A nomination to star colt Paddington was sold for 72,000 guineas at Tattersalls on Monday to raise funds on behalf of injured jockey Graham Lee.

The Grand National and Ascot Gold Cup-winning rider remains in hospital after suffering serious neck and spinal injuries in a fall at Newcastle last month.

A JustGiving page set up by Lee’s daughter Amy for the Injured Jockeys Fund is approaching the £170,000 mark – and the Coolmore team were keen to add their support by auctioning off a nomination to their top-class three-year-old Paddington before the first ‘Sceptre’ lot at the Tattersalls December Mare Sale.

Paddington rattled off four straight Group One victories in the space of 68 days earlier this year, landing the Irish 2,000 Guineas, the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot, the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown and the Sussex Stakes at Goodwood.

The recently-retired son of Siyouni will stand his first season at Coolmore in 2024 with a stallion fee of €55,000.

The winning bid was made by Lady Lloyd Webber of Watership Down Stud.

Bill Belichick is still the right coach for the New England Patriots despite their struggles this season.

That is the view of Duron Harmon, who played for the Patriots between 2013 and 2019, winning three Super Bowl rings in that time.

All of those triumphs came under Belichick's guidance, with the 71-year-old having been head coach of the Patriots since 2000.

His 24th straight season in charge has proved a dismal one, with the Patriots sinking to a 2-10 record.

New England have lost their last five games including their 6-0 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 13.

Their displays have cast doubt over the future of veteran coach Belichick, but Harmon – who is on the practice roster at the Cleveland Browns – does not think making a change is the right solution.

"I just think it's timing," he told Stats Perform. "How many organisations do you know that are this successful for this long? That's life.

"You look at all the great organisations, the [Chicago] Bulls when they had their run, then eventually, you've got to go through [hard times]. 

"That's just a part of sports that happens because when you're at the top, everybody's gunning for you. Everybody's trying to figure out how to get better.

"They're taking from you, they're taking coaches from you. They're taking players from you. That's sports, it's life.

"We've come where it's time for the Patriots to be on the other side for a little bit. I think if there is one person that can reverse it and turn it the other way, it's the man that's right there, and that's Bill Belichick – he's done it before.

"If he has the, I don't want to say patience, but if he wants to go through that again, I think he's the man to do it."

Harmon also believes Belichick would choose to stay on with the Patriots, rather than end his tenure on a low ebb.

He added: "Besides Tom Brady, he's the most competitive person I know. People don't realise, Bill is a competitor. He loves to win, but he hates to lose even more. And you can kind of just see it in his demeanour.

"Losing is not a part of his nature and I can't see him just going out like this.

"I think this would be the motivation. He does everything there. He's the coach, he's the front office. It's all on him."

A decision on whether Coral Gold Cup runner-up Mahler Mission will be aimed at the Randox Grand National has yet to be made following his fine effort in defeat at Newbury on Saturday.

Having looked the likely winner of the National Hunt Chase at last season’s Cheltenham Festival before falling two fences from home, the seven-year-old made a promising return when second at Carlisle last month, teeing him up for an appearance in one of the year’s most prestigious handicaps.

Mahler Mission travelled powerfully and fenced fluently for much of the three-and-a-quarter-mile journey before being reeled in by the patiently ridden Datsalrightgino.

While proud of his stable star’s performance, John McConnell was left wondering what might have been after admitting his preparation was not entirely trouble-free, while the fact he finished without his two front shoes could not have been a help.

McConnell said: “Overall, we were delighted, he ran a great race and just got beaten by one on the day. We were very happy with him and we’ve got plenty to look forward to.

“He travelled very well and it looked like he got outstayed nearly in the end. We didn’t have the clearest of runs up to it, so maybe he was a little bit short, but I’m not going to make excuses – when you’re second in a race like that, it’s great.

“People forget that was only his seventh run over fences, so it was definitely a big deal.”

Mahler Mission is a 16-1 joint-favourite for the Grand National with Paddy Power, but he is not yet certain to make the trip to Aintree in April.

“I have to talk to the owners and see what they want to do,” McConnell added.

“Obviously, the National has been talked about a lot and if that’s going to be a target, we’ll have to sit down and work back from that.

“It’s obviously a major race and it would be great to be a part of it, but at the same time you’re kind of sacrificing your season nearly to set yourself up for it, so it’s a hard call.

