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.