Big Evs did connections proud as he swept to success in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint at Santa Anita.

Mick Appleby’s colt broke well and ran prominently throughout, trailing Crimson Advocate around the bend having started as the favourite under Tom Marquand.

From there the duo pulled away to seal victory for the British in the first Grade One event of the meeting.

Olympic bronze medalist Ronald Levy has revealed that he is the athlete that has returned an adverse analytical finding from a recent drug test, further confirming a report on Sportsmax.TV on Friday.

The 31-year-old Levy, the 2018 Commonwealth Games gold medalist tested positive for banned substance, believed to be a fat burner, during a recent drug test and has requested that his “B” sample be tested.

In a post on social media, the Tokyo Olympics bronze medalist expressed surprise at the positive test, stating, “I am stunned at the turn of events because I have always conducted myself with the highest level of integrity in the sport, which I love dearly and would never seek to gain an unfair advantage.

“I intend to defend my integrity during this process because I am certain I did not knowingly breach the rules.”

The athlete who recently switched camps, departing from MVP Track Club to reunite with his high school coach at Elite Performance, indicated the test that yielded the positive result was done in early October.

“Early last month I was tested out of season. I expected to be negative on that test like I have on every test I have ever taken throughout my career. I was surprised to receive a letter on Tuesday (November 2, 2023) by the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission of an adverse analytical finding. I have decided to take the option to have by ‘B’ sample tested, of which I await the results.”

Levy has had a run is misfortune over the past few years during which he has undergone multiple surgeries on his leg, which has significantly limited his ability to compete since he won the bronze medal in the 110m hurdles in Tokyo in 2021.

 

 

The Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) on Friday announced that Interim Head Coach of the Senior Women’s National Team, Xavier Gilbert, would remain coach for the Reggae Girlz upcoming Concacaf W Gold Cup qualifiers.

The Girlz will first host Panama on November 29 before taking on Guatemala away on December 3.

Gilbert took over as Interim Head Coach after the departure of Lorne Donaldson with his first two assignments being a pair of Concacaf W Gold Cup qualifiers against the same two teams on October 25 and 29 with a makeshift squad.

They suffered a 1-2 defeat in Panama on the 25th before playing out a 2-2 draw with Guatemala four days later at the National Stadium.

“The JFF commends Xavier (Gilbert) and the Senior Reggae Girlz for the recent performances against Panama and Guatemala and is grateful for their response to the call to represent Jamaica and the JFF with such sterling performances,” said the JFF in a statement on Friday.

“We look forward to the upcoming games and hope that more fans will turn out to lend their support,” the statement ended.

 Panama currently lead the group with six points from their three games, two points ahead of Guatemala in second and five ahead of the Reggae Girlz in third.

Aidan O’Brien has had his eye on the Breeders’ Cup Turf all year for Auguste Rodin.

The fact the beautifully-bred colt has won the Derby at Epsom, the Irish equivalent and the Irish Champion Stakes already only adds to his appeal.

Being by the Japanese champion Deep Impact and out of the Galileo mare Rhododendron, a three-times Group One-winning sister to the brilliant Minding, Auguste Rodin had every chance of making it to the top.

There have been bumps in the road, namely no-shows in the 2000 Guineas and the King George at Ascot, but O’Brien feels he has got to the bottom of those and everything is in place for another big run.

“This is the race for Auguste Rodin, it’s a lovely flat track and we’ve probably had our eye on this one all year,” said O’Brien.

“The (Irish) Champion Stakes should have set him up lovely for it.

“He’s a very well-balanced horse and on breeding one we have dreamed about. A Galileo mare with Deep Impact.

“The couple of times he got beat he flew in on the day but he’s travelled over here well and is beautifully relaxed. I think he’s totally happy in himself.

“He’s a big personality and confident in himself. I’m looking forward to him showing what he can do.”

O’Brien has won the Turf more than any other trainer, six times. But John Gosden has a success to his name through Enable and is hoping Mostahdaf can sign off his career in the best possible fashion.

The five-year-old has been enjoying himself in the mornings at Santa Anita, and is all set for one more big assignment before he retires to take up stallion duties.

His victories in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes and Juddmonte International are two of the best pieces of form European racing has to offer this season over 10 furlongs, but he faces an extra quarter of a mile here.

“Mosthadaf is the most cheerful of horses and is thoroughly enjoying himself,” said Gosden.

