Australian raiders Coolangatta and Cannonball warmed up for Tuesday’s King’s Stand Stakes with separate workouts on Ascot’s straight track on Wednesday morning.

Coolangatta will be looking to enhance the formidable record of Lightning Stakes winners at Royal Ascot, with Choisir, Takeover Target, Miss Andretti, Scenic Blast, Black Caviar and Nature Strip all winning the five-furlong highlight prior to the the summer showpiece meeting.

With co-trainer Ciaron Maher in attendance, Coolangatta and big-race jockey James McDonald worked over just shy of five furlongs and the duo were comfortably clear of lead horse So Chic at the finish.

Maher said: “The idea was to bring Coolangatta here and have a look at the whole surrounds. We did a bit of paddock schooling and then had a nice look at the track.

“She stretched nicely to the line and James said she took quite a while to pull up. He was beaming about the work and it was everything I wanted to see.

“She has really thrived since being here – she is in the very quiet surrounds of Lambourn – and she was in need of a nice hit out to keep a lid on her.”

Coolangatta’s compatriot Cannonball, who represents the training partnership of Peter and Paul Snowden, was last seen finishing third in the Group One Galaxy Handicap at Rosehill in March.

The Capitalist colt also enjoyed an Ascot blowout over just short of five furlongs, after which Peter Snowden expressed his satisfaction.

“Cannonball did a routine piece of work. He is quite a gross colt and he needed that,” he said.

“He arrived here on Friday and had a few easy days, which he had taken the benefit of. The gallop today will bring him back up to the mark somewhat. He will do a bit more on Saturday morning and then he will be ready to go.

“My expectations are always exceeded. He is an inexperienced horse but, in his two starts for me, he has shown that he is well above average.

“He won the Maurice McCarten in a very fast time and backed up a week later in a Group One, when he probably could have won. He is climbing up the ladder pretty quickly.”

For some, owning a football club is a statement that you are at a certain level as a businessman. But for Mount Pleasant Football Academy’s owner Peter Gould, it is not just about status.

In fact, Gould would readily tell you that he cares little what others think about his financial status and more about fulfilling his heart’s desire –to change the landscape and, by extension, help shape the legacy of Jamaica’s football through his academy.

“We had a couple of setbacks, you know the Covid-19 pandemic was a big setback obviously, but we are gaining back our strength and momentum and I think we should be in a better place by September. So, we are pretty excited, we have put a lot of work into the academy and the platform is well and truly set to accomplish all that we want to,” Gould declared.

“It will take a few years to build a complete institution, but we have people willing to come along and help us to move to another level, so we firmly believe we will be able to get there and put Jamaica’s football on the map the real way,” he added.

The Englishman established the academy in 2016 after he travelled to Jamaica and fell in love with the Mount Pleasant community in St Ann. Two years later, Gould opened a state-of-the-art football facility, which he said was designed to properly develop and nurture the talent of some of country’s young football prospects.

Incidentally, 2018 was also the same year that Mount Pleasant’s senior team, formerly known as “Stush in the Bush”, earned promotion to the Jamaica Premier League (JPL), and five years later, they are crowned kings of top-flight football.

The team, boasting one of its academy products, Devonte Campbell, defeated Cavalier 2-1 in Sunday’s final at Sabina Park, courtesy of a Sue-Lae McCalla brace. Collin Anderson got Cavalier’s goal.

“This is our first Premier League success, so it feels good, this was one of our objectives and it is great that we achieved it. I am happy, the fans are happy, and I also believe the community is widening in terms of people supporting our movement. So, obviously we are doing something right and I firmly believe that they only way to build is from the community,” Gould noted, as they continue to celebrate the parish’s first national title.

While it is unlikely that the entire Mount Pleasant setup, including the academy is yielding much return on investment for Gould and his wife Amanda, he said it is imperative that they maintain their standards to continue impacting the lives of the young charges, in particular.

