The bar was raised for Bermuda’s team to the Caribbean Area Squash Association (CASA) Junior Championships and Head coach Micah Franklin believes they not only cleared it, but more importantly, exceeded all expectations.

For Franklin, who has ambitions to expand squash in Bermuda, the performance of the team, which was the largest ever fielded by the British Overseas Territory, augurs well for the future of the sport, provided they remain consistent. 

Barbados reclaimed the overall team title, they last won in 2021, as they outclassed and dethroned Guyana in both boys and girls team finals at the just concluded tournament in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Franklin admits that his 17-member team of nine boys and eight girls, lacked the experience and calibre of the top two nations, which is why their third and fourth place finishes in the respective categories were even more rewarding.

“I think that the team performed well beyond what I expected from them and when you take into account the fact that the top two nations Barbados and Guyana are way above us at the moment, it makes our coming third place in the boys’ category and fourth place on the girls’ side, a really great accomplishment,” Franklin told Sportsmax.tv.

“So, I’m very pleased with all of my players’ performances. They fought hard in difficult conditions and gave me everything. As a coach that’s all I can ask for. I was pleased with the manner in which they represented themselves and their country with pride and honour,” he added.

Franklin, a former player, who was Bermuda’s flagbearer at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, is excited about the prospects, particularly where the players’ continued development and progress is concerned.

This, as Mason Smith won Bermuda’s first Under-11 medal, while Benjamin Sherratt, Somers Stevenson, and Owen Rosorea, were all runners-up in their respective categories, fulfilling their own personal goals.

“Every player went in with separate aspirations and some of them were able to achieve those objectives which is a huge step in the right direction and for sure we expect Mason, Benjamin, Somers, Owen and others to keep progressing over time, as they continue to transition from one each group to the next,” Franklin shared.

On that note, he declared an unwavering desire to steer Bermuda Squash onto a new path, and the outstanding display by the team at CASA, has solidified the platform on which to do that.

“Based off of the results I see a bright future for Bermuda squash. Our younger age groups have given me a lot of hope in the next generation because like I said before, the overall goal and ambition for Bermuda Squash is to achieve full inclusion from all ages, races and genders. We want to prioritize squash first and let everything else fall into place,” Franklin noted.

While he continues to do the groundwork, the coach said the players can get some much-needed rest and recovery before their next assignment.

“After the much-deserved break, we will kick things back in the fall. We will be looking to send a group of players to the United States and Canadian Junior opens, where we hope to continue building on the momentum, we have achieved so far this year,” Franklin ended.

Charlie Fellowes is convinced Marbaan will put up a bold show in his bid for back-to-back wins at the Qatar Goodwood Festival next week following a frustrating run at Royal Ascot.

The Oasis Dream colt shone in the Group Two Vintage Stakes on the Sussex Downs last summer before failing to land a blow in successive Group Ones before the end of his juvenile year.

He made a promising start to his three-year-old campaign by finishing fourth in the Commonwealth Cup Trial at Ascot and second to subsequent July Cup runner-up Run To Freedom at Salisbury, but beat only one home in the Commonwealth Cup itself at the Royal meeting last month.

Fellowes is adamant the three-year-old is better than he showed in Berkshire, though, and is targeting redemption in the Group Two Lennox Stakes on Tuesday.

“I was disappointed with Ascot because I don’t think we saw the real Marbaan. Everything that could have gone wrong went wrong,” said the Newmarket handler.

“Ascot is a horrible place to try to make the running and I don’t think Marbaan is the sort of horse you want to make the running with – all of his best performances have come when he’s been ridden with a little bit of cover.

“He was my one real frustration after Ascot, all my other horses ran well, and I’m just convinced it was because of the way the race panned out.

“The plan is to go back to Goodwood for the Lennox. I’m convinced he’s got the speed for six furlongs, but we’re going to go back up to seven and he has won over course and distance.

“He worked on Tuesday morning, he’s in great order and I know there’s a big performance in him this year.”

