Categories
Rugby

Origin star ‘pissed off’ by shock call

Brisbane Broncos star Corey Oates has revealed he was “pretty pissed off” and “bloody hurt” upon discovering he had been axed from the side on Tuesday.

The Broncos have been experimenting with their squad every week since the coronavirus epidemic, desperate to overturn their horrific form slump. The Queensland-based team recorded five consecutive losses for the first time in eight years, and have slipped to 15th on the NRL ladder.

In his latest squad shake-up, Brisbane coach Anthony Seibold relegated Oates to the reserves for their round eight clash against the New Zealand Warriors at Central Coast Stadium.

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The State of Origin star was ineffective during the Broncos’ embarrassing 30-12 loss to the Gold Coast Titans last weekend — the winger made 68 metres in ten runs, and was unable to muster a linebreak or offload.

Oates was also sin-binned in the 76th minute by referee Pete Gough for dissent, ending a forgettable evening.

Jamayne Isaako will replace Oates in the No. 2 jersey for Saturday evening’s match against the Warriors. However, the 25-year-old was recalled after prop Matt Lodge suffered a knee injury, and will therefore play his 150th NRL this weekend.

Corey Oates Broncos training at Red Hill. Pic Annette DewSource:News Corp Australia

Speaking to The Courier-Mail, Oates admitted he was “heartbroken” by the shock decision, but is eager to register a much-needed win against the struggling Warriors.

“To be honest, I didn‘t see it coming and I don’t think I deserved to be dropped,” Oates said.

“I was heartbroken when the coach dropped me. It bloody hurt. I didn’t take it lightly and I wasn’t happy, I was pretty pissed off for a couple of days and then I just thought there is no point kicking cans.

“It was a tough pill to swallow. I‘ve had a conversation with the coach and I said I will still be the same person around the team. I will just train and work hard to get my starting spot back.”

“I was a bit surprised that I was the only guy dropped and no-one else, but now I‘m back in the team with (Lodge) out so I guess I get another chance.

“I feel I‘ve been doing a pretty decent job on the wing. It is what it is. It’s my 150th game and I’m coming off the bench so I will just do what I can and hopefully we can finally get a win against the Warriors.”

Although his defensive record has come under question this season, Oates was not concerned. He has not managed an NRL try since July 2019, but Oates is determined to revive his form and overturn the public’s image of the club.

“I feel like my defence has been pretty good and it’s actually been better than other years,” Oates said.

“I don’t feel like I have stuffed up in a major way in games, but once a coach makes his decision, they don’t go back on them.

“People saying we don‘t care don’t understand how hard we try.

“When you lose five games in a row, everyone hurts, but as a team we need to be better across the board to beat the Warriors.”

Broncos second rower Alex Glenn was spotted pulling down Oates’ shorts in a lighthearted prank at training on Friday.

The moment Corey Oates was pantsed.Source:News Corp Australia

Brisbane lock Pat Carrigan sang Oates’ praises after the announcement, and was adamant the Queenslander would perform in whatever position he plays on Saturday.

“One thing with Oatsey is that he’s a team player and it’s been an up and down week for him but his training has been well,” Carrigan told Broncos.com.au.

“He could have dropped he bottom lip but he’s worked hard and has got another chance.

“I’m excited for him … he’s been a big part of the club and he’s one of those older guys who has shown us younger guys the ropes.

“A win is what he deserves. Whatever position he plays then he’ll get the job done.

“We’re standing side by side and we know that the only way to turn the critics away is to start winning and it needs to start this week for us.

“This group has heaps of potential but it’s time we stopped with lip service and started delivering on that.”

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Golf

Chris Kirk and Webb Simpson share the halfway lead at the Rocket Mortgage Classic

Chris Kirk put himself in position for a shot at the feel-good story of the year in golf after earning a share of the halfway lead with Webb Simpson at the Rocket Mortgage Classic.

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Rocket Mortgage Classic

Kirk stepped away from the professional game in April last year to deal with alcohol and depression problems and spent seven months undergoing treatment before returning in November, and he claimed an emotional victory on the Korn Ferry Tour last month.

The 35-year-old has not won on the PGA Tour for over five years, but he will go into the weekend at Detroit Golf Club full of confidence after a second-round 65 lifted him to 12 under, a score later matched when RBC Heritage champion Simpson cruised round the Donald Ross design in 64.

