The three-year-old campaign leading up to the 1000 and 2000 Guineas on April 9 continues at Caymanas Park today with the respective Guineas trials – the Thornbird Stakes for native-bred fillies and the Prince Consort Stakes for colts and geldings, both over 1400 metres.Ten fillies have been declared for the $1.1 million Thornbird Stakes, including top contenders NUCLEAR AFFAIR and SORRENTINO’S STAR, to be ridden by in-form three-time champion jockey Dane Nelson and leading all-time jockey Winston Griffiths, respectively.When both fillies last met in the $4.25 million supreme Ventures Jamaica two-year-old Stakes over a mile last Boxing Day, the Gary Subratie-trained NUCLEAR AFFAIR just failed to stave off the winner, FUTURE KING, while then favourite, SORRENTINO’S STAR finished four lengths fifth at level weights.Today, NUCLEAR AFFAIR is in receipt of 4.0kg from topweight SORRENTINO’S STAR. Following her decisive win over the promising colt ORPHEUS on her January 30 seasonal debut over 1500 metres, NUCLEAR AFFAIR, now running with a mere 53.0kg, looks hard to oppose under these favourable conditions.Trainer Subratie is looking forward to even bigger things from NUCLEAR AFFAIR, with the 1000 Guineas just around the corner.”I have very high hopes for her this season. She has definitely trained on from two to three with that good win over the progressive colt Orpheus over 1500 metres some weeks ago, clocking a good time, and is definitely a class act,” said the second-generation trainer.”She apparently has everything in her favour and should use this as a dress rehearsal for the Guineas,” added Subratie.The chestnut filly by Nuclear Wayne out of Commandra Affair should win easily from SORRENTINO’S STAR and GIRLY GIRLY LINKS.Meanwhile, 12 colts will face-off in the $1.1 million Prince Consort Stakes and, to my mind, it should come down to a straight fight between Nelson’s mount JAMAI RAJA and ORPHEUS, both impressive winners this season.GOD GOINGPreference is for ORPHEUS, who has pleased in all three races this season. After winning over this trip on January 1 and following up with a close second to NUCLEAR AFFAIR, over 1500 metres on January 30, ORPHEUS gained nods of approval after his impressive win over CHACE THE GREAT in the recent Sir Howard Stakes over 1200 metres, the chestnut colt, by Adore The Gold out of La Reina, covering the distance in the good time of 1;13.3.With in-form trainer Anthony ‘Baba’ Nunes having him in good nick and the additional furlong right up his street, ORPHEUS, with champion jockey Shane Ellis again in the saddle, looks the right choice.Other firm fancies on the card are MR. TOPPER TOP MAN in the second race for maidens; IAN LINKS to go one better in the fourth; UNCLE G in the sixth; FUTURE KING over stable-companion HOVER CRAFT and COMMANDING CHIEF in the seventh race over 1500m for overnight allowance horses; and JESSE’S FAVORITE in the closing race.
LONDON, AP:Leicester’s next hurdle in their unexpected run to the English title is against the Premier League’s other surprise package.In the league’s most unpredictable season since its inception in 1992, Leicester will face sixth-place West Ham on Sunday with both teams seeking their highest finish in the Premier League era.Leicester will be looking to maintain their seven-point lead over Tottenham at the top, while West Ham try to close the gap on fourth-place Manchester City. A loss for Leicester could see Tottenham, which play at Stoke on Monday, cut the lead to only four points with four games remaining.Leicester’s rise to the top of English football is widely regarded as one of the league’s most surprising events since Blackburn won the top division in 1995. Like Blackburn, Leicester’s success has been largely because of their attacking prowess, although instead of Alan Shearer and Chris Sutton, it’s Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez.Vardy has scored 21 goals this season, including two against Sunderland last week, and trails league leader Harry Kane by only one.”He deserves everything he gets,” Leicester goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel said of Vardy. “He works so hard and he’s a top lad around the dressing room. He’s a good influence on everybody.”Even balls that are put into areas that some strikers maybe wouldn’t go for them, he runs them down. He makes bad balls into good balls and good balls into great balls.”West Ham also have plenty to play for in their first season under manager Slaven Bilic. The team is still fighting for a place in next season’s Champions League, a vast improvement on last year’s 12th-place finish.”He’s a great manager and a great bloke, to be honest,” West Ham striker Andy Carroll said of Bilic. “You can talk to him about football or not about football, and when it comes to games his tactics are spot-on. Every game, he takes each game as it comes and it’s different tactics, different set-ups and different formations.”West Ham’s best finish in the Premier League was fifth place in 1999. Before the Premier League was established, the team finished third in 1986.Leicester’s best finishes were eighth in the Premier League in 2000, and before that second in 1929.
