Horse Racing: Hawkeyethenoo Wins Blue Square Bet Stewards’ Cup

August 6, 2012

Hawkeyethenoo just edged out Imperial Guest in another tight finish at Blue Square Bet Stewards’ Cup at Glorious Goodwood, enabling Grand National-winning jockey Graham Lee adding one of the biggest betting races on the Flat to his curriculum vitae.

The judge again had to take a look at the photo before giving the verdict to the 9-1 chance much to the delight of his jockey, a day after two races at the track ended as dead-heats.

Earlier in the year, Lee shocked the racing world when announcing he was switching to ride on the Flat and he continued that it is his first season on the Flat and he [Hawkeyethenoo] has taken me to some big places, to Royal Ascot and the Wokingham and the July Cup.

For the eighth time, the son of Hawk Wing was winning and his trainer Jim Goldie said that it is terrific for them. He has been very unlucky this year so it is a great race to get some luck in.

As trainer George Margarson again went close to nabbing a big handicap, the 25-1 chance going down by a nose, Connections of Imperial Guest can also count themselves as unlucky.

Following his Goodwood victory on Saturday, Hawkeyethenoo could contest both the Betfred Sprint Cup at Haydock and the Ayr Gold Cup next month. Trainer Goldie admits the Ayr Gold Cup is at the forefront of his mind. He reports his charge has arrived back at his Glasgow base none the worse and as a proud Scotsman.

Goldie said that Hawkeyethenoo has got home last night and he seems fine. He’s eaten up and he’s nice and relaxed. He added that he has been banging on the door and it was nice to get the luck in running this time. Everything went to plan. It was handy they left that gap on the far side and he picked up really well when it mattered. He probably idled a wee bit in front.

Goldie said that Hawkeyethenoo could go to Haydock next, but they will have to see what the handicapper does. There is a certain race at Ayr they would obviously like to win. He added that Hawkeyethenoo is probably a better horse on good to firm ground and their chances of getting that at Ayr are probably limited, but he’ll have the entry and they will see nearer the time.

Goldie said that they will see how Hawkeyethenoo is this week, but there is three weeks from now until Haydock and then the Ayr Gold Cup is a fortnight after that, so it’s possible he could do both. He hopes that the handicapper isn’t too hard on him as they finished in a bit of a heap yesterday.

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O’Brien Filly ‘After’ Group 3 Triumph

July 10, 2012

All eyes will be on the Aidan O’Brien-trained After who looks likely to be sent off favorite to land the lucrative pot on Tuesday afternoon and Fairyhouse have managed to save their seven-race Flat card, featuring the €77,500 Group 3 Brownstown Stakes.

Later in the week, After was entered in the Group 1 Etihad Airways Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket but the Ballydoyle maestro has made a decision to head to Fairyhouse instead with his daughter of Danehill Dancer. Last time, Marvada was agonizingly denied by the classy Alanza at Leopardstown and she looks the biggest threat among After’s five opponents.

Speaking about her chances, Ken Condon said that they had always been careful before not to run her on soft ground, but the rain came on raceday at Leopardstown last time and she ended up running very well against a smart filly in Alanza. Condon added that soft ground was loose and was heavy is a different story, but she is very well and think the trip is ideal. A turning track is also something she certainly liked.

Singing Bird proved soft to heavy ground was no problem whatsoever when winning a maiden at the Curragh in May and Caprella is another who has handled testing conditions. She is set for just her third run.

Trainer Paul Deegan said that on ratings she has an awful lot to do. She does seem to handle a dig in the ground better than most though and on that ground, strange things can happen. He added that on her homework, she is at least a Listed filly, but at this stage, they would be delighted with third and some blacktype. That would be as good as a win for them.

Kevin Prendergast-trained Bulbul completes the field. At the Curragh, Bulbul was beaten almost five lengths into second on her latest Group 3 outing on ground described as soft to heavy. It would not be the biggest surprise if Adrian McGuinness’ stable star returned to the winner’s enclosure after the Family Day Sunday 15th July Handicap (2.35pm), although Bubbly Bellini’s winning sequence may have ended at the Curragh on Irish Derby weekend.

Warwick Avenue is likely to be all the rage following his impressive win at the Curragh and just four enter the stalls for the Follow Fairyhouse On Facebook Rated Race (4.05pm).


Chelsea Suffers Defeat – Ends Hope of Top Four Premier League Finish

May 9, 2012

Chelsea suffered a 4-1 defeat by Liverpool thereby ending their hopes of a top four Premier League finish. They will have to win the Champions League final if they are to compete in next season’s edition.