Clive Cox looks poised to send Diligent Harry to the Jenningsbet Hopeful Stakes at Newmarket next month on the back of his fine run at Newbury on Saturday.

The five-year-old was beaten a head by Commanche Falls in the Group Three Hackwood Stakes and was subsequently raised 2lb to a mark of 109 by the handicapper.

Though he came with a well-timed run under Richard Kingscote and had his head in front inside the final 110 yards, he was pipped on the line in the six-furlong contest.

Diligent Harry beat Royal Ascot’s subsequent Buckingham Palace Stakes scorer Witch Hunter in the All-Weather Sprint Championships Conditions Stakes at Newcastle in April, and was beaten just over three lengths by Equality in the Group Three Coral Charge at Sandown when dropped to five furlongs on his penultimate run.

“It was a very pleasing run on Saturday and I’m pleased that he has come out of it well as well,” said Cox.

“I think that run at Sandown, trying five furlongs on a stiffer track, the rain came pretty much the last half hour before racing which made the going a little bit different still. I was much happier with the run on Saturday.

“With a bit of luck, the Hopeful might be a possibility. He seems to have come out of the race well and if he continues to give that impression, we will be looking at that.”

Five times a winner and twice runner-up from his nine all-weather starts, Diligent Harry is 0-10 on turf, although Cox feels a good prize deserves to fall his way.

The Lambourn handler added: “He is proven over six furlongs, even though he is lacking that success on the turf, and he has run some mighty races in defeat.

“It would be nice to see him win a decent race. He is back up to 109 this morning, so the handicapper thought it was a good run as well.

“Listed and Group races are certainly within his compass and after winning the All-Weather Final earlier in the year, he has continued to produce top-end results.”

Richard Fahey is now among the leading trainers in the country – but 25 years ago he was still trying to make his way in his new career.

A jump jockey in his youth, Fahey at the time was a dual-purpose trainer based at Butterwick, near Malton and began training in 1993.

It took a while for him to make an impact, though, and he looked a long way from his current base at Musley Bank from where he trains around 200 horses, and sent out a then record-equalling 235 winners in 2015.

Nowadays he is known for the exploits of Group One winners like Ribchester, Perfect Power, The Platinum Queen and current stallion sensation Wootton Bassett.

But 25 years ago all his eggs were in the Superior Premium basket.

A useful two-year-old without making a significant impact, he won a Listed race first time out at three at Haydock before missing most of the summer. He came back to be third in the Ayr Gold Cup at 33-1, hinting that he loved the hustle and bustle of a big sprint handicap.

He failed to make much of an impact in the first half of 1998 before massively outrunning his 40-1 odds when third to Selhurstpark Flyer in the Wokingham at Royal Ascot, just the second time he had been ridden by a young 5lb claimer by the name of Robert Winston.

Winston kept the ride when he won next time out, before Kieren Fallon stepped in for another win at Haydock.

Goodwood came next where he was reunited with Winston, and sent off 14-1 in a 29-runner Stewards’ Cup, he came home a length and a half clear of Ansellman.

“It seems a long time ago, we also had the third that year with Eastern Purple I remember,” said Fahey.

“What I can remember is there was a false rail and it rained a lot, so if you weren’t drawn anywhere near the far side there was a favourable strip of ground.

“I think the first three were all drawn very high (which are low numbers now following a change in 2011), so that obviously helped but Superior Premium was obviously a very talented horse, he went on to win the Cork And Orrery at Ascot (now the Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Stakes).

“Another way you could look at it was if he’d got beaten at Goodwood, I was probably a bad trainer!

“He was only 3lb higher at Goodwood than he was at Ascot and he won twice in between. That might have been because I was only a small trainer at the time. You certainly wouldn’t have got handicapping like that maybe 10 years ago, but I do feel in the last couple of years they are being a kinder.

“There was a time if you won a race you would get hit hard, but they seem to have settled down a bit.

“He was a really good winner for us, obviously our first major one and definitely the first highlight of my career. He wasn’t just a flash in the pan, he carried on doing it for a good few years and he was the Saturday horse all trainers need and he helped me a lot.

