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what Europe has had all these years

    • 1289 posts
    May 15, 2018 1:50 AM EDT
    Sky Sports News Alex Hammond answers the big questions and puts up Frosted as her best bet on Dubai World Cup night. [b]Josh Bellamy Jersey[/b] . 1. The dust has settled on another epic Cheltenham Festival - which of the many highlights will you remember most fondly?There were so many and dont get me started on Vroum Vroum Mag! I loved her before the Mares Hurdle and I love her even more after it. Sprinter Sacres resurgence was up there with the most moving of racing tales though. It is no exaggeration to say that Nicky Henderson has virtually brought this horse back from the dead. When he suffered a fibrillating heart in December 2013 I thought that would be the end of him and until this autumn he looked a shadow of his former self; it appeared that the old spark had been extinguished. However, he has improved with each win this season and his defeat of Un De Sceaux brought a tear to my eye. Nico De Boinville has struck up such a special partnership with the horse too and knows him better than anyone having been his work rider from the start. Sticking with Willie Mullins, what a week! Annie Powers win in the Champion Hurdle was another that sits well with me. I had said beforehand that it would be a disgrace if a mare of her calibre was to never win at the Cheltenham Festival. Not only did she win, but she pulverised the boys and the fact she beat my selection My Tent Or Yours didnt take any of the shine off it (Id backed him each-way so there was some consolation). Whilst the decision to run Vautour in the Ryanair was a controversial one, the horse was imperious and who knows what would have happened if he had run in the Gold Cup. As for Vroum Vroum, she looked outstanding didnt she? She has yet to be extended and the world looks to be her oyster. The good news is that Rich Ricci is planning to keep all three of his Festival-winning mares in training so we will see Annie, Vroum Vroum and Limini again next season. I was also pleased to see Martin Keighley win the Cross Country race with Any Currency. Martin is a really likeable trainer and has had his share of ups and downs. I dont think anyone would begrudge him a Festival winner and I hope it helps to attract him some new owners. Likewise I was delighted to see Nigel Twiston-Davies saddle a double with Blaklion in the RSA Chase and Ballyandy in the Bumper. The raw emotion that connections show is really engaging and Nige shouting his first winner home was great to see.Im cross with myself for deserting Ivanovich Gorbatov in the Triumph. For weeks I had been putting him up, despite his flop at Leopardstown in February, but I jumped ship and paid the price. Dan Skelton provided further proof he is a champion in waiting with his first Festival winner. His father (famous show jumper) Nick has put his faith in him and Harry and is being rewarded. Nick looked as proud as punch after the win of Superb Story in the County Hurdle and it was memorable from my point of view too because I backed him.High and lows in the Gold Cup, I felt so sorry for everyone involved with Cue Card who was travelling as well as anything when crashing out three from home. I imagine Paddy Brennan has beaten himself up about the fall, but these things happen and they live to fight another day. The horse just changed his mind and tried to put a shorty in at the fence and ploughed through the top of it. I saw him walk back in afterwards and was relieved to see he looked okay. Don Cossack is a stunning horse with the ability to match. Gordon Elliott had a mixed week and I was gutted for him to lose No More Heroes, but to win this was a fabulous result for the stable. Sky Racing Tickets Fast, secure racing tickets: Exclusive racing offers near you 2. If pushed to have a 2017 Cheltenham wager today, what would it be and why?As soon as Thistlecrack cleared the last flight of hurdles I messaged a friend of mine to suggest they back him straight away for next years Gold Cup. As hes now 8/1 second favourite with Sky Bet I wish Id taken my own advice! There was no initial indication that the Gold Cup would be the plan in the immediate aftermath, but he is a tall horse and if hes to go chasing it needs to be sooner rather than later. I was told when I first started out in racing that if you leave it to eight to nine years old to send a hurdler over fences they never quite adapt. Well, hes eight this year and now is the time. However, despite general opinion being that he jumped his hurdles well, I thought he wasnt quite respecting his obstacles as much as youd like and he certainly isnt one of those horses that just skims over the top of them in a neat, efficient way. I think a fence will be the making of him; which seems a silly thing to say for a World Hurdle winner and he has apparently already schooled over fences. Given the gut-wrenching fall of Cue Card for the Tizzards in what was possibly his last real shot at the Blue Riband, it is exciting to think they have a horse of his calibre (if not better) waiting to take over the staying chase mantle. Ill admit I wasnt convinced about his chance in the World Hurdle because I thought he could be vulnerable on the better ground, but he looked like an absolute machine. As soon as Thistlecrack cleared the last flight of hurdles I messaged a friend of mine to suggest they back him straight away for next years Gold Cup. As hes now 8/1 second favourite with Sky Bet I wish Id taken my own advice! I was going to suggest getting on Faugheen for next years Champion Hurdle, but at 