“Horses can be vociferous like him out here. He’s a great joy to train and can go out and shout like Stradivarius who was also raw.

“The Classic has cut up and the Turf is by far the best race on the card. I wouldn’t underestimate the French horse (Onesto). It’s a fabulous mile-and-a-half turf race.”

It is only two weeks since King Of Steel brought the house down at Ascot by lunging late to provide Frankie Dettori with the perfect send-off in Britain by lifting the Champion Stakes.

Trainer Roger Varian acknowledges the quick turnaround, but has been delighted with his condition both before his trip across the Atlantic and since touching down on the American west coast.

He said: “He seems to be thriving and we will never know until those gates open and we see how he performs, but in his demeanour and action and the way he is, we really couldn’t be happier with him and we have our fingers crossed for a good performance.

“You have to treat every horse as an individual and they are all a little bit different, but he has a great constitution and seems to have taken the Ascot race in his stride. Horses can really thrive at this time of year or they can cry enough. He’s not had too busy a season, he’s only had the five races nicely spaced out.

“He travelled out here well and with the sun on his back and the change of scenery, he seems to be in great form. The vibes he’s giving us are really positive.”

King Of Steel is set to stay in training for the 2024 season and Varian is hoping the trip to California will serve his colt well in the long-term no matter what the result on Saturday.

“I think win, lose or draw the experience won’t be lost on him and will stand him in good stead for whatever we aim him at next year,” he added.

“He’s going to stay in training so he’s an exciting horse for us all to look forward to next year and horses often improve with racing and different experiences.

“Hopefully we will come home with a prize but if we don’t, then I don’t think it will be a wasted experience.”

Bricks And Mortar in 2019 was the last home-trained winner, but in Todd Pletcher’s Up To The Mark there is a live threat to the Europeans.

A revelation since switching to the grass from dirt, his last three starts have produced Grade One victories, most recently beating Charlie Appleby’s Master Of The Seas.

And while like Mostahdaf he must prove as effective at a mile and a half, his Hall of Fame trainer is confident in that regard.

“He’s a horse that trained very impressively before his debut, which he won, at Saratoga,” Pletcher said.

“Then we got a little bit frustrated with what he did after his maiden win. After his last his last dirt race at Aqueduct, I said, ‘You know, I think this might be a turf horse’.

“We just feel like the strength of his race in the Manhattan at a mile and a quarter and the firm ground in California that the mile and a half is what he’s best suited for.

“The real key is the way he settles. He was very relaxed in the Coolmore Mile early on, which allowed him to deliver that big kick. And he did the same thing in the Manhattan. And also the (Bourbon) Turf (Classic) at Churchill.

“He turns off, he can gallop and then he can accelerate. As long as he does that, going a mile and a half, we feel confident that he can get that distance.”

West Indies “A” Women opened their T20I Tri-Series against Pakistan “A” Women and the Thailand Emerging Team with a 12-run loss to hosts Pakistan at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore on Friday.

The West Indians first restricted the hosts to 112-5 from their 20 overs after winning the toss and bowling first.

Sidra Nawaz hit an unbeaten 54* while Omaima Sohail (27) and Eyman Fatima (10) were the only other Pakistan batters to get to double figures.

Sheneta Grimmond took 2-11 from her four overs for the West Indies.

The West Indian chase then got off to the worst possible start with Qiana Joseph being dismissed off the very first ball and they never recovered.

Captain Rashada Williams top scored with 21 while Cherry-Ann Fraser made 18 and Djenaba Joseph 15 as the West Indies were bowled out for 100 off their 20 overs.

Hunma Bilal led the way for the hosts with 3-17 from three overs while Sohail chipped in with 2-15 from three overs as well.

Adam West has left no stone unturned in his quest to ensure Live In The Dream plays a starring role in their once-in-a-lifetime shot at Breeders’ Cup glory.

The Epsom-based trainer of course shares his name with the actor most famous for portraying Batman and it is perhaps fitting that Live In The Dream’s blockbuster rise to the top of the sprinting tree reaches its climax a stones throw away from Hollywood in Santa Anita.

Owned by the charismatic Steve and Jolene de’Lemos, the four-year-old started the season with a pair of victories in the handicap ranks before his stock slowly rose throughout the season.

