Dinoblue kicked off the new season as she finished the last with a determined victory in the Barberstown Castle Chase at Naas.

Runner-up when favourite for the Grand Annual at the Cheltenham Festival in March, the JP McManus-owned mare subsequently struck gold at Fairyhouse and Punchestown before enjoying a summer break.

The six-year-old was the 5-6 market leader for her reappearance in a Grade Three contest formerly known as the Poplar Square Chase and jumped and travelled with zest throughout in the hands of Mark Walsh.

Dinoblue’s stablemate Sir Gerhard was not done with when crashing out two fences from home, which left Fil Dor as her only serious threat.

The latter did his best to reel in the Willie Mullins-trained favourite on the run-in, but she was always doing enough to fend him off and passed the post with a length and three-quarters in hand.

“She jumped well and handled the ground well. It’s a nice start to the season and you couldn’t be happier with her,” said McManus’ racing manager, Frank Berry.

“I’m not sure what plans Willie has for her, but I’m sure there will be similar down the road.

“She was getting all the allowances there, which was a huge help. She will come on from the run and Mark was delighted with her.”

Marine Nationale’s chasing debut could be delayed until Leopardstown’s Christmas Festival due to the prevailing wet weather and testing conditions.

The six-year-old is unbeaten in five starts for owner-trainer Barry Connell and was last seen beating Facile Vega in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in March.

He is set to embark on a career over the larger obstacles this term and Connell had been considering a beginners chase at Navan next weekend as a starting point, but is now having a change of heart.

“I won’t run him at Navan if the ground is like this,” he said at Naas on Sunday.

“He’s ground dependent and I might wait until Leopardstown at Christmas. I don’t want to give him a grueller at the start of the season.

“He’s a light-framed horse and he’d be lost on that ground today.

“If we have to wait until Leopardstown at Christmas that’s fine, as he went to Cheltenham last year on the back of two runs, so that’s not a big issue.

“There is a two mile and one (furlong) beginners at Leopardstown and then he could go to the Dublin Racing Festival and Cheltenham.”

Frederick Larson knew from the very beginning that Big Evs was an exceptional talent and the horse he has helped guide from raw novice to Breeders’ Cup champion provided the apprentice jockey with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity when accompanying the star speedster to Santa Anita.

The son of Blue Point’s Breeders’ Cup heroics may have provided Mick Appleby with the finest moment of his training career but it was also the culmination of a long season’s work for the handler’s stable apprentice, who has taken on the responsibility of nurturing Big Evs and guiding him to the top of the sprinting tree.

It is a role that saw the 24-year-old on the plane to California to help put the finishing touches to the colt’s Breeders’ Cup preparations.

But the young jockey has been a permanent feature of the Big Evs story from the very first day the precocious youngster stepped foot into Appleby’s Rutland base.

“It’s always a pleasure to ride nice horses – and ones like him, they don’t come around often,” said Larson.

“We knew he was pretty special from early on and I’ve ridden him every day since we’ve had him. It’s just been nice to see the progression and he’s turned so professional, you can see the growth in him and in his mind as well.”

The majority of Larson’s 77 winners on the Flat have been aboard Appleby’s ever-expanding string, but the biggest success of his fledgling career came at York in the summer, when he expertly partnered Amy Murphy’s Pride Of America to the narrowest of John Smith’s Cup triumphs.

And it was when riding for the Newmarket-based handler in the spring that Larson first let the cat out of the bag that he might have unearthed something special back in Rutland.

Larson added: “I said to Amy Murphy one day in March when I was riding work on her two-year-olds that ‘I think I’ve just ridden the best horse I’ve ever ridden’.

“He was raw and he went and got beat first time out and we weren’t even disappointed. In fact, we were actually delighted because we knew that he would progress.

“We always knew he was special but to do what he’s done, and the way he did it at Royal Ascot and then to have to dig it out on heavy ground at Goodwood, that is the true sign of a true champion. To do it on any track and any ground, they have all come and tried and they have all been beaten.”

For some, the role of work rider to one of the most exciting juvenile prospects in Britain may prove too much, but Larson has relished the journey and, having been faultless in the build-up to his American assignment, he was simply keen for Big Evs to showcase his talent to the world on the biggest stage of all.

He added: “I never feel too much pressure when I’m riding in races myself, but it has been a weird feeling all year, just because I know how good he is and I wanted him to show how good I knew he was.

“I said to Mick when he came over, he’s not missed a beat since he’s arrived and for a two-year-old to handle everything the way he did is a credit to himself.

