A change of scenery was all the magic required to turn Wise Eagle from a 0-65 handicapper into an Ascot Gold Cup contender.

Trained by Adam Nicol and owned by six friends in the Seahouses Syndicate, the six-year-old has progressed through the ranks since being bought for 7,000 guineas at the 2020 Tattersalls Autumn Horses-In-Training Sale, improving by 40lb.

He has won 11 races since finishing runner-up on his stable debut as a 66-1 chance in Catterick juvenile hurdle and his latest run, when second to Coltrane in the Sagaro Stakes at Ascot, has connections dreaming of a fairytale return to the Berkshire track.

Former jockey Nicol, who has just eight horses in his Northumberland yard, insists there was no magic formula for the improvement.

“He has won 11 for us, but when he ran at Yarmouth for Tom Clover, I think he had blinkers. He was going everywhere bar forward and he just looked like he was hating life.

“Tom said when we bought him he wasn’t enjoying Newmarket and a change of scenery would help and get him on the beach.

“We got him here and we didn’t do anything. Didn’t check blood, didn’t even scope him. We just wormed him and then started riding him out.

“What we did do was give him plenty of turn-out. Every day, he gets a minimum of an hour every day, maybe more.

“I feel like even if you give them half an hour, they come in and switch off, because they have been ridden out, had their pick of grass and then they sleep and rest.

“Another thing we don’t do is gallop this horse a lot. We do a lot of steady work. I just think he enjoys it.

“I’m not really putting him under too much pressure. He comes alive at the races and gets that spring in his step. He certainly didn’t look out of place in the Sagaro Stakes, walking around the paddock he looked fantastic. He is a horse enjoying himself.”

Wise Eagle’s victories included the Queen’s Cup at Musselburgh on his seasonal debut and that form was further boosted when Metier, to whom he was conceding 4lb, won the Chester Cup.

“I got some buzz out of the Musselburgh race, beating the likes of Harry Fry and Paul Nicholls in the Queen’s Cup,” said Nicol, a relatively fresh face in the training ranks aged just 33 and who enjoyed memorable days in the saddle with top-class mare Lady Buttons.

Having finished four and three-quarter lengths behind Coltrane in the Sagaro, Nicol hopes the additional half-mile at the Royal meeting will help the son of Free Eagle.

“Some people say he looked like he was only just getting home at Ascot, but you have one turn of foot with this horse.

“Push the button once and he will go for you – he has a hell of a turn of foot. But once he’s used that, he’s done enough and he’ll not come again for you.

“The Sagaro got a bit tactical. I would prefer 10 or 12 runners, where they go a nice, even gallop, which I’m hoping they usually do in a Gold Cup, and then just slot in. Danny (Tudhope) knows him inside out.

“I’m glad we ran him there. We know he handles the track and it was a case of running him in that to know if we were punching a bit, if he was good enough for that level. And I think he is. He definitely deserves a crack.

“I know the owners and Andrew Balding will be going there thinking Coltrane has a great chance, as Wise Eagle has never beaten him, but plenty of horses have reversed the form.

“We’ve already beaten Trueshan and it is an open race.”

Though there was an option of heading to York and then Goodwood, the Wise Eagle’s owners have decided to take their chance at the showpiece meeting instead.

Nicol explained: “There is a mile-and-five Listed race at York. I thought there was a good chance of him winning that and York wouldn’t take as much out of him, and then we’d go to the Goodwood Cup.

“But the lads felt that you don’t forgo perhaps a once-in-a-lifetime chance of even placing in the Gold Cup, plus the prize-money is fantastic.

“I do think that the level he is running at, should he go and run a blinder again in the Gold Cup, I think maybe abroad there are winnable races. They are not going to be any better than the Gold Cup or the Sagaro, so we will think about that.”

Nicol is still pinching himself about the horse who has come from humble beginnings to be a flagship for his burgeoning yard and he hopes the journey will continue a while yet.

“This lad cost 7,000 guineas. We went down to Tattersalls during Covid, there was nobody really there,” he said.

“In normal circumstances, he would have been at least 15 or 20 grand. He was a winner over a mile, he was only three, not badly bred – and I just think, because of Covid, we were lucky to get him.

“His first win for us was in a jumpers’ bumper, and we have gone from running in a 0-65 at Catterick to running in the Ascot Gold Cup. It doesn’t happen very often, does it?