Placed efforts in both the Palace House Stakes and Temple Stakes served notice of Live In The Dream’s potential, but he announced himself as a star of the sprinting ranks with a thrilling all-the-way victory in the Nunthorpe at York – incredibly the first time his handler had saddled a runner in Group One company.

That Knavesmire rout secured Live In The Dream’s ticket to the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint and having shown all the right signs during an exploratory visit to Keeneland, the thriving gelding now has the burden of being the big-race favourite for a contest won just the once by a British raider.

“We’re very happy and we’ve come here at the perfect time to get the best of the atmosphere,” said West.

“I think the ground and the track are so important to our horse. In the Palace House it was too stiff and five and a half furlongs at Keeneland didn’t suit him either, but this is ideal. He is all five – one yard further and that’s it! York was always going to be his best chance at home.

“The pressure is on now, I’d rather we were 28-1, but it’s justified given his form. If we were to have any chance it is here.”

Live In The Draw will break from stall five, with defending champion and one of the big dangers Caravel not far away in three.

It is a spot West is delighted to be in as he attempts to put the historic training centre of Epsom back on the world map.

He added: “They have done so well with the track and we were blessed with a cracking draw, with Caravel two down from us who can give us a lead. I didn’t want to be out wide or stuck on the rail.

“Caravel is so tenacious; she’s been brought into this race well. Credit is due, she’s looking like she’s about to hit her best form, so she’s respected with her speed and the way she runs. If we end up going head-to-head with her it could be a real ding-dong battle.

“Epsom has done its time and hopefully we can now focus on getting good horses back there. I hope he can show on Saturday that the job can be done.”

Also happy with Live In The Dream’s position in stall five is his big-race jockey Sean Kirrane who has become an integral part of the story.

Having also tasted Group One glory for the first time at York in the summer he has played a key role in preparing the son of Prince Of Lir for his moment in the Californian sun and is backing his charge to hit the right note when the bell sounds and the gates ping open.

Kirrane said: “I suppose you are in a position where if you do miss half a beat you are able to recover and not get swamped early on booting in from a wide draw. That is one of the positives about being drawn a bit further off the fence.

“The horse shouldn’t miss the kick, he was electric out of the stalls at Keeneland. It was something I didn’t expect, I thought he might be half a step slower away than the American horses but he was right on terms with them and then ultimately a lot quicker than them in the early part of the race.

“We expect him to do the same again and we’re very happy with the draw. There are some useful horses drawn inside him, the likes of Caravel, and he has to get away on terms with them and the Japanese horse outside looks very fast. But we’re happy and the horse goes there in great form.”

The European challenge was dented when Royal Ascot hero Bradsell was scratched from the contest on Wednesday evening, but joining Live In The Dream in the line-up is Aidan O’Brien’s Aesop’s Fables fresh from a welcome return to form in the Prix de l’Abbaye.

The Ballydoyle hopeful was beaten a length in third behind Highfield Princess at ParisLongchamp and the mount of Ryan Moore will once again be wearing the blinkers which sparked him into life in the French capital.

“The time Ryan rode him before the Abbaye he said this guy is stuck in second gear and not doing a stroke, he’s just cruising along,” said O’Brien.

“We put the blinkers on him at home and Seamus (Heffernan) jumped him out of the stalls in blinkers and said he felt a totally different horse. That’s why the blinkers are on him.

“Ryan felt in France that if he had challenged the winner earlier he might have finished even closer and it was a huge run out of him and probably back to the best of his two-year-old form or even above it.

“We’re looking forward to it, he’s drawn out a little bit, but there’s speed on his inside so he will slot in and see what will happen.”

Joining the defending champion Caravel at the heart of the American challenge is Live In The Dream’s Woodford Stakes conqueror Arzak who represents Michael Trombetta, while Philip D’Amato’s Motorious is interesting having improved significantly on what he achieved in Britain when trained by Stuart Williams.

Christophe Clement is double-handed with Roses For Debra and Royal Ascot also ran Big Invasion, with Hideyuki Mori’s Jasper Krone adding a further international flavour to the contest having made the trip over from Japan.

Saeed bin Suroor has fond memories of Santa Anita and is banking on the toughness of Mawj giving him another big-race success at the iconic Los Angeles venue in the Breeders’ Cup Mile.

Bin Suroor enjoyed one of the first big victories of his career when saddling Red Bishop to win the San Juan Capistrano Invitation Handicap at the California track in 1995 and it is also the scene of the most recent of his three Breeders’ Cup triumphs, when Vale Of York claimed the Juvenile in 2009.