Ireland’s Seamus Power is one stroke behind alongside powerhouses Bryson DeChambeau and Matthew Wolff, while English pair Tyrrell Hatton and Matt Wallace are in good shape on nine under with fellow Ryder Cup hopeful Viktor Hovland one further adrift after 36 holes.

Kirk, once ranked as high as 16th in the world during 2015, had the “59 watch” brigade monitoring him closely when he stormed to the turn in 30 before holing out from sand at the 11th and chipping in at the next for his eighth birdie of the round.

But that would prove his final gain of a day which ended on a sour note when he carded his only bogey at the last, a mistake that would ultimately cost him the outright lead, although Kirk insists he is just happy to be competing on the PGA Tour again given what he’s been through off the course.

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“I think that a few years ago, among other things, golf was definitely wearing on me and I definitely lost the joy of playing and competing,” said Kirk, a four-time winner on the PGA Tour but none since the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial in May, 2015.

“After being away from it and not knowing if I would really play again or not and choosing to come back just because I love to play golf, so that’s why I’m here this week. I love to play golf and I love to compete, so it’s a lot easier to keep that in the forefront of my mind now.”

Simpson’s affection for Donald Ross layouts was again evident in his bogey-free 64 containing eight birdies, the last of which at the 16th was a high-class hole-out from a greenside bunker, and the world No 6 admitted afterwards that he had only decided to enter this event a couple of weeks ago.

“I decided I want to go play, I’d heard great things about the golf course,” said Simpson, the highest-ranked player in the field this week. “It’s a Donald Ross design, and guys that played here last year that I talked to about it loved the golf tournament, they loved what Rocket Mortgage did.

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“So I knew enough to know that I should come if I could come and it worked out with my family where I was able to commit and get here. I’ve always loved a Donald Ross design, I love playing golf courses every once in a while that you can go make birdies.”

Power, who has slipped out of the world’s top 500 having not had a top-10 finish on any Tour since last April’s RBC Heritage, held a share of the clubhouse lead for the majority of the afternoon after following up his opening 67 with a 66, and he has yet to drop a shot over the first half of the tournament.

The Irish Olympian shares third with the big-hitting DeChambeau (67) and Wolff, who reeled off six consecutive birdies in his entertaining 64, although a pulled drive at the eighth – his 17th – cost him his only dropped shot of the round.

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Sports News

Johnson to miss Brickyard, Indy test with virus

INDIANAPOLIS — Seven-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson has tested positive for the coronavirus and will miss this weekend’s race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The 44-year-old Johnson is the first driver in any NASCAR series to test positive and the news Friday evening cast a shadow over the historic NASCAR-IndyCar doubleheader races coming up Saturday and Sunday. There was no indication any races would be affected.

Hendrick Motorsports said Johnson will not return until he is cleared by a physician. He was tested earlier Friday after his wife, Chani, tested positive after experiencing allergy-like symptoms.

Johnson is asymptomatic.

“My first priority is the health and safety of my loved ones and my teammates,” Johnson said. “I’ve never missed a race in my Cup career, but I know it’s going to be very hard to watch from the sidelines when I’m supposed to be out there competing. Although this situation is extremely disappointing, I’m going to come back ready to win races and put ourselves in playoff contention.”

Johnson earlier Friday held a Zoom session with reporters to discuss Sunday’s race and an upcoming test of an Indy car on the road course at the fabled venue. He will now miss that test, as well as what was supposed to be his final Brickyard 400. Justin Allgaier will replace him in the No. 48 Chevrolet.

“Jimmie has handled this situation like the champion he is,” said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports. “We’re relieved he isn’t showing symptoms and that Chani is doing great, and we know he’ll be back and ready to go very soon. It’s going to be difficult for him to be out of the car and away from his team, but it’s the right thing to do for Jimmie and everyone involved.”

Hendrick Motorsports said it has implemented detailed procedures to protect the health of its team members. They include daily COVID-19 screenings at the team facilities; the separation of facility operations and traveling personnel; split work schedules; stringent face covering and social distancing requirements; and an increased level of disinfecting and sanitization of all work areas.

Johnson is scheduled to retire from full-time NASCAR competition at the end of the season and was trying to tie Jeff Gordon and Michael Schumacher as the only five-time winners at Indianapolis.