2/1 I think we can afford to wait! Maybe we should be backing Victoria Pendleton to win the Foxhunters?! The admirable Pacha Du Polder is 25/1 for next years contest, but who knows if she will get the chance to ride him again. Ridden the way he was, he looked like he stayed the trip well and I wouldnt be averse to backing him to stay it in the future. Victoria has done a magnificent job over the past year and for any non-riders out there I can tell you what she has achieved is nothing short of astonishing. Any of us could learn to ride a bike round a velodrome, albeit slowly, but to learn to ride from scratch as she has done and to take the inevitable falls along the way without losing your bottle, takes some doing. She showed admirable qualities and remained poised and professional throughout the last year in the manner you would expect of an Olympian and I applaud her.3. In the Crabbies Grand National or otherwise, which Festival runner are you likely to be following at Aintree next month?Well it would be some consolation if Cue Card were to win the Bowl and he is 4/6 favourite with Sky Bet to do so. One of the biggest eyecatchers of the week was Pacha Du Polder who stayed on well up the Cheltenham hill under Victoria Pendleton. He is entered in the Fox Hunter Chase and the Topham at Aintree. The drop back in trip would be ideal and he jumps like a stag. Hes 5/1 for the Foxhunter and 16s for the Topham. Vautour would be hard to beat if he turns up in the Melling Chase and his price of 4/9 reflects that. Likewise Annie Power in the Aintree Hurdle should she run there; shes 1/2 favourite. Thistlecrack and Cole Harden look set for another clash in the Liverpool Hurdle on National day, but on the evidence of Cheltenham the World Hurdle winner will take some stopping.4. The All-Weather Championship Finals, now in its third year, comes to a head at Lingfield Park on Friday. Which horses do you fancy to give us all an Easter bonus?Its great to see this fixture becoming so popular after the initial doubts about staging racing on Good Friday. I have to say I was sceptical at first because stable-staff work hard with little enough respite from long days. However, the valuable prize money on offer helps boost the stable pool fund and it now seems to have been accepted as part of the calendar. Id love to see Grendisar win the feature Easter Classic for Marco Botti, but at 6/5 favourite he wont make us a million. I was impressed with him in the Winter Derby and he loves it round Lingfield. He was third in the race last year but looks like the best horse in the race this time round.Andrew Baldings Ballynanty at 6/1 is the one Ill give you as my best bet in the Marathon at 2.40pm. Ralph Becketts Moonrise Landing is the market leader having won her last two on the all weather including a defeat of last years Marathon runner up Anglophile at Wolverhampton in December. In turn, Charlie Applebys Anglophile beat Ballynanty over course and distance last time out in January, but the runner up was desperately unlucky and you wouldnt bet on the winner confirming those placings. Ballynanty may only have a maiden win to his name, but he has only run seven times in his career and Balding thinks plenty of him. The step up to two miles was always guaranteed to suit this stoutly bred son of Yeats and if hes to run in the Chester Cup, which is the plan, then he should make his mark here. Id love to see Grendisar win the feature Easter Classic for Marco Botti. I was impressed with him in the Winter Derby and he loves it round Lingfield. He was third in the race last year but looks like the best horse in the race this time round. Mindyourownbusiness is another to have on your shortlist in the Mile at 3.15pm but again hes pretty short at 15/8 with Sky Bet. He had the perfect prep for this race when winning at Wolverhampton last month but has to put a disappointing run in this last race year behind him. He didnt get the best of luck then though and connections are back for more. He is drawn in the middle this time which should aid his cause.At 2.10pm the Sprint looks devilishly difficult, but there has been plenty of chat about Kevin Ryans Goken. Hes 4/1 second favourite with Sky Bet behind Dean Ivorys favourite Lancelot Du Lac. The latter deserves his position at the head of the market, but Goken was considered smart enough to run in the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot when trained by Henri-Alex Pantall in France last summer (he was eighth at 50/1). He was then well beaten at Glorious Goodwood but made a winning start for Ryan at Lingfield in November on his all weather debut. There looks to be much more to come. He is well drawn in stall one and I think its worth taking the favourite on with this dual Group 3 winner. 5. The Dubai World Cup at Meydan on Saturday has attracted an International field. Can California Chrome go one better than his runner up spot 12 months ago?Well, its promising to be a cracking evening and Flat racing fans look set to have an enjoyable Easter. All eyes will be on California Chrome in the Dubai World Cup, but I think he could be vulnerable once again. On the book its virtually a two-horse race with California Chrome 15/8 favourite and Frosted 9/4 next best and 10/1 bar those two. As the race is now run on dirt it has attracted the American raiders they seemed to covet. Like the favourite, Frosted is trained in the States, this horse in the care of Kieren McLaughlin, but is owned by the boys in blue, Godolphin. He comes out of stall nine, with California Chrome two spots wider in 11 of the 12 runners. So Frosted is favoured marginally by the