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Grand National history – Most Successful Jockey’s

Posted on | April 11, 2018 | No Comments

With the Grand National just around the corner it is good to look back through the history and how the race has got to where it is.

That is the now 500 to 600 million viewers who are expected from around the world to tune into the event. One horse that took the race to a new level is three time winner Red Rum.

Between the years of 1973 and 1977, Red Rum was the dominant National horse with three first place finishes and two runner up spots in the intervening years. His comeback victory in the 1977 National is one of the most memorable in the sports history and was even voted as one of the greatest sporting moments of all time back in a UK poll in 2002.

A true great National horse but what about the most successful Jockey’s in the history of the race? Check out the infographic below to find out, and they may just surprise you.

Looking ahead to the 2018 edition of the race and one horse who is continuing to come in for money is the Irish trained Tiger Roll. You can bet on the Grand National and the horse is currently in at odds of 12/1 with Paddy Power. Another horse who has been subject to a lot of money recently is another Irish horse in Anibale Fly.

He is coming into the race following an eye catching staying on third in the Cheltenham Gold Cup so must have a leading chance for the race.

A look back at the 2012 Grand National

Posted on | April 9, 2018 | No Comments

With the most popular horse race in the world fast approaching, anticipation is continuing to build. Many people are looking for the Grand National odds for Saturday with the Willie Mullins-trained Total Recall now heading the betting as the 10/1 clear favourite. The race looks as competitive as ever with many key contenders such as last year’s fourth Blaklion, Gold Cup third Anibale Fly and the Cheltenham Cross Country Chase winner Tiger Roll. All three horses look tailor-made for the race and bring in top class form.

The race has showcased some stunning performances over the years with many of them living long in the memory for racing fans. Whether it be the early days of the dominating era of five-time winning jockey George Stevens, in the mid-19th century, or the stunning performance from the mighty Golden Miller in 1934 who became the first and only horse to win the National and the Cheltenham Gold Cup in the same year. A Grand National article could not be written without mentioning the greatest of the all in Red Rum who is the only three time winner of the race and amazingly also finished second in two other attempts. Blaklion’s trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies has been echoing the horse’s similarities to Red Rum so this could be a focus for many looking for top tips for Grand National.

However, looking to more recent times, one race that provided one of the most stunning finisheswas the 2012 Grand National. Going into the contest the race looked to be as competitive as ever with joint 8/1 favourites in Seabass and Shakalakaboomboom and the 2011 winner in Ballabriggs at 12/1. The eventual winner was Neptune Collonges who entered the race as the 33/1 outsider for trainer Paul Nicholls. He carried a huge weight of 11 stone 6lb to victory and became just the fifth horse to win off 11 stone or more in the last 23 years.

This was another key indicator of how the change to the way the weights are awarded for the contesthas had such a positive effect on the race. This has meant that the superior horses are contesting the race and have more chance of winning when they are not having to give vast amounts of weight away to the rest of the field. Neptune Collonges certainly fits the bill as a classy horse as he finished his career with 16 victoriesfrom his 36 starts under rules. This included a third place finish in the 2008 Cheltenham Gold Cup behind legends Denman and Kauto Star and then a fourth place finish in the 2009 running of that same race behind the same two previously mentioned stars.

Neptune entered the race following several improving efforts throughout the season and a second in the Grand National trial at Haydock. The 2012 National finished in a time of 9 minutes and 5.1 seconds showing the race was run at a good gallop. Both Neptune Collonges and the eventual second Sunnyhillboy sat in mid division with the Henderson-trained joint favourite Shakalakaboomboom making much of the running. Neptune was continuing to be pushed along even with several fences still to jump as eight horses went clear of the rest of the field,however Neptune continued to find for rider Daryl Jacob. Sunnyhillboy took up the race approaching the last and jumped it just in front of the gallant Seabass with Neptune continuing to battle and coming in third. As they came around the elbow Sunnyhillboy put two lengths between himself and Neptune Collonges which looked to be a race winning moveas Seabass began to paddle.

With 150 yards to go the deficit was still two lengths as Sunnyhillboy looked set to land the Grand National for the famous team of trainer Jonjo O’Neill and owner JP McManus. Neptune was still battling and, with the finishing post fast approaching, the grey began to get alongside, producing a head bobbing finish to the race. This provided one of the most stunning and memorable finishes to the race and connections had a long wait as the close photo finish was decided. The result was called and Neptune Collonges became the first winner of the race for trainer Paul Nicholls with his 52nd runner. The scenes of celebration following the result from connections were memorable and owner John Hales was remembered for his emotional tribute to the horse both prior to the race and following it as he was retired on the spot after this victory.

Conte remains coy about his Chelsea future

Posted on | April 4, 2018 | No Comments

Chelsea fans were in no mood for jokes and frivolities after their April Fool’s Day defeat against Tottenham Hotspur at Stamford Bridge. The 1-3 loss proved to be a decisive point in the season that left the Blues firmly outside the Premier League top four, while Spurs opened a gap of eight points above their London rivals.