Johnson has made 663 conscutive Cup Series starts — the longest streak among active drivers — and is currently 12th in the standings, 63 points inside the playoff picture. NASCAR’s rules state a driver must be symptom free and have two negative coronavirus tests in a 24-hour span to return.

NASCAR said it has granted Johnson a playoff waiver.

“Jimmie is a true battle-tested champion, and we wish him well in his recovery,” the series said.

Johnson could potentially also miss the Cup race at Kentucky and the All-Star race at Bristol. Next week’s test of the road course at Indy in Scott Dixon’s car has also been scrapped.

NASCAR was one of the first sports to resume competition from the pandemic shutdown and has completed 11 Cup races since its May 17 return. The sanctioning body does not test for coronavirus but participants are required to do a temperature check as they enter the facility.

Drivers have been told to isolate at the track and there is very little interaction beyond radio conversation between the competitor and his crew.

Although Stewart-Haas Racing and Team Penske both said they’ve had positive tests from shop-based team members, Johnson is the first driver. Earlier Friday, Brazilian sports car driver Felipe Nasr said he had tested positive and will miss Saturday’s IMSA event at Daytona International Speedway.

Johnson earlier Friday discussed the Indy car test scheduled with Chip Ganassi Racing, which he said was the first step in determine if actual races are in his future. If he’s any good, he said, he would be open to racing all 12 street and road course events on the IndyCar schedule.

Johnson has long said safety concerns would keep him from racing on IndyCar oval tracks, but Friday he offered a surprisingly softer stance about the Indy 500. IndyCar this year unveiled its aeroscreen windshield designed to protect the drivers from debris as they sit in the open-air cockpits. Saturday will mark just the second race with the device, but it appeared problem-free last month on the oval at high-speed Texas Motor Speedway.

“Their safety on ovals has dramatically increased this year with the windscreen. So, I’ll keep a close eye on things there and see how the safety level looks,” Johnson said. “I’ve always wanted to race the Indy 500. I’d have to do a lot of selling to my wife to get that pass, but my true desire right now is to just run the road courses.”

Johnson has his eye on the street course race in Long Beach, California, a race that was canceled this year because of the coronavirus pandemic but is one of the most storied events on the IndyCar calendar at a track just a couple hours from his native El Cajon.

“When I was a kid growing up, the closest IndyCar racing for me was at Long Beach so one of my hopes is that I am able to race at Long Beach,” Johnson said. “I hung on the fence a lot as a kid watching and dreaming. …. There’s a lot of sentimental value with that race and I hope to race there.”

He is stuck in a three-year losing streak but Hendrick Motorsports has been dramatically improved this season and Johnson has been competitive. He has also been actively prepping for a whirl in an Indy car and had been scheduled to test with the McLaren team before the pandemic.

“It’s a test, it’s a tryout and it’s a two-way street. Two-way tryout for the team to look at me and for myself to look at a team,” he said. “If I’m about four seconds off the pace, then that’s probably a quick sign that I don’t need to be in one of these cars. If I’m within a certain amount of time and I have a good feel of the car, then for me, I feel like that’s an important first step that I need to know that I can be competitive.

“I do not want to go race in any series and not be competitive,” he said.

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Soccer

Chelsea target Kai Havertz 'has agreement' to leave Bayer Leverkusen

Chelsea target Kai Havertz ‘has an agreement’ to leave Bayer Leverkusen this summer if conditions are met, admits sporting director Rudi Voller… as Bayern Munich insist they will not bid

  • Chelsea have been strongly linked with Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Kai Havertz
  • Leverkusen sporting director Rudi Voller has now admitted Havertz could leave
  • Bundesliga winners Bayern Munich have claimed they cannot afford to buy him
  • That could hasten a move to the Premier League for the Germany international 

Kai Havertz could leave Bayer Leverkusen for Chelsea this summer as part of ‘an agreement’ with the Bundesliga club, sporting director Rudi Voller has admitted.

The 21-year-old, who has provided 15 goals and eight assists this season, looks set to leave the club where he has spent the first four years of his senior career should certain conditions be met.

‘We have an agreement – if it fits, he can go this summer,’ Voller told Bild.

Bayer Leverkusen creative midfielder Kai Havertz continues to be strongly linked with Chelsea

Leverkusen sporting director Rudi Voller has advised the youngster to stay on for another year

‘As of now, he is a player of ours. We have our ideas, we know what he can do. I personally hope that he stays one more year.

