This tournament is a key element of the West Indies Future Stars development programme, allowing the best players in the region to test themselves within their age group. The tournament is pivotal for identifying talent and facilitating player progression to produce the next generation of West Indies senior international cricketers.

Miles Bascombe, Director of Cricket added: “The addition of the two-day format presents coaches and players with the opportunity to craft skills for the longer format at an earlier stage in the players’ development. It is also a tangible way for CWI to demonstrate its commitment to securing the future of West Indian Test Cricket.”

CWI’s strategic plan has committed resources into developing the game at every level and these tournaments therefore play a vital role in the strategy to develop the talent pool and produce the next generation of West Indies players. The West Indies Rising Stars Under 17s Championships completes the full 2023 calendar of CWI’s regional age group cricket which featured the men’s West Indies Rising Stars Under 15s and Under 19s Championships, as well as the Rising Stars Women’s Under 19s Championship.

You can follow LIVE ball-by-ball scoring of the West Indies Rising Stars Under 17s Championships matches on the new www.windiescricket.com match centre. 

MATCH SCHEDULE

West Indies Rising Stars Under 17s 50-Over Cup Championship

Matches start at 9:30am local time (8:30am Jamaica time)

Saturday 12 August

Trinidad and Tobago vs Windward Islands at NCC

Barbados vs Guyana at GPCG

Leeward Islands vs Jamaica at Inshan Ali Park

Monday 14 August

Jamaica vs Guyana at NCC

Trinidad and Tobago vs Leeward Islands at Inshan Ali Park

Windward Islands vs Barbados at GPCG

Wednesday 16 August

Leeward Islands vs Barbados at Inshan Ali Park

Windward Islands vs Guyana at GPCG

Trinidad and Tobago vs Jamaica at NCC

Friday 18 August

Trinidad and Tobago vs Guyana at PowerGen

Leeward Islands vs Windward Islands at NCC

Barbados vs Jamaica at GPCG

Sunday 20 August

Trinidad and Tobago vs Barbados at NCC

Leeward Islands vs Guyana at Inshan Ali Park

Jamaica vs Windward Islands at GPCG

 

West Indies Rising Stars Under 17s 2-Day Championship

Matches start at 10am local time (9am Jamaica time)

23-24 August

Trinidad and Tobago vs Leeward Islands at Inshan Ali Park

Windward Islands vs Barbados at PowerGen

Jamaica vs Guyana at NCC

26-27 August

Windward Islands vs Guyana at NCC

Trinidad and Tobago vs Jamaica at GPCG

Leeward Islands vs Barbados at Ishan Ali Park

30-31 August

Leeward Islands vs Jamaica at GPCG

Barbados vs Guyana at Inshan Ali Park 

Trinidad and Tobago vs Windward Islands at NCC

FULL SQUADS

BARBADOS: Zion Brathwaite, Zishan Motara, Xaundre Baptiste, Shaquan Belle, Gadson Bowens, Joshua Branch, Preston Clarke, Reviera Cottle, Edwin Currency-Barnett, Kyron King, Akeem McCollin, Jatario Prescod, Dre Springer, Jaden Webster.

GUYANA: Jonathan Van Lange, Rampersad Ramnauth, Kevin Kisten, Vickash Wilkinson, Romeo Deonarain, Ari-Afrizal Kadir, Nityanand Mathura, Sanjay Algoo, Golcharran Chulai, Salim Khan, Bruce Vincent, Darwin Joseph.

JAMAICA: Tyriek Bryan, Jordan Pinnock, Demarco Scott, Brian Barnes, Kev-Aundrae Virgo, Aan Ennis, O’mari Wedderburn, Eejay Spence, Dantae Calrke, Niclo McKenzie, Roshawn McKenzie, Rasheed Harriott, Ralique Thomas, David.

LEEWARD ISLANDS: Matthew Miller, T’yanick Honore, Eirette Richards, Zavio Henry, Jevon Manners, Ozan Williams, Jared Jno Baptiste, De-Andre Drew, Israel Morton, Caiden Francis, Carlton Pluck, Mekaili Tonge, Xaveek Toppin, Devanand Singh.

TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO: Fareez Ali, Cristian Rampersad, Riyaad Mohammed, Luke Ali, Brendan Boodoo, Samir Saroop, Niall Maingot, Aaidan Racha, Ishmael Ali, Aneal Rooplal, Alexander Chase, Alvin Sonny, Jordan Mohammed, Stevon Gomez.