“It’s almost as good a story as the Dream Alliance film. Everyone likes the underdog to run well and we go there with no pressure.

“The owners want to have a day out. Half of them haven’t had a horse before. They are first-time owners.

“I think they think the game’s easy; buy a horse and make money. They haven’t had to pay a bill yet – the prize-money has paid for it all.”

All that is needed is a Hollywood-style ending, as was the case when unheralded chaser Dream Alliance rose from being reared on an allotment in South Wales to winning the Welsh National.

“Having a chance to have a horse good enough to run and be competitive doesn’t come along often,” added Nicol.

“We have one bullet to have a go – and it’s a good one – so we’ll have a good crack.”

Defending champions, Jamaica, kicked off the defence of their CWI Women’s T20 Blaze title with an eight wicket win over the Leeward Islands at Warner Park in the second game of a triple-header on Saturday.

Vanessa Watts, Celina Whyte and Neisha-Ann Wasome all took two wickets, each, as the Leewards were restricted to 68-7 off their 20 overs.

Jamaica’s successful chase was then led by a 29-ball 36* from Rashada Williams that included five fours.

Trinidad & Tobago got a comfortable five-wicket win over Super 50 champions Barbados in the day’s final game.

Shakera Selman top-scored with 29* off 41 balls as Barbados were reduced to just 80-6 from their 20 overs as Lee-Ann Kirby did most of the damage with 3-10 from her four overs for the Trinidadians.

Kirby also led the way with the bat with 25* while Britney Cooper got 23 as T&T successfully reached 82-5 off 12.3 overs.

The day’s second game saw Guyana secure a narrow four-run win over the Windward Islands. Batting first, the Guyanese scored just 88-7 off their 20 overs thanks to 32 from Katana Mentore and 19 from Sheneta Grimmond.

Afy Fletcher led the way with the ball for the Windwards with an excellent 4-10 from her four overs.

Guyana then used tight bowling and timely wickets throughout the Windwards reply to restrict them to 84-8 off their 20 overs.

Ashmini Munisar took one wicket and was most economical, with her four overs costing just seven runs. Nyia Latchman also took one wicket, with her four overs going for just 10.


Charlie Appleby earned his first Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes with Modern Games powering to glory at Newbury and the most consistent of trainers was generous with his praise for the team effort.

Modern Games arguably has not received the credit his career has deserved thus far and the Godolphin handler was keen to make the point on a sun-drenched afternoon.

The facts are quite phenomenal. Born in the same year as stablemates Coroebus and Native Trail, both Classic winners, Modern Games had already proved himself as a juvenile, landing the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf on his final start in a six-race campaign.

While Coroebus was defeating subsequent Irish 2,000 Guineas winner Native Trail in the Guineas at Newmarket, Modern Games was sent to France. He duly did his duty, landing the French equivalent and giving Appleby a clean sweep in the colts’ mile division.

A runner-up effort to Baaeed in the Sussex Stakes was followed by Group One success at Woodbine in Canada. A QEII runner-up to Bayside Boy, then it was off to America, where he won around a two-turn mile at Keeneland.

Now a domestic Group One has fallen his way – in great style it has to be said, with William Buick having to “keep him interested” near the front end, according to Appleby.

A career at stud beckons at the end of the year for Modern Games and he will doubtless be popular with breeders.

Yet Appleby was not only happy to heap praise on the horse. His first call was from fellow handler Saeed bin Suroor, these days often overlooked as a key cog in Godolphin’s Newmarket operation.

He served notice a couple of weeks ago that he is still a player when Mawj won the 1000 Guineas – a fact not lost on Appleby.

“I am delighted for His Highness Sheikh Mohammed, for Godolphin and for the team back at Moulton Paddocks, but more for this horse – he deserves it,” said Appleby.

“Coming into the race, he was a four-time Group One winner, but to win one on the domestic scene is a huge testament to him and his sire, Dubawi.

“He is his son – there’s no doubt about it.

“There was strength in depth and they have gone a good gallop. I said to William (Buick) to keep him up in the van and keep him interested. He is an older horse now, so you have to keep the interest there and give him a target.

“From William’s point of view, it wasn’t the easiest thing to do, but he has given him a fantastic ride and the jockey knows the horse so well, he knew exactly when to deliver the challenge.

“Ultimately we want to head back to the Breeders’ Cup Mile.”

Yet such is the mark of the man, who has largely turned Godolphin’s fortunes around, he was also eager to acknowledge Bin Suroor and the essence of Team Godolphin.