‘Of course, you can’t force anyone. Havertz knows what he owes to his colleagues, the fans and the club.’

Bayer missed out on fourth spot by two points and Voller has conceded that Champions League qualification would make it easier for them to persuade Havertz to stay longer. 

Champions Bayern Munich have claimed they cannot afford the attacking midfielder, who was rumoured to have been left out of Bayer’s defeat to them last month because of Chelsea’s interest.

The Bundesliga club narrowly missed out on securing a Champions League qualification spot

Voller was unimpressed by the suggestion and said there is ‘no discussion’ for any player to voluntarily miss matches. 

He added: ‘Regardless of whether it’s [the] Europa League or Champions League or if it is wanted by the players [and clubs], I couldn’t understand if a player didn’t want to [play].’

Fellow Germany international Timo Werner agreed to join Chelsea from RB Leipzig for £53million last month. 

Blues boss Frank Lampard has already confirmed Hakim Ziyech and Timo Werner as signings




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Soccer

Rodgers insists Leicester's slump will prove a blessing in disguise

‘We will be better for it’: Brendan Rodgers insists Leicester’s slump in form will prove a blessing in disguise even if it costs them a spot in the Champions League

  • Leicester appeared certain to clinch a top four spot before the sport’s shutdown 
  • But since football returned, Brendan Rodgers’ side have failed to pick up a win 
  • The club’s poor form means their cushion to sixth place is now just three points 
  • But Rodgers insists their nosedive will prove a blessing in disguise regardless 

Brendan Rodgers insists Leicester’s current nosedive will prove a blessing in disguise – even if it costs them a place in the Champions League.

Leicester looked nailed on for a top-four spot before the coronavirus shutdown.

But since football returned, Rodgers’ side have failed to register a single win, meaning their cushion to sixth is now only three points.

Brendan Rodgers insists Leicester’s current nosedive in form will prove a blessing in disguise

Leicester looked nailed on for a top-four spot but haven’t picked up a win since the restart

With games against Arsenal, Sheffield United, Tottenham and Manchester United to come, Rodgers expects the race for Champions League football to go down to the wire.

But speaking ahead of Saturday’s clash with Crystal Palace, he said: ‘Whether we end up in there or not, we will be better for it. Absolutely. Because it’s something you need to have to improve. You need that adverse moment in order to be better.’ 

He added: ‘I think either if we do or don’t (make the top four), it’ll help us… the process we’ve been on since I’ve been in, has mainly been on the up. But that isn’t how football always works. You’ll go through periods where there will be bumps in the road and then it’s managing that process.’ 

Rodgers expects the race for the Champions League to go down to the wire after key clashes

Saturday’s clash with Palace is Leicester’s first home game since the city went back into a local lockdown following a spike of coronavirus cases. 

Rodgers says they have reinforced the ‘common sense’ approach his squad need to show but the manager insists there are no concerns among his players or staff about playing while the city battles the pandemic.

‘No none at all, we’re in a bubble here… we get regularly tested so nothing really has changed on that front,’ he said.

Leicester could be without James Maddison after the star aggravated a hip injury at Everton

‘It’s worth pointing out that I’ve seen a noticeable difference in the city and that’s a huge credit to the people of Leicester… you can sense the city are doing everything they possibly can to adhere to what the government have asked.’ 

Rodgers added: ‘Obviously the spotlight has come on to the city in the past week or so, however how the city has responded to it has been admirable… for us (if) we have an opportunity to make people’s lives better, which we know we have, by getting good results and performances then of course we would look to do that.’ 

Leicester could be without James Maddison for Saturday’s game after the midfielder aggravated a hip injury during their midweek defeat at Everton. 




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Soccer

Jurgen Klopp vows EVERY Liverpool title winner will get a medal

Jurgen Klopp vows EVERY member of Liverpool’s title-winning squad – including the Kop kids – will receive a medal… even if it means giving his own away!

  • Jurgen Klopp was perplexed by the system that prevents stars from earning one 
  • Players are only guaranteed a medal once they have made five appearances
  • And Klopp is willing to give his own away to ensure even the youngsters get one
  • Liverpool wrapped up their first Premier League title with seven games to spare 

Jurgen Klopp has vowed that each member of Liverpool’s squad will receive a Premier League winner’s medal – even if it means giving his own away.

The manager is perplexed by the system that means a player is only guaranteed a medal once he has made five appearances.