Therefore, it is perhaps the fitting location for the handler to return to the Breeders’ Cup winner’s circle and with a horse who has taken him back into the spotlight thanks to her 1000 Guineas triumph in the spring.

Mawj has been seen just the once since that game Classic triumph over Tahiyra, when she provided her trainer with a historic 500th Group or Graded victory in Keeneland’s Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup last month.

That trip to Kentucky was seen as the ideal spot to tune-up for Breeders’ Cup competition and Bin Suroor feels she has all the attributes to make her presence felt up against colts for the first time.

He said: “She has got a good draw in stall six and everything is so far so good with her and I’m happy.

“The filly worked last Saturday and worked well and she looked good when she has been doing her exercise routines (out in Santa Anita).

“She will be running with colts, but she is a tough filly. She has proved that in the English Guineas, out in America and in Dubai also and she is always trying hard. She is tough and has a big heart.

“The draw will help her and Oisin Murphy knows her well. He knows I like to see her handy in her races, if she is close or in front it is good for her, it is what she likes. She’s a tough filly.

“The Breeders’ Cup is a big meeting. It is not easy at this meeting, but she is good enough to run a big race and take her chance and we are looking forward to seeing a good result from her again.”

When asked about how it would feel to register a first Breeders’ Cup victory in 14 years, Bin Suroor added: “I have memories of my first Group One in 1995 in Santa Anita and the last Breeders’ Cup win for me was Santa Anita, so you know if she could win, it would be great for us.”

Mawj has also proven a special horse for big-race jockey Oisin Murphy, who has been aboard the daughter of Exceed And Excel the last twice.

She helped re-establish the 28-year-old as one of the leading names in the weighing room with Guineas glory at Newmarket and the Irishman believes the filly is running over the perfect trip to showcase her best.

“I was obviously delighted with her at Keeneland in the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup over nine furlongs and I think dropping back to a mile will help her,” said Murphy.

“She seems to have trained very well (this week) from what we’ve seen on social media and whatever and we have been very lucky with the draw in six. I’m really looking forward to her.”

Mawj is only one half of a strong Godolphin hand in a race they have dominated in recent years and Charlie Appleby will saddle Master Of The Seas in search of a hat-trick in the contest.

Runner-up in the 2000 Guineas in 2021, he has become something of a globetrotter in recent years and was beaten only a nose in his last outing at Keeneland in the Coolmore Turf Mile Stakes.

He has been handed a stiff task from stall 14 but the Moulton Paddocks handler is taking comfort in the fact both Karakontie (2014) and Order Of Australia (2020) have tasted success from that position in recent years.

Appleby said: “Master Of The Seas has the outside draw but a draw is a draw. Two horses have won from there in the last 10 runnings.

“If he was a Modern Games it wouldn’t concern me, but he’s not quite that good.

“He has a habit of getting beat in Group Ones like in the Guineas but I felt that given time he would repay us.”

Japan have a leading contender in the form of Toru Hayashi’s Songline who brings top-level credentials to the table having won both the Victoria Mile and Yasuda Kinen in the summer, while Kelina lowered the colours of Kinross in the Prix de la Foret on Arc day and could bring back memories of Santa Anita Breeders’ Cups of the past.

Trained by Carlos Laffon-Parias the daughter of Frankel sports the famous colours of the Wertheimer brothers whose Goldikova won three straight Breeders’ Cup Miles between 2008 and 2010.

The first two of those triumphs came here and connections are hoping for another day to remember in California.

“Kelina’s final sessions (on the track) are going well and all is good,” said Pierre-Yves Bureau, racing manager for the owners

“We of course would have preferred a better draw than 11. But the good thing is I really think she has enough speed to go with that, so we will see what happens.

“The good thing is she is an easy filly, so whatever tactics Carlos and Maxime (Guyon, jockey) decide, she will be able to go with it. There are some good horses drawn either side of her like Songline and the Godolphin horse Master Of The Seas so it will be interesting to watch.

“The Breeders’ Cup all together, but especially the Mile because of Goldikova, has been something special for us, so it will be very nice if Kelina can confirm our high opinion of her and play at that high level like she did in the Foret.”

The prolific Hamish landed the rescheduled Betfred St Simon Stakes to round off an unbeaten campaign, and star in a treble for trainer William Haggas on the penultimate day of the Newmarket season.

