Sacred Angel produced a dominant front-running performance to strike Group Three gold in the Bateaux London Princess Margaret Stakes at Ascot.

A field of 10 juvenile fillies went to post for the six-furlong contest, with Sacred Angel a 16-1 shot for trainer Charlie Johnston off the back of a maiden success at Newmarket a fortnight ago.

Jason Hart sent the grey daughter of Dark Angel straight to the lead and while the challengers were stacked up in behind, she kept finding more to kick a couple of lengths clear.

The well-fancied Pretty Crystal quickened smartly from the rear to emerge best of the rest, but could not get on terms with Sacred Angel, who passed the post with three lengths in hand.

The victory provides Johnston with a first Group-race winner since becoming the sole licence holder at his Middleham yard, with his father Mark also breaking his Group-race duck in the same race with Marina Park in 1992.

“It was a good way to start. She is improving dramatically – very much so,” said the trainer.

“Her first run at Pontefract, I thought she was the best horse on the day. She was quite green and got beat by two horses who’d had experience.

“If you told me then, within two starts we’d be at this level, I’d have thought, ‘I’m not so sure about that’, but she took a nice step forward at Newmarket and a step forward again.”

Sacred Angel was carrying the colours of Nurlan Bizakov for the first time, with the businessman having snapped her up after her Newmarket success from the Titanium Racing Club.

Considering future plans, Johnston added; “The owners obviously sponsor quite a high-profile race in France (Prix Morny) and on the back of that I would suspect they will want her to go there next.

“Possibly the Cheveley Park at the end of the year will be the obvious real highlight target.”

Richard Fahey was pleased with the performance of runner-up Pretty Crystal.

He said: “I thought it was a good run, but it just didn’t work out again for her. She’s been a bit unlucky. But she is quite a nice filly and she’ll definitely go for the Lowther at York.”

Jamaica's Sunshine Girls produced another strong showing to make it two-from-two at the Vitality Netball World Cup when they defeated Wales 75-40 in another lopsided affair in Cape Town, South Africa on Saturday.

While it was not the most convincing performance to follow up their record 105-25 opening win over Sri Lanka, the number four-ranked Jamaicans did enough to secure their sixth win over the ninth-ranked Wales in what was their seventh meeting.

Captain and ace shooter Jhaniele Fowler again led from the front scoring 39 goals from 41, with Romelda Aiken-George, who took over second half duties, sinking 19 goals from her 21 attempts. Goal attacks Shanice Beckford and Rebekah Robinson contributed five and 12 goals from six and 14 attempts respectively.

With the win, the Jamaicans, who are aiming to break a lengthy medal drought dating back to 2007 when the country last won one of its three World Cup bronze medals, moved up to four points and are assured of one of three spots to the next round.

Head coach Connie Francis opted for a completely different starting seven on this occasion with Shamera Sterling, Latanya Wilson and Jodi-Ann Ward in defence. Nicole Dixon-Rochester started centre court, as Khadijah Williams and Shanice Beckford occupied the wing attack and goal attack positions behind big shooter Fowler.

Jamaica forced three turnovers off Wales' centre pass and, as such, rushed into a five-goal lead before the opponents responded. Despite Wales finding an early rhythm of their own to gradually close the gap at 9-6, the Sunshine Girls accelerated late on to end the quarter with a 12-goal lead at 23-11.

The Sunshine Girls' tempo in the early exchanges of the second quarter was a stark contrast to what it was in the first, but when they eventually got going –particularly at the defensive end where Sterling and company had a number of deflections and interceptions –it brought Fowler's accuracy into play, as they went on to outscore Wales 21-12 for a 44-23 half-time lead.

However, Francis and her team were left with much to figure out, as they struggled to maintain that tempo with their usual speed and flair dropping significantly after combination changes in the second half of the encounter.

In fact, they only mustered 31 goals across the last two quarters which is fairly low by their standards, especially coming off a record high performance against Sri Lanka.

Though they scored high at 90 percent, the Sunshine Girls conceded 16 turnovers and that remains a cause for concern for Fowler, heading into a much tougher contest against the number five-ranked host South Africa at 11:00am Jamaica time, on Sunday.

“I think the entire team played well, the fact that we had changes going throughout the quarters and when everyone went in the just slot in and did their part which is really good. But yeah, we have to make sure that we limit our turnovers and also tighten up on some of our contacts,” Fowler said in a post-game interview.

Meanwhile, Sterling, who was named player of the game, said they always expected a tougher contest against Wales.

“Coming off the win against Sri Lanka and then coming to play Wales, which is a more structured and organised team, we know it was going to be more competitive and we were prepared for that. So, it was just a matter of trying to tweak and fix some of the little things that we need to do,” Sterling noted.

Trinidad and Tobago’s Calypso Girls and Barbados Gems were both brave in defeat despite being outclassed by reigning champions New Zealand and England in their respective opening games at the Vitality Netball World Cup in Cape Town, South Africa on Friday.