“I’ll have to speak to the owners and see what they’re thinking. With the mark he has, you’d like to take advantage of it, so if we were going to go down that road, we wouldn’t want to be any higher (in the handicap) than we are and that would frame our whole season.

“We’re just not sure if we’re going to aim for that yet. On Saturday, we didn’t really discuss it, we were just happy for him to have run so well.”

Mahler Mission holds an entry in the Paddy Power Chase at Leopardstown on December 27, but he appears unlikely to line up in that lucrative contest if the National is confirmed as his major target.

“Again, it depends on the route we’re going to take. The Paddy Power itself is a good race with plenty of prize-money on offer, so it is an option,” said McConnell.

Kevin Sinfield paid an emotional tribute to Doddie Weir after concluding the latest leg of his ultra marathon challenge in aid of the Motor Neurone Disease community.

Sinfield braved driving rain in Edinburgh on a route which concluded at Murrayfield Stadium, graced so often by the rugby union great who died in November last year.

Weir fought tirelessly to raise awareness of the disease and in the process became friends with Sinfield and Rob Burrow, and the former Leeds Rhinos star struggled for words during his post-stage speech.

“It’s been an honour again to be in Edinburgh despite the weather,” said Sinfield.

“The big man started it all off and his impact on Rob and the Burrow family, and the friendship started between the two of them, and I came on as well.

“It’s been difficult for us to understand what success looks like this time. The awareness is great and the fundraising is enormous because we know that’s the thing that’s going to shift the dial and fund a cure.

“But ultimately it’s about how you make people feel, and I think that would be the message from Doddie.”

Sinfield sets out from Dublin on Tuesday on stage inspired by former Munster coach Paul Darbyshire, who died from MND in 2011 at the age of 41.

Sinfield’s route will start at Croke Park, where he will pay tribute to former Antrim GAA captain Anto Finnegan, who also died in 2011, before embarking on a circular route that finishes at the the city’s Aviva Stadium.

After his visit to Dublin, Sinfield will move on to the penultimate stage in Brighton on Wednesday, followed by his final route which will conclude with him running up The Mall in London on Thursday.

:: To donate to Kevin Sinfield’s 7 in 7 in 7 quest, see https://donate.giveasyoulive.com/fundraising/kevin-sinfield

Top rugby player Api Ratuniyarawa is facing jail after admitting a series of sexual offences committed days before he was due to play for the Barbarians.

The 37-year-old Fiji international appeared before Cardiff Crown Court and pleaded guilty to two charges of assault by penetration and one charge of sexual assault.

The lock had been due to be on the bench for the Barbarians against Wales at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff on November 4.

The offences were committed against three women and took place between October 31 and November 2 this year, the court heard.

Ratuniyarawa, of The Orchard, Kislingbury, Northamptonshire, denied two further charges of sexual assault relating to one of the three women.

Prosecutors said the pleas were acceptable to the Crown and invited the court to fix a date for sentencing.

The father-of-four, who has also played for Northampton Saints and in France, has been without a club since Premiership club London Irish went into receivership in the summer, the court heard.

He was hoping his appearance for the Barbarians invitational side would lead to winning a new playing contract but has since been forced to apply for benefits.

Ruth Smith, defending, asked for the defendant to be released on bail and for a pre-sentence report to be prepared.

“The defendant has been on conditional bail, and he is aware of the significance of his pleas and the type of sentence that flows from such pleas,” she said.

“He has been on very stringent conditions, and these are matters (that) arose out of primarily the consumption of alcohol.

“He is someone who has very fixed ties to the UK and has played rugby here for a significant number of years.

“His wife and four young children are resident here and have their own right to remain here and two of his children were born in the UK. He is not a flight risk.

“There are significant matters he needs to put in place for his family, not least to change the tenancy of their house over to his wife’s name as well as gather mitigation materials.

“The defendant is the sole breadwinner for the family. He was recently employed by London Irish who in fact unfortunately collapsed in May 2023 and was present in Cardiff to play in a Barbarians game.

“It was hoped a contract might flow from that, that of course because of these events, did not happen.

“Because of that, he has had to apply for benefits for his family. Again, those are not absolutely in place. He has various appointments in place in respect of securing financial stability for his family.”

Judge Tracey Lloyd-Clarke, The Recorder of Cardiff, released Ratuniyarawa on conditional bail.