Through the innovative project at the academy, the young men benefit from a high school education, as directed by the Ministry of Education, along with a structured football training programme.

The Mount Pleasant Football Academy has already sent Under-13 and Under-15 teams overseas to compete, with the latter currently representing St Ann in a Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) youth tournament.

“Listen the investment, I don’t even count it, the investment is about changing people’s lives, it is about the kids and exposing them. The ambition is to develop talent for the future, but more than that, they are getting an education and that I believe is the way of getting quality football…educating your players and then you get that discipline on and off the field," Gould opined.

He continued: “This is what we have coming through the vine and as we keep expanding you will have more kids coming to Jamaica to do their English and Mathematics and to play football. Many parents are making plans for their kids in the coming period, so they can go into officiating or coaching and analytics, so it is looking quite lovely.

“So, we are absolutely in it for the long haul, we are still building and putting in plans as we go along, it is just to get it done faster but it has been non-stop movements.”

Though admitting that there were times when he was infuriated by the Premier League team’s substandard performances, Gould reiterated that his approach is one of heart over head as he is well aware that in football, success comes at a high price. As such, he pointed out that the thought of backing out never once surfaced.

“I can’t say I was never disappointed especially when we were losing against 10 men, I was like what the hell, but still I was planning for the next match. So, we had some bad days on the road but no, never felt like backing out. We are here for the cause, we started something, and we intend to see it through. We know it won’t all happen one time, but we are managing to stay on the horse and get down the course,” the benefactor shared.

“We will announce some plans in a few weeks that I think really will engage the audience and will hopefully help the transformation of football and the youths. So, we have some experienced people coming on board because obviously it is not a two-person job me and my wife, we have other people wanting to join the train,” Gould disclosed.

Like every sporting team, Mount Pleasant also have their fair share of behind-the-scenes flaws, but Gould praised the efforts of Head coach Theodore “Tappa” Whitmore and his assistant Davion Ferguson, as well as manager Paul Christie in ensuring that whatever issues arise, are dealt with in a professional manner.

“To be quite honest I don’t really get involved in the day-to-day happenings. We have a management in place and Paul Christie is that lieutenant, he manages to take that control of leading with Tappa and Fergie. We have a meeting once a week when I’m in the country, but he [Christie] has put in tremendous work since he joined, Tappa has been so easy to work with, Fergie as well, so it has been a good team effort.

“They have a good team there, doctors and physios, again I don’t want to get involved in the players’ day-to-day, so yes we have issues, but we have people there that manage it as best as we can,” Gould explained.

Finally, the businessman said they will continue to aim high with Mount Pleasant Football Academy which he believes boasts a bright future.

“The plan is just to keep engaging the kids in Jamaica, we will be taking more kids on, and we will be doing a few projects in the summer,” he said.

“The future is looking bright, and we want to make Mount Pleasant a household name in Jamaica and so we will carry on with pride. I am not saying we will win the title every year, but we want to continue raising the bar,” Gould ended.

Yannic Cariah claimed four wickets while captain, Shai Hope, and Romario Shepherd both hit fifties as the West Indies defeated Scotland by 91 runs on Tuesday in their first warm-up game before the ICC World Cup Qualifiers in Zimbabwe.

The Scots won the toss and put the West Indians in to bat at the Harare Sports Club.

Hope top scored with a 65-ball 57 while Shepherd provided some valuable lower-order hitting with a brisk 34-ball 53 as the Windies posted 264 in 48.4 overs.

Hope’s knock contained six fours while Shepherd hit five fours and three sixes.

Chris Sole took 4-50 from his 10 overs while Jack Jarvis and Chris Greaves each claimed three wickets for Scotland.

The West Indies then successfully defended the total, needing only 33.5 overs to bowl the Scots out for 173.

Cariah produced an excellent spell of bowling to claim 4-46 in nine overs while Roston Chase took 3-43 from 5.5 overs.