‘I don’t know who came up with that,’ said Klopp, whose side face Aston Villa on Sunday. ‘Even if you have played one game you should have a medal.

Jurgen Klopp has that vowed every member of Liverpool’s title-winning squad will get a medal

‘If the people don’t understand how important a squad is to win a championship then I cannot help them to be honest.

‘If you are the second goalie and have had less games, you should get a medal. You train five million times over a year and if you don’t train at the highest level you have no chance to win a championship. 

‘Somebody decided you have to have five games for a medal?’

Title-winning squads are given 40 medals for players and staff who have satisfied the criteria

Each title-winning squad is given 40 medals, with the majority going to players who meet the criteria, plus the management team and coaching staff, with the remainder distributed however the club sees fit.

Youngsters Neco Williams, Curtis Jones and Harvey Elliott have all made two appearances and Klopp is determined to see that they – along with others such as reserve goalkeepers Andy Lonergan and Caoimhin Kelleher – are rewarded.

‘These boys will get a medal – 100 per cent,’ he said. ‘I could produce it by myself. They can have my medal, but it’s not really the rule.

‘I would rather (the Premier League) think about the rules again and make it happen.’

But Klopp is determined youngsters, such as Neco Williams (pictured), will also be rewarded

The boss was confused by the notion that he would rotate his team after winning the league

It raised the question of whether Klopp would be willing to give Williams, Jones and Elliott cameos during Liverpool’s final six matches but he was incredulous at the idea that he would start rotating, just because the title has been sewn up.

‘We have to win football games,’ said Klopp. ‘Those kids are super and they have a future but we don’t give games as a Christmas present, like sweets.

‘It is about who fits best in the formation. No Premier League games are just for fun.

‘But they deserve a medal and they will get a medal – if not from the Premier League then from me.’




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Sports News

SAM TURNER'S TIPS FOR THE DERBY: The best bets for Saturday's racing

SAM TURNER’S TIPS FOR THE DERBY: Frankie Dettori can beat draw to set up a Classic double on English King at Epsom… and the rest of the best bets for Saturday’s racing

English King may not have found favour with the draw gods but he is still fancied to rule over his Investec Derby (Epsom, 4.55) rivals this afternoon.  

Historically, stall one has been a tough position to overcome with 1999 winner Oath the last horse to manage victory from the outside berth, and only three winners since 1969 have managed the feat.

The bookmakers were quick to ease English King in the betting once news of the draw emerged but that may prove hasty as the decision by connections to utilise Frankie Dettori may prove a masterstroke.

English King is fancied to outshine his rivals at the Investec Derby at Epsom this afternoon

The Italian takes his 25th ride in the world’s greatest Flat race and will arguably require all of his Epsom knowledge to deliver a third Derby win on Ed Walker’s talented colt.

However, English King displayed a number of useful attributes when landing the Lingfield Derby trial, not least the ability to travel well before quickening smartly off a strong pace.

He also proved a well-balanced individual given how he handled the turn into the Lingfield straight and the form of his comeback win was enhanced by the runner-up filling the same position in the Queen’s Vase at Royal Ascot.

With English King drifting because of his stalls position, near neighbour Mogul in gate two has arguably been the best-backed horse of the week, despite posting a subdued comeback at Ascot behind Pyledriver in the King Edward VII Stakes.

It would be easy to write off his chance, given how he folded tamely into fourth at the furlong marker and was passed by Mohican Heights.

However, he looked like a horse which was desperately in need of the outing and the fact Ryan Moore rides the son of Galileo in preference to Hampton Court winner, Russian Emperor, suggests he doesn’t particularly rate that event as a valid Derby trial.

If Mogul is a strongly-backed second favourite, housed in a potentially tricky stall alongside English King, there is a theory Pyledriver and Mohican Heights, both of whom finished in front of him at Ascot, are overpriced.

The last named also appeared to be ridden with an eye on today’s prestigious contest and, as a juvenile who won over a mile, he looks sure to progress for a stiffer test at 12 furlongs.

That may not be the case for Guineas hero Kameko, who appears likely to stay in excess of a mile given his run style, but today’s trip and tackling proven middle-distance foes may find him out.

I can’t help thinking Kameko would have lined up in tomorrow’s Coral-Eclipse Stakes if three-year-olds had been allowed this year and I’ll rely on Dettori to ensure English King’s Epsom coronation instead.