The number 10-ranked Calypso Girls, who were the first Caribbean team in action, went down 27-72 to number two-ranked New Zealand, while the 14-ranked Gems, succumbed to a 29-90 loss to number three-ranked England Roses.

Those results meant that both Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados will have to play catch up in their respective pools, if they are to make the top three to progress to the next round.

New Zealand head Pool D ahead of Uganda, who were 79-37 winners over Singapore, while England heads Pool B ahead Malawi, who registered a 55-49 win over Scotland.

Trinidad and Tobago, one of only three countries to win a World Cup title in the tournament’s history, knew they were always up against it against the Silver Ferns, but left their best on the court in restricting the champions to a score under 80.

Still, New Zealand were comfortable from the start going 23-2 in the opening quarter and 43-11 at half time, before asserting authority at the backend of the contest.

Grace Nweke scored a flawless 31 goals for New Zealand and Maia Wilson made 22 of 24 attempts, while Afeisha Noel and Joelisa Cooper, had 17 and 10 goals for Trinidad and Tobago.

The Calypso Girls are scheduled to face Singapore on Saturday at 11:00am Jamaica time.

Meanwhile, Barbados, despite the presence of experienced siblings Sasha and Kadeen Corbin, who both racked up over 70 caps for England before switching allegiance, struggled for consistency which proved their undoing against the Roses.

They Started positively by matching strides with, but a number of unforced errors paved the way for England to take command of the game at 20-8 going into the first interval and 42-18 at half time.

England rang the changes at the start of the third quarter and with Barbados being caught out by the long balls, it forced goal shooter Kadeen Corbin to take up the goalkeeping position. While the move gradually assisted in restricting the Roses, it also limited the Gems’ scoring chances across the last two quarters.  

Faye Agard, captain of the Bajan Gems took heart from her team’s performance heading into their second game against Scotland tomorrow at 9:00am Jamaica time.

“We know we had some really good passages of play, but we also had a lot of unforced errors that we need to work on. So, we know what we need to do, go back to the drawing board and fix some things for the next game,” Agard said.

Jamaica’s Sunshine Girls expectedly opened their Vitality Netball World Cup campaign with a bang, as they hammered Sri Lanka 105-25 in Cape Town, South Africa on Friday.

The number four-ranked Jamaicans were dominant from the start and didn’t relent against their number 15-ranked opponents for a minute with the towering combination of Romelda Aiken-George and captain Jhaniele Fowler sharing goal shooting duties across two quarters apiece.

Though the Sunshine Girls usual bad habit of making unforced errors kicked in at one point, Aiken-George with 33 goals from 34 attempts and Fowler with 42 goals from 43 attempts, spared their blushes, as goal attacks Rebekah Robinson and Shanice Beckford, contributed 17 and 13 goals respectively.

With the win, the Jamaicans assume pole position in Pool C, ahead of host South Africa, who were 61-50 winners over Wales.

Jamaica’s Head coach Connie Francis started with two debutants in Latanya Wilson at goal defence and wing defence Crystal Plummer, as Robinson and Aiken-George got the starting goal attack and shooter roles ahead of Beckford and Fowler.

The potent attack of the Sunshine Girls saw them open a brisk five-goal lead inside the first 30 seconds, as they displayed their usual speed and flair that delighted crowd, especially when Aiken-George scored a lay-up shot.

In fact, the Jamaicans were so dominant that Sri Lanka’s first goal came almost seven minutes into the opening quarter, which eventually ended 26-5.

Jodi-Ann Ward joined Kadie-Ann Dehaney and the dynamic Plummer in defence for the second quarter and the trio proved too formidable for Sri Lanka’s attackers, as their consistent deflections resulted in the Jamaicans firing in 14 unanswered goals, before the opponents belated got their first almost nine minutes in.

From there, they went on to register a 52-11 half time lead, which all but signalled the writing on the wall for Sri Lanka.

The Jamaicans signalled their intent to hit the century mark with the introduction of Fowler at the start of the third quarter and she flawlessly scored her first 14 attempts, with Beckford providing the necessary support to again outscore Sri Lanka 23-7 for a 75-18 lead heading into the final quarter.

That final quarter represented the best display from Sri Lanka in the shooting circle as the matched the Jamaicans goal for goal in the early exchanges.

However, once the defence lead by Shamera Sterling and player of the game Wilson, found back their rhythm, they forced a number of turnovers and orchestrated some quick transitions for Fowler and Robinson to finish off and propel Jamaica to the 14th 100-plus goal scoreline in the tournament's history.

It was also the first 100-plus score by a team at the World Cup since 2015, when Malawi achieved the feat ironically, also against Sri Lanka.

While the Sunshine Girls scored at 89 percent, they also had 17 turnovers, an issue that Francis is hoping to correct going forward.

“From the first day when we assembled here, I saw the hunger and the will to execute well, and I am very impressed with my team. We made a number of changes just to work on combinations and also to manage the workload because the thing that we are trying to work on mostly is our turnovers.