Brandon McMullen and Matthew Cross were the chief scorers for Scotland with 38 and 35, respectively.

The West Indies next warm-up match will take place at the same venue on Thursday against the UAE.

 

The Republic Bank Caribbean Premier League (CPL) and the Saint Lucia Kings have partnered with the Saint Lucian Ministry of Youth Development and Sports to create a new Under 19s schools T20 cricket tournament that will take place from Monday 26 June to Friday 7 July 2023. 

The Under-19s Schools T20 X-plosion will see the best cricketing talent from across Saint Lucia compete in T20 matches at the Gros Islet and La Ressource playing fields. The tournament will provide an invaluable opportunity for the young people of Saint Lucia to play competitive cricket in a friendly yet professional environment. 

There will be eight teams, each one representing one of the educational districts across the country. The teams will be picked via draft from a list of players provided by PE teachers and coaches with each squad having 15 players. 

The eight teams will be split into two groups of four with the top two teams from each group reaching the knockout stages.  

The Honorable Kenson Casimir, Minister for Youth Development and Sports, said: “I am very happy as the Minister for Youth Development and Sports for Saint Lucia that CPL has seen it fit to have a T20 cricket competition amongst our schools in Saint Lucia. I am very elated that Saint Lucia will be the first Caribbean island to host this competition. I think it will auger well for the development of the sport. The Ministry continues to provide support through coaching and equipment to our schools. So, I am looking forward to a very exciting tournament right here in Saint Lucia.”  

Pete Russell, CEO of the Caribbean Premier League, said: “We are delighted to partner with the Saint Lucia Kings and the Ministry of Youth Development and Sports to put on this fantastic tournament. There is so much cricketing talent across the Caribbean and it is vital that all stakeholders play their part in developing these young players and in doing so create a lifelong love of our wonderful sport. We wish all the young cricketers taking part all the best.” 

Satish Menon, CEO of the Saint Lucia Kings, said: “It's our privilege to partner with the CPL and the Ministry of Youth Development and Sports for this tournament. We at the Saint Lucia Kings are excited to provide a platform for the incredible cricket talent here. Hopefully, this will provide a springboard for the young cricketers to take it to the next level.”

 

John Gosden is confident Emily Upjohn’s turn of foot can prove a “potent weapon” when she drops back in distance for the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown next month.

Unfortunate to be beaten a head in the Oaks at Epsom last season, the daughter of Sea The Stars made a triumphant return to the Surrey Downs with a brilliant victory in the Coronation Cup.

That win doubled the four-year-old’s Group One tally, having rounded off 2022 with victory on Champions Day at Ascot, and she is now being readied to take on the colts again at Sandown on July 8.

Emily Upjohn is 9-4 with the sponsors for the Eclipse, a race Gosden has previously won with Nathaniel (2012), Golden Horn (2015), Roaring Lion (2018) and Enable (2019).

“The Eclipse is the plan. That is what we said right after the Coronation Cup, that we would go for the Eclipse. We are very happy with her,” said the Clarehaven handler.

“She took the Coronation Cup in her stride and we will now head to the Eclipse. For a big girl she has a tremendous turn of foot, which is a potent weapon.

“She had quite a time off from October before her run at Epsom and she didn’t run a lot last year after it all went a bit strange in the King George, but she seems in great order now.

“Coming back in trip will be alright for her and 10 furlongs at Sandown should suit her fine. We will then hopefully look towards going back over a mile and a half again.”

Gosden said he was surprised by the manner of her performance at Epsom, adding: “She had been working well before the Coronation Cup, but we don’t try to do what she did on the track at home.

“You can travel well in your work on the bridle at home, but I didn’t let her come off the bridle.

“I knew those that rode her felt there was plenty there, but you don’t go asking for it at home and to that extent we were very pleased with the way she quickened at Epsom.