“We even took him over to Sweden to win a Listed race, to Taby, which has closed down now and whether it was broken I don’t know, but he broke the track record there.”

Despite the distance from his Malton base, Fahey has enjoyed plenty of other good winners on the Sussex Downs.

“Lady Bear was a talented mare, she won the Golden Mile for us there, we’ve had some good winners there,” said Fahey.

“The Platinum Queen won for us there last year, Garswood won the Lennox (2013), it’s a specialist’s track and it’s very nice to have winners. I think you need a horse with pace, that seems to help with the undulations.”

They have not all been good memories, however. Arguably the best horse Fahey has trained to date has been multiple Group One winner Ribchester.

However, he had two attempts at winning the Sussex Stakes and came up just short twice.

“We took him as a three-year-old after he had won the Jersey and he was third, beaten a neck and a short head (by The Gurkha and Galileo Gold),” said Fahey.

“Then when we went the following year, the weather was atrocious. They had had a load of rain, but it was also blowing a gale if I remember.

“I was on my way to the stewards’ room to tell them he was a non-runner, but on my way there someone rang me to tell me Aidan O’Brien had taken Churchill out and they were joint-favourites.

“It wasn’t really the soft ground I was particularly worried about, it was just the general conditions – there was inches of water in the parade ring and a strong wind blowing them all over.

“Here Comes When beat him and I remember going into the toilets after the race, taking my shoes off and wringing out my socks into the sink, that’s how wet it was.”

Kevin Stott has full faith in King Of Steel ahead of his August Rodin rematch but is mindful that the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Qipco Stakes is not a two-horse race.

The Roger Varian-trained colt was second under Stott in last month’s Derby, finishing half a length behind Auguste Rodin at huge odds of 66-1.

The grey, who is a strapping son of Wootton Bassett, looked the winner at the two-furlong pole but was eventually collared by the Aidan O’Brien-trained challenger.

Auguste Rodin went on the win the Irish Derby with a rather more laboured performance, whereas King Of Steel was imperious at the Royal meeting when cruising to a three-and-a-half-length win in the King Edward VII Stakes.

As a result the rematch is much anticipated, but the two rivals are not the only big names in a stellar line up for Saturday’s Group One held at Ascot.

Last year’s hero and subsequent Hardwicke Stakes winner Pyledriver will line up, as will 2022 Derby victor Desert Crown – who is set to be ridden by William Buick – and his Brigadier Gerard conqueror Hukum.

Much of the conversation revolves around the clash between this year’s Derby one-two and though Stott is hopeful he can reverse the form, he is still holds great respect for the other contenders.

“It’s probably the Flat race of the season so far, you’ve got all the best horses in there – proven ones and upcoming ones,” he said.

“If it’s a 12 or 15-runner field then it’s going to be really, really exciting. There’s not long left now, he did a nice piece of work this morning and it’s all systems go.

“It’s by no means a two-horse race. There are some very high quality horses in there and especially if we are going to have ease in the ground, there are a lot of horses with very good form on slower ground.

“First and second in the Derby going at it again for the first time since the Derby is obviously a massive thing for everyone.

“You don’t know when you have so many good horses pitched against each other, it’s exciting and it’s very open. Auguste Rodin and King Of Steel are getting a bit of weight from the other horses as they are only three and the others are older and more experienced.”

Stott was visibly disappointed after King Of Steel’s Derby defeat, feeling he could have won had he timed his challenge differently, but having had time to reflect, he is more accepting of how the race panned out.

He said: “I still look at the replay now and again from the Derby and go over it again and again. I’ve got to the stage now where I wouldn’t change anything that I did, we just got run down by the better horse on the day.

“I had no pressure on me, I was just riding him to run well, to see what we had, to see if the home work was backing up in a race.

“Between the two and the three (furlong) pole I was in front by two and a bit lengths and the next thing you know I was screaming for the finish line.

“Unfortunately we just got run down by a very good horse on the day, hopefully we can turn the form around but we have to, first of all, beat some other very good horses in the race.