This includes residing at his home address, abiding by an overnight curfew, reporting daily to his local police station, surrendering his passport, not entering any licenced premises and only travelling to Wales for appointments.

“Now you have pleaded guilty to these offences the case will be adjourned until January 9 next year for sentence,” she said.

“I am going to order a pre-sentence report but you should read nothing into that, neither should you read anything into the fact that I am going to release you on conditional bail.”

Ratuniyarawa was also placed on the sexual offenders’ register.

Coko Beach heads 17 confirmations for the BoyleSports Becher Handicap Chase at Aintree on Saturday.

Gordon Elliott’s grey has been a fine servant to owners Gigginstown House Stud, winning a Thyestes Chase, the Grade Two Ten Up Novice Chase, Punchestown’s Grand National Trial and the Troytown Chase on his most recent appearance at Navan last month.

The eight-year-old was pulled up in the Grand National last season, having finished eighth in 2022, and could bid to make it third time lucky over the famous fences on Merseyside this weekend.

If Coko Beach does line up, his lofty rating of 162 means he will have to concede upwards of 15lb to each of his rivals.

Leading contenders include last year’s winner Ashtown Lad (Dan Skelton) and last year’s third Percussion (Laura Morgan), who again showed his liking for the track when runner-up in the Grand Sefton four weeks ago.

Nicky Henderson has left in Fantastic Lady and Mister Coffey, while Nicky Richards views the race as an ideal target for Houston Texas, who was last seen winning the Cumberland Handicap Chase at Carlisle for the second year in succession.

However, the Greystoke handler admits the possible presence of Coko Beach gives him a headache as it means Houston Texas is currently 8lb out of the handicap.

Richards, who won the 1999 Becher Chase with Feels Like Gold, said: “It will all depend what Gordon’s going to do as if his horse runs it will just spoil it for me – I’m not running from that far out of the handicap. It wouldn’t the brightest thing in the world to do, would it?

“I’d be very hopeful that he’d enjoy it round there. He’s a good, bold jumping lad and very sensible with it as well.

“I just thought it would be ideal for him and was hoping I would sneak in at the bottom and have a right chance, but you don’t want to be that far out of the handicap – you’ve got to be realistic with it.”

Fergal O’Brien’s Highland Hunter, Stuart Crawford’s Now Where Or When and the Venetia Williams-trained Chambard also feature among the acceptors.

Triumph Hurdle favourite Burdett Road will head to the Coral Finale Juvenile Hurdle over Christmas for the next step on his path to the Cheltenham Festival.

The Royal Ascot winner shot to the top of the market for the Triumph when supplementing his wide-margin Huntingdon win with a devastating display at Prestbury Park, coming from the back of the field to sprint clear of his rivals up the Cheltenham hill.

Trainer James Owen will now step Burdett Road up in class at Chepstow on December 27, where he will contest the Grade Two event his owners the Gredley family won with Allmankind back in 2019.

Owen said: “He’s come out of Cheltenham really well and is in full training and we’re looking forward to his next target, which will probably be the Finale at Chepstow.

“That will tell us what we do after that, whether we go straight to the Triumph or give him another race beforehand. Chepstow gives us plenty of time, all being well.

“It’s keeping us warm for Christmas and he’s an exciting horse for me, the yard and the Gredley family.”

Defi Du Seuil was the last horse to complete the Finale/Triumph Hurdle double and although Burdett Road faces the possible prospect of really testing ground at Chepstow on Welsh Grand National day, his handler believes the race comes at the perfect time in the season, with the Festival in March in mind.

Owen added: “He handled the ground well at Cheltenham and I know Chepstow can be a bit more extreme but it’s a very good prize (£80,000) and they are the kind of races we want to be going for going into Cheltenham.

“If it was absolutely bottomless, we would think about it, but it’s the aim to go there and he’s being trained for it and that’s where he will go.

“If it is tiring ground and he has a hard race, then we have plenty of time and can go to Cheltenham a fresh horse. On the flipside, if we need to give him another run, we’ve plenty of time as well. It just gives us that extra option.”

Ronnie O’Sullivan is now snooker’s oldest UK champion as well as the youngest after winning his eighth title on Sunday night.

Here, the PA news agency looks at his record in the event.

Decades of dominance

O’Sullivan won his first UK title in 1993 aged 17, breaking opponent Stephen Hendry’s record as the event’s youngest winner.