“I was delighted for Saeed to win the Guineas,” said Appleby. “He was the first person calling me there after the Lockinge.

“Everyone looks at us as working against each other, but we work for His Highness Sheikh Mohammed and that is what myself and Saeed and everyone does, but we do it as a team.

“He was the first to call. That’s nothing new. Whether I win or he wins, we are winning for His Highness and that is what we all do it for. There is no rivalry – we are a team aiming to achieve the best.

“For him to have that Classic winner was brilliant. Everyone will say ‘Charlie, how well you are doing’, but as I always say to Saaeed, I’m about two championships behind you and about a thousand winners!

“I don’t think I should be trying to take any plaudits. It’s great to see Saeed win these type of races and great for the team. It was just brilliant for Modern Games, too. He deserves that.”

Willie Mullins has two darts to fire as he aims to become the first Irish trainer to land the Grand Steeple-Chase de Paris since 1919.

Troytown won the prestigious Auteuil event for Algy Anthony and in the 103 years that have followed there has been no further Irish success despite the nation being such a dominant force in National Hunt racing.

Mullins is Ireland’s leading jumps trainer and has an exhaustive CV that includes almost every notable prize worthy of mention, but France’s best and most lucrative steeplechase is a rare blank space.

Last year the master of Closutton enjoyed a share of the €900,000 prize fund when Franco De Port came home in third place and the same horse travels over to Paris in an attempt to improve on that gallant run this year.

The eight-year-old has run in France three times since that effort, placing fifth in both the Prix la Haye Jousselin and the Prix Georges Courtois and then coming home third in an established Grand Steep trial in the Prix Ingre.

The 12 months since last year’s race have revolved around Sunday, and Mullins has had the Grand Steeple-Chase de Paris pencilled in for Franco De Port since he took well to the task in 2022.

“He surprised me and we came out of Auteuil last year saying we were coming back again and we would try to gear his year around the Grand Steep,” he said.

“We thought he was an Arkle Chase horse, a professional two-mile horse and the more we went out in trip, the better he got.

“When he went out to France, I think as he’s a very keen horse and very free, the French fences settled him down hugely. I think it brought about huge improvement in him and that’s why we’re back here again.”

Mullins has taken heed from French trainer Guillaume Macaire, who follows the same route to the race and is the leading trainer with seven titles to his name, but is mindful that the travel is an added trial for horses not based in France.

“From watching how Guillaume Macaire does it, he always comes to this race so we thought we’d do what the top guys do,” he said.

“I hope it works, however for us coming from Ireland and having to come over and back again, it might be too near the Grand Steep compared to a horse living in France.

“That’s my worry, we’re doing the time honoured way of going to the Grand Steep but I would traditionally like a longer run-in. I’d like a six-week run-in for a chase of this length. But we will see what happens.

“I think he will improve from that race (Prix Ingre), he came home, he travelled well. He’s a seasoned traveller so I don’t expect any problems, we’re very happy with him going into the race.”

Mullins’ second runner is Carefully Selected, an 11-year-old who returned this season after a two-year injury absence.

His comeback has been a successful one with a win in the Thyestes Chase and a fourth place in the Bobbyjo, after which he completed the Grand National at Aintree and was 14th of the 17 finishers at 50-1.

Mullins is expecting the gelding to take well to French fences due to his unflappable temperament and does not harbour any concerns about the trip for such a proven stayer.

He said: “He’s a big, old-fashioned chaser. He had leg trouble, we gave him all the time he needed and he came back and won the Thyestes Chase, which is a traditional Aintree Grand National trial, in very heavy ground over three miles at our local racetrack in Gowran.

“He’s a traditional Irish staying chaser, he’s very calm. These different fences, they won’t bother him so we’d decided to let him take his chance.

“He hasn’t run much in the last few years and we’re always looking for three-mile plus races for him.

“This was always on the cards provided that he stayed sound and he’s been very sound all season.

“The trip suits and he’s a good jumper, at 11 years of age we might as well take our chance.”

Warm Heart narrowly outpointed hot favourite Bluestocking to secure Listed honours in the Haras De Bouquetot Fillies’ Trial Stakes at Newbury.

Aidan O’Brien’s daughter of Galileo made progress with each of her first three starts, building on a debut fourth at Dundalk with a runner-up finish at Leopardstown before making it third time lucky at the same track a fortnight ago.