“We know we have players that can hunt and win balls which makes them dangerous, so it is just to minimize the turnovers some more and we will be good,” Francis said.

For Fowler, the execution was on par for the most parts.

“We wanted to come out and practice some of our strategies and make sure we are cementing some of our plays. Romelda and I are both amazing shooters so either one starting a game is fine, we are just more focused on gelling as best as we can and just going one game at a time,” the captain shared.

The Sunshine Girls will next face Wales on Saturday at 4:00 am Jamaica time.

Shelly Ann Fraser Pryce, a name synonymous with excellence in track and field, continues to defy expectations and push the boundaries of what is possible in the sport. With an awe-inspiring record of five 100m world championships and two Olympic 100m gold medals, one might wonder what keeps her coming back to compete.

She answered that question on Thursday with a post on social media saying, “I think I’ve reached a point where I have nothing to prove to anyone but, at the same time, I think I have a lot to prove to myself.

“There’s a difference when you believe something and you know what you’re capable of or what’s within your reach. You want to make sure that you’re pushing yourself towards it and trying to accomplish it. I think that was me last year, where I just totally forgot about anybody else’s expectation and just focused on what I know I can do.”

The post reiterated sentiments expressed in a recent interview with Athletic Weekly, where she revealed her burning desire to run faster as the driving force behind her relentless pursuit of greatness. She states, "I used to refrain from stating clearly what I want, and I believe I can run faster – that’s really what has kept me here. I believe that with every fibre of my being."

Last year's consistent runs of seven 10.6 seconds showcased her immense potential, but Fraser Pryce firmly believes there is more to achieve. The prospect of dropping her time further propels her forward, as she remains steadfast in her pursuit of perfection.

What truly sets Fraser Pryce apart is her insatiable hunger for something new, something undiscovered. Despite her remarkable accomplishments, she remains excited and enthusiastic about her journey. The Jamaican sprint queen admits, "I wake up every morning and I go to practice and I’m like, 'man, I’m still doing this.' I still feel good, I still feel hungry."

As her career progresses, Fraser Pryce now views her role as an opportunity to inspire and impact the younger generation of athletes. She sees herself as a living example of what can be achieved with unwavering conviction and dedication. "It’s about impact, showing other athletes what you can do if you really have that conviction," she passionately states.

At 36 years old, Fraser Pryce understands that age should not limit her aspirations. She challenges the notion of ageism in sports, expressing frustration that other athletes in different disciplines can continue, while track and field athletes often face premature retirement. As long as she remains healthy, she vows to keep showing up, rewriting the record books along the way.

Fraser Pryce's dedication to her craft is unparalleled, and she is mindful of how she spends her time. Despite being a devoted mother, she prioritizes her training and even delegates cheering duties to her son's father during football matches. She knows that every second counts in her pursuit of greatness.

Surprisingly, after so many years at the pinnacle of the sport, Fraser Pryce remains humble and self-aware, acknowledging that she still has room for improvement.

 “I don’t have the best technique. I really have to work hard to cement it. It’s something that I have to go to the line and actively process in my head to say ‘this is what we’re doing, this is what we’re doing Shelly’ so I’m still learning to do that,” she states.

“I think one of the things is learning to do it being relaxed, as well as making sure that it’s automatic, it’s something that I can switch on and switch off if I need to. A lot of that takes concentration and replicating it daily in practice. It must be consistent and I think the more times I’m able to do it is, the easier it will become.”

Oliver Sherwood was out of luck with his final runners as he said goodbye to the training ranks at Uttoxeter on Friday.

The 68-year-old announced last month that he was to relinquish his licence after a near 40-year career as a trainer, as recent health troubles, combined with dwindling numbers in his yard and the death of close friend Richard Aston, prompted Sherwood to reassess his priorities.

Neither of his final two runners could hit the frame at the Staffordshire track and Sherwood now bows out ahead of his new venture in the role as assistant to fellow Lambourn handler Harry Derham – with the majority of his remaining string making the short journey with him.

“I think most of them are going. There’s one or two I’m not quite sure about yet,” he told Sky Sports Racing after Mystic Man was pulled up in the Low Cost Roofing Stoke Novices’ Handicap Chase.

One of the highlights of Sherwood’s career was Many Clouds who the 2015 Grand National to cap a stellar 2014-15 season which also saw the popular stayer land the Hennessy and Cotswold Chase.

Many Clouds won 12 of his 27 races and Sherwood will always have the fondest memories of the battling son of Cloudings.

He added: “It was fantastic and I remember going up and seeing him as an unbroken three-year-old at Trevor’s stud with Mick Meagher near Haydock and I loved him then and he became a horse of a lifetime.

“To do what he did was just unbelievable. Although, mind you, if Trevor had not have said ‘lets have a crack at the National’ I was all set to put him away for the year. Owner intervention played a key part and I wasn’t going to run him – I thought it was a year too soon.

“If you had told me he would win a Hennessy, win a Cotswold Chase and finish sixth in a Gold Cup I would have bitten your arm off, but to then go and win a National was great. You are now always known as a Grand National-winning trainer.