“It’s not just a race between the two three-year-olds, but I like to think that if it does come down to a battle again from the furlong pole, then hopefully our fella will pull it out.

“I’ve got a lot of faith in the horse, but then again Aidan O’Brien is the master of the world that we live in and even though Auguste Rodin’s win in the Irish Derby wasn’t as visually flattering as the English Derby, he is probably one of the nicest horses that Aidan has trained.”

The final field for the race has yet to take shape and Stott is avoiding getting too attached to fixed tactical plans as the declarations and the going could change the complexion of the contest.

“You can sit down and analyse it and you’ve got plan A and plan B, but within a second that can just disappear and within a second you can have to go for plan F,” he said,

“You go through it all the time, you’re thinking about what’s going to happen and sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t.

“Just to be part of a race like this and to ride a horse of this calibre is very exciting.”

The Yorkshire Oaks is the preferred next target for Rosscarbery after she came off second best in a clash with Emily Dickinson at the Curragh on Saturday.

Paddy Twomey’s mare has won three times at Group Three level and last summer came within a neck of claiming Group One glory in the Prix Jean Romanet, narrowly failing to reel in Aristia.

Having finished fourth over 10 furlongs in the Pretty Polly Stakes on her penultimate start, Rosscarbery stepped up to a mile and three-quarters for last weekend’s Curragh Cup – but after travelling strongly to the front, she was oustayed by the hot favourite.

A return to Deauville for a second tilt at the Romanet is not being ruled as the five-year-old’s next objective, but Twomey views the Yorkshire Oaks on August 24, over the intermediate distance of a mile and a half, as the ideal aim.

“She ran great on Saturday over a trip that is probably as far as she wants to go in ground that was more favourable to Emily Dickinson than her – she likes a bit of faster ground,” said the trainer.

“We sort of have the Yorkshire Oaks and the Prix Jean Romanet in mind, that’s why we ran her at the weekend as it fitted in perfectly in our schedule.

“Out of those, the preference is probably for the Yorkshire Oaks. The Romanet is the Sunday before and she was second in that last year.

“I think a mile and a half at York would be her ideal track and trip and very suitable for her, so that’s what we have in mind.”

Simca Mille could bypass Saturday’s King George VI And Queen Elizabeth II Qipco Stakes if conditions are not suitable.

The Stephane Wattel-trained four-year-old has won twice at Group Two level – at ParisLongchamp and Chantilly – this term, latterly producing an eye-catching turn of foot to land the Grand Prix de Chantilly by an easy three and a half lengths under Alexis Pouchin.

It promises to be a high-class renewal of the King George, which features this year’s Derby one-two Auguste Rodin and King Of Steel, along with 2022 Epsom hero Desert Crown and defending champion Pyledriver.

However, with an unsettled forecast and ground that is officially described as good to soft, soft in places on the round course, a decision on Simca Mille’s participation will be made on Thursday morning.

Wattel said: “The ground might be a concern. A final decision will be made on Thursday morning.

“We have prepared toward this race for a long time. I know the competition is very, very high and it will be a fantastic race.

“I don’t mind competing with the very difficult competition – if the horses are better, then they are better – but I want to have the best conditions for my horse to handle correctly, which at the moment is a concern.

“It is going to be a fantastic race and it will be great for the public and fun for all the sportsmen to see such good horses, but for Simca Mille, he needs fast ground and I doubt we will get fast ground.

“It is difficult to put a percentage on it, and I don’t want to say too much about it. A final decision will be made on Thursday morning. I am not the only one (to make the decision).”

Should last season’s Group One Grand Prix de Paris neck runner-up not take his place in the King George line-up, he could head to Germany or stay closer to home.

Wattel added: “He is entered in the Grosser Preis von Berlin (at Hoppegarten on August 13) in Germany, which is a Group One, but I would say I will be very happy, even if it is only a Group Two, he has the Grand Prix de Deauville (August 27), which for a Deauville-based trainer is an important race also.