Stepping up in class, she was second best in the betting at 5-2, with Ralph Beckett’s Camelot filly Bluestocking all the rage at 11-10 following a hugely promising and successful start to her career at Salisbury in September.

The two market principals came to the fore at the end of the 10-furlong contest, with Bluestocking and Rossa Ryan doing their level best to reel in Warm Heart, but try as she might, she could never quite get on terms with the Irish raider, who clung on by a head.

Crack Of Light was a couple of lengths further behind in third.

Winning rider Ryan Moore said: “She is a straightforward filly who has improved for every run. Those Irish maidens she was running in, the form is very good.

“The filly she beat last time (Leopardstown third Shamida) won last night. I think she has a great attitude and she is a 10-furlong filly. The Oaks is 13 just days away.”

Paul Smith, son of part-owner Derrick, said: “The Oaks comes up very quick. She is an improving filly, who has won on the soft in Ireland and now the ground is pretty quick.

“She stays a mile and two well. She is improving and something like the Ribblesdale off the top of my head – that would give her a little bit more time.

“She is a 10-furlong filly at the moment, but once those fillies get on a roll…

“I think at the moment, it is only 13 days to the Oaks, so possibly we will go to Royal Ascot. The lads will discuss it.”

Roger Varian’s Jabaara will follow a familiar path to Royal Ascot after a taking success on debut at Newmarket.

The Exceed And Excel filly contested the British Stallion Studs EBF Fillies’ Novice Stakes as the 2-1 favourite under David Egan, a race previously won by both Cachet and Mawj – subsequent 1000 Guineas winners in 2022 and 2023 respectively.

Varian has also enjoyed success in the contest before as Daahyeh came out on top in 2019 and then went on to land the Albany Stakes at Royal Ascot, the same route Jabaara is now likely to take after her three-quarter-length success.

Varian said: “She has always looked smart. I thought she did well there as she was a touch green and he (David Egan) had to take her off heels, switch and start his run again.

“I thought she was a filly with a lot of ability to be able to do that on debut. She pricked her ears as she crossed the line. I think she is quite nice.

“We have been fortunate to win the Albany twice before and I think this filly should go straight there as I think she is quite good and she looked it there today. Time will tell us what the form is worth.

“I thought for a few weeks that she could be an Albany horse. I nearly got her started a few weeks ago but that was only a five furlong option and she has shaped at home as if she has wanted this six.

“A strong pace at Ascot over a stiff six on decent ground would suit her, I would have thought.”

Ladies Church can book her ticket to Royal Ascot when she lines up in the Sole Power Sprint Stakes at Naas on Sunday.

A high-class cast of sprinters have assembled for this five-furlong contest and Johnny Murtagh’s filly brings track-and-trip form to the table as she bids to continue her rise up the sprinting ranks.

Last seen in the Al Quoz Sprint on Dubai World Cup night, she secured Group Two honours when accounting for the reopposing Mooneista in the Sapphire Stakes last term, and her handler is eyeing the King’s Stand Stakes at the big meeting for the speedy daughter of Churchill.

Murtagh said: “We were happy with her first run back in Meydan when she finished second and she probably ran better than her finishing position on World Cup night. So with the ground drying up – she wants good, fast ground – the drier the better the chance she will have and everything leads to the King’s Stand.

“It is always tough for three-year-olds and she’s a year older now. We’re really happy with her and looking forward to her.”

Another aiming for Ascot is Ken Condon’s Moss Tucker, who built on his reappearance to claim the scalp of Tenebrism over course and distance last month.

“He came forward from his first run of the year and we were delighted with him the last day,” said Condon.

“It will be contrasting ground this time but he has shown in the past, albeit in handicap and conditions company, that most ground is all right for him. He’s particularly effective when it is soft, but I don’t think the ground will be an issue.

“He has obviously won at Naas and that is encouraging when you go back to these places and he’s been in good form since. It’s a competitive heat, as you would expect, but he seems to be still improving which is the nice thing about him.

“He will go for the King’s Stand and he ran very well in the Prix de l’Abbaye last year – he just made a bit of a tardy start, so he did very well to run as well as he did. I think that would be on the agenda as well if he remains in good shape.

“He didn’t run at two so it’s only his third season racing. He certainly looked in the second half of last season that he was on the improve and hopefully we can find a bit more improvement from him.”