FRANKLY DARLING (Epsom, 3.40) may well set the Italian maestro on the road to a Classic double in the Investec Oaks.

The daughter of Frankel, trained by John Gosden, has inherited traits from her father as she was arguably too keen in the early stages of the Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot before landing the Group One prize.

She must settle a little better but she is fancied to trouble 1,000 guineas.

EPSOM 

ROBIN GOODFELLOW

1.50 Twaasol

2.25 Safe Voyage

3.00 Certain Lad

3.40 Frankly Darling

4.15 Fooraat

4.55 English King

5.35 Corazon Espinado (nb)

GIMCRACK  

 1.50 Modern News

2.25 Safe Voyage (nb)

3.00 Caradoc

3.40 Frankly Darling

4.15 Summer Romance

4.55 Kameko (nap)

5.35 Count Otto

HAYDOCK 

12.00 Andronicus Beau

12.30 Bungee Jump

1.00 Snazzy Jazzy

1.30 Theatro (nb)

2.05 Duke Of Condicote

2.40 Manuela De Vega

3.15 BABBO’S BOY (nap)

3.50 Lincoln Park

4.20 Internationangel

SANDOWN  

 1.15 Risk Of Thunder

1.50 Liberty Beach

2.25 Cross Counter

3.00 Montatham

3.35 Ghaiyyath

4.05 Global Giant

4.35 Tulip Fields

5.10 Eshaasy 

TOTESCOOP 6 

Leg 1 Epsom, 2.25

No 4 Safe Voyage

Leg 2 Epsom, 3.00

No 1 Certain Lad

Leg 3 Epsom, 3.40

No 3 Frankly Darling

Leg 4 Epsom, 4.15

No 2 Fooraat

Leg 5 Epsom, 4.55

No 3 English King

Leg 6 Epsom, 5.35

No 14 Corazon Espinado

DONCASTER  

 1.40 Zookeeper

2.15 Ikebana

2.50 Jumaira Bay

3.25 Rose Hip

4.00 Camacho Chief

4.30 Absolute Dream

5.00 Without A Fight

5.35 Doctor Cross6.05 Sports Reporter 

GOODFELLOW’S SUNDAY BEST

HAYDOCK 

12.00 Andronicus Beau

12.30 Bungee Jump

1.00 Snazzy Jazzy

1.30 Theatro (nb)

2.05 Duke Of Condicote

2.40 Manuela De Vega

3.15 BABBO’S BOY (nap)

3.50 Lincoln Park

4.20 Internationangel

SANDOWN  

 1.15 Risk Of Thunder

1.50 Liberty Beach

2.25 Cross Counter

3.00 Montatham

3.35 Ghaiyyath

4.05 Global Giant

4.35 Tulip Fields

5.10 Eshaasy 

HAYDOCK 

ROBIN GOODFELLOW

 12.00 Redgrave

12.30 Triple Spear

1.00 Redrosezorro

1.30 Dubai Fountain

2.05 Made For All

2.40 Barossa Red (nap)

3.15 First Kingdom

3.50 Poet’s Lady

4.25 Arch Moon

GIMCRACK 

12.00 Redgrave

12.30 Blazing Hot

1.00 Redrosezorro

1.30 Dubai Fountain

2.05 Top Class Angel

2.40 The Met

3.15 Grande Rumore

3.50 Perfect Inch

4.25 Arch Moon

Newmarket – 1.30 Golden Melody (nb); Northerner – 12.30 Royal Context (nb); 4.25 Arch Moon (nap).

CHELMSFORD 

ROBIN GOODFELLOW

4.35 Waddat

5.10 Al Watan

5.40 Jack Ryan

6.10 Al Dawodiya

6.40 Mubtasimah

7.10 Blame Culture

7.40 Arafi

8.10 Astro King

8.40 Paradise On Earth

GIMCRACK 

4.35 Waddat

5.10 Recovery Run

5.40 Mayson Mount

6.10 Yes Always

6.40 Billesdon Brook

7.10 Coverham

7.40 Arafi

8.10 Astro King

8.40 Flying West

LEICESTER

ROBIN GOODFELLOW 

4.55 Burtonwood

5.25 Thebian

5.55 Fox Hill

6.25 Erich Bloch

6.55 Absolute Dream

7.25 Burguillos

7.55 King Fairy

8.25 My Frankel

8.55 Monsaraz

GIMCRACK   

4.55 Burtonwood

5.25 Aristocratic Lady

5.55 Inexes

6.25 Stringybark Creek

6.55 Elusive Heights

7.25 Jeanette May

7.55 King Fairy

8.25 Nasraawy

8.55 Monsaraz 

Newmarket – 5.25 Aristocratic Lady (nap); 6.25 Full Intention 

For the first time in the race’s history, the 241st Derby will be run behind closed doors. Epsom and Walton Conservators have approved a three-and-a-half-mile fence around the racecourse to keep fans out. 