“I thought we were going there with a great chance and it sounds stupid now, but I would have been disappointed if he didn’t win because I knew how good he was.

“I know he got beaten in the Nunthorpe, but it is a different kettle of fish when he’s back taking on two-year-olds – and I’ve ridden a fair few two-year-olds in my time and knew he was special. I was just glad he turned up on the day.

“I have enjoyed getting him ready this year and he’s made life easy for me really, he’s just great.”

Larson was joined Stateside by Tara Belfield, Appleby’s head girl, who previously had only ventured as far as Ireland with a member of the Appleby string.

Having worked up from stable hand to her current position, she was entrusted with shuttling Big Evs across the Atlantic, something which proved a much simpler task than imagined, as the classy colt enjoyed one-on-one attention in the California sun.

She said: “I really enjoyed myself, it’s the first time I’ve taken one abroad – I’ve taken one to Ireland, but this was a bit different, it was 11 hours each way on a plane for a start.

“All in all, the horse travelled for about 24 hours and he was fine and he handled everything really well. He handled it like a pro.

“One-horse trips are very easy actually, we love a one-horse trip. There was two of us there and we got a holiday and Big Evs got all the love – well I would say he was loving it, but he’s a grumpy little sausage.”

Belfield sacrificed going on holiday to accompany Big Evs to the American West Coast, for a trip that was just a far-flung dream when first joining the team at The Homestead eight years ago.

“I was supposed to be on holiday with my other half but California took over,” she continued.

“When I started, we didn’t have half the horses and ones that were giving us these opportunities, so to have a horse like him on the yard and to go to places like the Breeders’ Cup is ridiculous.”

The enormity of the occasion eventually took its toll on Appleby’s weary travelling team and, after their champion was awarded his famous flower garland and received the adulations of the Santa Anita crowd, the need for some well-earned rest meant celebrations had to be delayed by 24 hours.

“The adrenaline ran out and it all just hit us,” Belfield added. “There is such a build-up and it just takes it out of you.

“Everything was going so well out there, everything that could have gone wrong didn’t and everything that we needed to go right did – it was just what we wanted. So we were expecting good things and I’m glad he won because we would have been disappointed if he didn’t.

“I think we were in bed for half seven that night, even the owners went for a meal and didn’t go out partying. We partied hard though the next day, so it was fine.”

Love Envoi could be tasked with taking on the all-conquering Constitution Hill if making her return in Newcastle’s BetMGM Fighting Fifth Hurdle next month.

It was thought Harry Fry’s stable star would not be seen until the new year, having suffered an injury when racing at the Punchestown Festival in the spring.

However, having returned to training at Fry’s Dorset base, connections are keen to take their chance at Gosforth Park on December 2 providing the Noel Fehily Racing Syndicate-owned seven-year-old is giving the right signals in her homework.

“It is definitely a possibility and it was a race we earmarked when we got her back going this year,” said Fehily.

“Obviously, she got started a little bit later this year and Harry will see how she is training, and if he is happy with her, we may go there.

“It will be down to what Harry thinks, how she is doing and whether she is ready to go there. It will definitely be a decision that will be left until closer to the time, I would say.”

A Cheltenham Festival winner in her own right, taking on the reigning Champion Hurdle winner holds no fears for the Love Envoi team, with their eight-time scorer proving she is more than game for a battle with the best when a brave second to Honeysuckle at Prestbury Park in March.

“Constitution Hill looks exceptional but somebody has to finish second to him and hopefully it might be us,” continued Fehily.

“If you are not in, you can’t win, but she’s been a wonderful mare and we’ll only run if Harry is happy with her. If he is happy, we will take our chance and it is a great race to be involved in.”

Il Est Francais is bang on course for a tilt at the Kauto Star Novices’ Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day following another facile success in France.

A Grade One-winning hurdler last year for the training partnership of Noel George and Amanda Zetterholm, the five-year-old made a smart start to his career over fences at Auteuil in September.

Connections had already been planning a cross-Channel raid for later in the year – and he now looks set to make the trip over the Christmas period after successfully stepping up to Listed class with an 11-length victory in the hands of James Reveley.

“He did everything right today, he jumped perfect,” said the jockey on Sky Sports Racing.

“The ground is pretty bottomless and he went through that, so he’s done everything we’ve asked of him so far and next stop Kempton.

“At his age, he’s up there with the best I’ve ridden and he’s got everything that a champion needs to have.

“He’s yet to prove it on the track in Grade One company over fences but I think he’s capable of winning plenty more races.”

Il Est Francais prevailed on five of his six outings over hurdles, including the Prix Renaud du Vivier at elite level.