LONDON, England:A glittering new personal best and another clear message that she is more than ready to tango with the best of them.National 200m champion Elaine Thompson was a nervous wreck as she stood on the line, waiting to compete for the first time in a 200m on the Diamond League circuit. In fact, it was her first time running the 200m outside of Jamaica this season and only the second time doing so in her career.”I was really nervous, I just wanted the gun to go off!” she shared, stooping over and catching her breath after a 22.10-second win in a rocking London Olympic Stadium at the Sainsbury’s Anniversary Games yesterday.There has been much curiosity around the fast and fast-rising World Championships-bound Jamaican sprinter after a season that has seen her clock 10.84 over 100m and before yesterday’s, run 22.37 in the 200m.It was a timely boost of confidence for the young sprinter, who now has the fourth-fastest time in the world this year, and with the World Championships in Beijing set to be her next assignment, it’s unlikely that too many persons will be doubting her after this.”I am really excited,” she exclaimed. “I came off the corner in first place, I was really determined to execute the rest of the race well and I came out victorious, so I’m really happy for that.”The American pair of Torie Bowie and Candyce McGrone – who is the second fastest woman this year with a 22.08 clocking – tested the Jamaican at the top of the straight but had no answer as the 23-year-old found another gear with Bowie crossing the line in second place in 22.32 ahead of McGrone, 22.70.”It’s a big confidence booster for me and I have to thank God because I have trained really hard for this and wanted to come out here and do my best, so I’m happy about that,” Thompson smiled. “My focus was really to come off the corner as best as possible and taking it from there.”email@example.com
PROFESSOR’S INTERVENTION From a super-fast 4x400m run from the St Elizabeth Technical High School (STETHS) girls in the morning to Christopher Taylor’s zooming comeback for Calabar in Class Two, to the all-star run by Javauney James in the 4x800m, to the fascinating Ashley Williams-Junelle Bromfield duel in the 4x400m final, the 40th Gibson/McCook Relays was filled with baton magic. Despite the rain, the storied relay carnival delivered excitement as always. Curiously, the events inside the National Stadium have fans speaking of a new athletic power in the land, Sprintec Track Club. Based at the G.C. Foster College for Physical Education and led by noted coach Maurice Wilson, Sprintec took both 4x100m for Clubs and Institutions and put up real resistance in the men’s 4x400m final. It took a 44.8-second anchor by relay genius Javon Francis to reel in Sprintec. The 2015 Pan-Am 100m champion, Sherone Simpson, has rebuilt her career at Sprintec and Anastacia LeRoy may well be on the verge of moving up from her status as merely being a reliable member of the women’s 4x400m pool at major championships. Commonwealth 200m champion, Rasheed Dwyer, has been joined there by former Calabar High and Akan sprinter Oshane Bailey and the results are promising. To be fair, neither Racers nor MVP turned up at full strength. That meant no Usain Bolt, no Warren Weir, no Kemar Bailey-Cole and no Johan Blake from Racers; and no Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and no Elaine Thompson from the MVP. Two weeks earlier, MVP’s Carrie Russell, Thompson, Andrea Reid-Goodwin and Fraser-Pryce won the 4x100m at the Western Relays in 43.31 seconds. That’s 0.3 faster than the winning time last Saturday night. Still, the Sprintec efforts at Gibson/McCook were notable. The win in the men’s 4x100m was eye-catching at 38.59 seconds despite cool and wet conditions. It’s great to have another source of athletic excellence to join the established clubs. The hope is that others will rise up, too. The day almost got off to a miserable start, but fans were rescued at the gate by organising committee chairman, Professor Rainford Wilks. It seemed that the main gate security team thought access should be granted at 9 a.m., the set time of the first race. Thanks to the professor’s intervention, all was well. The day that unfolded saw an injury-free return for Germany Gonzales, an early morning 4x400m jaunt for hurdles star Hansle Parchment and hot racing in the high school ranks. Thanks to a big anchor by James, STETHS edged St Jago in the boys’ 4x800m. Emerging Holmwood prospect, Williams outduelled the outstanding Bromfield after STETHS had already run three minutes 36.91 seconds in the morning heats. The second fastest time in qualifying was all of five seconds slower. Happily, the apparent injury to Calabar High’s Class Two sprint ace, Tyreke Wilson, has turned out to be nothing more serious than a cramp. Taylor, Michael Stephens and Dejour Russell retrieved the situation in the 4x100m final in spectacular fashion, but never appeared again for the day. With Champs just around the corner, caution was advisable. Those who thrive on records might have left disappointed. The rest of us went home invigorated by a great show and with Champs on the brain. – Hubert Lawrence has made notes at trackside since 1980.
