Happy Diva chasing Paddy Power Gold Cup double | Racing News

first_img“At the weights we probably can’t win but we’ve got to have a go at it, her prep run brought her on and we’re 100 per cent happy that she’ll run her best race, whether that is good enough we’ll find out.“This will probably her her last handicap – mares’ races like the one at Doncaster at Christmas, where she just got beat by Lady Buttons, and the new one at the Festival are probably what we’re looking at.”Simply The Betts has taken to chasing with real aplomb, winning four of his five starts last season, culminating in his win in March.- Advertisement – Happy Diva aims to become the first back-to-back winner of the Paddy Power Gold Cup since Bradbury Star when the Kerry Lee-trained mare lines up at Cheltenham on Saturday.While Cyfor Malta did win the famous handicap twice after Josh Gifford’s top-class performer, his victories came four years apart.- Advertisement – That was a breakthrough at the big meeting for trainer Harry Whittington, who has been delighted with his preparation for this.“We were thinking about the Old Roan or the Paddy Power in the summer and the same owners have got Itchy Feet, so it makes sense for him to be going back to Cheltenham,” said Whittington.“He’s two from two, he loves the track, he thrives (there). I think that’s a huge advantage.“He’s fresh, he’s incredibly well. He’s done plenty of work because he started off when he came in in June.“His work has been sparkling, we’re very happy with him and he’s won fresh every season so we’re really looking forward to running him.”Happy Diva was the beneficiary of a late fall by Slate House last year with Colin Tizzard’s charge, who was a novice at the time, slipping up two out.He later went on to win a Grade One at Kempton and assistant trainer Joe Tizzard feels he is back in top form.He said: “He has not had a prep run before the race this year, but he goes well fresh. He likes the track and it seems like a nice target for him.“It looked like he was cruising in last year’s race until he fell, but it was just one of those things. As his season went on he improved like we hoped he would although the Cheltenham Festival never really worked out for him.“He is quite a bit higher in the weights this year, but we still feel it is the right race for him.“If you forget his Cheltenham Festival run he has always run pretty well round Cheltenham. He goes well fresh and runs well at this time of year.”The Tizzards also saddle one of the outsiders, The Russian Doyen, but he could outrun his odds.Tizzard said: “He got injured at Aintree and that was it for last season, but the season before he finished fourth in the Listed novice handicap chase at the Cheltenham Festival where he was the best of the English-trained runners.“He could be a slightly forgotten horse and had a nice prep run over hurdles at Fontwell. I think he has got a great each-way chance.”The ante-post favourite for a long time was Paul Nicholls’ Saint Sonnet, before he was joined at the head of the betting by Mister Fisher and Simply The Betts.Nicholls told Betfair of his French import: “We freshened him up before he won a little race at Catterick at the end of February and he then ran an encouraging race in the Marsh Chase at the Festival. I’ve had the Paddy Power Gold in mind for him ever since.“Saint Sonnet has had a perfect preparation since coming back into training at the start of July, he should be very fit, and a mark of 147 is fair enough without being a gift.“I did plan to give him a pop over hurdles at Chepstow a month ago, but took him out because the ground was too quick. He is an improving five-year-old and I couldn’t be happier with him.”The Pipe family have a good record in this race and David Pipe hopes new recruit Siruh Du Lac can get involved at the finish on his first run since leaving Nick Williams.“Siruh Du Lac is in good form. He had a wind operation over the summer. He works well as you would expect from a 150-rated horse. He needs to step up his game to be involved in the finish, but he has been working well at home and we are very much looking forward to it,” said Pipe.“Siruh Du Lac has been to all the big occasions anyway. He usually races up towards the front of the field and touch wood is a good jumper.“He did fall at Cheltenham last time and you just think about whether horses remember that. He has jumped nicely at home and jumping is one of his strengths, so I think he was just unlucky last time.“The horses have been in good form and are running well. We of course have a history with the Paddy Power meeting, and it would be great to enjoy another good weekend at Cheltenham.”Nigel Twiston-Davies is another trainer with a good record in the race and feels the step up in trip could suit his Al Dancer.The William Hill ambassador said: “His win first time up this season at Newton Abbot was quite remarkable to be honest. The reason why I felt it was so good was because he settled so well, better than he ever had done before, and that could be the key to him.“He had to run over two miles before because he wouldn’t settle, but if he settles here then this trip might bring out the best in him. I think this extra distance should put him ahead of the handicapper.” – Advertisement – Happy Diva may turn 10 on New Year’s Day, but continued to improve throughout last season and was second at the Festival behind Simply The Betts, whom she meets on better terms this weekend.When it was put to her that Happy Diva would be attempting to emulate one of the greats of the National Hunt scene, Lee said: “She’s already one of the greats in our eyes!“I still maintain that her career-best effort was at the Festival last year, she just got chinned. She’s in great form going there, but we know she’s up against it as she’s up in the handicap (from last year).- Advertisement –last_img read more