“It looks like it will be a good Eclipse with a good combination of horses coming, but we are very happy with her.”

William Buick has been booked to ride a pair of George Boughey’s top two-year-olds at Royal Ascot next week.

The Newmarket handler is “delighted” the champion jockey will partner Asadna in the Coventry Stakes and Soprano in the Albany Stakes, both of whom are at the forefront of the market for the respective races.

Both worked nicely on the watered Rowley Mile gallop on Tuesday, as the Classic-winning trainer put the finishing touches to his preparations for the five-day meeting, where he is expected to have approximately 20 runners.

“The two-year-olds will probably be leading the charge,” said Boughey. “They are the shortest prices, so I’m not telling anyone anything new.”

Asadna is vying for favouritism with River Tiber for Tuesday’s Coventry Stakes on the back of a scintillating 12-length debut success at Ripon under Buick.

He worked well in a recent racecourse gallop and appears to have thrived since.

“Asadna was very good at Chelmsford in a piece of work the other day. Oisin Murphy rode him there and William rode him this morning and was very happy,” said Boughey.

“He looked very good this morning. He has a super attitude. I think we will watch him walk round the paddock ahead of the Coventry like he is here in the paddock. He would go there with a good chance.”

He went on: “He has just got an amazing temperament. He doesn’t sweat, he doesn’t do anything wrong. He’s a very sound horse. He just loves his work. He is not ‘showy’ in the morning, but when he went to Chelmsford the other day, he worked like a good horse.”

Buick added: “He did it nicely. It was nice ground on the watered gallop and I was very happy with him.

“He did everything I asked of him and his prep for Ascot has gone very well. Today was a good bit of work for him, but he seemed pretty smooth and he was his usual self. He was very impressive when he won and he has very good credentials. I’m looking forward to him.”

Highclere-owned filly Soprano landed a hot five-furlong maiden at Newmarket and had that form franked when runner-up Midnight Affair took the Hilary Needler at Beverley on Saturday.

Partnered by Connor Planas, she worked upsides Asadna and looked on good terms with herself ahead of Friday week’s Albany bid, for which she is currently a general 4-1 second-favourite behind Jabaara.

“They worked well. It was good work together,” said Boughey.

“Soprano was very good at Newmarket. She goes there with a good chance.

“William will ride Asadna as it doesn’t look like Charlie (Appleby) has got anything for the race. William will also ride Soprano in the Albany, which we are delighted about. He has won on both of them.

“William has ridden most of ours for a while now. It is great to have him on the big day, because usually he has to get off, so we are lucky to have him.”

Graceful Thunder, who took a five-furlong Sandown novice on debut, will head to the Queen Mary, following a decent piece of work under Kevin Stott, while Boughey’s juvenile team is completed by Muqtahem, who showed promise on debut before scoring at the second attempt at Pontefract. He breezed nicely under Pat Cosgrave and heads to the Windsor Castle.

“The two-year-olds are still learning,” added Boughey. “We worked six, four of them who will go to Ascot.

“I didn’t find anything out, necessarily. They are just teaching each other as they go along. Asadna, Soprano, Muqtahem, Graceful Thunder, they are all going to their respective races and it was all pretty straightforward work, but they all pleased me.”

The 30-year-old struck twice at the Royal meeting last year, with Missed The Cut taking the Golden Gates Handicap and Inver Park scoring in the Buckingham Palace Stakes.

Boughey admits he faces higher expectations now. “I’d bite your hand off for winner at Royal Ascot,” he added.

“I never thought that I would be a Royal Ascot-winning trainer.

“Since we had two last year, now we have to try to find another one this year – and it is very, very hard.

“We have got a strong team going there, but no one realises quite how hard it is. You need the draw right, you need the ground right. It has been quick ground for the last three weeks and it might go and be soft ground, and all our quick ground horses are kaput and you only have two bullets to fire who want soft ground.