Trainer George was thrilled with this latest victory as a 1-5 favourite and has no fears about the obstacles at Kempton.

He said: “It’s never nice watching a horse when he’s that short a price favourite and he had to do it all himself in front and everything, but watching him just makes it a lot easier, he just does everything so effortlessly.

“He’s a very exciting horse. It was a first time over fences on ground that heavy and he’s done it very well, so there’s lots to look forward to.

“The sky’s the limit with him and he adapts very well; from the first day he jumped fences he took to it like a duck to water, he’s very natural in everything he does.”

Owner Richard Kelvin-Hughes said: “Good horses can go on any ground. We can all see that he would love better ground than this, but he can still do it on this ground, so it makes it very exciting.

“I don’t think he made one mistake and James rode a perfect ride on him. He’s just getting better and better and he’s so mature for a young horse, relatively.

“What a future – we’ve just got to look after him now!”

With regards to a trip to Kempton, he added: “That is very much on the cards.

“It will be slightly better ground there, I would have thought – and it will be interesting to see him against some of the English and Irish horses there, as well.”

 Under the warm Jamaican sun, Olympian Aleen Bailey and her now-husband Joseph Taylor tied the knot in a heartwarming ceremony at the St Andrew Scotts Kirk United Church on Duke Street in Kingston, surrounded by family, friends, and the love of the athletic community that brought them together.

They celebrated the union at a reception held at the ROK Hotel in downtown Kingston.

The wedding, presided over by Aleen's longtime friend Zara Northover and Reverend Nigel Nusey was a celebration of love, faith, and the powerful journey that brought two outstanding athletes together. Northover, who had been Aleen's roommate at the 2008 Beijing Games, expressed her gratitude for being entrusted to officiate the union, emphasizing the significance of God's blessing in their marital journey.

"The power of a God-ordained couple spreads a light and energy that is not just seen but felt," Northover proclaimed during the ceremony.

She drew parallels between the worlds of track and field and American football, highlighting the synchronization of effort, grace, strategy, and execution that defined both sports. Aleen's journey from the Beijing Games to the altar with Joseph mirrored the discipline, sacrifice, and perfect timing that characterize a sprinter's best race.

Northover shared a touching revelation about the divine intervention in Aleen and Joseph's love story. She revealed that Joseph was the answer to the prayers of Aleen's late Auntie Carmen (Clarke), who had fervently prayed for Aleen to find a God-fearing, intelligent, caring, tall, dark chocolate, strong protective man. Joseph, according to Northover, embodied all these qualities.

That prayer was answered when the two met in September 2022. He proposed on New Year’s Eve.

Close friends and colleagues in attendance also shared their joy and heartfelt messages. Andrea Bliss, a fellow athlete, expressed, "Aleen has been a big sister to me and so many other athletes since junior days. To see her so happy makes me happy."

Aleen's mother, Maud Bailey, welcomed Joseph into the family with pride. "I'm overwhelmed and proud of Aleen. I welcome Joseph as my son. May the Lord bless and keep them," she said.

Fellow Olympian and friend Yohan Blake thanked Aleen for her sustained support through good times and bad, saying, "It was an honour to celebrate you. Congratulations and I hope you have a fairytale life."

Bridesmaid, Elva Goulbourne, also an Olympian, conveyed her love and pride for Aleen, thanking her for always having her back through thick and thin. “To my sister. I have loved you from high school and I still love you now,” said the long jumper, who attended Dinthill Technical while Aleen was at Vere Technical.

“I am very proud of you. To the woman you have become and always having my back through thick and thin. Thank you for letting me a part of your celebration. May God continue to bless both of you richly.”

In his message to Aleen, Joseph expressed his gratitude, saying, "I am so humbly grateful that she is part of my forever. It’s a blessing to take her hand in marriage here in her home country of Jamaica in front of all of our family and friends. I love you with all my heart."

As the day concluded, the newlyweds, Aleen and Taylor, embarked on their journey together, symbolizing a union grounded in love, faith, and the shared experiences of two exceptional athletes who found their perfect match on and off the field.

Longtime friend Freddie James summed it all up when he remarked, “I’ve known Aleen since she was a child and this is the happiest I’ve ever seen her.”




Unquestionable and Orne recently gave Al Shaqab Racing a weekend to remember with big-race glory on both sides of the Atlantic and are now fuelling plenty of dreams ahead of next season.

Trained by Aidan O’Brien, Unquestionable was getting on the scoresheet for the first time at the highest level as he carried the Al Shaqab colours to a maiden Breeders’ Cup victory in the Juvenile Turf.