The seven-year-old had won nine of his 17 previous starts for the Somerville Lodge handler in the colours of his father, Brian, with his clear preference for testing conditions meaning he has been raced sparingly over the course of his career.

An ambitious tilt at the King George at Ascot was considered in the summer before the ground went against him and he lined up on the Rowley Mile bidding to make it four from four for 2023 following previous wins this season at Chester, York and Goodwood.

Hamish was the 5-4 favourite to secure a seventh victory at Group Three level in the hands of Richard Kingscote – and those who took the cramped odds will have had few concerns as the market leader travelled powerfully and found plenty for pressure to beat Al Qareem by length and three-quarters.

Maureen Haggas, assistant to her husband, said: “He has had a good year, he’s been great. It is never easy when you have a horse that needs that slow ground. He has had his problems so we have to look after him and I think he has lasted this long because we look after him.

“He can be quite difficult. He got really naughty as a three-year-old and he wouldn’t go anywhere so I started riding him and I’ve ridden him ever since.

“I ride him every day and I know him back to front, but he hates Newbury so I wasn’t too displeased with the race not being down there and being here instead. He is just very argumentative, and you could spend all day arguing with him! I love him to bits, but he barely tolerates me! He is just a real star.

“I hope we see him back next year. As long as he stays in one piece he has got nothing else to do except be a racehorse, then he is going to have to be my hack, so I think he would rather be a racehorse for a while.”

Charlie Appleby’s Romantic Style (3-1) impressed in the Irish EBF “Bosra Sham” Fillies’ Stakes.

A winner on her second start at Yarmouth in September, the daughter of Night Of Thunder took a step up to Listed class in her stride as she extended a length and three-quarters clear of Adaay In Devon in the hands of Danny Tudhope.

“She did it nicely. She travelled into it very well and I thought she did it quite easily,” said Appleby’s assistant Alex Merriam.

“She has got lots of speed. She got a little bit tired at the end, but she was entitled to, as that ground was hard work. It was nice to see her step up on her last run.

“I think after her last run she was entitled to have a go at a bit of black type and she has got that now. We will put her away and see what we have got next year.”

Although Paddy Power introduced Romantic Style at 25-1 for next year’s 1000 Guineas, Merriam feels a sprinting campaign in 2024 is much more likely at this stage.

Merriam added: “I think six furlongs is her trip for the time being. She is a bonny little thing that is straightforward, and she just goes through the motions at home.

“That was only her third run so she is entitled to improve. She has won that now and she is one to look forward to next year.”

Ralph Beckett and Rob Hornby teamed up to win division one of the Betfred ‘Double Delight’ British EBF Novice Stakes with the exciting Zoum Zoum.

The gelded son of Zoustar was the 11-8 favourite to supplement a debut victory at Kempton last month and did so by two and a half lengths.

The runner-up Kikkuli, a half-brother to the great Frankel by Kingman, shaped with significant promise on his eagerly-awaited debut in second.

The Haggas team landed division two with Cieren Fallon-ridden newcomer The Reverend (9-2), while Fallon was also on board his stablemate Laafi, who struck at 20-1 in the Betfred ‘Hat Trick Heaven’ Handicap.

Derek Fox is relishing the prospect of reuniting with Ahoy Senor in the bet365 Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby.

Lucinda Russell’s star chaser was bitterly disappointing and finished last when sent off the 11-10 favourite for the Grade Two event last season but would go on to prove any doubters wrong in the second half of the campaign.

Having won the Cotswold Chase at Cheltenham in January, he was putting up a bold show when a faller six out in the Cheltenham Gold Cup and showed no ill effects when quickly backing that performance up to finish a fine second to Shishkin in the Bowl at Aintree.

Lying in wait once again for Ahoy Senor is a familiar face in defending champion Bravemansgame and Fox is thrilled to be able to take the ride having successfully appealed a 10-day ban picked up at the track last month, which would have left him sat on the sidelines on Saturday afternoon.

He said: “I’m delighted I’m able to ride him, it’s all systems go and we’re looking forward to getting him out again.

“I’ve rode him out and we’re all happy with him – he’s in good form and all seems well.

“He might have needed it (the run) a bit last year. I actually don’t think he ran that badly, he was just a bit free and got a bit tired.”

The Charlie Hall is set to be run in testing conditions with Wetherby abandoning racing at the track on Friday.