“There is a lot of water to go under the bridge, but I’m very happy with how they are at the moment.

“If one goes in, there will be a big party, anyway.”

Charlie Appleby took some of his stable stars to Newmarket’s Rowley Mile ahead of Royal Ascot next week, with Prince of Wales’s Stakes favourite Adayar the main attraction.

The son of Frankel comfortably beat subsequent Group One winner Anmaat in the Gordon Richards Stakes on his comeback this season and was partnered by William Buick in a gentle piece of work.

Second in the Champion Stakes last season, Appleby hopes the decision to keep the 2021 Derby winner in training at five is rewarded with a Group One win over 10 furlongs.

“It was a nice, pleasing piece of work. He is there now and we didn’t want to be doing anything too strong with him,” said Appleby.

“You could see his enthusiasm in dragging William to his lead horse there and he went through the line well and had his ears pricked. I think it is a great experience for these horses and we are lucky to be able to do it.

“A week out we just want them to come up and enjoy themselves.

“He goes into the Prince of Wales’s as near-favourite or joint-favourite and deservedly so on what we saw at the Guineas meeting. He has come forward for that first run.

“Hopefully we can get our rewards, more so for him, for staying in training.”

He added on the prospect of an unsettled weather forecast: “We all want decent ground, but the one thing he has up his sleeve is that he can handle soft ground. I wouldn’t say he is better on soft ground by any stretch of the imagination, but he handles it.

“Any of these Group One races are hard to win. If you think you are worried about just Luxembourg or Bay Bridge then more fool you. Whoever turns up you respect them all, but I’m just delighted with how our horse is going into the race.”

Appleby looks like fielding a very strong hand in the opening Queen Anne Stakes with Lockinge winner Modern Games and last year’s Irish Guineas hero Native Trail.

“I was pleased with Native Trail’s first run and he has definitely come forward for his run at Newmarket. As you know he has had wind surgery during the winter, but I was very pleased with that this morning,” said Appleby.

“Like any of those older horses they take a bit of work and you could see the improvement from that first run. He moved well today, he has always got that raspiness but that is him. It doesn’t stop him. I was pleased with the way he hit the line there.

“He will head to the Queen Anne now along with Modern Games, who is back at home as he doesn’t need to do any more himself.

“There is no doubt about it that it was all about Native Trail last season, but they don’t know what price they are. To be fair from our own point of view we don’t worry what price they are. They are two lovely horses to have around.

“One has already done it this year with Modern Games winning a Group One and I’m a strong believer Native Trail won’t be too far behind him in getting his Group One this year.”

Breeders’ Cup Turf winner Yibir, another who went through his paces, is stepping up markedly in trip for the Gold Cup. But Appleby believes his running style gives him a chance of staying the trip.

He said: “Yibir is heading towards the Gold Cup. I’m pleased with him and he showed plenty of enthusiasm today. He has definitely come forward for his run at Newbury.

“We know it is an extra mile on top of his normal trip, but on the back of what we have seen with the likes of Broome and those good older mile-and-a-half horses they can do that.

“Talking to the guys that have ridden in the Gold Cup they will often get the two miles, it is when you go beyond two miles that are obviously extreme distances for Flat horses.

“I would be a bit bold to say he is going to get the two and a half miles, but he has got the right run style and if it is quick ground we know he enjoys that sounder surface.

“William will be able to ride him coming into the race and if he comes good when the bell rings then he will be there as a live player that is for sure.

“These older mile-and-a-half horses don’t get any quicker and the division he is in is a tough division now and we thought going this way might just open up some doors for him going the Gold Cup distance. It is an open division, but he is fit and well and I’m pleased with the way he is going into it.”

Inspiral limbered up for her return to action at Royal Ascot next week with a racecourse gallop on Newmarket’s July course on Tuesday morning.