There is British interest in the form of Robert Cowell’s Arecibo and Adrian Nicholls’ Tees Spirit, with the latter looking to add to the Abergwaun Stakes he secured on his travels last term.

“They are never easy races, but you’ve got to start somewhere in these Pattern races,” said Nicholls.

“I know the track well from when I was riding and I think it will suit him. There’s a couple of nice ones in there and he carries a penalty like Moss Tucker, but it’s a nice starting point and we’ll find out where we are.

“He’s in really good form and I think he’s improved again this year again. I’m looking forward to seeing him out on the track, the horses are running well so I don’t see why he won’t.

“He has a little pony called Scooby who travels over with him and he doesn’t mind travelling. The Irish look after us well. It’s not easy, but it’s a nice starting point and we can see where we go from here.”

Also on a raiding mission is Ziggy’s Dream who runs for Alice Haynes in the Coolmore Stud Irish EBF Fillies Sprint Stakes on the back of a fine second in an above-average renewal of the Lily Agnes at Chester last week.

This Group Three was won by Meditate last year before going on to land the Albany Stakes, and Haynes sees this step up to six furlongs as the perfect chance for Ziggy’s Dream to to test the waters at this level before she potentially makes her own appearance at the summer showpiece.

“She came out of Chester very well,” said Haynes. “She didn’t really have a race early on after missing the break and then finished like a trooper.

“The step up to six furlongs on better ground will suit and drawn 13 straight down the rail is ideal. We go there hopeful.

“The winner of this last year went on to win at Royal Ascot and I’m sure if she wins then she will be near enough favourite if she goes for the Albany.

“This is the first really nice horse we’ve had for Middleham Park, who are keen supporters and even though there are a couple of unexposed ones in there, she definitely deserves to be there.”

Shartash was a regular in the top two-year-old events last season and with the decision made to stick to sprinting distances for the time being, is out to get his Commonwealth Cup ticket stamped in the Group Three Goffs Lacken Stakes.

“We think he is a sprinter,” said Murtagh. “We were a bit disappointed with his first run back at Navan, but the ground was very soft. Ben (Coen) said he never got going – he jumped sluggish and never got into the race.

“We’re looking forward to a much improved performance and the ground should be ideal for him. Six furlongs at Naas, I think he’ll get up the hill well.

“I think six is a good trip for him and maybe later in the year he will be able to step up to seven. But we’re going to see how he goes over six first.”

Connections also hold strong claims in the Owenstown Stud Stakes where Sharlouk steps up to Listed class having shed his maiden tag in style at Leopardstown two weeks ago.

Murtagh added: “I think he deserves to step up. He ran well on his penultimate start and perhaps didn’t stay the mile on heavy ground and then broke his maiden well last time.

“It’s a big step up and looks a very competitive race, but we want to see how good he is and he should be well tested.”

Modern Games produced his trademark finishing kick to secure his first Group One victory on British soil in the Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes at Newbury.

The Charlie Appleby-trained four-year-old is no stranger to success at the top table, having won three times at the highest level in North America and once in France.

Modern Games is a dual Breeders’ Cup winner having won the Juvenile Turf in 2021 and the Mile last year – and while he had to make do with the runner-up spot on his return to Keeneland for his seasonal reappearance last month, he showed his class back in the UK.

The 3-1 favourite was given plenty of time to find his feet by William Buick and was still a long way back as the admirable Chindit moved to the front and threatened to cause an upset a furlong out.

But once given his head, Modern Games engaged overdrive to readily reel in those in front of him and he was ultimately good value for the winning margin of a length and a half.

Chindit stuck to his guns to fill the runner-up spot, despite making a grab at Modern Games as he passed by, with Berkshire Shadow third, My Prospero fourth and Mutasaabeq fading into fifth after cutting out much of the running.

Buick told ITV Racing: “It was a real tussle, I definitely noticed it (Chindit’s attempted bite)!

“This horse is a real superstar, he’s so consistent and he’s just a joy to have anything to do with.

“He’s there when you need him, he’s done it now in England, France, America a couple of times and on different grounds. He’s a top-class miler.”

Aidan O’Brien retains full faith in his Betfred Derby contender Auguste Rodin, despite his lacklustre 2000 Guineas display.

The Deep Impact colt won three of his four juvenile starts, culminating in Group One glory in Doncaster’s Futurity Trophy, with O’Brien rating him a possible Triple Crown horse this term.