Shkodran Mustafi reacts to being voted world’s second worst defender behind Phil Jones

first_imgShkodran Mustafi reacts to being voted world’s second worst defender behind Phil Jones Advertisement Emery admitted Mustafi could leave in the summer (Picture: Getty)Mustafi has revealed that he thought about leaving Arsenal ahead of the 2019/20 campaign but a deal could not be reached between all parties.‘In the summer there were considerations to change the club but there wasn’t an option that all sides would have been happy with,’ he added.‘Arsenal also attached some conditions to a possible departure despite the statements.More: FootballRio Ferdinand urges Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to drop Manchester United starChelsea defender Fikayo Tomori reveals why he made U-turn over transfer deadline day moveMikel Arteta rates Thomas Partey’s chances of making his Arsenal debut vs Man City‘And I knew the next change is going to be extremely important in order to write a positive chapter in my career again.‘If I move somewhere where it doesn’t really fit, the situation couldn’t improve much so I stayed.‘I am open for the future – also for the Bundesliga.’Who is the worst defender?Shkodran Mustafi0%Phil Jones0%Share your resultsShare your resultsTweet your resultsMORE: Real Madrid star Dani Ceballos drops hint over Arsenal future Advertisement Mustafi has not featured in the Premier League this season (Picture: Getty)Mustafi pinpoints Arsenal’s 5-1 thumping at Liverpool in December 2018 as the moment he began receiving more criticism from supporters.The German had been struggling with a thigh muscle strain leading up to the clash and suffered another setback when Emery pushed him to play at Anfield.‘I had missed three weeks through injury and then went into the game without training with the team because the coach needed me,’ Mustafi added.‘At half-time it was 4-1, I didn’t look good a few times and injured myself again.‘Afterwards, I got a lot of negative comments from Arsenal fans on Instagram and Twitter and articles were written in which I was harshly criticised.’center_img Shkodran Mustafi was voted the second worst defender in the world behind Phil Jones (Picture: Getty)Shkodran Mustafi insists he’s taken no notice of a poll conducted by Spanish publication Marca which named him the second worst defender on the planet.After more than 150,000 votes were cast, Manchester United centre-back Phil Jones (47%) beat Shkodran Mustafi (35%) to the title that neither of them wanted.Unai Emery admitted in the summer that Mustafi was free to leave if Arsenal received a suitable offer this summer and Serie A giants Juventus and Roma were reportedly interested in the 27-year-old.However, a move never materliased and, while Mustafi is yet to feature in the Premier League this season, he’s impressed in Arsenal’s cup competitions.ADVERTISEMENT Emery: Victory over Bournemouth ‘one more step’ towards consistencyTo view this video please enable JavaScript, and consider upgrading to a web browser that supports HTML5 video Play VideoLoaded: 0%0:00Progress: 0%PlayMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration Time 11:48FullscreenEmery: Victory over Bournemouth ‘one more step’ towards consistencyhttps://metro.co.uk/video/emery-victory-bournemouth-one-step-consistency-2021034/This is a modal window.Beginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window.TextColorWhiteBlackRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentTransparentWindowColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyTransparentSemi-TransparentOpaqueFont Size50%75%100%125%150%175%200%300%400%Text Edge StyleNoneRaisedDepressedUniformDropshadowFont FamilyProportional Sans-SerifMonospace Sans-SerifProportional SerifMonospace SerifCasualScriptSmall CapsReset restore all settings to the default valuesDoneClose Modal DialogEnd of dialog window.The Germany international played every minute against Eintracht Frankfurt, Nottingham Forest and Standard Liege, with the Gunners recording clean sheets in all three matches.AdvertisementAdvertisementAsked bluntly whether he is the world’s second worst defender, as Marca‘s poll suggests, Mustafi told Spiegel: ‘No, I do not think so.‘I would think about it more seriously if it had been a survey among the best coaches in Europe.‘In the first two years after my move to Arsenal in 2016, things went very well for me. I saw myself as a top performer. But shortly after Christmas 2018 there was a kink.‘I made a few mistakes and they produced a reaction that I’ve never experienced before.’ Metro Sport ReporterTuesday 8 Oct 2019 5:20 pmShare this article via facebookShare this article via twitterShare this article via messengerShare this with Share this article via emailShare this article via flipboardCopy link2kShares Commentlast_img read more