The dust had barely begun to settle on his Santa Anita triumph when the John and Thady Gosden-trained Orne provided the owners with further reason to cheer, relishing the testing ground at Newmarket in the rearranged Horris Hill to give Al Shaqab a belated first stakes-level victory in Britain for 2023.

Al Shaqab’s Alison Begley said: “To have a Breeders’ Cup winner was absolutely fantastic and the first for Al Shaqab, so it was amazing, and then to follow up with Orne just over 12 hours later made it just a brilliant weekend for the whole team.

“They are both two-year-olds, so it gives us plenty to look forward to next year and it makes the winter a lot shorter when you have nice ones to look forward to.

“It was an amazing weekend and fantastic for Sheikh Joaan to have his first Breeders’ Cup winner.”

It is now feasible that both horses will have Classic aspirations in the early part of the 2024 season, with Unquestionable potentially returning to ParisLongchamp for the French 2,000 Guineas, where he could have the opportunity to go one better than his gallant second at the track in the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere.

“I think with Unquestionable, Aidan has mentioned the French Guineas because he ran so well at Longchamp in the Lagardere,” added Begley.

“There’s a long way to go but he thinks that will probably be the race for him and that was the first one that was mentioned.

“He said we’ll train him for the Classics and the French Guineas will probably be the race for him.”

Meanwhile, having put himself firmly in the Guineas picture with victory over seven furlongs on the Rowley Mile, Orne could put his Classic credentials to the test in one of the many early-season trials.

Begley said: “We’ll have to sit down with John and discuss where we go with Orne. It may be a Guineas trial but we haven’t thought that far ahead with him yet.

“He’s a lovely horse and still very babyish. Rab (Havlin) rides him all the time at home and said he still doesn’t really realise he is a racehorse and is learning all the time. He can only go forward from where he is.”

Less than 12 hours after exiting the World Cup, England named new-look squads for next month’s white-ball tour of the West Indies with an emphasis on rest, rotation and renewal.

The limited-overs trip to the Caribbean, coming straight off the back of a gruelling six-week trawl of India, had already been highlighted as a time to look at fresh faces but the ODI party contains only six survivors from the unimpressive title defence.

Captain Jos Buttler remains in charge and is joined by Gus Atkinson, Harry Brook, Brydon Carse, Sam Curran and Liam Livingstone.

Jonny Bairstow, Joe Root and Mark Wood have been rested ahead of January’s Test series in India and Test captain Ben Stokes is heading straight for an operation on his long-term knee injury.

But the omissions of Dawid Malan, Moeen Ali and Chris Woakes from the 50-over squad may prove to be more final.

Moeen and Woakes, together with Adil Rashid, are retained for the T20 leg, suggesting they still have a chance of next summer’s short-form World Cup, but Malan has been cut from both formats.

Despite being England’s top run-scorer over the last few weeks, finishing exactly 100 clear of his nearest challenger, at 36 he seems to have run out of road.

Three uncapped players make the cut in ODI side with Test vice-captain Ollie Pope joining seamers John Turner and Josh Tongue. The pace pair also feature in the 20-over squad.

Phil Salt, Will Jacks and Rehan Ahmed will also make the full trip, indicating they are all seen as important parts of England’s white-ball rebuild.

While Ahmed was handed a two-year central contract last month, it is notable that neither Jacks nor Salt were among the 29 names who did receive deals.

Malan, who appears to have played his final international, was signed up for a year.

ODI squad: J Buttler (c), R Ahmed, G Atkinson, H Brook, B Carse, Z Crawley, S Curran, B Duckett, T Hartley, W Jacks, L Livingstone, O Pope, P Salt, J Tongue, J Turner

T20I squad: J Buttler (c), R Ahmed, M Ali, G Atkinson, H Brook, S Curran, B Duckett, W Jacks, L Livingstone, T Mills, A Rashid, P Salt, J Tongue, R Topley, J Turner, C Woakes.

The Trinidad & Tobago Red Force are champions of the CG United Super50 Cup for the 14th time after a dominant seven-wicket win over the Leeward Islands Hurricanes in the final at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy on Saturday.

The Leewards posted a subpar 135 all out from 41.5 overs after winning the toss and choosing to bat. Important to note, the match was eventually reduced to 43 overs per side after a pair of rain delays during the Hurricanes innings.

The Leewards, who have depended heavily on the opening partnership of Kieran Powell and Justin Greaves, lost them both in quick time due to a poor shot and bad luck.