Owners will be allowed into the course but will be restricted to a separate zone. They can only stay on track for a limited time around their horse’s run. There will be a presentation for the winning jockey and trainer, then the owner.

The race has been pushed back to its latest-ever time of 4.55pm in the hope of attracting a bumper TV audience.

Prize money has been slashed by two thirds, with the Derby now worth £500,000.




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Jurgen Klopp: Liverpool squad will all get Premier League winners’ medals

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is prepared to make Premier League winners’ medals himself in order for the whole squad to share in the achievement.

The return of the top-flight title to Anfield is a historic moment, coming 30 years after their last one, and the Reds boss is determined no-one should miss out.

Rules state Liverpool will receive 40 medals from the Premier League with the only stipulation being that every player who has featured in five matches must receive one.

  • Klopp: Young players must earn chance
  • Live on Sky: Liverpool vs Aston Villa

There are currently 21 players who are guaranteed to be on that list with youngsters Harvey Elliott, Curtis Jones and Neco Williams (all two appearances) next in line.

Who receives the rest of the medals is at the club’s discretion but with a significant backroom staff Klopp wants everyone to be able to share the prize, including the likes of fourth-choice goalkeeper Andy Lonergan who has been an unused substitute for UEFA Super Cup, Club World Cup, EFL Cup matches and one Premier League game.

“If people don’t understand how important the squad is to win the championship then I can’t help them to be honest,” said the German.

“If you have zero games you should win a medal, if you are part of the squad you should get a medal.

“If you are the second goalie and you have less games you should have a medal, because you train five million times over a year and if you don’t (all) train at the highest level then you have no chance to win the championship (as a squad).

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Frankie Dettori factor ensures English King is in prime position

Frankie Dettori factor ensures English King is in prime position to clinch victory in the Investec Derby at Epsom

  • English Kings hangs on to favouritism for Investec Derby due to Dettori factor
  • However, his position is coming under threat from Mogul on Saturday
  • Dettori’s mount is now at 7-2 with Coral with his draw in stall one a disadvantage 

The Frankie Factor should ensure English King hangs on to favouritism for the Investec Derby despite his position coming under threat from Mogul.

Coral have eased Frankie Dettori’s mount to 7-2 with his draw in stall one seen as a disadvantage.

Mogul is now as short as 4-1 after it was confirmed Ryan Moore would ride, despite Mogul being beaten at Royal Ascot and emerging from stall two, which has never housed a Derby winner since starting stalls were introduced in 1967.

Frankie Dettori rides favourite English King in the Investec Derby at Epsom on Saturday

Bookmakers are braced for a Dettori barrage. The 49-year-old jockey rides second favourite Frankly Darling in the Oaks and his dual Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe winner Enable in Saturday’s Coral- Eclipse Stakes at Sandown.

David Stevens of Coral said: ‘If Frankly Darling wins the Oaks we are likely to see a contraction of English King’s Derby price. Frankie is still the jockey who has the following among the masses and Derby day attracts punters who do not bet regularly.’

Enable faces six rivals in the Eclipse, including Coronation Cup winner Ghaiyyath and 2019 International Stakes winner Japan.




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Golf

What Chris Kirk did off the golf course means way more to him than what he is doing on it

  • ESPN staff writer
  • Joined ESPN in 2011
  • Graduated from Central Michigan

DETROIT — Chris Kirk is exactly where he wants to be, and it’s not just because he finds himself sitting tied atop the leaderboard in The Rocket Mortgage Classic.

After a second-round 67, Kirk is tied for the lead at 12 under with Webb Simpson after two rounds with a shot at winning the tournament. But where he’s at and his confidence level has more to with his battle with alcoholism, anxiety and depression after working towards sobriety.