BANGALORE, India (CMC):West Indies will look to separate themselves from the crowd while taking a giant step towards the next round when they clash with Sri Lanka in their second game of the Twenty20 World Cup today. The match starts at 9 a.m. Jamaica time.They lead Group 1 following their convincing six-wicket victory over England in Mumbai last Wednesday, but are on two points along with Sri Lanka and England, who are second and third, respectively, based on net run rate.However, fully aware that another win would put the Caribbean side further out front, captain Darren Sammy said there would be no letting up in the intensity with which they planned to approach the contest at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium.”Tomorrow’s game becomes very, very important for us especially with the way the group is turning out,” Sammy warned.”Before we came here, when we looked at the schedule, the coach did mention that every game should be played like a final, and tomorrow’s no different. We have played Sri Lanka in a final before, we lost to them twice in the semis, so it is very important in the context of how the group is turning out.”Hopefully, we can keep on winning because that’s what we’re in the tournament here to do. Like I’ve said many times, once we do what we know we can do – and you saw it against England – [we will be successful].”West Indies are riding on the momentum from their emphatic win over England, when they chased down 183 to win with 11 balls to spare at the Wankhede Stadium.The victory was led by superstar opener Chris Gayle, who struck an unbeaten even century to become the first player to reach triple figures twice in T20 World Cup history.”Our bowlers did what we had to do and then our batters, led by Chris, chased it down very well. Today, another venue, good wicket, hopefully we can have another exciting match, but we come out victorious.”Today’s venue is the home of Indian Premier League side Royal Challengers Bangalore, whose batting is spearheaded by Gayle.
P W D L GF GA GD Pts1 Leicester 34 21 10 3 59 33 26 732 T’ham 33 18 11 4 60 25 35 653 Man City 33 18 6 9 61 33 28 604 Arsenal 33 17 9 7 56 34 22 605 Man U 33 16 8 9 40 30 10 566 West Ham 33 13 14 6 54 42 12 537 Southam 34 14 9 11 45 35 10 518 Liverpool 32 14 9 9 52 43 9 519 Stoke City 33 13 8 12 37 43 -6 4710 Chelsea 33 11 11 11 49 45 4 4411 Everton 33 9 14 10 53 44 9 4112 Watford 33 11 8 14 32 37 -5 4113 B’mouth 34 11 8 15 41 57 -16 4114 West Brom 33 10 10 13 31 40 -9 4015 Swansea 34 10 10 14 34 45 -11 4016 C Palace 34 10 9 15 36 43 -7 3917 Norwich 34 8 7 19 35 60 -25 3118 S’land 33 7 9 17 39 57 -18 3019 N’castle 33 7 7 19 35 61 -26 2820 Aston V 34 3 7 24 23 65 -42 16
SUZUKA, Japan (CMC): Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton suffered another blow to his title defence when he finished third behind teammate Nico Rosberg in yesterday’s Japanese Grand Prix. The Brit, whose paternal grandparents are Grenadian, suffered a poor start after lining up second on the grid and failed to recover in time as Rosberg took the chequered flag with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen second. For Hamilton, the result was a damaging one, as it left him 33 points behind Rosberg with four races left in the season, following on from his failure to finish in Malaysia last week. He said, however, he planned to keep us his challenge until the end of the season. “This is a great result. I don’t think the damp patch [on my side of the track] had really anything to do with it. I made a mistake and then just working my way up from there was tricky but … I did the best I could,” Hamilton told reporters afterwards. He added: “I’ll give it everything I’ve got [for the rest of the season] as I did in the race and we’ll see what happens.” PLUNGE TO EIGHTH Hamilton’s slow start meant he plunged to eighth as he was easily swamped by the cars behind him, and he left the first corner already significantly behind Rosberg. The 31-year-old then produced a stirring comeback passing the likes of Kimi Raikkonen of Ferrari of Williams to catch Verstappen with nine laps left. However, the teenaged Dutch driver kept Hamilton at bay, forcing him to settle for third spot. Rosberg now has 313 points with Hamilton on 280 and Daniel Ricciardo third on 212. The next race will be the United States Grand Prix which comes off in two weeks in Austin, Texas.