Powell was bowled all ends up by Shannon Gabriel for just eight in the fourth over before, just two overs later, Greaves, who entered this final on the back of four 50-plus scores in a row, was forced to retire hurt on 11 after suffering a hamstring injury while running a single.

This brought Keacy Carty and Jahmar Hamilton together in the middle and the pair brought the score to 40 in the 13th over before Carty played an ill-advised slash at a ball outside the off stump which produced an edge that wicket-keeper Joshua Da Silva gladly snatched up off the bowling of Terrance Hinds for 12.

Things could have gotten even worse for the Leewards as Hamilton was dropped on two occasions in quick succession, first by Nicholas Pooran off the bowling of Sunil Narine in the 14th over then in the very next over by Akeal Hosein off the bowling of Terrance Hinds.

The Red Force didn’t have to wait too long for their next wicket, however, as in that same 14th over, Narine had Terrence Warde trapped in front for a duck.

It was soon 43-4 as Narine dismissed Rakheem Cornwall in a similar fashion. Hamilton and Kofi James then put together a 27-run fifth wicket partnership before James became Khary Pierre’s first victim for seven.

Hayden Walsh Jr was next to go for 20 to leave the Hurricanes 116-6 in the 36th over. Captain Alzarri Joseph then came and went for 2 one over later to leave the score at 121-7.

Greaves then attempted to continue his innings and added just one run to his total before being the eighth wicket to fall, going caught off the bowling of Akeal Hosein for 12.

Hamilton was the ninth wicket to fall for a well-made top score of 62 from 102 balls, his fourth fifty of the tournament. His knock included just three fours and a six.

Daniel Doram was last to go for 5.

Narine, playing his last ever List A game, took 3-17 from nine overs while Terrance Hinds continued his excellent form this season with 3-16 from seven overs.

Narine ended the season as the tournament’s joint-leading wicket taker with 20. He also took home the Gus Logie Award as the tournament's best fielder with nine catches.

The Red Force then started their chase with a revised target of 138 from 43 overs.

Kjorn Ottley and Joshua Da Silva put on 45 for the first wicket before Da Silva fell in the ninth over for a run-a-ball 28.

Ottley was then joined by skipper Darren Bravo and the pair put on a further 39 before Ottley was dismissed for 23 in the 17th over.

Bravo, who finished the tournament as the highest run-scorer with 416 runs at an average of 83, was next to go for a top score of 40.

Nicholas Pooran and Jason Mohammed then guided the Red Force to 141-3 after 23.4 overs.

Pooran finished 39* off just 20 balls and brought up the victory with three consecutive sixes off the bowling of Alzarri Joseph.

Hayden Walsh Jr picked up 2-19 from four overs for the Hurricanes. He ended the season with 20 wickets, tied with Sunil Narine as the highest wicket taker for the tournament. He was also name as the tournament's best all rounder.

Shai Hope took home the award for best wicket-keeper.

Final Scores: Leeward Islands Hurricanes 135 off 41.5 overs (Jahmar Hamilton 62, Terrance Hinds 3-16, Sunil Narine 3-17) Trinidad & Tobago Red Force 141-3 off 23.4 overs (Darren Bravo 40, Nicholas Pooran 39*, Joshua Da Silva 28, Hayden Walsh Jr 2-19)

A new champion will be crowned in this year’s ISSA/Digicel Manning Cup, as St George’s College denied defending champions Jamaica College a spot in the semi-final for the first time since 2012, after they played out a 1-1 stalemate in their decisive Group two quarterfinal encounter at Ashenheim Stadium on Saturday.

St George’s College entered the contest needing only a point and did enough to ensure they got in when Brian Burkett converted a 45+3-minute penalty. Though Jamaica College pulled on back through substitute Jayd Johnson (59th), stout defending, coupled with some excellent glove work by D’Jone Davis, in goal for St George’s College, broke the hearts of their Old Hope Road-based counterparts.  

With the point, St George’s College finished second on five points, two behind group winners Hydel High, who were 3-1 winners over Tivoli High in their fixture at the Spanish Town Prison Oval.

Both St George’s College and Hydel will next face Mona High and Kingston College respectively in the semi-final, with all four teams also set to represent the urban area in the all-island Champions Cup knockout tournament.

Meanwhile, Jamaica College, who ended third on three points, it is on to the consolation Walker Cup knockout tournament, along with the pointless Tivoli, who are defending champions.

Marcel Gayle, assistant coach of many-time champions St George’s College was delighted by the outcome, which he credited to the work done by goalkeeper Davis, in particular.