Chelsea were 3-0 behind inside half an hour at Anfield following an own-goal from Michael Essien and goals from Jordan Henderson and Daniel Agger, just three days after beating Liverpool 2-1 in the FA Cup final at Wembley.

Jonjo Shelvey ended any hope of a comeback with his first Premier League goal after Ramires scored for Chelsea early in the second half. Unless Chelsea beat Bayern Munich at the German club’s ground in the final on May 19, England’s top four clubs will enter next term’s Champions League. A win for Chelsea will deprive the team in fourth of a place in the preliminary round.

Chelsea will now finish in sixth spot and this defeat meant the top four was beyond the reach of them. With just three on offer for beating already relegated Blackburn in their final league match of the season, they are left five points behind fourth-placed Tottenham.

A win in the Champions League will save the job for interim Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo, and to make sure that the Blues stay in Europe next season as a 4-1 crush against Liverpool at the Anfield on Tuesday killed their even outside chance of a top four finish. Against the Red, Di Matteo played an under strength team, keeping their Champions League final against Bayern Munich on May 19 in his mind.

Since Roman Abramovich took control, it is the worst final position Chelsea have ever had. After a selection gamble failed to pay off, even the much-mocked Europa League now beckons. Despite Di Matteo’s team beginning the night still in contention for a top-four berth, he said he had no regrets about making eight changes from his Cup final side for the game at Anfield.

Di Matteo had rested the likes of Didier Drogba, Juan Mata, Ashley Cole and Frank Lampard and said he has no regrets. He added that the effort was there but they came up against an inspired Liverpool side. He further said that his side had some very intense games, the last one three days ago and it is hard to keep getting yourself going every three days. He said that since he has been in charge, his team has played every three days and it has been a big ask and a big demand. He thought with fresh legs and new energy they could have had a better chance.


Western Conference Quarterfinals – Game 1 – Sharks vs. Blues

April 12, 2012

San Jose Sharks and St. Louis Blues meet at Scottrade Center, Saint Louis, Missouri (7:30 PM ET, April 12, 2012) in the Western Conference Quarterfinals – Game 1. In the last 10 matches, San Jose has a 7-3-0 record while, St. Louis 4-3-3 record. The best betting odds have Sharks 7/5 and Blues 4/6.

St. Louis had win all four regular-season matchups and dominated in the process. In either game at Scottrade Center, the Blues did not allow a goal, with Brian Elliott and Jaroslav Halak each recording a shutout. Alex Pietrangelo led all scorers with 5 points and 2 goals.

The Sharks had to scratch and claw over the final weeks just to get in for an eight straight year, while the Blues’ postseason berth was never really in doubt the second half of the season. San Jose won its final four regular-season games; therefore, the respective senses of urgency seemed to be evident in their respective play. The wins include a home-and-home sweep of Pacific Division rival Los Angeles. St. Louis on the other hand dropped four in a row before winning its finale against Dallas.

Against a club that led the NHL in goals-against average (1.89) and allowed 14 fewer goals the next-best team during the regular season, the Sharks must figure out how they are going to win one game. It’s the experience of the returning nucleus that led the Sharks to back-to-back appearances in the Western Conference Finals the past two years is one thing that could give San Jose a distinct advantage in this series.

Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, Joe Pavelski and Dan Boyle are some of the players who will play a crucial role in this series. Goalie Antti Niemi was part of last year’s squad that lost to Vancouver. He led Chicago to a Stanley Cup title as a rookie. The Sharks have come off consecutive extra-time wins against a fierce rival that was also battling for positioning and there is the fact that they have been in playoff mode for weeks now.

Elliott is expected to dress for St. Louis, while San Jose forward Torrey Mitchell (upper body) is considered likely to play in the series opener. For the first time in their history this season, they had three 30-goal scorers, as Logan Couture, Pavelski and Marleau.

This season, T.J. Oshie and David Backes led the Blues with 54 points. Backes had a team-leading 24 goals. St. Louis team does have veterans like Jamie Langenbrunner and Jason Arnott who have lifted the Stanley Cup before, although this is only the second postseason appearance by St. Louis since the work stoppage.


Tennis: Roddick Upsets Federer with a Fabulous Win

March 27, 2012

American Andy Roddick had a fabulous win to upset third seed Roger Federer 7-6 (7-4) 1-6 6-4 in the third round of the Miami Masters tennis tournament. Now, Roddick will play either France’s Gael Monfils or Juan Monaco of Argentina in the fourth round.

Meanwhile, in an all-Serb third round matchup at the tournament, defending champion Novak Djokovic defeated No.27 seed Viktor Troicki 6-3 6-4. The world No.1 Djokovic saved seven of eight break point opportunities as he beat Troicki for the 11th consecutive time. Djokovic already has bagged the Miami titles in 2007 and 2011. Djokovic finished in the 85-minute match with two aces, one double fault and won 73 per cent of his first-serve points.