However, Fox is happy his mount will be OK on the ground despite it not being connections’ preferred going for his West Yorkshire return.

He added: “He’s handled heavy ground before. Probably for the first day out for the season, ideally you wouldn’t have it so heavy, but it’s the same for them all and he handles any ground.

“We’re going there hopeful that he’s in good order at home and hoping he’ll do well.”

Those sentiments were echoed by Russell’s partner and assistant Peter Scudamore, who said: “We’ve obviously discussed it and Derek doesn’t see it as an issue.

“It was very tacky and dead ground the day he won at Cheltenham. He’s a free-going sort, but I don’t see it being too big an issue.”

Scudamore is no stranger to top-class staying chasers and the former champion jockey is looking forward to seeing Ahoy Senor kick off his new campaign.

“You are always nervous when you run a horse like that,” said Scudamore.

“We really fancied him last year (in the race) and it all went wrong, but he picked himself up from that and was able to run some really nice races.

“To be fair to the horse, he had a bad start to last season but then he ran some fabulous races, the two Cheltenham runs and Aintree, so we just need to have him back to that level.

“I’m a little bit more relaxed than I was and I just hope he jumps sensibly and then we can look at the Coral Gold Cup for him.

“This isn’t the be-all and end-all of the season, but we’re looking forward to it.”

Following victory in this race 12 months ago, Bravemansgame would go on to add the King George VI Chase at Christmas before brave efforts in defeat at both the Cheltenham and Punchestown Festivals in the spring.

Trainer Paul Nicholls was originally keen to point his Gold Cup runner-up towards Haydock’s Betfair Chase, but concerned about bottomless ground on Merseyside later this month, has elected for Bravemansgame to defend his Charlie Hall crown before returning to Kempton on Boxing Day.

Nicholls told Betfair: “He enjoyed an amazing time last season and I couldn’t be happier with him as he bids to win the Charlie Hall for the second year running.

“I was leaning towards taking him to Haydock in three weeks’ time for his seasonal debut in the Betfair Chase but changed my mind after all the rain we’ve had. The way things are at the moment conditions could be bottomless at Haydock by the end of the month which would be far from ideal for Bravemansgame over almost three and a quarter miles first time out.

“It makes sense to go for the Charlie Hall with only three opponents declared against him. He won this race easily a year ago and the race comes at the right time for him ahead of the King George VI Chase at Kempton.”

Dan Skelton’s Midnight River successfully stepped up in trip when winning a big handicap at Aintree on Grand National Day and will ply his trade once again over a staying distance, while Mouse Morris will saddle the sole Irish challenger Gentlemansgame.

Morris has enjoyed success at Wetherby in the past, with the Tony McCoy-ridden Boss Doyle finishing second to Strath Royal in the 1998 Charlie Hall before going on to win back-to-back runnings of the West Yorkshire Hurdle in 2000 and 2001. He also filled the runner-up spot in the same race when bidding for the hat-trick in 2002.

Morris will now bid to enhance that record with the strapping seven-year-old who makes just his third appearance over fences.

“He’s travelled over and he’s in good shape so hopefully it’s on now, that’s the main thing,” said the Irishman.

“He ran well in Gowran and we just need to get a bit of experience into him. He’s being thrown in at the deep end on Saturday, but as long as he gives a good account of himself I’ll be happy.

“I don’t think the ground or the trip will be a problem, but you can’t beat experience in life.”

John Gosden believes fast ground and Santa Anita’s tight turns will help Inspiral see out 10 furlongs for the first time in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf.

With her being so good over a mile there has never been any need to test the Cheveley Park Stud star over a mile and a quarter in Europe.

But given how important a good draw can be in the Mile, Gosden thought it would be safer to opt for the longer race – that is of course after the initial plan to run on Champions Day was scuppered by soft ground.

“We were originally going to run her in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot and it would have been perfect the weekend before, when they had good ground, but the week of the race, we had a massive amount of rain in the days leading up to Champions Weekend and we were left with no alternative but not to enter her there and bring her here,” said Gosden.

“She’s been enjoying going out there with the pony cantering on the turf and is very well and happy in herself. She has a strong mind of her own. The only time she left the country she flew and vanned to France but she’s travelled fine and is happy and bright in herself.

“American horses break faster than ours, and if you get a wide draw in a race like the Mile you need the leaders to implode. We’re going for the longer race and I don’t think she’ll have any problems with the trip.