“I’ve had a really lovely career, it’s been 39 years. I would like it to go on, but having been ill for 18 months with a touch of cancer, someone upstairs was saying take a pull. I’m not packing up, I’m just changing direction.”

Luisa Casati has brought together aficionados of two differing types of saddles and will aim to do her connections proud in the Lillie Langtry Stakes at Goodwood.

The Vadamos mare is trained in Lambourn by Tom Ward, a keen cyclist who shares his passion with the syndicate that own the bay – Velocity Racing.

The group was put together by former trainer Harry Dunlop when he held a licence of his own, and upon his retirement from the training ranks he wanted to maintain his involvement with the partnership.

Each member pays £1,000 for the year and the usual benefits of shared ownership are combined with cycling trips, some of which Dunlop hopes will coincide with European runs later in the season.

Before then there is a target closer to home as the five-year-old holds an entry for the Group Two Lillie Langtry Stakes, over a mile and six furlongs.

A mile and a half has been Luisa Casati’s trip so far this year, a distance over which she was a gallant third when beaten just a neck in the Listed Prix de la Porte de Madrid at Saint-Cloud in March.

Following that run she headed to Goodwood for a Listed event on home turf, this time winning the Daisy Warwick Fillies’ Stakes ahead of Juddmonte’s well-regarded Time Lock.

That success was the biggest of Ward’s career, but connections are hopeful there are more big days to come after her fifth-placed run when last seen in the Group Two Lancashire Oaks at Haydock.

The race was a steep step up in grade and the filly looked to be running on towards the line, suggesting an increase in distance will be appreciated when she returns to Goodwood.

“We have about 20 members and they are like-minded souls, they buy a share of the horse and then we put on cycling trips,” Dunlop explained.

“We’ve just come back from a trip to France, which was the Normandy battlefields, and then we went to Versailles and to the Grand Prix de Paris on the Friday night.

“We’ve got a mixture of fun things for people and Luisa Casati has been an amazing horse for us.

“I started it about four years ago and a lot of the members have become friends because they’ve stayed with us, which is great.

“I’m helping Tom a little bit anyway, he’s training a couple of my ex horses and he’s pretty enthusiastic about his cycling too, which is quite important!

“The Goodwood win for us was very special, a lot of the partners were there and we went into it hopeful of a nice run but certainly not to go and win like that.”

Now a Goodwood return is in the diary, the syndicate can plan a day out at the meeting before looking further afield in the latter stages of the season.

“She ran well the other day, things went a little bit against her, including the ground, but we’re hopefully going to aim for the Lillie Langtry at Goodwood on Saturday,” Dunlop said.

“Tom’s keen as she has won at the track already and that should mean it will suit well.

“Everyone will certainly try to be there, most people are based in Berkshire and Hampshire, there are a few more who are based further up north as well, but I’m sure there’ll be a big presence.

“Tom has mentioned a possible trip to Baden-Baden which we’re likely to do later in the year, similarly I think there are some options in France too.

“I think she is going to be a better autumn filly as the ground might be softer for her so hopefully we can keep going.”

Dual Derby hero Auguste Rodin is one of four runners for Aidan O’Brien as the master of Ballydoyle goes in search of a fifth victory in Saturday’s King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Qipco Stakes.

It is 22 years since the great Galileo supplemented his Derby triumphs at Epsom and the Curragh with victory in Ascot’s midsummer highlight, comfortably accounting for top-class older horse Fantastic Light.

Dylan Thomas and Duke Of Marmalade provided O’Brien with back-to-back wins in 2007 and 2008 before Highland Reel struck gold for the County Tipperary maestro in 2016 – and in Auguste Rodin he has unearthed another potential middle-distance star.

Disappointing when favourite for the 2000 Guineas in May, the son of Japanese ace Deep Impact has since proved his worth with successive Classic wins over the King George distance of a mile and a half.

Both of those triumphs did come on fast ground, though, and with an easier surface forecast for this weekend, O’Brien is hoping underfoot conditions do not deteriorate further.

He said: “We’re very happy with Auguste Rodin and everything has gone very well since the last day.

“The better the ground, the better it will suit him. We wouldn’t want it getting any worse. We’ll definitely walk the track, obviously.

“He’s a beautiful mover, he doesn’t raise his feet much.”

Auguste Rodin is joined by a trio of stablemates in Luxembourg, Point Lonsdale and Bolshoi Ballet.

While the latter pair are three-figure prices with some bookmakers, it would be dangerous to dismiss Luxembourg, who has won an Irish Champion Stakes and a Tattersalls Gold Cup at Group One level over a mile and a quarter and was second to Mostahdaf in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot last month.

He finished seventh in last season’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe on his only previous outing over a mile and a half and O’Brien does not view the longer trip as an issue.

“Luxembourg is very straightforward. He’ll love a mile and a half and will get the trip very well. He’s very fit and everything has gone really well since the last day,” he added.