PLAYERS TO BE CHALLENGED Among the players Tomlinson must challenge to qualify for a regional Olympic spot is Brazilian Hugo Calderano, who starred at the recent Olympic table tennis competition in Rio de Janeiro. During 2016, Calderano rose from number 77 to number 31 in the ITTF world ranking. In Rio, he reached the round of 16 in the men’s singles. Other noted players from the region include France-based world number 157 Mexican Marcos Madrid and another Brazilian, Thiago Monteiro, ranked at 155. “It’s hard to compete with those guys,” Tomlinson estimated, “so it would be good to be on sort of more even footing with them the next time around.” Tomlinson expects to complete his UTech studies in 2017. Despite the respect the UTech Sports Management student has for Calderano and the region’s other fine table tennis players, he isn’t scared. He clearly feels that he can join Garfield Jones, Hylton and Michael Hyatt as Jamaican table tennis Olympians. “I have more experience,” said the young man, who has played on the European circuit and who has played in black, green, and-gold at the Commonwealth Games and World Championships. “Being able to draw on that experience to help in competition should help a lot,” he concluded. Simon Tomlinson, Jamaica’s table tennis champion, says he will head to Sweden to improve his game when his studies at the University of Technology (UTech) are over. Tomlinson has his heart set on competing for Jamaica in the 2020 Olympics and believes a return to Sweden will help him to train and compete at a level that will make this dream come true. “I’m still a student-athlete, so for the short-term, I’m focusing on finishing my degree,” he tabled in an interview at the Barbican Table Tennis Centre in Kingston recently. “Of course, I’m training as well as I can, given that I still need to focus most of my time on schoolwork. “As soon as that’s finished, I’ll be looking to go back to Sweden, go back to playing the league, to stay there long-term and be in a competitive environment to prepare myself for Japan (2020 Olympics).” Like his mentor, three-time Caribbean champion Stephen Hylton, the 24-year-old Tomlinson has trained in Sweden before. The Scandinavian country has produced three world champions in Stellan Bengtsson, Jan-Ove Waldner and Jorgen Persson, Olympic bronze medallist Erik Lindh, and three-time European champion Mikael Appelgren with Waldner, the 1992 Olympic gold-medal winner, regarded by many as the finest player of all time. After a lull, the Swedes are on the rise again. Aggressive left-hander Kristian Karlsson played his way into the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) World Cup semi-finals with another Swedish leftie, Par Gerell, in the quarter-finals.
Many-time champions St Mary High put in a gutsy performance, to return as Eastern Championships overall winners, courtesy of a commanding 717.50 points, at the UWI-Usain Bolt Track, yesterday.The champions scored 290.5 and 427 points on the boys and girls’ sides to wrestle away the title last held by bitter rivals Buff Bay High in 2015.Runner-up Buff Bay High scored 650 points, (287 point – boys, and 363 points to the girls) respectively. Titchfield were third with 324.50 points, Oberlin High finished fourth with 313 and Morant Bay High rounded out the top five with 218 points, respectively.The hotly contested two-day event climaxed with the St Mary school copping Jamaican $250,000 in the boys and girls’ section, while the runner-up and third placed teams pocketed $100,000 and $50,000 respectively.The champion boy Romaine Beckford (Buff Bay) set a new high jump Class Two boys’ record at 1.94 metres.NEW MARKShanice Burrell, the champion girl from Titchfield High, set a new mark in the girls Class One 100m hurdles in a time of 14.83 seconds.There were a total of eight records broken on yesterday’s final day of competition.St Mary High’s Class Three star, Soneitta Gilette, won four gold medals in the long jump, 100m, 200m and 4x100m respectively.Meanwhile, St Mary’s coach, Dwayne Williams, was happy with winning his second title since 2010.”It was a hard-fought victory, but we expected it to some extent, despite injuries to some of our athletes and interruption to our training,” Williams said.Yesterday’s event culminated the second meet of the 2017 Digicel Grand Prix Athletics Series.The series consists of five meets and the top two athletes from each of the Digicel Grand Prix Championship events will advance to the final, the G.C. Foster Classics, which will be held at the National Stadium on March 11.It will carry a grand prize of $1 million dollars in gym equipment for the top boys and girls’ schools; $500,000 for second and $250,000 for third.
LONDON (AP):Jermain Defoe was recalled to the England squad at the age of 34 yesterday, more than three years after last playing for the national team.The Sunderland striker is among 26 players selected for England’s upcoming matches after captain Wayne Rooney, Daniel Sturridge and Harry Kane were ruled out because of injury.Defoe has scored 19 goals in 55 England appearances but last played in 2013. Although Sunderland are last in the Premier League, Defoe has 14 goals from 27 appearances.”Year after year he’s phenomenal, but this year in particular, in a team that aren’t creating as many chances as other teams, his strike rate is outstanding,” England coach Gareth Southgate said ahead of games against Germany and Lithuania.Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford has also been called up by Southgate, whose side plays a friendly in Germany on Wednesday before hosting Lithuania in a World Cup qualifier on March 26.