Cricket News The Fourth Umpire During New Zealand Vs England Series Was A Former Porn Star

first_imgNew Delhi: The New Zealand Vs England Twenty20 International series was an absolute classic, with England winning the deciding match at Eden Park Auckland by a super over to clinch the series 3-2. It was a series that saw plenty of twists and turns, with England winning the first match before New Zealand bounced back with wins in Wellington and Nelson. The Nelson victory gave New Zealand a 2-1 series lead before Dawid Malan’s century and a record stand of 182 with Eoin Morgan helped England level the game in style in Napier.It was during the game at the Saxton Oval where there was a revelation which made the rounds. It all involved around the fourth umpire, whose role requires him to perform duties like bringing on the new ball, carrying drinks on to the field for the umpires, checking the batteries in the light meter and observing the pitch during the lunch and tea intervals to make sure there is no interference.During the Nelson Twenty20 International match, the fourth umpire was Garth Stirrat and according to a report in The Sun, Stirrat is a former porn star. The Sun reported that Stirrat was part of a graphic spread in a magazine. It also reported that the name he gave during filming is ‘Steve Parnell’. The New Zealand players were aware and told their opponents as well. Also Read | New Zealand And England – Mastering The Art Of A Thriller And Changing Cricket AgainStirrat had to face a tough time when the revelation came out. He had been fired as the Chief Executive of the New Zealand Professional Golfers’ Association 10 years ago when his past came out in the open. However, the tolerance and openness showed by both teams and the match officials during the series against Stirrat shows the changing times in the world of sport which has been for the better.  For all the Latest Sports News News, Cricket News News, Download News Nation Android and iOS Mobile Apps.last_img read more

Chiefs schedule 2020: Dates & times for all 16 games, strength of schedule, final record prediction