“It’s a race we were always looking at with him and we thought it was going to suit. He’s solid, has had his two runs and he’s ready.

“It’s a great race and that’s what everyone wants all the time, the best horses all together and then let it happen. That’s what we all want to see win, lose or draw.”

Ryan Moore has a couple of King George wins on his illustrious CV courtesy of Conduit (2009) and Highland Reel and of the O’Brien quartet has unsurprisingly sided with Auguste Rodin.

However, he feels all four are worthy of their place in a stellar renewal and is certainly taking nothing for granted.

“This is clearly as deep a King George as we have seen in a fair while, even with the absence of Desert Crown and three others from the five-day stage, and it is no exaggeration to say that they all have a chance of winning,” the jockey told Betfair.

“Obviously, some a lot more than others, as the betting tells you, but you couldn’t totally dismiss any of these, as the likely outsiders Bolshoi Ballet and Point Lonsdale are Grade One and Group Two winners respectively.

“We’d like to think Auguste Rodin is towards the top of the list of the most likely winners though, and he comes into the race on the back of his two Derby wins. Some crabbed the manner of his win at the Curragh last time but I’ll take a Classic success however it lands – and he did it comfortably enough anyway, from a very good horse (Adelaide River).

“It is probably fair to say his defeat of King Of Steel at Epsom reads a lot better, as the runner-up showed how good that form was when winning at Royal Ascot. That was a strong Derby, and we expect him to be very competitive here.”

Moore has steered Luxembourg to all three of his top-level wins and views him as a major danger, adding: “Luxembourg is also a proper Group One horse, just rated 1lb inferior to Auguste Rodin, and he has unfinished business at this trip after an inconclusive run in very deep ground in the Arc.

“A win for him wouldn’t surprise me at all, as I don’t think a mile and a half is an issue for him, but the same goes for the likes of Hukum and Emily Upjohn to name just two, a Classic winner in Westover and last year’s winner Pyledriver.

“This race is as good as it gets in recent years, certainly in terms of depth, but luck in running will play its part with 11 runners, and Luxembourg is drawn one and Auguste Rodin in 11, which may have their challenges – but you play the hand you are dealt.

“I’d be most wary of Emily Upjohn, who I probably think has the best form coming into the race after her second to Paddington in the Eclipse.”

William Muir is confident Pyledriver will not give up his crown without a fight in a mouthwatering renewal of the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Qipco Stakes.

The six-year-old produced one of the most popular results of last season when downing several supposed bigger guns in Ascot’s midsummer highlight, his second Group One win after the 2021 Coronation Cup.

Niggling injuries meant he missed the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe and plans for subsequent foreign jaunts to Japan, Hong Kong and Dubai were shelved – but he proved he has lost none of his talent after 11 months on the sidelines by adding the Hardwicke Stakes to his big-race tally at Royal Ascot last month.

Despite the positives, the defending champion is only fifth in the betting for his return to Berkshire. Muir, though, feels anyone who underestimates Pyledriver does so at their peril.

“It’s a very good race and it’s great to be part of it. Everything has been great since the Hardwicke and we’re looking forward to it,” said Muir.

“We’re not worried about the ground and this is what we all live for, to have horses going for these type of races at these type of places.

“They’ve all got great credentials, they’re all horses that have been out and proved themselves this year. They’re all there to go and have a go.

“We’ll go there and run our race and see how good everyone else is.”

Another older horse with excellent credentials is the Owen Burrows-trained Hukum.

Like Pyledriver, the Shadwell-owned entire has returned from injury this season – beating last year’s Derby hero Desert Crown in the Brigadier Gerard Stakes at Sandown in May.

Having since sidestepped a clash with Pyledriver in the Hardwicke due to unsuitable ground, connections are thrilled rain has arrived and are hoping for a bold showing on Saturday.

Angus Gold, racing manager for owners Shadwell, said: “It looks a fabulous race, let’s hope it lives up to its billing.

“As far as I know, touch wood, Hukum is in good shape and the ground has come right for him. Now it’s just a question of getting luck in running and whether he’s good enough.

“We’ve obviously won the King George before with Taghrooda (2014) and Nashwan (1989) and it’s always been a huge race. It was the most important race of the summer when I was growing up and people of my generation still consider it a very important race, so it’s lovely to have a horse in with a chance.”

The two three-year-olds in the field are Auguste Rodin and King Of Steel, who were split by only half a length when first and second in the Derby at Epsom last month.

Aidan O’Brien’s Auguste Rodin has since become a dual Derby winner at the Curragh, while Roger Varian’s King Of Steel outclassed his rivals in the King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Varian is looking forward to the rematch, saying: “We’re excited. He’s training nicely and looks great, he’s ready to go.

“I hope that’s he adaptable (ground-wise), we’ll find out on Saturday.”

John Gosden has saddled five winners of the King George, with the triumphs of Nathaniel (2011) and Taghrooda (2014) following by three victories for the remarkable Enable in 2017, plus 2019 and 2020.