WINDWARD ISLANDS: Justin John, Jelani Joseph, Edmund Morancie, Joel Durand, Jahson Vidal, Earnisho Fontaine, Kirtsen Murray, Kirt Murray, Johnathan Daniel, Theo Edward, Khan Elcock, Tyler Venner, Devonte McDowall, Kodi Grant.

 

Soprano is given another chance to showcase her talents over seven furlongs in the Molson Coors Sweet Solera Stakes at Newmarket on Saturday.

George Boughey’s youngster started off her career at the minimum distance and was in full voice on debut when impressing in a Rowley Mile maiden.

She was then upped to six furlongs for the Albany Stakes at Royal Ascot and ran with real credit to finish third, a performance which signalled a step up to seven furlongs on soft ground for the Star Stakes at Sandown, where the daughter of Starspangledbanner again finished on the podium.

The filly is owned by Highclere Thoroughbreds for whom Boughey trained Cachet to win the 1000 Guineas and having been keen in the early stages before weakening inside the final furlong in her Esher outing, the Newmarket-based handler is eager to see how Soprano performs having blown away some of her freshness.

“She’s in good form and worked well with another filly of Highclere’s earlier this week,” said Boughey.

“She was a little bit weak late on at Sandown, having been a little bit fresh and gassy early doors.

“Her work has always suggested she’ll get the seven and she’s certainly worth another try at that trip on the right ground.”

Disputing favouritism with Soprano is Karl Burke’s Fallen Angel, who was a length ahead of the Boughey-trained contender when a silver medallist at Sandown, while Charlie Johnston’s course-and-distance winner Carolina Reaper represents the connections who landed this 12 months ago with Lakota Sioux.

Roger Varian’s Jabaara slightly disappointed at Royal Ascot but has always been held in high regard, while Charlie Appleby’s Wild Goddess showed real improvement when upped in distance to score decisively over track and trip late last month.

“Wild Goddess improved significantly from her debut at Haydock to win her novice stylishly, and we feel that she has come forward again since,” the Moulton Paddocks handler told Godolphin’s official website.

“Like most of the field, we are trying to establish our level for the season but we are hopeful she can be very competitive.”

Ed Walker’s Queen’s Reign also hit the target in good style over course and distance on her second appearance, with Richard Hughes’ Les Bleus another heading to the July Course on the back of a win at the venue when last sighted.

Jonathan Portman’s Cry Fiction completes the collection of eight fillies heading to post for this Group Three contest.

Fresh from taking the top trainer title at Goodwood, Ralph Beckett is lining up a strong squad headed by Kinross for York’s Sky Bet Ebor Festival.

Kinross landed the Lennox Stakes last week, one of three winners for the Kimpton Downs handler across the five-day fixture.

The six-year-old will now follow the same route as last year, rolling on to the Knavesmire to defend his crown in the Group Two Sky Bet City of York Stakes – with the seven-furlong contest now boasting a prize fund of £500,000 to highlight the action on August 26.

Beckett said: “It was great to get his head in front again last week and our intention is to run in the City of York. He’s already shown a liking for the place.

“He’s very versatile, having won a Champions Sprint (at Ascot) and nearly won a Breeders’ Cup Mile as well. He’s not (trip) specific, but seven furlongs is definitely his optimum.”

Beckett also has Angel Bleu, another who runs in the colours of Marc Chan, in the City of York, although the ground would need to be testing for him to run.

“He would only go if it was wet. He’s in good form, but he does need slow ground,” he added.

Bluestocking is the only Group One entry of the week for Beckett, with the filly set to contest the Pertemps Network Yorkshire Oaks on the second day of the four-day fixture, August 24.

Winner of her only juvenile outing, the Juddmonte-owned runner has placed in each of her three starts this term, posting a career-best effort when beaten just half a length by Savethelastdance in the Irish Oaks at the Curragh last month.

Beckett said: “It was a good effort. We were thrilled with her. Our intention is to run in the Yorkshire Oaks, certainly. She came back from Ireland in good shape and we’re on course.”

While Kinross and Bluestocking are set to be Beckett’s headline acts, he is eyeing the Group Three Sky Bet and Symphony Group Strensall Stakes for Royal Hunt Cup winner Jimi Hendrix, with the richly-endowed handicaps across the fixture also grabbing his attention.

He said: “It’s always important to show off at the festivals. We had a good Goodwood, hopefully we can carry it on into York.

“Jimi Hendrix will probably run in the Strensall Stakes (August 26). We’ll have a few for the handicaps as well. We’re hoping to come with a team, for sure.”

Bucanero Fuerte will bid to cement his position as one of the season’s leading two-year-olds when he lines up in the Keeneland Phoenix Stakes.