first_imgThe Chiefs’ defensive improvements last year paid off, and now there’s more familiarity with Steve Spagnuolo’s scheme. There are a few leftover weaknesses in pass coverage, but there’s no indication of any real drop-off, let alone any kind of Super Bowl hangover.Including playoffs, Kansas City is riding a nine-game winning streak into the 2020 season. There’s no reason to think the Chiefs won’t stay mostly hot to win another division crown.Record prediction: 12-4 The Chiefs just won Super Bowl 54, but the big question is already here: Can Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid lead Kansas City to an encore in Super Bowl 55? For the Chiefs to put themselves in best position to repeat, it all depends how well they can navigate their 2020 schedule.The Chiefs went 12-4 last season, marking the third time in the past four seasons they have ended up with that record as consistent AFC West champions. Kansas City also rides a five-year playoff streak into 2020. NFL OFFSEASON 2020:Draft grades | Power rankings | Best free agents availableOnce again, the Chiefs will face all three returning first-place teams in the AFC in the Ravens, Texans and Patriots. This year, their interdivisional rotation also includes the rest of the AFC East and all of the NFC South on top of their six games against AFC West foes.Putting it all together, how does the Chiefs’ schedule look for this season?Here is a complete breakdown of the Chiefs’ 2020 schedule, including dates, start times and analysis for all 16 games.Kansas City Chiefs schedule 2020WeekDateOpponentKickoff timeTV1Sept. 10 (Thursday)Houston Texans8:20 p.m. ETNBC2Sept. 20at Los Angeles Chargers4:25 p.m. ETCBS3Sept. 28 (Monday)at Baltimore Ravens8:15 p.m. ETESPN4Oct. 4New England Patriots4:25 p.m. ETCBS5Oct. 11Las Vegas Raiders1 p.m. ETCBS6Oct. 15 (Thursday)at Buffalo Bills8:20 p.m. ETFox/NFLN7Oct. 25at Denver Broncos4:25 p.m. ETCBS8Nov. 1New York Jets1 p.m. ETCBS9Nov. 8Carolina Panthers1 p.m. ETFox10-Bye–11Nov. 22at Las Vegas Raiders8:20 p.m. ETNBC12Nov. 29at Tampa Bay Buccaneers4:25 p.m. ETCBS13Dec. 6Denver Broncos8:20 p.m. ETNBC14Dec. 13at Miami Dolphins1 p.m. ETCBS15Dec. 20at New Orleans Saints4:25 p.m. ETCBS16Dec. 27Atlanta Falcons1 p.m. ETFox17Jan. 3Los Angeles Chargers1 p.m. ETCBS(For Canadian viewers, each game can be streamed on DAZN.)The biggest surprise about last year’s Chiefs is that they went only 5-3 at Arrowhead Stadium and 7-1 on the road before winning two playoff games in Kansas City. That set them up to knock off the 49ers in Miami.This year, the Chiefs’ home schedule loses a little luster with Tom Brady no longer with the Patriots. But they still get Brady on the road with the Buccaneers. Mahomes also gets to duel Lamar Jackson and Deshaun Watson again, along with the addition of Drew Brees.The Chiefs have become a premier prime-time draw because of Mahomes. There’s no lack of marquee here for Kansas City, with the chances for many exciting shootouts along the way.MORE: Strength of schedule for all 32 teams in 2020Chiefs strength of schedule & predictionThe Chiefs are right in the middle with their strength of schedule based on opponents’ combined winning percentage from last year. Kansas City’s 2020 oppoenets went 128-128, exactly .500 and tied for 18th toughest with the Panthers.With some of those opponents weakened or rebuilding, the Chiefs have it considerably easier than it looks on paper. The AFC West might be the most improved division they face, but the AFC East and NFC South might give them more reprieves than expected.Toughest tests: The Chiefs should buckle up for the Bucs, but the Ravens and Bills on the road in hostile environments will be tough, too, given those two teams also might be their closest AFC title competition. The Saints also will be a difficult NFC team to beat in New Orleans.At home, the Patriots will still be a bit tricky, and the Texans will have confidence after grinding out a victory in Kansas City last season (and jumping out to that big lead in the playoffs before the Chiefs’ memorable comeback). The Broncos, Raiders and Chargers have remixed themselves to be better equipped to go after the Chiefs, too, wherever they play.Biggest breaks: The Falcons, Panthers and Jets provide three interdivision opponents the Chiefs should be able to handle at home. There’s only one such gimme on the road, at the Dolphins.The Chargers might not be as worrisome without Philip Rivers, while the Broncos have their share of defensive issues against Mahomes. The Chiefs are positioned to be much stronger at Arrowhead with a good chance to go 8-0 at home.Bottom line: The Chiefs have been among the AFC’s elite for a while, and now they’ve graduated to the top of the entire NFL. Mahomes didn’t lose anything of note around him, and fully healthy, he can have a season that resembles his 2018 MVP campaign more than his still-outstanding abbreviated 2019 version.last_img read more