His 10-7 win over Ding Junhui three decades on – and two days shy of his 48th birthday – sees him also push Doug Mountjoy out of the record books as the oldest champion.

O’Sullivan was also victorious in 1997, 2001, 2007, 2014 and back-to-back in 2017 and 2018, the first man to successfully defend the UK crown since 1996 when Hendry won his third-straight title.

He has extended his own record to eight UK titles, with Steve Davis winning six and Hendry five.

Triple crown record

O’Sullivan also already held the record for the most titles in snooker’s ‘triple crown’ events – the World and UK Championships and the Masters.

Sunday’s was his 22nd win – and his 40th ranking title, in both cases four clear of Hendry for the record. The Masters, as an invitational event, is not classed as a ranking title.

O’Sullivan has won the World Championship and the Masters seven times each – a Masters record, with one more title than Hendry and is level with the Scot for the modern-era record in the World Championship.

Eleven players have completed a career triple crown, with O’Sullivan, Hendry and Davis joined by John Higgins, Mark Selby, Mark Williams, Neil Robertson, Alex Higgins, Judd Trump, Terry Griffiths and Shaun Murphy.

Hendry – twice – Davis and Williams are the only players to win all three events in the same season. Should O’Sullivan manage to claim next month’s Masters title at Alexandra Palace, he can dream of adding his name to that illustrious list.

Queens Gamble is set to continue her hurdling education at Newbury over the Christmas period, with Harry Derham keen to run her in handicap company as he builds up her experience over obstacles.

A high-class bumper performer when trained by Oliver Sherwood, she made it two from two over timber on her first run for Derham, winning comfortably in the hands of Johnny Burke at Kempton.

A step up to Listed company at Newbury had been mooted following that triumph, but although connections are still planning to head to the Berkshire track next, they have decided to test the waters in a handicap on the course’s December 30 card.

“She’s fine, everything is well and there are no problems at all,” said Derham.

“As I said on the day at Kempton, Newbury was an option but I wasn’t going to commit to it and we brought her home and all of us thought about it and we’re going to run her in a handicap on Challow Hurdle day.

“It’s a 0-125 and we think some experience in a handicap hurdle will help her. That’s our plan and she’s very well and we’re very happy with her. She won well at Kempton and hopefully she will keep progressing.”

The ultimate aim for Queens Gamble will be a return to the Cheltenham Festival and Derham will test progressive Newbury scorer Young Butler’s suitability for a spot on the teamsheet for March when he lines up at Prestbury Park on New Year’s Day.

Having won a Pertemps qualifier on his stable bow, Young Butler has the series final on his radar for the spring, but one horse set for an easy period is the Andy Mitchell-owned Dargiannini, who suffered a setback following his third win for the Derham operation at Kempton recently.

“Dargiannini had a bit of a setback. He was fine after the race, then about a week after the race he went lame,” said the handler.

“He’s having a bit of time off and hopefully he will come right in a couple of weeks. We’re just going to have to bide our time a little bit with him, which is a shame because he has been an absolute superstar for me and won three races in under a year and been great.

“I wouldn’t think the Pertemps would be an option. Three miles round Cheltenham wouldn’t suit him. We tried three miles in the spring round Haydock, which is a much easier track, and Paul (O’Brien) didn’t think he got home, so round Cheltenham it will be much more difficult.”

Derham went on: “We are hoping Young Butler, who won a Pertemps qualifier at Newbury, could be a Pertemps horse.

“He’s going to run at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day to see if he likes it and can act round there. If he does, then he could be a candidate for the Pertemps and is at the right end of the handicap.

“Poor Dargiannini is 143 now, which will make life really tough, but Young Butler is off 126 and he could still have a bit of improvement in his rating.”

Peter Fahey is targeting the Cheltenham Festival with The Big Doyen following an encouraging performance at the track during the November Meeting.

The six-year-old has banked plenty of experience over hurdles and has been an improver since stepping up in trip in his most recent starts, winning at Galway in the summer before placing at both Limerick in October and when outstayed by two useful prospects in a Grade Two at Prestbury Park last time out.

His handler has taken plenty of positives from that raiding mission and is now eyeing a return to Gloucestershire in the spring for a tilt at one of the Festival handicaps, with a drop back in trip for the County Hurdle a plausible option.

“He ran a very good race (at Cheltenham) and what I really liked was how well he settled,” said Fahey.

“He settled really well and it looked like he was just outstayed in the race.