He took the past 15 months to focus on his health and mental well-being as he battled his alcohol addiction and depression. Within those 15 months, Kirk took seven months off, away from the game, to help get him back on the path he knew he needed to be on.

He had seen success on the PGA Tour before, climbing to No. 16 in the world golf rankings in 2015, but he was battling and fighting much more than other golfers on the course. He tried to quit drinking multiple times, but was unable to do it on his own.

His depression and anxiety had gotten the best of him and he found himself going back to the bottle no matter how hard he tried to stop.

On April 29, 2019, Kirk knew he needed a change. He couldn’t keep living this way and knew he couldn’t be the husband and father he wanted to be if he kept down this path. On that day, he decided to make a change, to quit drinking and to seek help for his addiction.

Nearly a week later, on May 7, Kirk released a message on Twitter announcing he was only a day away from his 34th birthday, but he had already begun a new and better chapter in his life.

Kirk took time off until November, working on himself rather than perfecting his golf game. Having been wrapped up in the grind of professional golf, trying to be a perfect player, trying to make a living for his family and embracing the competitive nature of the game, Kirk came out of his leave of absence with a new perspective and a fresh outlook on his life and his professional career.

He had gone from a person filled with anxiety and fear to enjoying the moment he is in, understanding he can’t control everything that happens.

Navigating life as a professional athlete can be overwhelming and that lifestyle took over. The constant travel and the emptiness of being alone on the road filled his mind and helped drive his alcoholism.

When he stopped playing golf, he didn’t know what to think about his future. He didn’t much care at the time, either. He was focused on getting healthy and being there for his family.

“I definitely had feelings for a number of months there that I just had no desire to play golf,” Kirk said. “It wasn’t that, ‘Oh, I hate golf, I never want to do this again,’ I just had no real desire to do it. I felt busy working on what I was working on. But then eventually I started playing golf around home about once a week or so and pretty shortly after that, my love for the game came back and love for competing after that.”

That love for the game pushed him to return to golf this past November, and he now had a new challenge in front of him. As a sober man, he had to find his way back on the PGA Tour.

He has four PGA Tour victories; one in 2011, twice in 2014 at The McGladrey Classic and The Deutsche Bank Championship, then again in 2015 at the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial.

He found his way mentally and felt he could do it again professionally.

The first tournament he entered was the Mayakoba Classic, where he finished tied for 33rd. He then went on to miss five cuts and saw another break in his PGA Tour career as the Tour paused due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Coming back from something so public was naturally nerve wracking, but having a better balance between his work and life gave him the confidence to push forward.

“Am I at the comfort level that I was five years ago? Probably not,” Kirk said. “But as far as my life in general is concerned, I’m probably at an all-time high comfort-wise. I think a lot of that carries over to my golf game and how I feel on the golf course.”

That level of comfort and calm in his life has given him a new perspective on his career. It’s not make-or-break and his performance doesn’t define who he is as a person.

That being said, he still wants to win and wants to see success on the tour.

Kirk made the cut at the Charles Schwab Challenge in June, finishing 60th in the first event back after the COVID-19 shutdown. The following week, he built off that momentum and won The King & Bear Classic on the Korn Ferry Tour, overcoming a four-shot deficit heading in to the final round.

That win was a sense of relief.

His battle with anxiety and depression hadn’t won. His alcoholism hadn’t won.

“It just gave me a little bit more belief. I think that before that, I knew that I was playing well, but obviously wasn’t seeing much in the way of results,” Kirk said. “But I was happy with my golf swing and felt like I was working on the right things with my putting, but nothing can replace the confidence you get from shooting some low numbers and playing well when it counts.”

He was once a top-20 player in the world golf rankings and is now sitting at No. 265 overall. Now, he has a piece of the lead at the Rocket Mortgage Classic after two rounds.

Despite that ranking, he’s right where he wants to be — with his friends, his family, his own mental health. While a win on the Korn Ferry Tour two weeks ago gave him some validation that he’s doing the right things, he wants to make sure he’s first following the right course in his life.

He isn’t as controlling and anxious about every aspect of his golf game anymore. He wants to win again on the PGA Tour would be a welcome feeling. It’s something he’s searching for and competing for, but in this new mental state, Kirk knows he has so much more around him.

“It’s difficult for me to really even think about (a win), of what exactly it would mean,” Kirk said. “It would be something that would be hugely important to me and probably pretty emotional, but we’re a long ways away from that.”

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