“I must say credit to Jamaica College, they are a very quality team, fought hard, and it is something that we were prepared for. It was a case of defence versus attack and we defended stoutly, credit must be given to D’Jone in goal, he was fantastic and I think he made the difference for us today,” Gayle said in a post-game interview.

With 53 titles between them, the clash between Jamaica College and Jamaica College was always expected to be a humdinger affair and it didn’t disappoint.

The games started at a good tempo with both teams going at each other in end-to-end action. Jamaica College gradually gained the ascendancy, as they showed more enterprise in attack which resulted in numerous squandered chances.

They should have opened the scoring in the 11th minute when Jabarie Howell was left unmarked deep inside the 18-yard box, but his shot kept out by Davis.

A minute later Jamoy Dennis produced a tidy run down the right channel and played a pass inside to Amarlie King, who couldn’t sort his feet out in time to get a shot on target.

Jamaica College again went close in the 24th when Malachi Sterling combined with King on a counterattack, but the latter again muffed his effort.

The “Dark Blues” of Old Hope Road, thought they had the go-ahead goal on the half-hour mark, but the goal was flagged offside.

As St George’s College struggled to break free, Jamaica College was again denied by Davis, who left his line well to block Tahir Lawrence’s stinging shot from point blank range, in the 35th minute.

Just when it seemed like the teams would go into the break goalless, the “Light Blues” of North Street found the lead against the run of play when Burkett converted from the penalty spot, after Zabir Taylor was felled inside the area by Javaun Mills.

Having paid for their profligacy, Jamaica College now requiring two goals to progress, again came out pressing on the resumption and pulled level 14 minutes in. This, as Johnson got in behind defenders and applied a tidy finish beyond Davis from an angle.

The Davion Ferguson-coached Jamaica College continued to create chances in their push for the winner. The best of those came in the latter stages when Johnson’s freekick was blocked by Davis and three players converged on the rebound but none could convert in time added.

That basically summed up Jamaica College’s Day, and Ferguson was left bitterly disappointed.

“We came out here today with a plan, we created enough chances to win the game and we just didn’t put them away. We’ve had some issues up to and it showed here today. St George’s came here with a resilient spirit, and they deserve to go through, so congratulations to them,” he said.

Saturday’s results

St George’s College 1, Jamaica College 1

Hydel High 3, Tivoli High 1

Semi-Final Matchups

Mona High vs St George's College

Hydel High vs Kingston College

Defending champions Clarendon College and Glenmuir High are the first two teams to book their spots in the semi-finals of the 2023 ISSA/Wata DaCosta Cup after quarterfinal round Group A wins over Manchester High and Christiana High, respectively, on Saturday.

Clarendon College moved to six points from as many games with a dominant 4-0 win over Manchester at Manchester High while Glenmuir are also perfect after two games after a 1-0 win over Christiana at Glenmuir.

The pair will meet on Tuesday at Manchester to determine the group winners. Manchester and Christiana will clash at Brooks Park in the other game.

In Group B, Dinthill Technical got their second win in as many games with a 3-0 win over Garvey Maceo at Ewarton Sports Complex.

In the day’s other game, B.B. Coke got on the board in the quarterfinal round with a 2-1 win over Cornwall College at Jarrett Park.

Dinthill Technical currently leads the group with six points from their two games with a goal difference of five while Garvey Maceo, despite their loss on Saturday, remains in second with three points and a goal difference of one.

B.B. Coke are third, also with three points and a goal difference of negative three, while Cornwall College are yet to get off the mark in fourth and have the same goal difference as B.B. Coke.

Tuesday’s final day of the quarterfinal round will see Dinthill face B.B. Coke at STETHS and Cornwall College battle Garvey Maceo at Glenmuir High.

After a fairly decent showing on day one action, Jamaica’s Sunshine Girls will be hoping to return to winning ways on the second and decisive day of the Fast5 Netball World Series, as they push for a medal in Christchurch, New Zealand on Saturday.

The Jamaicans, who defeated Australia 38-36 and Malawi 41-37 courtesy of some classy long-range shooting from goal-attack Gezelle Allison, failed to go unbeaten on the day, after being hammered by South Africa in a 17-33 loss.

Still, they remain on course for a spot in the medal round with only New Zealand, Australia and England –all of whom also had two wins and a loss –ahead of them on goal difference.

With that in mind, Shawn Murdock, is cautiously optimistic that the Sunshine Girls will achieve the feat, though they are scheduled to face two tough opponents in New Zealand and England.