“He took the travelling over there really well and hopefully we can aim him back at one of the handicaps there during the Festival.”

The trainer went on: “Even the County Hurdle (would be an option) because even though he was very keen in all his races (previously) over two miles, the way he jumped and travelled the last day, at two miles I think he was going best of all.

“He definitely had more pace than his rivals that day and just didn’t get home.

“I think definitely over there when it is a true run race, I think two miles might be as far as he wants.

“He will have plenty of options and he will definitely have an entry in the Martin Pipe as well, and we will see what happens.”

In the immediate future, Fahey is considering a tilt at the Grade One Paddy Power Future Champions Novice Hurdle at Leopardstown on December 27 and although he could face a stern test, it is a race that could allow The Big Doyen to add to his prize-money haul.

“At the moment, we have done an entry and we’re just looking at how things are between now and then,” continued Fahey.

“There is a good chance he will run there and he has a good bit of experience and it isn’t usually the biggest of fields. So, if he could get himself placed, he could pick up a good lump of prize-money and that would be great.

“But I do think the future for him would be in those good handicaps.”

Cannock Park is set to have his sights raised over the Christmas period when he heads to Aintree for the Formby Novices’ Hurdle.

The exciting prospect, who is the star of Borders handler Paul Robson’s fledgling string, was a convincing bumper winner at Bangor in October before immediately switching his attentions to timber and making a successful hurdling debut at Cheltenham the following month.

He downed some well-regarded opponents when making all at Prestbury Park and Robson is confident that there is more to come following an interrupted build-up to his jumping bow.

The handler is now keen to test the five-year-old’s big-race capabilities in Aintree’s Boxing Day Grade One, the feature of their newly-created Christmas meeting.

“He didn’t have the easiest of run-ups to the race, he had a small infection in his leg and he had a bit of an accident two or three weeks before,” explained Robson.

“He missed two or three weeks’ work going into Cheltenham, so I think there is definitely improvement to come on his fitness and he’s come back from Cheltenham all OK.

“I imagine we will now run him in what was the Tolworth at Aintree, I think a flat track will suit him best.”

In the immediate aftermath of Cannock Park’s Cheltenham victory, Robson was keen to keep things low-key and head to Wetherby for a simple novice event before thinking of bigger things.

However, a second look at the fixture list and an urge to find out just what is lurking under the exciting youngster’s bonnet has seen the lofty festive target enter the picture and a race that could help map out the rest of the gelding’s season.

Robson continued: “Looking at the race at Cheltenham, we think a flat track is going to be a lot better for his attributes and when we started looking at the programme, there wasn’t actually a race at Wetherby, funnily enough.

“When we looked at the calendar and saw the Tolworth had been moved to Aintree, it gives him a good chance to go there.

“I think we are right to say we would be dreaming to think he is a Supreme horse on the back of winning a Class Two maiden hurdle at Cheltenham, I think he certainly has to go and run in a high grade of race now to give us the nod whether he was good or not.

“Even if he was good enough, I think I would sidestep the Supreme and probably take him back to Aintree again in April – I think that would be more likely, but we will see.”

Despite shaping with real promise over the smaller obstacles, it appears the old cliché of ‘anything he achieves over hurdles is a bonus’ applies to Cannock Park and his training team are already looking forward to when their point winner jumps a fence in 12 months’ time.

“Before he ran at Cheltenham, we knew what we had and he was always going to be a better chaser than he was a hurdler – and the way he jumps would suggest that,” said Robson.

“So, we’re just along for the ride this season unless he turns out to be extra special, but we will find out in the Tolworth.

“He’s a very nice horse and we’re lucky to have him, he’s been a real find.”

Nicky Henderson says there is a “good chance” both Constitution Hill and Shishkin could run in the rearranged Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Sandown on Saturday.

Both missed their intended races at Newcastle on Saturday, with the meeting lost to the weather, and the two jumping stars ended up spending Friday night at Doncaster racecourse on their way back to Lambourn.

Henderson mooted the possibility of Shishkin reverting to hurdles in preparation for a crack at the King George VI Chase at the weekend, having refused to race on his intended comeback at Ascot and the weather then intervening before the Rehearsal Chase.

However, it now seems like he may be joined by his esteemed stablemate, who initially looked an unlikely runner in the rearranged race.

“There’s a good chance they could both run,” said Henderson.

“Shishkin needs a run and I think this is the easiest and kindest way to do it.