Unbeaten in four juvenile starts, the Cheveley Park Stud-owned filly did not make her three-year-old debut until running out a brilliant winner of the Coronation Stakes 12 months ago and will once again make her reappearance at the Royal meeting, this time in the curtain-raising Queen Anne Stakes.

Following her scintillating success in the Coronation, Inspiral went on to suffer a shock defeat in the Falmouth Stakes before bouncing back to claim a third Group One win in the Prix Jacques le Marois in France.

With last month’s Lockinge at Newbury coming too soon, the Frankel filly has not been seen in finishing down the field in the QEII on Champions Day at Ascot in October, but trainer John Gosden expressed his satisfaction after seeing her pull comfortably clear of her work companion under Frankie Dettori.

“We have been very happy with her recently and she enjoyed her work there. It was nice to get her back on the track,” said the Clarehaven handler.

“A racecourse gallop was part of the plan and it is a big help heading into Royal Ascot without having had a run.

“She has taken her time to come to hand. We had a cold wet spring then we had a lot of cold, dry weather with winds from the north east off the North Sea. A lot of these fillies just haven’t flourished, that is all.”

While Gosden is taking some encouragement from the fact Inspiral proved herself capable of producing a big performance first time out last season, he admits she has more on her plate this time around, with the Breeders’ Cup Mile and Lockinge winner Modern Games among her likely rivals.

He added: “We were hoping to go to the Lockingem but it didn’t quite happen so we will go straight into the Queen Anne. We did it last year going into the Coronation Stakes.

“It does give us confidence going there knowing that we have done this before. It is like all these fillies though – they will tell you when they are ready to run, you don’t tell them.

“Last year we were just taking on three-year-old fillies. This year we are taking on proven older horses like the Breeders’ Cup Mile winner, so it is a much bigger test.

“It would be very exciting if she did win. We just want to get her there in good order and at the moment we would be very pleased with her.”

George Boughey will take his time with Classic-winning filly Cachet, after she proved slow to come to hand this spring.

The daughter of Aclaim gave the Newmarket handler a breakthrough top-level success when landing the Qipco 1000 Guineas last year, but has not been since since finishing fifth to Inspiral in the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot.

The Highclere-owned four-year-old will be a hot commodity as a broodmare, and Boughey says she is not ready for a return and will hold her back.

He said: “Cachet looks better than she has all spring. It wasn’t fair to take her straight to Royal Ascot a year off the track, running six furlongs for the first time.

“And I also didn’t think it was fair to run her in a Group Two over a mile, not having been a convincing stayer on the stiff track.

“I haven’t really got a plan at the moment. She’s training away nicely, but at the end of the day, her main target is a mares’ sale at the end of the year.

“She wasn’t right to go to a sale at the end of last year and we will try to have her as busy as she can be into December, but I’m not going to rush her – she’s a very valuable filly and doesn’t really need to prove anything else.”

Narrowly beaten in the French Guineas after her Newmarket effort, the Saffron House handler has not ruled out the possibility she will run again this year before retiring, with all the top mile races under consideration.

Boughey added: “There are lots of races for her, Forets, Sun Chariots, Breeders’ Cups. She might be a fresh horse against horses who have had a busy year.

“I’m very positive we will see her on the track in the next period of time, but I’m not sure when that will be, though.

“She is not quite there yet, but she has worked quite nicely. She has done a couple of bits, but she’s not sparkled yet and we know what she can do, so we’ve given her plenty of time.

“I don’t know why she hasn’t (sparkled). It has been very warm and now she is starting to thrive, but it has been a pretty hard spring for them and she just hasn’t for some reason.

“Emily Upjohn didn’t thrive through the spring and is now flying and a star again. Inspiral didn’t. There are a few of those good fillies that haven’t and it’s been easier for the colts than the fillies.”

Next week’s Hampton Court Stakes at Royal Ascot is among the options under consideration for Caernarfon after trainer Jack Channon decided against a bid for Classic glory in France on Sunday.