“He has had fantastic results at Longchamp, so we will keep an eye on the Arc, if the ground is suitable for him.

“My concern is to have too difficult a race in the King George and leave his race there, on ground that is not his optimum.”

Go Athletico has been handed Group One targets following his fine performance in the Sapphire Stakes at the Curragh.

The five-year-old raced 26 times in France, winning on six occasions, before being picked up by his new owners for €165,000 in the spring when he was switched to Ireland and trainer Adrian McGuinness.

The gelded son of Goken has made a fine start to life in the care of his new handler, scooping Listed honours at Cork on stable debut and following that up by finishing second to course specialist Art Power in the Curragh Group Two last Saturday.

Now connections are eyeing a further step up the sprinting ladder for the soft-ground loving speedster and are targeting either a possible Curragh rematch with Art Power in the Al Basti Equiworld, Dubai Flying Five Stakes on September 10 or returning Go Athletico to France for a crack at the Prix de l’Abbaye on October 1.

“We got lucky and we happened to get him at the right time,” said Barry Irwin, CEO of Team Valor, who own the horse in partnership with Shamrock Thoroughbreds.

“It is amazing how a horse can have run as many times as him, be five years old yet all of a sudden he’s getting better. We’ve got lucky and he’s a cool horse, I’ve never had a horse like him. He’s a fun horse to watch.”

He went on: “This horse needs a bit of cut in the ground, we got it on Saturday and got lucky, and there is another race at the Curragh coming up in September, the Flying Five. We might have to take on the same horse that won on Saturday again and if the ground comes up soft, we will do it.

“If not, we might possibly take a look at the Prix de l’Abbaye on the day of the Arc.

“It’s only five furlongs and he’s better over six, but in a big field like that, with soft turf and the right draw, you can get lucky.”

Lucas Leiva hopes his former Liverpool and Gremio team-mate Luis Suarez will resist the urge to follow Lionel Messi, Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba to Inter Miami.

Liverpool and Barcelona great Suarez joined Gremio in January, having helped his boyhood club Nacional to the Uruguayan Primera Division title on his return to South America last year.

Suarez has scored four goals in 12 appearances in the Brazilian top flight this campaign, but his future is in doubt amid reports he is Miami's next big-name target. 

Miami have already signed Suarez's former Barca team-mates Messi, Busquets and Alba, and Sunday brought confirmation they had traded with the San Jose Earthquakes to gain another international registration slot.

That move has heightened speculation regarding a move for Suarez, and while Lucas understands the draw of MLS, he hopes Gremio can keep the striker.

Asked about Suarez's future, Lucas – who retired in March after being diagnosed with a heart issue – said: "He made a fantastic impact here in Brazil at Gremio. 

"I think made the right move. Luis is a world-class player, we don't need to speak about his qualities and what he's doing here in Brazil. 

"He's been linked, but I just hope he can stay at Gremio because it's my club and he's my neighbour here!

"I hope he stays a bit longer but MLS is getting attention from every player and from the fans. It's normal that he will be linked with big teams like Inter Miami."

After Messi marked his Miami debut with a dramatic free-kick winner against Cruz Azul in the Leagues Cup, there has arguably never been a more compelling time to follow MLS.

Lucas is among those excited by the league's potential, adding: "MLS is growing every year, people are watching more MLS. If you look back maybe 10 years, nobody would have expected that. 

"Americans know how to do these things, so well done to them. Messi going there will just attract a lot of fans and people who will be following the league, so it's great.

"It's great because football should be everywhere in the world because it is a fantastic sport that people love to watch. 

"We can see him in another league, not in Europe. In America, it's a great thing for the fans that love football. It's a league that is improving and is growing and getting better every season."

Persistent rain wiped out the entire final day's play in Port-of-Spain, denying India a chance to sweep the Test series 2-0. The game was called off at 2.50pm local time.

The day had started with showers and the teams didn't even arrive at Queen's Park Oval until after lunch. The rain relented briefly before returning once again in the afternoon to force an end to the game.