This year the Clarehaven handler and his son and training partner Thady are represented by another top-class filly in Emily Upjohn, winner of the Coronation Cup at Epsom last month before being touched off by Paddington in an Eclipse thriller at Sandown three weeks ago.

“She came out of the Eclipse well and she’s going back up in trip to a mile and a half. She won over the course and distance on Champions Day last year, albeit against fillies, whereas this is probably the race of the season, so it’s a different ballgame,” said Thady Gosden.

“It’s a particularly strong and deep field – pretty much everyone has turned up. It’s a shame the Derby winner from last year (Desert Crown) isn’t in the race, but nevertheless for the racing purists it’s going to be a fascinating watch.

“We’ve got options from where we’re drawn (eight) and we just hope we get a good trip round.”

Westover, winner of last season’s Irish Derby, got back in the Group One winner’s circle after landing the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud earlier this month and takes on Emily Upjohn again after finishing second to her in the Coronation Cup.

The home team is completed by James Ferguson’s Deauville Legend, fourth in last year’s Melbourne Cup and on his Hardwicke Stakes comeback last month, and the William Haggas-trained Hamish, who bagged a fifth Group Three win in the Silver Cup at York two weeks ago.

The latter’s participation is ground dependent, however.

“Hamish will only run if it rains properly, otherwise he won’t,” said Haggas.

“He’s not going to run on good to soft, but there’s rain around and who knows? If it came up proper soft, that’s what he wants and in this company he needs it really soft or heavy, not only for him but also to maybe blunt some of the others’ ability.”

Nine horse remain in contention for the Group One Qatar Nassau Stakes at Goodwood on Thursday, where there is the prospect of a fascinating clash between French star Blue Rose Cen and multiple top-level winner Nashwa.

The meeting of the last two winners of the Prix de Diane is the highlight on another stellar day’s racing on the Sussex Downs.

Trainer Christopher Head’s dual Classic winner Blue Rose Cen has been aimed at the 10-furlong event since producing another eye-catching display – a seventh victory in nine starts – at Chantilly last month.

Nashwa has taken time to come to hand this term, but she will bid to defend her Nassau crown on the back of a scintillating performance over a mile in the Falmouth at Newmarket.

John and Thady Gosden could be double-handed with Running Lion joining her.

The Roger Varian-trained Al Husn, who defeated Nashwa in a Group Three on the all-weather at Newcastle, could take her on again, while Aidan O’Brien is bidding for a fifth win in the race and has three possible runners, headed by Ribblesdale winner Warm Heart.

Oaks-placed Caernarfon, trained by Jack Channon, is also among those remaining along with Joseph O’Brien’s Above The Curve.

There are 26 entries for the Group Two Markel Richmond Stakes, including the classy Jasour, who took the July Stakes at Newmarket in fine style on his third start for Clive Cox.

Richard Hannon bids to land the six-furlong event for a third time, relying on eyecatching Newbury novice winner Baheer.

Karl Burke’s Kylian is on a hat-trick after Listed success at Sandown last time out, while O’Brien has five entries, including the Railway Stakes runner-up and third, Unquestionable and His Majesty.

Alice Haynes looks poised to run Asadna, who was third to Action Point when favourite for Newbury’s Listed Rose Bowl last weekend.

She said: “All good with Asadna – we have given him the Richmond entry today and all roads are leading there.

“Obviously I think the ground there will be testing next week either way, but everyone is in that same situation.

“Part of the problem is he needs faster ground. A faster pace will suit him, they went no pace at Newbury at all. Hollie (Doyle) got a lead and they all stacked up and sprinted. He will appreciate a fast pace to aim at.

“Long term, he’s in the Gimcrack and there are plenty of options for him going forward.”

A possible 10 three-year-olds will line up in the Group Three John Pearce Racing Gordon Stakes.

They include Irish Derby and Grand Prix de Paris runner-up Adelaide River and last season’s Criterium International second Espionage, who could both represent O’Brien’s Ballydoyle yard.

Godolphin-owned duo Bold Act (Charlie Appleby) and Chesspiece (Simon and Ed Crisford), King Edward VII Stakes third Artistic Star (Ralph Beckett) and the King’s Royal Ascot winner Desert Hero, who won the King George V Stakes for trainer William Haggas, are other potential participants in the mile-and-a-half contest.

William Haggas expects My Prospero to take advantage of what he considers a “good opportunity” in Saturday’s Sky Bet York Stakes.

A Group Two winner in France last summer, the Iffraaj colt has since been campaigned exclusively at the highest level and has run three fine races in defeat.

He was beaten just half a length into third place in the Champion Stakes in October and so far this term has finished fourth in the Lockinge at Newbury and the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot.

It is a measure of the regard in which My Prospero is held at Somerville Lodge that Haggas was underwhelmed by his most recent performance at Ascot and hopes he can make the most of having his sights lowered back in Group Two company on the Knavesmire.

“It’s a good opportunity for him. We think he’s in really good form so hopefully he’ll run a good race, I’m sure he’ll run well,” said the Newmarket handler.