A creditable fourth over a mile in the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket, the daughter of Cityscape stepped up on that performance when third in the Oaks at Epsom over a mile and a half.

Caernarfon had the option of running in this weekend’s French Oaks at Chantilly over a mile and a quarter, but while Channon is keen to try her over the intermediate distance on her next start, he scratched his stable star from the Prix de Diane on Tuesday morning.

Explaining the decision, Channon said: “If I’m brutally honest, I didn’t like the outlook of the French race, simply due to the fact it can be a very messy race.

“From a wide draw you can’t win at Chantilly and even with a plum draw, she’s not the biggest, she’s the type of filly that could lose her position and if you get too far back round there it’s a very hard place to win.

“I just thought there’d be better options and some of the races in the late summer, like the Nassau at Goodwood, are going to be right up her street.”

Caernarfon will now either take on the boys at the Royal meeting or wait for Group One opportunities against her own sex.

“We’ve got a couple options, you’ve got the Hampton Court Stakes over a mile and a quarter if you wanted to go against the colts at Ascot, or you’ve obviously got the Ribblesdale against the fillies over a mile and a half,” Channon continued.

“We could definitely look at a mile and a half again in the future, but I think a mile and a quarter is where I want to go with her next.

“You’ve got the Pretty Polly in Ireland over a mile and a quarter a couple of weeks after that, so we’ve got a few options and we’re not concrete on anything yet.

“She’s in great form and wherever we go she’ll be ready to rock and roll. She’s come out of Epsom probably better than she did Newmarket, so we’re chuffed.”

Great State will aim to extend his winning run this weekend when he heads to Sandown for the Scurry Stakes.

Richard Fahey’s three-year-old has won four of his last five and is unbeaten since dropping back to five furlongs in March – winning at both Southwell and Thirsk, before stepping up to Listed company in the Westow Stakes at York last month.

The son of Havana Grey handled the rise in grade with aplomb, readily winning by two and a half lengths, and he will now bid for more big-race success over the minimum distance at the Esher track on Saturday where once again Oisin Murphy will be in the saddle.

“He’s an improving horse and we’re pleased with him,” said Fahey.

“I thought it was a good performance winning the handicap against older horses at Thirsk, he picked up well and then came on for it and it was no surprise he stepped up at York and did it very well. He’s improving.

“You would imagine the track and everything (at Sandown) will suit him. Oisin Murphy rides him as my Oisin (Orr) will be at York.”

NCAA champions Julien Alfred and Ackera Nugent have been named among four nominees for the Class of 2023 Honda Sport Award for Track & Field, Executive Director of the Collegiate Women Sports Awards (CWSA), Chris Voelz, announced on Monday.

The Honda Sport Award has been presented annually by the CWSA for the past 47 years to the top women athletes in 12 NCAA- sanctioned sports and signifies “the best of the best in collegiate athletics”. 

The winner of the sport award becomes a finalist for the Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year and the prestigious 2023 Honda Cup which will be presented during the live telecast of the Collegiate Women Sports Awards Presented by Honda on CBS Sports Network on June 26 in Los Angeles.

Alfred, a graduate student from Castries, St. Lucia, helped the Texas Longhorns to the 2023 NCAA National Outdoor Track & Field Championship team title and is a member of The Bowerman watch list.

The 2022 Commonwealth Games 100m silver medalist captured top honors in the 100m and 200m and holds the collegiate record in the 100m. She remains undefeated in the 100m on the season.

Nugent is a junior hailing from Kingston, Jamaica, and is also a 2023 Bowerman watch list honoree.

The Arkansas hurdler captured the 2023 NCAA Championship title in the 100m hurdles setting a new all-conditions collegiate record 12.25 in the event.

The record also ranks 10th in the world. She swept the hurdles this year after capturing the 60m crown at the NCAA Indoor Championship.