India won the series 1-0, having brushed West Indies aside in three days in the first Test in Dominica.

West Indies will not be in action in Test cricket until their trip to Australia in January 2024.

Scores: India 438 (Kohli 121, Rohit 80, Warrican 3-89) and 181 for 2 dec (Rohit 57, Kishan 52*) drew with West Indies 255 (Brathwaite 75, Siraj 5-60) and 76 for 2 (Ashwin 2-33)

The Cricket West Indies (CWI) Senior Men’s Selection Panel today announced the squad for the three match CG United One Day International (ODI) Series powered by YES BANK against India which starts on Thursday 27 July at Kensington Oval.

The 15-member squad was named following a four-day camp at Kensington Oval held to prepare the white-ball players for the upcoming CG United ODI Series, as well as the five-match T20I Series that follows. The selectors have recalled left-handed batsman Shimron Hetmyer and fast bowler Oshane Thomas. Fast bowler Jayden Seales and leg-spinner Yannic Cariah have been included following their rehabilitation from surgery while left-arm spinner Gudakesh Motie is also included, having recovered from injury.

Lead Selector, The Most Hon. Dr Desmond Haynes said: “We welcome Oshane and Shimron back into the group. Both have played at the international level before, with some success, and we believe they will fit well into the set-up. Oshane brings pace and is a potential wicket-taker with the new ball. Shimron’s style of batting will offer a lot especially in the middle stage of the innings and he is also a potential ‘finisher’.”

Keemo Paul is out injured while Jason Holder and Nicholas Pooran were unavailable for selection.

Kensington Oval hosts the first two matches in the three-match CG United ODI Series on Thursday 27 July and Saturday 29 July. The teams then move to Trinidad for the third and final CG United ODI at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy on Tuesday 1 August. All three matches start at 9:30am local time (8:30am Jamaica time).

Tickets for the matches are available from box offices at Kensington Oval in Bridgetown, as well as Queen’s Park Oval, Port of Spain, and the National Cricket Centre in Couva, Trinidad from Monday 24 July. Additionally, tickets are available online in advance from the Windies Tickets service, presented by Mastercard, at tickets.windiescricket.com .

Fans who purchase online will benefit from a 20% discount compared to the box office prices, with tickets ranging from the most premium seats with the best and shaded views in each stadium through to affordable standard seats or mounds/grounds entry.

FULL SQUAD

Shai Hope (Captain)

Rovman Powell (Vice Captain)

Alick Athanaze

Yannic Cariah

Keacy Carty

Dominic Drakes

Shimron Hetmyer

Alzarri Joseph

Brandon King

Kyle Mayers

Gudakesh Motie

Jayden Seales

Romario Shepherd

Kevin Sinclair

Oshane Thomas

West Indies v India Tour Match Schedule

CG United ODI Series powered by YES BANK

27 July: 1st CG United ODI, Kensington Oval, Barbados

29 July: 2nd CG United ODI, Kensington Oval, Barbados

1 August: 3rd CG United ODI, Brian Lara Cricket Academy, Trinidad

  • start time at 9:30am (8:30am Jamaica)

T20 Internationals

3 August: 1st T20I, Brian Lara Cricket Academy, Trinidad

6 August: 2nd T20I, Guyana National Stadium, Guyana

8 August: 3rd T20I, Guyana National Stadium, Guyana

12 August: 4th T20I, Broward County Stadium, Lauderhill, Florida

13 August: 5th T20I, Broward County Stadium, Lauderhill, Florida

  • start time at: 10:30am (9:30am Jamaica)

 

The severity of forecast rain on Wednesday and Thursday is set to play a key part in determining ground conditions for Saturday’s King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Qipco Stakes at Ascot.

The 12-furlong Group One is one of the highlights of the summer and the feature event of the Berkshire track’s two-day meeting, which starts on Friday.

There are over 150 entries for Saturday’s eight-race card, with a stellar cast set to assemble for the King George itself, in which Derby one-two Auguste Rodin and King Of Steel could take on last year’s Epsom hero Desert Crown and the likes of defending champion Pyledriver.