However, Auguste Rodin failed to fire in the first Classic of the season at Newmarket in early May, coming home 12th behind Chaldean, beaten 22 lengths over the Rowley Mile.

O’Brien subsequently described the race as a “non-event” for the 13-8 favourite after he suffered interference in the early stages, with Ryan Moore not too hard on his mount when his chance had clearly gone.

Despite that defeat, Auguste Rodin remains a best-priced 9-2 second favourite behind Military Order for the Epsom showpiece on June 3 and O’Brien certainly believes his charge has the ability to make his presence felt.

He said: “The Derby is always about the one horse, really – and always has been. Everything he has always done has been exceptional.

“I think we just have to put a line through the Guineas and put it out of our heads.

“I think he got banged into and wiped out another. Because that happened, Ryan got caught in a pocket and it just didn’t happen.

“Ryan did the right thing.”

Jamaican Barton County sophomore Brandon Lloyd set a new junior collegiate record to win the men’s discus at the NJCAA Division 1 Outdoor Championships at New Mexico Junior College on Friday.

The 21-year-old fouled his first attempt then threw 55.91m in round two before unleashing a record-breaking 65.32m throw in the third round, his only throw over 60m on the day.

Two other Jamaicans, Coffeyville’s Trevor Gunzell and Barton County’s Christopher Young, were second and third with throws of 61.23m and 59.68m, respectively.

Highland’s Dayjahney Hibbert cleared 1.73m for third in the women’s high jump behind Iowa Western’s Miracle Ailes (1.82m) and Cloud County’s Vanessa Mercera (1.76m).

On the track, Grenadian Butler sophomore Nazzio John, a World Under-20 100m finalist in Nairobi in 2021, ran 10.06, aided by a 3.7 m/s wind, to be the second fastest qualifier to the men’s 100m final.

New Mexico’s Kimarlie Stewart ran 10.11 with a 2.4 m/s wind to also progress to the final set for Saturday.

Bahamian Fort Scott sophomore Damazvia Dames was the second fastest qualifier in the women’s 200m with 23.10 while Guyanese Hinds sophomore Brianna Charles ran 23.35 to also advance.

The Caribbean also had three men progress to the final of the 110m hurdles in the form of Dishaun Lamb of South Plains (13.94), Iowa Western’s Rahyme Christian (14.02) and New Mexico’s Che Saunders (14.09).

The women’s 100m hurdles saw Barton County’s Danae Nembhard (13.59) and Kay-Lagay Clarke (13.93) as well as Jody Ann Dixon of Hinds (14.23) advance.

Moving on to the two-lap event, Kimar Farquharson of South Plains led all qualifiers to the final with a 1:50.02 effort in his preliminary.

The Indian Hills pair of Tyrice Taylor (1:51.06) and Rivaldo Marshall (1:51.29) will also be in the final.

On the women’s side, Rushana Dwyer of South Plains ran 2:14.65 to advance second fastest.


Tahiyra is “more likely than not” to take her chance in the Tattersalls Irish 1,000 Guineas on Sunday week, trainer Dermot Weld has confirmed.

The daughter of Siyouni won each of her two starts as a juvenile last season, supplementing a debut victory at the Galway Festival with a Group One success in the Moyglare Stud Stakes.

Weld left it late before eventually committing to a run in the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket earlier this month and after being sent off a hot favourite, she was narrowly beaten by Saeed bin Suroor’s Mawj, with the pair drawing a long way clear of the chasing pack.

With connections responsible for a second contender for the Irish Guineas in recent Group Three runner-up Tarawa, Weld was initially hesitant to commit Tahiyra to the Curragh Classic – but speaking at Leopardstown on Friday evening, he revealed he is leaning towards running the Rowley Mile runner-up.

“We’ll make a decision next week, the same with Tarawa as well. It’s more likely than not, at this stage, that Tahiyra will run in the Irish 1,000 Guineas,” said the Rosewell House handler.

“The final decision will be made the middle of next week.”

Reflecting on Newmarket Tahiyra’s Newmarket performance, he added: “She ran a super race, they are two very good fillies who drew seven and a half lengths clear of the rest.

“She was carried a little bit across the track as well but full marks to the winner, she’s a very good filly. On the day she had the fitness and on the day she was slightly the better of the two fillies.”

Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting feels the International Cricket Council (ICC) has a role to play in ensuring that players from smaller Test-playing nations are paid well in Test cricket.