The other Track & Field nominees are jumper Jasmine Moore from Florida and 400m and 400m hurdles star Britton Wilson of Arkansas.

Thunderbear is “not going to make up the numbers” when he lines up in the Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot.

The Jack Davison-trained three-year-old notched up just his second victory at Nottingham on his penultimate start, but highlighted his potential for competing with regularity at Group level when knocking on the door in the Lacken Stakes at Naas last month.

The son of Kodi Bear was beaten little over a length when fourth to Aidan O’Brien’s The Antarctic on that occasion and he will now step up to seven furlongs for the first time this season when he represents Davison’s burgeoning operation at the Royal meeting.

“He will go for the Jersey and we can’t wait for it really, he’s a really progressive horse,” said the Irish handler.

“He’s more of a six or seven-furlong horse, but a fast one all the same and it’s great to have a competitor at Ascot once again.

“I don’t think there were any hiding places at Naas last time, it was a very strong renewal and I think the extra furlong here will bring about more improvement.

“It’s a big day for our small but hopefully expanding stable. We’ve been training for five years and this will be the fourth year with a runner at Royal Ascot. We’re not going to make up the numbers, we’re going to try to be competitive, so it is definitely exciting.”

Pensee Du Jour puts her unbeaten record and lofty reputation on the line when she contests Sunday’s Prix de Diane at Chantilly.

The daughter of Camelot made it three from three when winning the Prix Penelope with supreme ease at Saint-Cloud in April and having won by a combined 13 and a half lengths in her outings so far, will now bid to give trainer Andre Fabre a fifth win in the fillies’ Classic.

Owned by Ballymore Thoroughbreds, for whom Fabre trained Miss France to win the 1000 Guineas in 2014 and also guided Persian King to a trio of Group One victories, connections are hopeful Pensee Du Jour will continue her progressive ways following a short break.

“She was a backwards filly last year and Andre thought he could win some black type early on this year,” said Anthony Stroud, racing manager for Ballymore.

“Then she developed and developed and she won three races. After she won those races we thought we would give her a bit of time, as she had run in those races quite quickly.

“I thought she won nicely and in a progressive way (in the Prix Penelope). She has had to make the running in her three races and it would be nice if she didn’t. She’s also had three different jockeys on, so it will be nice that she will have a bit of consistency next time.”

Pensee Du Jour’s potential rivals include Oaks winner Soul Sister and Poule d’Essai des Pouliches victor Blue Rose Cen at this stage, with Stroud admitting he would like some rain in the coming days as her previous wins have come with cut in the ground.

“I would hope she will handle the ground OK, but I would love to see a thunderstorm come along,” continued Stroud.

“I would like there to be some sort of rainfall. She’s never run on this ground but we know she goes with a bit of ease in the ground, so I would like a thunderstorm to appear.”

If Sunday’s Classic mission proves successful, the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe could prove an enticing proposition later in the year considering Fabre’s impeccable record in Europe’s richest middle-distance contest and the filly’s proven attributes on soft ground.

Although preferring to focus on matters closer to hand, Stroud is allowing himself to briefly dream about such races later in the season, with him envisaging Pensee Du Jour’s future lying over further.

He added: “I could see her going up to a mile and a half down the line and I think as time goes on, she will get better as she is quite a physically big filly. But it’s not often you have a filly that has won all three of her races and she deserves her chance to take part in this race.

“I think the Arc would be a wonderful dream, but we have to take it step by step and this weekend coming is the next step.

“I’m sure she will have a break and we will see how she is and then we will be advised by Andre. Of course there is the Prix Vermeille and the Arc, but I think it is important to not get ahead of ourselves, get Sunday out of the way and go from there. But it’s good to have dreams.”

A total of 18 fillies remain in contention for the race, with Running Lion, who was withdrawn at the start at Epsom, standing her ground along with the likes of Oaks fourth Caernarfon, Never Ending Story, Jannah Rose and Left Sea.

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