“It’s one of those (trappy) races, but he’s very well and he should go well.

“I was a bit disappointed with his run at Ascot, he’s definitely better than that I think, but Saturday will tell us because he needs to be shaping up well here.”

My Prospero is a hot favourite to dispatch of four talented rivals in the hands of Tom Marquand.

Connections are looking forward to the belated return of the Owen Burrows-trained Alflaila, who won his final three starts of last season but has been sidelined since suffering an injury in Bahrain.

Angus Gold, racing manager for owners Shadwell, said: “It’s his first start since October, but he was a progressive horse last year.

“The funny thing with him is he’s by Dark Angel and out of an Oasis Dream mare and yet he stays a mile well and even a mile and a furlong.

“We’re going up again in trip to a mile and a quarter, but I don’t see that being a problem, it’s more a question of how rusty he is. He had quite an injury obviously, but he’s been sound and everything since he’s been back in training and we didn’t rush him and targeted this race.

“As long as he’s not too rusty, hopefully he’ll run a good race. It’s a trappy little contest and he’ll need to be at his best, but it will just be nice to get him back on the track.”

Royal Champion steps back up in grade after winning the Listed Wolferton Stakes at Royal Ascot.

“It’s a small field but it looks a good race,” said his trainer Roger Varian.

“He’s coming into it off the back of a win in a strong renewal of the Wolferton and he won it well, so he deserves his place in a race like this.”

The small but select field is completed by Mashhoor, who has won his last three races in Ireland for Johnny Murtagh, and William Knight’s outsider Checkandchallenge.

The latter was just over five lengths behind Royal Champion when seventh in the Wolferton and Knight hopes the application of headgear will enable him to raise his game.

“I just felt in his last couple of races he was getting a bit behind the bridle, so we’re putting the visors on to help him concentrate. He worked in them last Saturday and they seemed to do the trick,” he said.

“He’s well capable of competing at this level. At Ascot we were drawn wide and just got too far back and I think the flat track at York and the smaller field will suit him much better.

“The bit of ease in the ground will definitely help and he’ll go there and run very well, I’m pretty confident of that.”

Richard Fahey is “expecting a bit better” from Pretty Crystal as she lines up in a strong renewal of the Bateaux London Princess Margaret Stakes at Ascot.

The Dubawi filly finished fifth in the Albany Stakes over the same course and six-furlong distance at last month’s Royal meeting, with that form already franked by runner-up Matrika and fourth-placed Persian Dreamer, who followed up their defeats by Porta Fortuna with their own Group Two successes.

Persian Dreamer’s stablemate Komat was sixth in the Albany and they take each other on again, with Fahey hopeful Pretty Crystal can gain a second win in three runs, following a smart debut success at Ripon.

“I do like her quite a bit and thought she ran OK at Ascot,” said Fahey. “She has improved, but she’ll need to.

“She’s in good form and I don’t see why she shouldn’t go on the likely easier ground.

“I’m expecting a bit better from her this time to be fair. She’s a nice filly.”

Komat tried six furlongs for the first time at the Royal meeting, bypassing the five-furlong Queen Mary, and was three-quarters of a length behind Pretty Crystal.

Trainer Dominic Ffrench Davis feels she will appreciate the easier surface than she encountered in the Albany.

He said: “She is a tough little filly, who won first time out at Redcar on soft ground. She hasn’t really had her ground since.

“She ran a very good race in France when third in a Listed race, then came back. The ground was a shade on the quick side for her at Ascot.

“She is probably not quite up to Albany standard, but she is a very nice filly and we are hoping she can get some large black type at some point. The recent rain can only help her cause.”

Symbology, a daughter of Havana Grey, produced an eyecatching win at York on debut two weeks ago and has a Group Two Lowther entry.

Clive Cox feels she will not be out of place in taking a class hike, and said: “She’s a nice filly. That was still a novice and this is a huge step forwards in comparison, but this is a filly we like very much and I’m pleased, all being well, she will line up on Saturday.

“We’ve been having a really pleasing run with the two-year-olds and that was another pleasing success in a week where we’d won the July Stakes and had a double at Doncaster as well, so it gave us a good feel.

“She is a really nice filly and a full sister to Katey Kontent, who was a very pleasing juvenile, so I’m very much hoping things go well on Saturday. She deserves a step up in class and she is in good order.”

Cry Fiction was also a winner on debut, and followed up her Windsor maiden success when chasing home the smart Star Of Mystery at Newmarket in the Listed Empress Fillies’ Stakes.

“She was meant to have had two runs before the Newmarket race but had a little setback, so she went into the race green and inexperienced which showed,” said trainer Jonathan Portman.

“She was also on the far side of the winner and she might have got closer to the winner had she been drawn the same side.

“She’s quite highly strung at home and she keeps us on our toes a bit, but some of those good fillies do.

“I think there will be some fillies in there that are very smart and it will be a tough race, but she has come on again from Newmarket which is the main thing.”