draw. Frosted won Round 2 of the Al Maktoum Challenge on his UAE debut and he looked a class apart from his lesser rivals there. He was a top class three-year-old in the US and McLaughlin won this race in 2007. At the prices Ill be on him to give his owners anther winner in their race. Also See: Live results service Full racecards £10 free bet Get Sky Sports [b]Cheap Chicago Bears Jerseys[/b] . The recently retired Stern was elected Friday to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and will be enshrined with the class of 2014 on Aug. [b]Eddie Jackson Jersey[/b] . -- The St. Johns IceCaps weathered a wild first period with the help of goaltender Jussi Olkinuora, before finding offensive inroads in the second. [b][/b] . Los Angeles star goalie survived those perilous gymnastics with no problem, and he eventually backstopped the Kings to a skid-snapping win. Quick stopped 27 shots in his return from a 24-game injury absence, Jeff Carter scored the tiebreaking goal with 7:55 to play, and the Kings snapped their five-game losing streak with a 3-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday night. CHASKA, Minn. -- His shirt soaked from spraying champagne in a rare Ryder Cup victory, Phil Mickelson already was looking ahead at how to win the next one.Not only was this a scene from Sunday at Hazeltine, it was eight years ago at Valhalla.Paul Azinger was in charge of sweeping changes for the U.S. team. He demanded a new qualifying system based on PGA Tour earnings instead of the archaic method of awarding points for top 10s. He doubled the number of captains picks to four players. He broke up his 12 players into three pods based largely on personalities.It worked so well -- a 16+-11+ victory over Europe in 2008 -- that when someone asked Azinger if hed like to do it again, Mickelson didnt give him a chance to answer.Zinger in 2010, Mickelson said that day.It didnt happen. For too many years, the PGA of America treated the Ryder Cup captaincy as a lifetime achievement award. It would be wrong to assume the Americans immediately embarked on another losing streak because of the captain. They lost in Wales because they failed to win any of the six matches in the final team session and never caught up. Thats just bad golf. It happens.Mickelson, however, picked up on something at Valhalla.Why abandon success?That was his point when he publicly criticized the authoritative style of Tom Watson during that awkward news conference at Gleneagles in 2014 after a third straight U.S. loss, its eighth dating to 1995.Mickelson wondered why the Americans got away from player input that worked so beautifully under Azinger in 2008 and worked every year in the Presidents Cup.I have been a part of 10 successful Presidents Cups and eight losing Ryder Cups, he said Sunday during the first of several celebrations. And its very easy to see what the difference is. When put in the right environment, the U.S. team brought out some of their most amazing golf. Were bringing home the Ryder Cup because of it.Love for captain in 2018?Not quite.There were snickers all week that Love wasnt even the captain. This was as much Mickelsons team, because it was Mickelson who risked his public image at Gleneagles by calling out Watson, a revered figure in golf, even though his message was aimed at the PGA of America.Tiger Woods was on that Ryder Cup Task Force geared toward getting players more invollved and had strongest influence of any of the five assistants. [b]Kylie Fitts Jersey[/b]. Steve Stricker was another assistant captain. He will be the captain of the Presidents Cup team next year that will feature many of the same players.This is what Mickelson wanted in 2008. This is what the Americans have to do now if they want to catch up to Europe.The series now stands at 26-13-2 in favor of the United States, though that includes too many lean years when Britain was rebuilding from World War II. The modern Ryder Cup dates to 1979 when continental Europe was invited, and Europe has a 10-8-1 advantage since then.Mickelson had said the success of the task force could not be measured by results at Hazeltine. This was not about the next Ryder Cup but the next 10 of them.He knew all along that wasnt the case, which is why the pressure he faced -- not to mention the rest of the Americans -- was greater than ever.The pressure started when some dumbass opened his mouth two years ago in the media center, Mickelson said, self-deprecating in his moment of glory.The pressure doesnt go away.It was a relief to win, but the Americans havent won back to back in the Ryder Cup since 1993, the year Jordan Spieth was born.Its not about whos the next captain. It could be Mickelson, Stricker, Woods or Jim Furyk. It doesnt matter if the final captains pick is five days before the matches begin or if all four are made at the same time.What matters -- what Europe has had all these years -- is that players feel as much a part of the process as the people running the Ryder Cup.We need to build on this. Otherwise, its all for naught, Mickelson said. Yes, its great that we had success this week. But its not about one year or one Ryder Cup. Its about a multitude, for decades to come.Timing is everything, and such was the case Sunday night. Love reached for a bottle of champagne as Mickelson spoke and popped the cork. The sound made Mickelson stop, and he looked over at Love with a smile.Thats my cue to shut up, Mickelson said.It was time for an American celebration in the Ryder Cup, and one could sense the strong belief they wouldnt have to wait eight years for another one. 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