He used the example of West Indies players who tend to choose franchise cricket over international duty for financial reasons.

"That question has a different answer in different countries," Ponting said in an event organised by the ICC ahead of the World Test Championship final between India and Australia at the Oval from June 7.

"It has becoming increasingly difficult to groom the youngsters in the Caribbean, for instance, who want to chase the dream of playing Test cricket,” Ponting added when asked about youngsters wanting to play the five-day game in an era of T20 leagues.

“Their payment system in the Caribbean compared to some of the franchise leagues, it doesn't match up and Sri Lanka will be the same and Bangladesh will be the same."

The legendary batsman said talks are on within the ICC to address the issue.

"It is not the case in India, England and Australia. You are paid well to play Test cricket for your country and most aspire to play the Test match game. There is a role to play for the ICC here. Make the payments bit more even across international Test cricket to attract players from these different countries who want to play for their country," he said.

"It is something that has been spoken about at a very high level at the ICC to help that but in India the feeling I get is that most of these youngsters aspire to wear the baggy blue cap and the same in in Australia," he added.


Emily Dickinson’s Ascot Gold Cup claims took a knock as Yashin produced a 14-1 surprise in the Saval Beg Levmoss Stakes at Leopardstown.

Aidan O’Brien would have hoped to dominate the staying scene again this year with Kyprios, but with his superstar five-year-old on the sidelines there is space at Ballydoyle for a horse to step up.

O’Brien has long mentioned Emily Dickinson as one who could be capable of doing so, and she was odds-on to make it two from two for the campaign in this Group Three – which was won by Kyprios 12 months ago on his way to glory at the Royal meeting.

She took the field along in company with Icykel, but never looked like shaking her rivals off under Ryan Moore, with Joseph O’Brien’s Point King looking set for top spot only for Shane Foley and the Jessica Harrington-trained Yashin to arrive on the scene.

A brief duel ensued deep inside the final furlong, but as they flashed past the post almost as one it was Yashin – fourth in a Leopardstown handicap in October when last seen – who got the verdict by a short head. Point King’s stablemate Dawn Rising was third, with Emily Dickinson only sixth.

“The autumn plan would be the Melbourne Cup, but he’d have to get up a good bit to get there,” said Harrington.

“He stays well and he has to have good ground. We think he likes going left-handed.

“He was stuck wide there and keen all the way. Shane said he had no right to pick up and win like he did.

“I know it was only a short head, but he was always getting there.”

Harrington’s daughter and assistant, Kate, added: “We could have waited for the Group Three at the Curragh next week but when the ground was good here, the way he likes it, that was key. He could go to the Curragh Cup on Oaks weekend. We’ll plot a plan as he likes a bit of time between his races.

“The Melbourne Cup is Gerry (Byrne’s) dream. He bred him and it’s the first horse he’s bred, the mare is back in foal to Churchill.”

The opening Irish Stallion Farms EBF Maiden went the way of Deepone, who could now have Royal Ascot ambitions having obliged favourite-backers at 3-1.

“He’s a nice colt and he was ready to start today. Being drawn 17 I thought that he’d have to be good to win from out there and it was great that he did,” said Twomey.

“He’s a nicely-bred horse, he’s a Study Of Man who was a very good racehorse and a very well-bred horse, out of a Galileo mare whose dam won the Yorkshire Oaks.”

When asked if he could go to Ascot he added: “We’ll see how he is, there is a race there that might suit him. I haven’t thought past today but if that happens, great.

“He’s by a son of Deep Impact who was a Derby winner out of a daughter of a Yorkshire Oaks winner so I don’t think a trip will be a problem to him.”

Noel Meade found the winner’s enclosure when Winston Spencer showed significant improvement stepping up to a mile to land the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Median Auction Maiden.

“His full-brother ran in the first, he’s a totally different horse, smaller and sharper, and Leigh (Roche) came in and said he didn’t like that ground, he said he couldn’t let himself down on it. I said hopefully with this fella, after waiting for the ground, it wasn’t going to be the same,” said Meade.

“I like him a lot. He ran well the first day, he just got tired. I thought he had come on a good bit and I think he’ll come on a good bit again. I think he’s a decent horse.

“Leigh said he ran home very well at the end and he took plenty of pulling up.

“He’s a very well-bred horse, Coolmore bred him. His dam is a full-sister to Danehill Dancer.