“It is only 17 days before the King George and the alternative is the Peterborough Chase but I like the idea of this.

“He was a very good two-mile chaser and so he shouldn’t find it too sharp. I admit he did get taken off his feet a little in last year’s Tingle Creek but this is a good idea for a race before the King George.

“The start won’t be a problem – he says bravely – he won’t be wearing cheekpieces and we hope he has a nice time.”

He went on: “As for Constitution Hill, we’ve ummed and ahhed the whole weekend and when I went to bed I wasn’t going to enter him, but I’ve woken up this morning with a different idea. I haven’t been able to make my mind up, so I’ve put him in.

“There’s a pretty good chance he’ll run, I’d say.

“It’s going to be a wet week but he goes in heavy ground. I’d say he’s more likely to run than not but it is a very difficult call, so everyone just needs to bear with us.

“I suspect both might run. They travelled all over the country together last weekend, so they are new best friends.”

There are eight entries for the Fighting Fifth, and they include Gordon Elliott’s Irish Point, a Grade One novice winner from last season.

Love Envoi, You Wear It Well, Benson, Goshen and Not So Sleepy complete the list.

Henderson’s Jonbon is one of six in the Betfair Tingle Creek Chase along with Captain Guinness, Boothill, Edwardstone, Haddex Des Obeaux and Nube Negra.

Joe Tizzard’s JPR One is one of seven in the Betfair Henry VIII Novices’ Chase.

In a thrilling men's senior international rugby league clash at the Mona Bowl, University of West Indies in Kingston, the USA Rugby League team managed to hold on for a hard-fought victory against Jamaica's Reggae Warriors, securing a 30-26 win.

Despite challenging conditions with the temperature soaring to 85 degrees, the Reggae Warriors took an early lead of 10-0, showcasing resilience despite having less possession. However, the USA Hawks responded strongly, turning the tide to lead 14-10 by halftime. Kyle Granby, the Brooklyn Kings centre, played a pivotal role, scoring two of his three tries in the lead-up to halftime.

Granby's exceptional performance continued after the restart as he completed a genuine five-minute hat trick. Veteran loose forward Joe Eichhner crossed the try line on the hour mark, contributing to the Hawks' lead. Granby, who also kicked two goals, showcased his versatility and skill throughout the match.

USA's skipper, Peter Lupton, reflected on the challenging contest, stating, "It was back and forth, and we had to deal with some big players. It was tough from start to finish." He acknowledged the efforts of both teams, emphasizing the significance of the game for the growth of rugby league.

Despite two late tries from Jamaica's Tahj-Jay Lynch and Kenneth Walker, the Reggae Warriors fell just short of a comeback, concluding the match with a 30-26 scoreline. The USA team, having only one training session before the game, demonstrated resilience and adaptability.

Jamaica faced setbacks with injuries, losing Andrew Simpson in the first half and Kevin Thomas in the second, limiting their bench options. Head coach Roy Calvert expressed gratitude to the USA Hawks for their visit, acknowledging the support from the local fans. Calvert said, "It was a fantastic occasion despite the narrow loss. We're 1-1 now for games between the nations played here in Jamaica and are looking forward to the next one."

Kristaps Porzingis will be absent as the Boston Celtics aim to seal their place in the last four of the NBA's in-season tournament.

Porzingis has missed the Celtics' last three games after sustaining a calf injury in a defeat to the Orlando Magic on November 24.

And the Latvian, who joined Boston from the Washington Wizards in the off-season, will not recover in time to face the Indiana Pacers on Monday.

Porzingis is averaging 18.9 points, just slightly below his career average (19.6), across his 15 games this season. Tyrese Hailburton, meanwhile, is a doubt for the Pacers.

The winner of Monday's quarter-final will head to Las Vegas for the semi-finals.

Frankie Dettori admitted that appearing on I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here! 2023 made him even hungrier than life as a jockey.

The Italian spent 12 days in camp before becoming the first contestant to be voted off this year’s ITV reality series.

Dettori said: “I’ve been dieting for 30 years, but this takes you to another level. The heat, the fatigue of the jungle.

“We just needed some fuel in our stomach, you can feel your body actually slowing down and shutting off. Even a handful of rice put us back up.

“It’s been challenging, I’ll be honest with you, but great, fantastic camp.”

Following an incredible career in Britain which has brought him 23 Classic victories, the 52-year-old is now set to resume riding in California.