Gasquet beat Spain’s Albert Ramos 6-2 5-7 6-3. The former has been a quarter-finalist in four tournaments so far this year. Leading American Mardy Fish defeated 28th ranked Kevin Anderson of South Africa 6-4 6-3 by recovering from being a break down in the first set. Fish advances to face Spain’s 12th seed Nicolas Almagro. The latter one displayed good action on the court against compatriot Fernando Verdasco, committing just 10 unforced errors in his 6-3 6-4 win.

Women’s top seed Victoria Azarenka bagged victory (1-6, 7-6 (9/7), 7-5) in the fourth round and survived a scare from 16th seeded Dominika Cibulkova. Azarenka was made to work hard by Cibulkova to protect her season long match win streak, which now stands at 26. Azarenka advances to face France’s Marion Bartoli. The latter defeated Maria Kirilenko 6-1, 6-2.

World No. 2 Maria Sharapova has set up a quarter-final clash with China’s Li Na by defeating fellow Russian Ekaterina Makarova 6-4, 7-6 (7/3). Sharapova was 2011 Miami runner-up and she is desperately chasing for her first title at the event after finishing second three times. Last year she lost to Azarenka.

Ranked 11th, Serena Williams is playing in her first tournament since January after being sidelined by a left ankle injury. She had to rally after being broken in the first game of each set against the No.5-ranked Stosur, she hit 20 aces and lost only six points on her first serve.

The betting odds with Womens Sony Ericsson Open Outrights:

V Azarenka1, Serena Williams 323/100, M Sharapova 19/2, A Radwanska 9, V Williams16.

The betting odds with Mens Sony Ericsson Open Outrights:

Novak Djokovic 127/100, Rafael Nadal 3, Andy Murray 5, Juan Martin del Potro 11/2, Andy Roddick 20.


Oklahoma Sooners @ Baylor Bears College Football Preview

November 16, 2011

The Baylor Bears (6-3) could play spoilers and put the Oklahoma Sooners (8-1) playing a meaningless bowl game in Memphis or worse at the end of their season.

The Sooners looking to salvage their season with a win against their state rivals the Oklahoma State Cowboys. After eliminating themselves from the BCS National Championship Game with that recent unexpected loss, with the Big 12 showdown on the horizon the Sooners could stumble in this game against a strong Baylor Bears team.

Ranking 20th in the rushing department, the Bears rank sixth in the country in passing. Robert Griffin the 3rd, Bears one time Heisman candidate quarterback, is capable of shredding the Sooners defence, and has already racked up more than 3,000 yards passing.

The Sooners explosive passer quarterback Landry Jones has also passed for more than 3,000 yards and has been the driving force of this offense all season. Consistency is a problem for Jones as he lights up the scoreboard one night and then bombs the next. Winning the next three games is key for allowing the junior quarterback and Sooners to play in a legitimate bowl game.

Sophomore Kenny Stills is the new No. 1 receiver seeing as Oklahoma lost Ryan Broyles to an injury last week. Stills has the ability to get behind defenders and get down field untouched in part due to his strong route running skills.

If Oklahoma falls in this game they will have no one to blame but themselves. They are the better team but Baylor is more than capable of giving them a tough 60 minutes.

Baylor is more than capable of giving them a tough 60 minutes in spite of Oklahoma being the better team. If the Sooners fail to win this game they will have no one to blame but themselves.


Tom Brady: From Sixth Round Draft Pick to NFL MVP

October 12, 2011

Tom Brady’s career in the NFL began unceremoniously. He was drafted by the New England Patriots who already had a well established quarterback in Drew Bledsoe. Tom Brady started his first NFL season as a fourth option for the Patriots in 2000 but by the end of his first year he climbed into the No. 2 starter position. Brady saw little action, going 1 for 3 for six yards.

2001 was an unlikely turning point in the career of the 199th NFL Draft pick. Brady started the season behind Drew Beldsoe but quickly was thrown into the spotlight after Bledsoe suffered internal bleeding after a vicious sideline hit.

The rest of the story is movie of the week material. Brady, who was once seventh on the depth chart for the Michigan Wolverines in college, was no starting for the New England Patriots. Bill Belichik designed the Patriots offense around the young Brady. He allowed him to take some chances but also played a conservative offense in key situations to keep his young quarterback out of trouble and flush with confidence.

Brady went on to win the Super Bowl in his first full season and capped it off by winning the Super Bowl MVP Award as well. Brady has won the Super Bowl MVP Award twice and he has led the Patriots to three Super Bowl victories.