“I’ve sort of put my life on Churchill as I bought five two-year-olds by him and I’ve got four three-year-olds by him. Hopefully he comes right for me.

“I thought Winston Spencer was a good name for this horse.

“I hadn’t thought any further than today with him, we’ll see what happens.”

Giavellotto is the Italian word for javelin, a piece of equipment that can travel both far and fast when handled with precision and power.

A javelin would traditionally arc in a perfect straight line too, a skill Marco Botti’s colt will learn in time now the speed and stamina elements of his craft are well proven.

Giavellotto is a son of Mastercraftsman out of a Galileo mare named Gerika, a chestnut like her son who ran in the same silks at Italian tracks like Capannelle and San Siro.

Of her seven runners to take to the track Giavellotto looked like the gifted child even before today, scoring by five lengths in a Newmarket handicap and then outrunning 28-1 odds with a gallant performance behind Eldar Eldarov in the St Leger, crossing the line in fourth but being promoted to third.

He ended last season with another smart performance, this time finishing second to Kevin Philippart De Foy’s useful El Habeeb in the Noel Murless Stakes at Ascot.

A winter holiday in Meydan then resulted in a luckless outing in the Dubai Gold Cup, where he could not overcome a wide draw and eventually came home down the field as Broome came out on top.

The two horses met again on the Knavesmire for the Boodles Yorkshire Cup, and while Broome was the 9-4 joint-favourite alongside Meydan runner-up Siskany, Giavellotto was largely overlooked under Andrea Atzeni at odds of 14-1.

Throughout the course of the one-mile-six-furlong contest the colt did little to draw attention to himself as he travelled along in mid-division and most eyes focused on Eldar Eldarov, Broome and Quickthorn – the latter the reigning Lonsdale Cup champion.

As the race approached the final three furlongs, however, it was Giavellotto who was gaining ground as he began to leave his past rivals behind him at the furlong pole.

Then there was a wobble, and as the post approached Giavellotto began to search for the inside rail, hampering Quickthorn and running into the space Broome probably had in mind for his next few strides.

Botti’s charge crossed the line first and Eldar Eldarov, having challenged down the centre of the course, was second, but the sound of post-race celebrations were soon interrupted by the bing-bong chime that precedes a stewards’ inquiry.

It was a lengthy one too, and Botti crossed his fingers as he tended to Giavellotto before delivering a cautiously optimistic interview to the waiting television cameras.

Eventually the second chime sounded and the victory was confirmed, at which point the trainer embraced a sobbing Italian woman named Francesca Franchini, now the owner and breeder of a Yorkshire Cup hero.

“We were a bit nervous because you never know what could happen in the stewards’ room, but I’m delighted,” he said.

“We thought he would come here with a good chance, obviously the form of the St Leger was good form. In hindsight he was a bit unlucky with the interference and he didn’t have a clear run, but today he’s proven he’s up to this level.

“He stays well, he’s still a little immature and for a four-year-old he’s still quite babyish mentally.

“Before he ran in the St Leger he had only won a handicap in Newmarket, we always said we’d just bring him along and give him time to mature.

“He ran a big race in the St Leger and we took him to Dubai in March for the Gold Cup, but it didn’t really work out and here we are!”

The Yorkshire Cup often leads into the Gold Cup at Ascot but that will not be the case for Giavellotto, who does not hold an entry as Botti does not see the track being exactly to his liking.

He said: “He will just get better and better, we don’t know where we will go next yet. We’ve never felt Ascot will be the track for him, he’s a big horse and we don’t feel it will suit so we will be looking for other options.”

Of Scuderia La Tesa, Francini’s breeding operation, and the evident emotion of the success, he added: “It’s great for the owner, who bred the horse as well, I’m delighted.

“They’re from Milan, they actually lost the mare this year so the owner is quite emotional because it means a lot.

“It’s the first Group race they’ve won in England so she was quite emotional. It’s great for the yard, we’ve had a couple of quiet years and it’s great to be back with a nice horse.”

Nice horses are hard to come by and seem harder still to keep hold of, something Botti knows well as he has seen several prospects sold abroad over the last few seasons.

“Last year to the year before, we had horses like Tatsumaki, who was unbeaten and then sold to Hong Kong,” he said.

“We’ve always been in a situation where we’re on the market and we have to sell sometimes, they don’t come along very often these good horses.

“It’s great we’ve kept him and hopefully we’ll have some fun through the season – a Melbourne Cup would be nice!”

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