The son of Wootton Bassett announced himself back in March when a commanding winner of a Curragh maiden and having gone on to be denied by only a length when third to River Tiber in the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot, he showed plenty of guts and class to come out on top in the Group Two Railway Stakes most recently.

Adrian Murray’s youngster – who is one of two in the race for the trainer alongside the filly Launch – will now attempt to make his mark at Group One level as he continues his climb to the top of the juvenile pecking order.

“On the back of what he did at Ascot we went to the Railway with confidence,” explained Tom Pennington, racing and operations manager for owners Amo Racing.

“He did progress from Ascot and Adrian and the team at home were really chuffed with the way he had progressed. He was showing all the right signs and then he got the job done.

“We’ve been building ever since Ascot and this has been the target since then, with the Railway in between. He hasn’t missed a day and the team have been very happy with him and it’s exciting.”

Although Bucanero Fuerte’s camp are certain there will be more to come when he steps up to seven furlongs and beyond, this six-furlong event appears the obvious spot to test his ability at the highest level.

He has the chance to become the first horse since Siskin in 2019 to do the Railway Stakes/Phoenix Stakes double which will allow connections to begin to dream about replicating the achievements of Ger Lyons’ Irish 2,000 Guineas winner when stepping up to a mile next term.

Pennington added: “All options are open to him and he’s always been a horse who has shown plenty of ability at home. Robson (Aguiar) is an integral part of the team and he has always been high up on his list.

“We’re taking it one race at a time and he’s come through everything with flying colours so far and hopefully everything goes well on Saturday and we can build again from there.

“He won’t be overraced this year, he will definitely improve from two to three and he’s a horse with lots of size and scope and lots of potential, so we’ll be mindful to look after him.

“His brother (Wooded) was a sprinter, but I would say he needs all of six furlongs and he will get seven standing on his head. He should progress to a mile next year. He looks like a miler and he’s still got a frame to fill, so I would be confident he will get a mile next year.”

Bucanero Fuerte just edged out Unquestionable for his Railway Stakes triumph and Aidan O’Brien’s colt is back for another crack at his course-and-distance conqueror.

Unquestionable will be the mount of Ryan Moore, with His Majesty also representing Ballydoyle looking to bridge his near five-length deficit with the front two from when third in the Railway.

He has since placed in the Prix Robert Papin and will be the mount of Seamie Heffernan, while the O’Brien family also hold leading claims in the form of Donnacha O’Brien’s Royal Ascot scorer Porta Fortuna.

Oisin Murphy comes in for the spare ride on the unbeaten daughter of Caravaggio, with O’Brien confident she can hold her own against the colts.

He said: “Everything has gone well since Ascot and this has been the plan for a good while. We left her in the Lowther as a back-up in case we had any hold-ups, but everything has gone perfect.

“We have no ground concerns as she’s won on the two extremes – heavy and good to firm. It looks like it will be beautiful ground on Saturday, just on the easy side of good, so no concerns that way.”

Also making their first appearance since the Royal meeting is Jessica Harrington’s Givemethebeatboys, who created a stir when changing hands for £1.1million on the eve of Ascot’s summer showpiece and was not disgraced when a place behind Bucanero Fuerte finishing fourth in the Coventry.

“I’m delighted with him, all good,” said Harrington.

“There’s no River Tiber, but it’s still a strong race – there’s no such thing as an easy Group One, we all know that.

“Hopefully he’ll run a good race and we don’t get too much rain between now and then so we have a bit of nice ground on the day. He’s won on soft, but I’d prefer better ground as he’s a good-moving horse.

“He’s a good horse, he really is. We’ll do our best and see what happens.”

Although still a a maiden, Gaenari has finished second in three of her four career appearances and completes the line-up for Curragh-based Brazilian trainer Diego Dias.

Al Aasy bids to continue his resurgence in the Betfred Rose of Lancaster Stakes at Haydock on Saturday.

The William Haggas-trained six-year-old has suffered a few bumps in the roaf since pushing Pyledriver close in the 2021 Coronation Cup, but there is no doubt he is a high-class performer on his day.

He won the Buckhounds Stakes at Ascot on what proved to be his only competitive appearance last season, but was tailed off on his first start of the current campaign at Newmarket.

However, dropping back to a mile and a quarter at Newbury last month, he showed his true colours with an authoritative victory and he sticks to the shorter distance on Merseyside this weekend.

“It was great to see him come back and win like that at Newbury and this is the next step,” said Angus Gold, racing manager for owners Shadwell.

“He’s been called some names, as Jim (Crowley) alluded to after he won on him at Newbury, but he did it well that day and I see no reason why he shouldn’t run another good race.”