If Brady can stay healthy he has a opportunity to break some of the most respected quarterback records in the NFL. Brady is showing no signs of letting up as his career enters the inevitable down cycle for veteran quarterbacks.

Will Tom Brady break any quarterback records this season? Check out your favorite online sportsbook for his and any other football player props.


Tampa Bay Lightning Will Take On Boston Bruins On Saturday

May 12, 2011

Boston BruinsOn Saturday night when the Tampa Bay Lightning travel to Boston to battle against the Boston Bruins, the Eastern Conference Finals will finally get under way.

Following their respective second round sweeps of the Washington Capitals and Philadelphia Flyers, both teams have had an extended layoff. While Boston has been waiting since May 6th, Tampa has been off since May 4th. When the Conference Finals begin, with these extended layoffs both teams figure to be fresh and well rested.

Winning four of the six games the two teams played against each other, Boston won the season series against Tampa Bay. On December 2nd, 2010, actually, Boston won the last three match ups including an 8-1 romp in Boston. This playoff match up figures to be a competitive battle as both Tampa and Boston are getting great play from their top players, while Boston may have won the season series.

In online free picks, the over/under total is 5.5 and the Bruins are a -145 moneyline favorite.

Both Boston and Tampa Bay have gotten excellent play from their net minders as experts always say the goalie is the most important player come playoff time.

As both Tim Thomas and Dwayne Roloson lead the league in playoff save percentage, making it even more difficult to predict the winner of this series, they have played exceptionally well in goal for Boston and Tampa. On this series it appears that the special team’s play of both clubs will have a major impact.

While Tampa Bay has the second best penalty kill unit, currently, Boston is ranked tenth on the penalty kill in the playoffs. While Boston has struggled through the first two rounds only scoring two power play goals in thirty seven chances, good for the fourteenth best ranking in the playoffs, the power play unit seems to favor Tampa Bay as well, as the Lightning rank third in that category.

Tampa Bay could be heading to the Stanley Cup Finals representing the Eastern Conference, if these trends continue.


Boston Celtics Will Take On Miami Heat On Saturday

May 5, 2011

Miami HeatOn Saturday, the Boston Celtics will host the Miami Heat on their home court. This series may be a sweep by the Heat otherwise it is critical that they make a statement.

In NBA betting odds, Boston is a 3-point favorite.

In Game 2, the Boston Celtics have had no answer for two of the Heat’s big three. While Dwyane Wade stepped up and scored 28 points and eight rebounds in the decisive 102-91 victory, LeBron James tallied 35 points and seven rebounds.

In this game, the Celtics were beaten on the boards and from the outside. Ray Allen scored a pitiful seven total points in 34 minutes as he was only one for two from behind the three point arc. Team leader Rajon Rondo led all Celtics scorers with 20 points as Paul Pierce only scored 13 points in this game.

They will have to focus on stepping up their defense on James and Wade along the perimeter and make someone else beat them with the Celtics coming home.

The Heat also had the edge in the battle of the bench players. Joel Anthony was a key body on the floor for the Heat in Game 2 although he did not score many points. It will be a long game for the older Celtics if he can be a force in Game 3.

The simple question coming into Game 3 is, Will the Celtics be able to use the extra day off to get healthy and take a stand in Game 3? Even though they will need to find their legs or this series will effectively be over in four or five games, they will have the home court advantage.


Friday Clash Between Los Angeles Dodgers And Chicago Cubs

April 19, 2011

Los Angeles DodgersThis weekend the Los Angeles Dodgers will battle against the Chicago Cubs. The series will take place in Chicago and this will be a 3 game series.

To win the 2011 World Series, MLB odds have The Dodgers at 40-1 and the Cubs at 45-1.

As they are both barely under the .500 mark on the year these teams are both struggling this season. Even though they are below .500 while playing on the road, both teams are .500 at home. In the series this should give the Cubs a slight advantage.

The Dodgers have actually been one of the worst teams in their division in terms of ERA while they are known for having a solid pitching staff. Compared to the 52 runs they have scored so far they have allowed 78 runs on the season. If they hope to take this series they will need their bats to pick up and their pitching to be more effective.

Although the Cubs have at least had more success on offense than the Dodgers, they are suffering from some of the same issues that the Dodgers are. For this series the Cubs will send Coleman, Dumpster and Zambian to the mound. Although Dumpster and Zambian are veterans and have had should stabilize as the season progresses, none of these pitchers have been especially good this season.

On the mound the Dodgers will have Billingsley, Lilly and Kuroda. Although Billingsley has been up and down this season, he is seen by many to be an ace caliber pitcher. If the Dodgers hope to compete for the playoffs this season they need him to step up.