Despite a stuttering start to the 2017-18 campaign with a frustrating defeat to Burnley at home on the opening day of the season, Chelsea recovered well and suffered only three more defeats in the back end of 2017, and though they have always been off the pace for the title race this season, a top-four finish almost seemed like a foregone conclusion.

However, just three Premier League wins in ten encounters during 2018 underlines the poor form of Conte’s side and with football betting odds at 10/1 for a top-four finish, Chelsea now look like they will have to settle for competing in the Europa League next season, rather than the habitual expectations of playing in the Champions League.

Conte refuses to quit

After winning the 2016-17 Premier League title, Conte still boasts a strong and successful coaching reputation, but throughout what has been a hugely frustrating 2017-18 campaign, his future with Chelsea has inevitably and frequently been questioned in recent months. The Italian coach himself has remained coy about discussing his position in press conferences, placing any such decision firmly in the hands of the club.

“We are having the season that we are deserving,” said Conte after the defeat against Tottenham, and in comments highlighted by The Guardian, he pointed towards a lack of key experience in his side. “Don’t forget in the last two or three years we lost important players for Chelsea. When you lose players with great experience and charisma and players used to winning, you lose a lot,” he suggested with reference to departed campaigners such as John Terry, Branislav Ivanovic, or Petr Cech.

As for whether he would remain at the helm next season, Conte continues to remain coy about his future at the club. “I don’t know, I must be honest, I don’t know. This is not my problem, it’s a problem for the club,” he concluded. That problem, should Chelsea decide to make a change before the conclusion of the season, will reportedly cost the club around £9 million, although it’s widely expected a new manager will be in charge for the start of the 2018-19 season.

Chelsea facing a decisive summer

It’s not just a potential managerial change that Chelsea face in the summer, particularly if the team fails to secure a place in the Champions League for next season. There are growing concerns over the futures of several important players, who are entering the final years of their contracts at the club.

Thibaut Courtois will be entering the final year of his deal at Stamford Bridge, and with Real Madrid in the hunt for a new goalkeeper, the Belgian shot-stopper could be lured back to the Spanish capital, following his successful stint a few years ago with Atletico Madrid. With two years left on his contract, speculation also gathers pace that Eden Hazard could also head to the Santiago Bernabéu, with Zinedine Zidane a keen admirer of the supremely talented 27-year-old.

Should Chelsea make their expected managerial change in the summer, any new coach will need to act quickly to ensure the best existing talent remains, with the likes of Luis Enrique and Thomas Tuchel having been touted as candidates for the post, if Conte departs. Undoubtedly, Roman Abramovic will also need to dip into his deep pockets, in order to fund what could be another big summer of spending for the London club, if they’re to be considered a genuine contender for the biggest prizes next season.

Joseph Parker Vs Sonny Bill Williams – Who was the best boxing New Zealander

Posted on | March 15, 2018 | No Comments

Sonny Bill Williams had a fairly short lived boxing career, only fighting 7 times between 2009 and 2015. Back in 2015, whenSonny put his boxing career on hold to head back to rugby, he was stripped of his international and New Zealand heavyweight titles.Williams left his boxing career on a high with though, winning all 7 of his fights.

Following a recent interview with ESPN, Joseph Parker had the following he sayabout Sonny bill Williams boxing career, on seeing the return of Williams to the ring:

“He’s focused on his rugby at the moment and his family, but overall he’s a great athlete. I think he’d love to get back into the ring but he’s focusing on a few things for now.”

However, when comparing Williams and Parker’s boxing careers, who turned out to be the best boxing New Zealander? Whilst Parker’s career has had a steady and successful growth accounting for all his 24 wins, his upcoming fight with Anthony Joshua could be his first loss, defying the AJ vs Parker betting odds on Paddy Power,against Anthony Joshua, who has seen 20 wins during his career.

Joseph Parker has revealed that he plans on fighting Anthony Joshua twice in 2018, on March 31stwe’ll see Joseph Parker and Anthony Joshua battle it out and Parker is convinced that he will be the victorious athlete yetboth Parker and Joshua are undefeated. In the lead up to AJ vs Parker, Parker has received criticism by British TV host, Graham Norton, where he called Parker the “King of Pies”, Parker is determined now more than ever to prove he is in great shape as he heads to camp. Parker has proven his fitness by going the full 12 rounds in 4 out of his last 6 matches.

Whilst it may seem like Sonny Bill Williams career is primarily focused around rugby, his boxing career (whilst he has had far less fights compared to Joseph Parker),resulted in 7 wins. Both Williams and Parker fought against the South African boxer, Frans Botha (AKA the White Buffalo) and won. Frans Botha who’s had a total of 63 fights, resulting in 48 wins and 11 losses, which made him a perfect gauge for both fighters, fortunately for the two New Zealander boxers, they were able to defeat Frans Botha.

Williams fight with the White Buffalo

Williams was clearly in trouble and taking a beating but somehow managed to win the fight on points. What some argued was a surprise decision and hurt Botha’s chances of winning was that at the beginning of the match they were told there would be 12 rounds, then throughout the match a decision was made to make it 10 instead mid fight.