In the immediate aftermath of his most recent triumph Haggas suggested that maybe he had been running Al Aasy over the wrong trip, but Gold is not so sure.

He added: “I thought William was hard on himself as you can’t say that he doesn’t get a mile and a half I don’t think. He was only beaten a neck in a Coronation Cup a couple of years ago, so it would be silly to say he doesn’t stay.

“But there were people who’ve ridden the horse at home who said ‘he’s got plenty of speed this horse, try a mile and a quarter’ and that certainly didn’t stop him.

“He’s a funny old character who gets beaten as often as he wins, but he’s been a very good horse at his best, so hopefully he can continue that on Saturday.”

Charlie Appleby is looking forward to running King Of Conquest, who having struck gold in Bahrain in the winter won his first two starts back in Britain at Newmarket and Goodwood respectively.

He could finish only sixth in the Wolferton Stakes at Royal Ascot, but Appleby hopes the application of cheekpieces might help him raise his game.

“King Of Conquest keeps progressing and has done very little wrong throughout his career. He carried a penalty at Royal Ascot but still ran a decent race,” the trainer told www.godolphin.com.

“We are applying cheek pieces to help get some more natural pace into him. It looks as though we have Al Aasy to beat but our horse certainly doesn’t look out of place at this level.”

The Sean Woods-trained Savvy Victory is out to follow up a Listed success in the Gala Stakes at Sandown, while Richard Fahey’s talented filly Midnight Mile must be respected following an impressive victory in Listed company at York.

Phantom Flight (James Horton), El Drama (Karl Burke) and American challenger Classic Causeway (Kenneth McPeek) complete the field.

The 2023 Concacaf Boys’ Under-15 Championship was back in action on Thursday with teams in League A and League B taking the field in the Quarterfinals and Play-Offs.

In the League B quarterfinals at the Stadion Rignaal Jean Francisca in Willemstad, Curacao, Martinique upended hosts Curacao 4-1, Nicaragua emerged victorious 4-2 from a penalty shootout with Antigua and Barbuda after a 1-1 draw, Saint Lucia edged Barbados 1-0, while Bermuda came away with a 4-3 penalty shootout victory against Belize after a 0-0 draw between the two sides.

The League B Play-Off matches all took place at the Ergilio Hato Stadium in Willemstad, where Bonaire defeated Saint Kitts and Nevis 4-3 in a penalty shootout after a 2-2 draw, Guadeloupe got past Guyana 2-0, Suriname slipped by Grenada 3-2 and Aruba beat Cayman Islands 4-1 in a penalty shootout after a 0-0 draw.

The League A quarterfinals all took place at the Estadio Olimpico Felix Sanchez in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, beginning with a 4-1 triumph for Jamaica over Honduras. Also registering a victory was Mexico, 1-0 versus Puerto Rico, Haiti handled Canada 1-0 and the United States fended of Guatemala 4-1.

In the League A Play-Offs at the Estadio Panamericano in San Cristobal, Dominican Republic, El Salvador defeated Cuba 3-0, Trinidad and Tobago downed Qatar 3-0, Costa Rica marched past Dominican Republic 3-1 and Saudi Arabia squeezed past Panama 2-1.

 

Young football talent Damek Rennie is about to embark on a journey that could change his life forever. The 17-year-old central midfield player is set to depart Jamaica later this month to join Panamanian first division team, Club Deportivo Universitario, on a one-year deal with an option for a second year.

Damek's story began on the fields of Camperdown High School, where he showcased his talents playing Colts football, and although he hadn't played in the prestigious Manning Cup, his dedication was unwavering.

Behind the scenes, Jevaughn Hutchinson, his manager, played a pivotal role in Damek's journey. It was Hutchinson who recognized the young player's potential and took him to Panama for those crucial encounters with Club Deportivo Universitario's youth teams. "He impressed them a lot," Hutchinson explained, reflecting on Damek's impact in those games.

The journey ahead was promising. The club saw the value in Damek's attributes - his height, his passing accuracy, his dribbling finesse, and his ability to maintain possession. The plan is to integrate him with the first team, allowing him to train alongside seasoned professionals until December. By then, Damek, who turns 18 later this month, would meet the qualifications to officially represent the club.

Damek is embracing this opportunity with open arms. "We have been working hard for the opportunity, and it finally came," he exclaimed with a sense of gratitude.

Damek's familiarity with Club Deportivo Universitario wasn't limited to just news clippings. Last summer, he had faced off against their U17 and U20 teams, leaving a lasting impression with his skills on the ball. This connection had sparked interest from the club, and now, Damek finds himself on the cusp of something incredible.