“As always when we face England and New Zealand it’s never an easy encounter.  The English showed some fight yesterday and they are perhaps our biggest rivals internationally over the years; New Zealand are playing at home and are still smarting from their World Cup performance.

“So I expect the home crowd and their hurt from their World Cup campaign to be major factors for them.  So we just have to control the controllable from our end and ensure we are scoring goals consistently and our defenders are winning balls to provide more opportunities for us,” Murdock told SportsMax.TV.

“As you know, five doesn’t go in three, so it’s game on for a place in the medal matches. Still a major mountain to climb as five of the six teams are all in a position to still make the gold medal match. Only two can make it though, and so I expect all the teams to come battling hard today,” he added.

Jamaica’s day one performance already represents a significant step up from last year’s outing when they failed to win a single game. For that, Murdock, who is co-coaching with Nicole Aikin-Pinnock, expressed pleasure with the team’s display on Friday’s opening day.

“We are pleased with the performance of the ladies. We are from a country that loves winning so we were disappointed we never got three victories yesterday because that would have placed us in prime position heading into the two other matches today. We, however, are proud of how the ladies have performed so far,” he said.

Much like she did against the Australian Diamonds, Allison again scored a last-ditched six-pointer, to lift the Jamaicans over Malawi, in a contest where their East African counterparts lead for most of the way.

Sloppy ball handling by the Jamaicans, who led the first quarter 12-6, allowed Malawi to assert their authority from the second stanza onward.

It wasn’t until the backend of the third quarter that they started a rally and with a mere two points separating the teams in the closing stages of the fourth, Allison came up trumps with another big six-pointer in the powerplay seconds to end with 24 goals.

Captain and veteran goal-shooter Romelda Aiken-George scored 13 goals from 12 attempts, while Amanda Pinkney and Rhea Dixon both scored two goals.

However, they failed to repeat the heroics of their two earlier wins, as their shooting returns ran cold against a plucky South African team that burst their bubble.

Despite that, Murdock and his Sunshine Girls know a win over England and, or New Zealand would all put them in the final two.

“The mood heading into day two action is very positive. Of course there was a level of sadness from the ladies not being able to secure all three wins last evening, but we’ve placed that loss and yesterday behind us. 

“It’s a new day, all teams start again, so we are focusing on trying to replicate or do better than how we performed in our first match yesterday. The game is about scoring goals, and so we’ve done what we can to ensure our shooters and the overall team got enough recovery to face the day ahead,” the coach shared.

Action is scheduled for 5:45pm Jamaica time.

Live coverage will be on SportsMax and SportsMax 2

Gesskille finally got his moment in the spotlight over Aintree’s Grand National fences with a brilliant performance in the BoyleSports Grand Sefton Handicap Chase.

Trained by Oliver Greenall and Josh Guerriero, he was beaten a nose by Al Dancer in this race 12 months ago before again having to settle for second in the Becher Chase a month later.

However, there was nothing left to chance this time as Henry Brooke bounced out the seven-year-old and never missed a beat as he once again showed his love for the unique test the famous spruce presents.

At the elbow Gesskille held a narrow advantage over last year’s third Percussion and Laura Morgan’s charge was unable to reel in the 100-30 favourite, who kept on stoutly for a two-length victory.

Greenall said: “Courses like here and Auteuil seem to suit him – just the once round; he seems to get a bit sick of a tighter track and not enjoy it so much.

“He was quite sour when we first got him – he’s by Network and they can be a bit tricky, and they start racing quite young in France, and he likes something to brighten him up, like these fences.

“After finishing agonisingly close last year, winning this is more like a relief, really. The blinkers have definitely improved him. He needs to go up a bit more in the handicap to get into the Grand National, but he could be a contender.”

Another who thrives on Merseyside is Dan Skelton’s West Balboa (8-11 favourite), who claimed a competitive handicap at Aintree during the Grand National Festival and returned to win the BoyleSports Acca Boost On Horse Racing Hurdle.

It was a third-straight success for the improving seven-year-old, who also won the Lanzarote Hurdle last season, and her handler has big ambitions for later in the campaign.

Skelton said: “We needed to see she had stepped forward and to beat a horse like him (Brewin’upastorm) in what was effectively a graded race makes me very happy.

“This time of year horses are going to need a run and Harry said she took a blow. She had been working nicely at home, although as a stayer they are never going to burn the gallop up. Last year she improved a great deal from her first run and I hope she can from this.

“I’m not sure where we’ll go next. She’ll get an entry in the Long Walk (at Ascot) and see what the opposition looks like and also the Relkeel on New Year’s Day (at Cheltenham).