James Horton fields Lunar Shine, who scored by two lengths in a fillies’ novice over the same trip at Thirsk on debut.

“She did everything right at Thirsk and this was the obvious next step,” he said. “I don’t really know what to expect from her, because she didn’t show us a huge amount at home before went to Thirsk and did it very well.

“She looks as though she has sharpened up a bit and we know she goes on the ground, so we’re hoping for a big run.”

Cricket West Indies (CWI) has paid tribute to Raphick Jumadeen, the former West Indies spin bowler who passed away in his homeland Trinidad on Tuesday. He was 75.

As a left-arm spinner, Jumadeen played 12 Test matches between 1972 and 1979 taking 29 wickets. His best figures of 4-72 came against Australia at Sabina Park, Jamaica in 1978.

He was also one of the leading bowlers for Trinidad and Tobago and played 99 first-class matches in which he took 347 wickets at an average of 27.9.

Following retirement from the game, Jumadeen was a coach and selector in Trinidad and was a member of the West Indies senior men’s selection panel.

“Raphick Jumadeen was an outstanding servant of the game and gave his all on and off the field. He was a stand-out performer for Trinidad and Tobago in the Shell Shield and was one of the most successful wicket-takers at the regional level,” CWI President Dr Kishore Shallow said in tribute to the fallen former West Indies bowler. 

 “He returned to serve West Indies cricket as a senior selector. Raphick made an invaluable contribution to the game as a coach in his country, where he played a hand in the development of many young players. He has left behind a legacy of service, commitment, and giving back to the game he loved. CWI extends our condolences to his wife and other family members, loved ones, and the cricket family in Trinidad and Tobago.”

The West Indies team paid respect to Jumadeen by wearing black armbands during the first match of the CG United ODI Series powered by YES BANK against India at Kensington Oval on Thursday.

They may be three Caribbean Islands with different cultures and different styles of play. But what Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados all have in common, is their unflinching desire to leave an indelible mark at the Vitality Netball World Cup.

All three teams will bow into action in Cape Town, South Africa on Friday with Jamaica’s Sunshine Girls up against Sri Lanka, Trinidad and Tobago’s Calypso Girls squaring off against reigning champions New Zealand, while Barbados Gems, are up against England’s Roses.

The number 10-ranked Calypso Girls will be the first in action at 3:00am Jamaica time, with number two-ranked Silver Ferns expected to prove a handful for the Joel “Twiggy” Young-Strong-coached team.

And while Trinidad and Tobago boast the legacy of being the only other team to win the World Cup title, along with New Zealand and Australia in the tournament’s long history, captain Shaquanda Green-Noel is realistic about their expectations.

“I think we are very honest and realistic with what may be the end result of the game, so even though we are extremely competitive, we are just going in thinking about the small wins in terms of reducing the margin.

“The mood in the camp is a bit of excitement and nervousness, the senior players are more the ones excited to get on the court because the Netball World Cup is one of the biggest platforms to showcase our talent. The young players are a tad bit nervous, but also excited to make their Netball World Cup debut,” Green-Noel told

“The girls are also very prepared for what is to come, New Zealand are defending champions and we would have done research on what they have to offer and how they play, and I think it (this game) is a great way for us to test out the skills we worked on coming into the World Cup. The last time we played New Zealand, I don’t think we had a very good game, so this is a chance to improve,” she added.

Uganda and Singapore are the other two teams the Calypso Girls will face in Pool D.

Jamaica, the highest ranked Caribbean team at number four, are out to end their 16-year medal drought at the Netball World Cup, dating back to 2007, when the last won one of their three bronze medals. 

They will enter their opening Pool C contest against 15th-ranked Sri Lanka as overwhelming favourites, especially on the back of their historic silver medal-winning performance at the Commonwealth Games last year.

Still, Sunshine Girls Head coach Connie Francis is not taking their opponents lightly, as she is well aware that it will require proper execution from her team to get the job done.

Match time is 11:00 am Jamaica time.

“The ladies are mentally and physically prepared and they want to do something special at this tournament which is to win a medal. But we don’t know much about the Sri Lankans and so we don’t intend to take them lightly,” said Francis.

Though the off-court security issue in which captain Jhaniele Fowler was robbed, is cause for concern, Francis pointed out that the team remains focused on the task at hand.

“Yes, it is bad and very disappointing that has happened on a stage like this, but the ladies remain focused on what they came here to do, which is to execute well and win a medal and that starts with tomorrow’s game,” she noted.

The Sunshine Girls will also have Wales and the host nation to contend with in Pool C.

Meanwhile, number 13-ranked Barbados Gems, have drawn a tough Pool B in which they have England, Malawi and Scotland to deal with.

They open against the number three-ranked Roses at 1:00pm Jamaica time.

While getting by the Roses will take some doing, the Gems are by no means expected to play dead, especially with the addition of sisters Kadeen and Sasha Corbin, who both switched allegiance from England to represent Barbados.

Number one ranked Australia, Zimbabwe, Fiji and Tonga will contest Pool A.

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