Reflecting on his time in the jungle, Dettori told hosts Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly: “It’s been so surreal and what an adventure.

“Yesterday, it really hit me when we got the letters from the loved ones, you forget that there is a world outside, people watching you.

“You know, we’ve been out of our comfort zone for so long and it’s been so great.

“I did nearly two weeks in the jungle, I beat my fears of enclosed spaces and snakes, all in the same task. I met some wonderful people and it’s been a fantastic experience.”

Fran Williams admitted being asked to be captain of the England team for their upcoming series against South Africa came “a bit out of the blue” as preparations continued for the opening game on Tuesday.

The Loughborough Lightning player will lead the Vitality Roses in their tri-series against the SPAR Proteas, which begins on December 5 in Manchester followed by two games on December 9 and 10 in Nottingham.

Working in a wider leadership group alongside Eleanor Cardwell and Imogen Allison, Williams will lead the team for the first time and revealed that while receiving the captaincy was unexpected, she was looking forward to the opportunity.

“(It was) a bit out of the blue, I was having a catch-up meeting with Jess (Thirlby) our head coach about something completely separate and not relevant to leadership roles and captaincy,” Williams told the PA news agency.

“Then at the end of the meeting she asked if I’d want to be captain, if I’d take on that honour and I said ‘I don’t have to think about it, I’d love to do that opportunity’.

“Then I walked away and thought ‘gosh that’s actually a big deal, maybe I should have thought about this a bit more!’.

“There’s nothing better than being able to represent the team and it’s just such an easy role to take on when you’ve got a group and a squad like we have who are so willing to get stuck in, always seeing the positives, want to jump on board and get involved in as much as possible.”

December’s fixtures will be England’s first games back on home turf since winning silver at the Netball World Cup over the summer, where they fell to a 61-45 defeat against Australia in the final.

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Williams played a pivotal part in the tournament, providing a vital interception in the dying minutes of their semi-final against reigning champions New Zealand and reflected on a “history-making moment” reaching the final.

“I think at the time and in that moment of the final it was obviously devastating,” Williams said.

“To lose against Australia particularly when – bearing in mind it was a tight game – we’d beaten them only a few days before.

“However, when I look back now, I have nothing but pride for the way we performed this summer as a Roses squad. Not just players but all the staff and the journey we’d been on to reaching that historic final and getting our first-ever silver medal at a Netball World Cup, it was still a history-making moment.

“Not just the final result but also the memories I have with that team. Not just in the prep camp before, but the years before leading to us being able to do that is what I’ll take away from the experience the most.

“It’s so exciting to see where we could end up in four years’ time. Now I’ve got that springboard and motivation from being that close in the summer to really want to go for it those next four years.”

There are plenty of new faces in the Roses squad for the South Africa series with five players preparing to make their home international debuts and Williams was looking forward to the “new opportunities ahead”.

She added: “We’ve got a fresh-looking squad, new opportunities lying ahead and whilst it’s so important we carry those stories and lessons learned from the summer and make sure we’re all on the same page and everyone – even if you weren’t there – gets to learn from what worked well in the summer to get to that point and what we could do better to get us over the line in that final in four years’ time.

“There’s also the opportunity to create our own memories and our own history with a new squad.”

Today’s meeting at Plumpton has been abandoned due to a waterlogged course.

The East Sussex venue had 37mm of rain over a period of 30 hours and, with further downpours forecast, there was no prospect for improvement.

This afternoon’s card at Ayr had already been called off yesterday, with parts of the track frozen, leaving only an all-weather evening meeting at Wolverhampton.

Seven fixtures have now fallen to the weather over the past four days, including Saturday’s high-profile Fighting Fifth meeting at Newcastle.

Leicester and Southwell were cancelled due to snow on Sunday, while Carlisle did manage to race but were hit by 24 non-runners, largely because of travel problems.

Brad Marchand recorded a natural hat trick in the third period to rally the Boston Bruins to a 3-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Sunday.

Marchand's three consecutive goals erased a 1-0 deficit and lifted the Bruins to a third consecutive victory following Monday's 5-2 loss at Columbus. Jeremy Swayman, who was pulled in the second period of that prior meeting, bounced back with 24 saves and Charlie McAvoy assisted on two of Marchand's goals.