“We think she’ll get the distance well. As I’ve said with Mostahdaf (Turf), it’s firm ground and the first part is downhill, with tight bends, so I don’t worry too much about her ability to handle a mile and a quarter.”

He added: “Inspiral is likely to stay in training. Mrs (Patricia) Thompson (owner) has indicated that.”

Perhaps Inspiral’s biggest danger is the Mark Casse-trained Fev Rover, no stranger to European racegoers due to her exploits as a younger horse with Richard Fahey.

While the two never met, Fev Rover did run in plenty of big races for Fahey and finished third in the 1000 Guineas two years ago.

And since being based in the US, she has emerged as one of the best in class.

“She has beaten most of the best horses in the US. Now she has to deal with Europe. This will be a little different,” said Casse.

“I came away from the Diana (at Saratoga) thinking that, with a little better trip, she could have won it. We saw the real Fev Rover in the E.P. Taylor.

“(Can she win) Honestly? I don’t know. She is as good as she is gonna be, but this is a tall task.

“For sure I am optimistic. I have taken some good horses to the Breeders’ Cup. And this one is a happy girl.”

Aidan O’Brien won the race with Tuesday last year and will attempt to go back-to-back with his Yorkshire Oaks and Prix Vermeille heroine Warm Heart.

The daughter of Galileo has proven to be ultra-tough in her Group One triumphs and the Ballydoyle team appear set to make plenty of use of her stamina as she drops back in distance.

“She has a nice draw and she has speed and gets the trip really well,” said O’Brien.

“I imagine Ryan (Moore) will go forward on her and probably whatever comes to beat her will have to get the trip well.

“I would say he will probably go early on her and she does get it well, she doesn’t lie down and she does fight.”

Charlie Appleby’s With The Moonlight chased home Fev Rover in the E.P. Taylor and has just over two lengths to find.

“With The Moonlight is having her final race,” said Appleby.

“I’m pleased with her. She went to New York in the spring where they had some fires and they closed the track. She had a couple of nasty scopes.

“She didn’t enjoy the ground in Canada, but here she has nothing to lose. She has a nice draw (three) and is a player.”

Justin Greaves came up just five runs short of back-to-back hundreds to help the Leeward Islands Hurricanes move to the top of the CG United Super50 Cup points table with a four-wicket win over the Barbados Pride via the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern method at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy on Thursday.

A rain delay meant the game was reduced to 42 overs and the Pride took first strike after the Hurricanes won the toss.

The Bajans quickly found themselves 19-3 inside 5 overs, losing Kraigg Brathwaite (2), Zachary McCaskie (4) and Shamarh Brooks (5) in quick succession.

An 85-run fourth wicket stand between Captain Shai Hope and Roston Chase restored order to proceedings before Chase fell in the 22nd over for a 58-ball 45.

Hope went on to bring up his second fifty of the tournament before he fell soon after for 55 with the Pride on 138 in the 30th over.

The skipper’s wicket brought about a procession with the Pride losing their final five wickets for 58 runs to eventually be bowled out for 196 in 41.2 overs.

Hurricanes captain Alzarri Joseph took 3-34 from his nine overs while Hayden Walsh Jr took 3-43 from eight overs.

Chasing a revised target of 192, the Leewards lost Kieran Powell off just the second ball of the innings for four.

Justin Greaves and Keacy Carty then put on 59 for the second wicket before Carty went off the bowling of Roston Chase for 18.

Jahmar Hamilton then came and went soon after for 10 to leave the Hurricanes 77-3 off 16 overs.

Terance Warde then joined Greaves in the middle and the pair added a crucial 65 for the fourth wicket before Warde fell for 22.

16-year-old debutant and West Indies Under-19 representative Jewel Andrew was next to go for five before Alzarri Joseph fell for seven to bring Hayden Walsh Jr to the crease to join Greaves with the Hurricanes needing 28.

The pair brought the Hurricanes home at 192-6 in 40.1 overs.

Greaves ended 95* off 120 balls, his third consecutive 50-plus score, while Walsh Jr finished 21* off just nine balls.

Roston Chase took 4-34 from nine overs for the Pride.

 The day's other game between the Jamaica Scorpions and the Trinidad & Tobago Red Force ended in a no result.

The Scorpions were 213-9 off 48 overs batting first before rain meant no further play was possible at the Queen's Park Oval.