As he prepares to step onto the Panamanian soil, Damek is determined to make a lasting impression. "I want to go out there and play, help them win the championship, and elevate their standing," he expressed with a burning ambition.

Adapting to the new environment, connecting with teammates, communicating effectively, and blending seamlessly into the fabric of the club, are his primary objectives.

His mind, too, was a fortress of readiness. Damek revealed that his prior experiences in Panama have prepared him mentally for this adventure. His talent had taken him to Panama three times previously, an experience that expanded his horizons both on and off the pitch.

"It was the first time leaving the country to play football overseas. I learned a lot and brought that knowledge back to Jamaica," he said.

Jamaican track and field coach Victor Thomas is to be enshrined into the USTFCCCA Coaches Hall of Fame as part of the class of 2023. The United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association announced the news Thursday about Lincoln University track & field head coach Victor Thomas, a 14-time NCAA Division II champion.

Thomas, who has guided Lincoln's women's track & field program to nine NCAA Division II Outdoor and five NCAA Division II indoor titles, has coached athletes nearly 1,000 All-American performances and has been named the National Coach of the Year five times in his 22-year career.

The Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association has named Thomas the MIAA Coach of the Year 10 times, and he was the 2004 Heartland Conference Coach of the Year.

Under the leadership of Thomas, the Blue Tigers have won 95 individual and 41 relay national titles and have recorded 671 United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association All-Region awards.

A 16-time USTFCCCA Regional Coach of the Year honoree, Thomas has led LU's women's and men's track & field programs to 11 total MIAA championships and finishes among the top three of the NCAA Division II Championships 28 times. Between the years of 2003-2007, Lincoln won an unprecedented five-straight NCAA Division II Women's Outdoor Track & Field Championships, and, in 2020, the LU men were ranked No. 1 in the country heading into the NCAA Division II Indoor Track & Field Championships, which were ultimately cancelled due to COVID-19.

In addition to their tremendous success in the field of competition, Thomas' athletes have also been stellar in the classroom. Since Lincoln re-joined the MIAA in 2011, over 200 Blue Tigers have made the MIAA Academic Honor Roll, and LU athletes have been the recipient of more than 50 MIAA Scholar Athlete Awards. Nine athletes have been named Google Cloud/CoSIDA Academic All-Americans, and 11 have earned spots on the Google Cloud/CoSIDA Academic All-District first team. Two Blue Tigers have been named the USTFCCCA Division II Indoor Scholar-Athlete of the Year, and the Lincoln women's outdoor track & field team was selected as the USTFCCCA Scholar Team of the Year in 2017 and 2018.

Due to the tremendous success, the Blue Tigers have enjoyed under Thomas' direction, the Lincoln University Track & Field Program was inducted into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame in 2013. Thomas himself was enshrined in the Drake Relays Hall of Fame in 2012. In 2021, Thomas was enshrined in the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame.

The 2023 USTFCCCA Coaches Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, Presented by REKORTAN, will be held in Denver, Colo. on Tuesday, December 12.

Luke Morris makes his first appearance in the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup as he heads up the home team at Ascot on Saturday.

The 34-year-old – who took his career to new heights last year, winning the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe with Sir Mark Prescott’s Alpinista – has never before taken part in the team event, which was first run in 1999 and now includes four teams competing for points over six races.

The Great Britain and Ireland squad is made up of Morris, Tom Marquand and Declan McDonogh, and the trio will aim to defeat a European team, a Ladies team and a team representing the Rest of the World.

Morris said: “When I was asked to participate, I was hugely grateful. It looks a great, fun day with a real buzz about the place.

“The Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup is something that I have grown up watching.

“The prize-money is great and it is real competitive racing.”

Morris has some well-fancied mounts at the weekend, including Clive Cox’s Tis Marvellous in the Dash and Stuart Williams’ Quinault in the sprint race – the latter a horse who has won his previous six races.

“From a participant’s perspective, everyone is really behind the Shergar Cup,” said Morris, who is favourite to win the Silver Saddle award for top rider, ahead of Rest of the World captain Frankie Dettori and Saffie Osborne.

“I know lots of jockeys would like to ride in it, plus lots of owners and trainers like running horses here,”

“To be honest, there is not much to dislike. I think it is a great initiative and the fact it is still going strong after so many years proves that it does work.

“I know my teammates Declan and Tom very well. Tom is flying at the moment and Declan is a former Irish champion.

“Throughout all the teams, there is real talent on show and hopefully it will be a great day.

“Riding winners at the highest level is always the aim. I am fiercely competitive and enjoy winning. I want to ride as many winners as I can each year, in the hope that it unlocks the door to ride nice horses.”

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