“We’d like to get her to Cheltenham this year and I’m confident she’ll be a more comfortable horse at three miles in the spring.”

Gentleman At Arms (9-1) was runner-up here in the Grade One Sefton Novices’ Hurdle in 2022 and made a welcome return to the winner’s enclosure in the Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle.

The victory secures Stuart Edmunds’ charge a potential spot in the series final at Cheltenham in March, but the handler is unsure if he will make the final line-up for that contest.

“He was second here in the Sefton Novices’ Hurdle and he probably overachieved there,” said Edmunds.

“He was a fresh horse against tired horses from Cheltenham and it’s taken a while for him to get back to where he can be competitive again. I ran him over fences and probably scared him a bit – he’s not overly big and it might have just frightened him a little bit.

“I doubt he’d get into the Pertemps Final at Cheltenham, but there’ll be some nice handicaps for him. He can go on better ground than this as well. He’s a very versatile horse. He’s done us well.”

Lucinda Russell’s Giovinco (5-6 favourite) gave away a golden opportunity at Carlisle last time when making a mishap at the third last, but made amends by taking the BoyleSports Best Odds Guaranteed Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase.

Assistant trainer Michael Scudamore said: “Back on track. What happened the other day was frustrating, rather than anything else.

“He showed the engine was still there today, and with that weight (11st 10lb) and those conditions, it looked a good performance. He’s certainly put any questions in our heads to bed.

“He’s a beautiful-looking horse, very athletic, owned by a great bunch of people and has got plenty of nice targets to look forward to off the back of that. He obviously stays very well.”

There was a double on the card for Russell when Rocheval scored at 15-2 in the concluding BoyleSports Extra Place Races “Junior” National Hunt Flat Race.

Gordon Elliott enjoyed another good day at the office as the trainer claimed the first five races at Down Royal.

Elliott arrived on a high having sent out six winners at the track on Friday and he picked up where he left off in the opening Lisburn And Castlereagh City Council 3-Y-O Hurdle, with Jack Kennedy and 1-4 favourite Wodhooh hitting the target.

The filly is a former Flat performer and has won twice over hurdles since joining Elliott from Sir Michael Stoute, with this success likely to lead to a step up in grade.

Elliott said: “She’s tough and he (Kennedy) said it probably would have suited more if they had gone faster. He said he was kind of on his own in front and she was looking around her.

“She’s tough, she has won three now and she hasn’t done anything wrong.

“She will probably go to Newbury now for the Listed hurdle on December 2.”

Next was the turn of Down Memory Lane, a JP McManus-owned five-year-old who had a point-to-point and a bumper victory under his belt as he came into his hurdles debut the 2-7 favourite.

Under Derek O’Connor, the gelding won by three lengths despite a less than fluent jump at the last in the Tayto Group Maiden Hurdle.

“Derek was very happy but it wasn’t a wonderful race on paper, so you would be disappointed if he didn’t do that. I liked what I saw there,” Elliott said.

“We’ll get him home and see how he is and make a plan, I think we’ll stick to two miles at the moment.

“He has loads of boot and Derek seemed to be fairly happy, and he doesn’t say much, so he looks a good one.”

The Listed Haslem Hotel Handicap Hurdle was then won by Magic Tricks and Carl Millar, a two-length triumph at odds of 5-1.

“Carl gave him a nice ride, he’s got a chance this young lad. He’s with us a couple of years and he has waited his turn and is working hard,” Elliott said.

“He was riding ponies around Dublin two years ago and has come on a long way. He’s going to get plenty of chances. In fairness, he did exactly what we told him to do.

“He (Magic Tricks) has had a few problems, but it is great to do that. Cheekpieces might have helped him today.

“If he didn’t win today, I was going to go chasing with him, but I don’t know now – we’ll see.”

Gerri Colombe obliged in the feature Ladbrokes Champion Chase, after which Elliott scored for a final time on the card as Kennedy and Ash Tree Meadow won a two-runner renewal of the Grade Two racingtv.com/freetrial Chase as the 8-15 favourite.

“We didn’t put him in the John Durkan. We will probably give him a break now as he has been in all summer and we will train him back for some of the Grand Nationals next year,” Elliott said.

“I could run him in the Grand National (at Aintree) in the spring. We were going to go to the American Grand National with him, but he is a French-bred and couldn’t go with his bloods.”

Elliott also sent out two winners at Gowran, taking his tally over the two days to 13.

He added: “A great day but, as I said before, I am very lucky with the horses I have and all the staff. I’m delighted for all the owners too.”

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