After the Blue Jackets' Boone Jenner scored in the final minute of the second period to break a scoreless tie, Marchand had his shot deflect off Columbus defenseman Zach Werenski and into the net to pull Boston even less than two minutes into the third.

A pair of Columbus penalties soon afterward enabled the Bruins to move ahead, as Marchand converted on both power-play chances just over two minutes apart to give Boston a 3-1 lead 7:46 into the final period.

Spencer Martin had 25 saves for the Blue Jackets, who have lost two of three since Monday's win over Boston.


Panarin's three goals, one assist lift Rangers over Sharks

The New York Rangers' Artemi Panarin also had a three-goal day to help his team extend its own winning streak with Sunday's 6-5 victory over the San Jose Sharks.

Panarin added an assist on K'Andre Miller's eventual game-winning goal in the third period as New York held on for its third consecutive victory. Mika Zibanejad contributed a goal and an assist for the Rangers, who staved off a late comeback attempt after the Sharks scored twice in the final 5 1/2 minutes.

New York's Will Cuylle scored with 3:57 left in the second period to snap a 3-3 tie before Panarin completed his hat trick with less than five minutes elapsed in the third.

Panarin later set up Miller for a shot that beat Sharks' goaltender MacKenzie Blackwood to give the Rangers a 6-3 lead with just under seven minutes remaining.

Fabian Zetterlund and Alexander Barabanov scored 1:12 apart to bring San Jose within one, but the Sharks failed to get the equaliser and fell to 1-11-0 on the road. 

First-period goals from Anthony Duclair and Ryan Carpenter staked San Jose to an early 2-1 lead before Panarin scored his second of the game later in the first period. Zibanejad put the Rangers ahead later in the opening frame before Jacob MacDonald's power-play goal midway through the second period forged a 3-3 tie. 

Blackwood finished with 30 saves and Jonathan Quick made 23 stops for New York.


Kopitar sets Kings' assist record in win over Avalanche

Quinton Byfield scored two goals and Anže Kopitar set a franchise record for career assists to help the Los Angeles Kings to a 4-1 win over the Colorado Avalanche.

The Kings scored three unanswered goals in the third period to rebound from Friday's 2-1 loss to the Washington Capitals that stopped a five-game winning streak. Trevor Moore and Drew Doughty helped Los Angeles pull away after Byfield snapped a 1-1 tie with 6:34 remaining.

Kopitar helped set up Byfield's second goal for his 758th assist in a Kings uniform, breaking a tie he had held with Marcel Dionne for the most in team history. 

Cam Talbot made 20 saves for Los Angeles, which outshot the Avalanche by a 23-5 margin during a dominant third period.

Josh Manson scored Colorado's lone goal with 7:32 left in the first period, but Byfield answered midway through the second with his first goal of the night.

Alexandar Georgiev stopped 34 of 37 shots for the Avalanche, who had a six-game point streak snapped and fell to 0-1-2 over their last three games.

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett will reportedly miss two-to-four weeks with a right ankle injury he sustained in Sunday's game against the Arizona Cardinals.

According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Pickett will undergo surgery Monday and will be evaluated further following the procedure, leaving open the possibility he could be sidelined for a period longer than his initial timetable. 

Pickett was injured on a scramble attempt near the goal line during the second quarter of Pittsburgh's 24-10 loss to the Cardinals. The second-year pro was ruled out at half-time and had his right foot in a walking boot while on the sidelines during the second half.

Veteran Mitch Trubisky replaced Pickett and will start the Steelers' game against the New England Patriots on Thursday.

Trubisky began last season as Pittsburgh's No. 1 quarterback before being displaced by the then-rookie Pickett after four games. The former Chicago Bears' first-round pick went 2-3 in five overall starts in 2022 while compiling 1,252 passing yards with four touchdowns and five interceptions over seven total games.

Pickett completed seven of 10 passes for 70 yards before exiting to extend his franchise-record streak of pass attempts without an interception to 218, the longest streak of any quarterback this season as well. The 2022 first-round pick has not thrown an interception in eight consecutive starts to help put the Steelers in position for a playoff spot in the AFC.

At 7-5, Pittsburgh is one of four teams currently tied in the race for the conference's three wild card spots. The Steelers trail the first-place Baltimore Ravens by two games in the AFC North with five left to play.

For the season, Pickett has thrown for 2,070 yards with six touchdowns and four interceptions while completing 62 per cent of his pass attempts in 12 starts. 

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