Parkers fight with the White Buffalo
The last time Botha fought in Australia it was believed he was robbed by Williams but unfortunately this time, when he went up against Parker, it ended in disaster for Botha. Parker knocked out the 44-year old heavyweight in just 2 rounds.

Whilst there is controversy around Williams and his last boxing match, only time will tell who the best New Zealander boxer is. With AJ vs Parker just around the corner and some hope that Williams will return to boxing someday(as backed by Joseph Parker). The best New Zealander boxer is still up for grabs.

Might Bite the horse to beat as Gold Cup field thins out

Posted on | February 15, 2018 | No Comments

The start of the new year has already produced some thrilling National Hunt races but as a long cold January finally came to an end, attention starts to turn firmly to March and the Cheltenham Festival.

Over the last few weeks, horses have been finding, or in some cases losing, form and with trainers starting to make decisions on their final entries, fields for the feature races are starting to take shape. The highlight of this, and any other Cheltenham week will be Friday’s Gold Cup and already there are some firm favourites with around a month still to go before the off.

Out in Front

Early betting shows a clear favourite with Might Bite listed at a general 7/2 with most outlets ahead of the Gold Cup. The 2018 renewal of this prestigious event goes off on Friday, March 16 this year and when at Timeform, punters can check all of the competition and look for tips as to who can challenge the market leader.

Native River and Sizing John are the closest challengers to Might Bite, but while the final declaration is some way away, there is the option to get a long antepost price on any of those three ahead of any potential shortening as we get closer to the off.

Gold Cup News

In the Cheltenham trials and in other big National Hunt events since the Christmas period, trainers and owners have been weighing up their options for the Gold Cup and for the 2018 Cheltenham Festival as a whole.

One piece of news has disappointed supporters of Disko but perhaps this isn’t the most surprising update of recent weeks. Trainer Noel Meade has reported an injury setback and the horse, who was highly rated in some areas as a potential 16/1 shot, will miss the big race.

Elsewhere, Ruth Jefferson has made the decision to take Cloudy Dream out of the Gold Cup in favour of the RyanAir Chase over a shorter distance. The horse performed well at Newbury over a similar length and is therefore in good shape coming into the Festival.

With those withdrawals confirmed, how are the remaining horses shaping up ahead of the Cheltenham Gold Cup 2018?

In form

The horse that many are watching right now is Native River after he headed Cloudy Dream into second place in that Denman Chase at Newbury. It was an impressive run for Colin Tizzard’s eight-year-old, in view of the fact that he was returning to the track after an 11-month spell and if he maintains that form he could be in the winner’s enclosure on Gold Cup day.

Native River will, however, need to be at his absolute best on March 16 as the favourite Might Bite heads the betting for a very good reason. A previous winner at the Cheltenham Festival in the RSA Novices Chase in a memorable finish to that race, Might Bite was rather more comfortable as he took out the King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day and is being managed well by his experienced trainer in the countdown to the Gold Cup.

Might Bite’s overall record of nine wins from 14 races may not necessarily seem outstanding but it’s his recent performances that make him the bookies’ favourite for the big race at Cheltenham this year. The nine-year-old has won each of his last five outings and it’s that win at Kempton that confirms his form and suggests an early antepost bet may be a good option.

Staying in Touch

Sizing John may have something to say about that and, as the defending Gold Cup champion, the Jessica Harrington trained horse clearly knows what it takes to get over the line. Since that win 12 months ago, Sizing John has enjoyed three further outings, initially winning two in a row at Punchestown but a seventh place last time out at Leopardstown in December will doubtless deter some punters.

With the Gold Cup now firmly on the horizon, more developments over runners and riders will follow in the days to come but at this stage, it could well be a battle between three top quality horses with Might Bite the one to beat.

Should Fifa introduce video replay?

Posted on | August 18, 2010 | No Comments

The video replay one of the most discussed topic in football in the recent years.

Everyone expects from the referees to be perfect, or at least to reduce the mistakes during the games but it looks that this is a very hard task to do. So everyone tries to find solutions, and Fifa is pressed from all sides to come with an alternative.

In the first phase Fifa tried the system with 6 referees, tested it in Europa League, but even this solution doesn’t seem to be better. There were also speculations that the ball should contain a chip to signal when the ball passes the line of the goal but the solutions is not well seen by the specialists.

So at the moment it looks like the only viable solution is the video replay.Regarding the video replay the opinions are divided with a plus for it. Fifa is pressed to take a decision especially after the World Cup mistakes, when some of them proved to be crucial.

So after rugby, basketball, tennis or american football we might have video replays also in football. This decision would bring advantages but not only.

At advantages we can mention fewer mistakes that can decide games and fewer scandals. On the other side the spirit and the charm of the game would suffer.  Imagine for example a game show with a similar setup – a Who Wants To Be Millionaire Online Game for example would take so long and become boring. Also the game could have more than 10 minutes of additional time which could determine the players to lose their patience  awaiting for the verdict, the fluidity of the game could also suffer.

The final decision will be taken in November but there are chances for a positive answer.

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