“We’re delighted with how the whole card is shaping up and the entries are excellent,” said Chris Stickels, Ascot’s clerk of the course.

“The King George itself looks like it could be a fantastic renewal.”

Conditions are currently described as good to soft, soft in places following a drying day on Monday.

However, Stickels will be keeping a close eye on the band of rain set to pass through the area later in the week with anything between seven and 15 millimetres forecast to fall – something he believes could be the deciding factor on whether the meeting is held on good or soft ground.

Stickels said: “The going is currently described as good to soft, soft in places.

“That will probably change on Tuesday given we’ve only had 1mm so far on Monday.

“It’s been fairly breezy and will be drying a bit. There was only a little bit of soft first thing this morning in it, we were expecting a little bit more rain, so it’s quite good it has stayed dry.

“I imagine there will be a change in the going on Tuesday to reflect it drying a bit, unless we do get any further rain now.

“The forecast for Tuesday looks generally settled. There is rain again and showers on Wednesday night through Thursday which will soften things up again and then Friday and Saturday look generally dry and blustery, with a chance of a blustery shower.

“We don’t know what to expect because every forecast model is different, but we’re forecast between 7mm and 15mm. If we had 7 or 8mm it would be goodish ground, but if we had the top-end of that forecast it would be slower than that.

“There’s a front coming through late on Wednesday through Thursday and the volume of that will be the factor that will determine what the ground will be like over the weekend.”

Tim Easterby’s Art Power will aim to return to his favourite track after an impressive success in the Sapphire Stakes.

The popular grey is a constant in high-quality sprint contests and is an eight-time winner for owners King Power Racing.

Now six years old, the gelding is unbeaten at the Curragh in four runs having won the Renaissance Stakes twice, as well as the Greenlands Stakes earlier in the season.

Armed with that knowledge, he was well backed as the 6-5 favourite for the Group Two Sapphire Stakes over five furlongs at the track on Saturday.

Under David Allan, he did not disappoint and cruised to an unchallenged four-and-a-quarter-length success to maintain his flawless record at the Kildare venue.

Another trip to the Curragh is now on the horizon for the son of Dark Angel, who holds an entry for the Flying Five Stakes on September 10.

“He’s come home and he’s in great form, he’s come out of it really well,” said Easterby.

“He ran a super race, we were delighted with him and he’s come out of it in great form.

“He’ll probably go back there for the Flying Five in September. He loves it there and he liked that bit of cut in the ground too.

“He just seems to love it, it’s nice ground that often has a bit of cut in it.

“It’s a good, level track for him and he just seems to really enjoy it.”

The British Horseracing Authority has accepted Sean Levey took no prohibited substance following a “non-negative” saliva test at Sandown last year, which was later deemed negative by a laboratory.

Levey was stood down by the raceday stewards on September 14 when an instant saliva test produced a positive result for amphetamine.

The Group One-winning rider requested a urine test within 24 hours and when that returned negative, he was allowed to resume riding.

However, Levey was forced to miss the closing night of the Racing League, for which he was the leading rider ahead of the final meeting. He was subsequently caught by Saffie Osborne, who rode a treble to claim a £20,000 bonus.

In a statement, the BHA said: “The BHA would like to provide the following update on the oral fluid testing pilot, which was paused following a negative laboratory follow-up analysis requested after a point of care racecourse non-negative sample given by Sean Levey at Sandown on September 14, 2022.

“Following that negative laboratory follow-up analysis, the BHA has carried out extensive analysis to ascertain the circumstances behind the original non-negative, remaining in close communication with Mr Levey throughout. The BHA is grateful for his co-operation during this time.

“The BHA completely accepts that Mr Levey did not take amphetamine or any other prohibited substance and has not committed any offence under the rules of racing, with the cause of the non-negative appearing to have been a supplement that those administering the test were not aware of at the time.

“A further update regarding the resumption of the oral fluid testing pilot will follow in due course.”

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