Nkrumah Bonner led the way with 74 while Rovman Powell made 48 against three wickets apiece from Sunil Narine and Akeal Hosein. 

 

Officials at Wetherby admit they are playing “a waiting game” after calling a 7am inspection ahead of the track’s most high-profile fixture of the season on Saturday.

Rain during the week has seen river levels rise markedly at the West Yorkshire venue, leading to pressure on the track’s drainage system and leaving standing water in places.

With the course unraceable, clerk of the course Jonjo Sanderson was left with no option but to call off day one of the bet365 Charlie Hall Chase fixture on Friday morning.

And while by Friday lunchtime Sanderson was able to report a small improvement in conditions, he appears more hopeful than confident that Saturday’s card – due to feature a clash between Bravemansgame and Ahoy Senor and the Charlie Hall itself – will get the go-ahead.

“I honestly couldn’t tell you what our chances are as it’s just a waiting and watching game – it’s like watching a pan of water trying to boil,” he said.

“As we stand at the minute the water on the track is still there. The dykes are receding moderately and it’s just a question of what comes first – the inspection and the time of the racing meeting or the clearing of the track.

“As it’s all elements of things out of my control off-site, I honestly couldn’t say whether our chances of racing are 50-50, 70-30 or 20-80.

“Today is a beautiful day, what a day it would have been to be racing on. It’s due to be a dry day and while there is rain forecast for tomorrow afternoon, what that will not do is suddenly raise our dykes in an hour, so the rain tomorrow is insignificant in terms of racing going ahead.

“We’ve got everything in our favour at the minute and it’s just a question of nature taking its course.”

Thyme Hill and Dashel Drasher lock horns in the bet365 West Yorkshire Hurdle at Wetherby on Saturday.

Thyme Hill, now trained in partnership by Philip Hobbs and his long-time assistant Johnson White, has been a regular in major staying hurdles over the past few years and rarely runs a bad race.

Last season connections elected to embark on a novice campaign over fences, but while he managed a Grade One win in the Kauto Star Novices’ Chase at Kempton, he disappointed in the Brown Advisory at the Cheltenham Festival in March and reverts to the smaller obstacles for his reappearance.

The son of Kayf Tara is approaching the twilight of his career as a nine-year-old, but Hobbs feels the fire still burns bright judged on what he is seeing on the gallops at his Somerset base.

“He’s very well indeed, we’re well happy with him,” he said.

“Maybe his confidence wasn’t great over fences, so we thought we’d start back over hurdles and he handles very soft ground.”

Dashel Drasher has similarly been a fine servant to his trainer Jeremy Scott, proving himself a top-level operator both over hurdles and over fences.

The 10-year-old made a successful start to last season in a small field conditions race at Aintree before finishing second in the Many Clouds Chase, the Relkeel Hurdle, the Cleeve Hurdle and the Stayers’ Hurdle.

An outing at Aintree’s Grand National meeting proved one too many, but Scott is looking forward to her stable star’s return to action.

He said: “He looks a picture. Like a lot of horses he may well need the run, he usually does need the run on his first outing anyway, but he looks very well and looks stronger than ever, so we’ll see how we get on.

“He won at Aintree over two and a half first time out last season. We didn’t feel we had him at his best then and I think he’s probably be in a better place than we did this time last year, anyway.

“It will be soft old ground – it’ll be testing. He does go on that ground, whether it ekes out his stamina a bit much, I don’t know.”

Gary Moore’s Botox Has was two places behind Dashel Drasher when fourth in the Cleeve Hurdle in January and makes his first competitive appearance since this weekend.

Jamie Snowden’s Paddy Power Gold Cup hero Ga Law, Peter Fahey’s Irish raider Ambitious Fellow and the Paul Nicholls-trained Red Risk complete the line-up.

A Jamaican sprint hurdler is facing provisional suspension after he tested positive for a banned substance. Sportsmax.TV has confirmed that the male athlete has tested positive for a substance that features prominently on the World Anti-Doping Agency's banned list.

The athlete has shone on the international stage in recent years winning medals in the Commonwealth Games, the Olympic Games and the Continental Cup.

Track authorities say the hurdler was informed of the positive test which came following an analysis of a sample by the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission (JADCO). The sprint hurdler was tested last month.

It's expected that the athlete's B-sample will be tested.

He'll then be required to face a hearing to determine whether he will face sanctions that include being banned from the sport.

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