Sainsbury’s British Championships,Sunday 29th June 2014

After a few weeks break it was back to sports blogging and this afternoon saw the third day of the British Championships at the Birmingham Alexander Stadium.

A good mix of events with the cream of British athletes battling out for the title of British Champion and places in the GB squad for the European Championships in Zurich in August.

As usual the organisation undertaken by British Athletics was second to none with the commentary and reporting of all the events kept up to a very high standard to keep the crowd entertained, I’ve said it before and I shall keep saying it that a lot of sports should come to a days athletics at a big event to see how they do it.

Below,The pop up museum of British Athetics.

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On the track we kicked off with the Women’s 5km walk, now this may not sound an exciting event but from the word go Heather Lewis for Liverpool P set the pace and had the field well strung out but on the last lap Alana Barber came up on the outside with 200m to go but Lewis found extra on the bend and eeked out a bit more to get the first spot, Emma Achurch who was the youngest competitor at 16 filled the third spot.

The Men’s Walk followed and Dane Bird-Smith from Australia was going hammer and tongues with Tom Bosworth but managed to pull away as the got to the last few laps to win comfortably they were clear from Kiwi Quentin Rew

First of the finals came up at 2pm with the Men’s 400m final and unlike events in Brazil the fans celebrated a win for Rooney but this one was Martyn Rooney for Croydon who just got the better of Conrad Williams and got the lead in the last 15m, Michael Bingham of host club Birchfield got third.

After the men we had the Women’s 400m final which saw Sale Harrier athlete Kelly Massey just hold favourite Shana Cox down the straight to win in 52.45s to her 52.51, these two finished ahead of Emily Diamond on third spot.

Jumping action then came up with the Women’s 400m hurdles final and Eilidh Child who is no doubt dreaming about getting gold at Hampden in a few weeks time warmed up here comfortably in a time of 55.59, she had plenty in hand over Megan Beesley for Birchfield and the Pitresvie AAC runner will be in many peoples shortlist for Glasgow,her stride pattern altered a few times but it was nothing to get panicky about.

We then went from short distances to a race I was keen to see,the Women’s 5000m, this had a real abundance of stayers in it.

Below,5000m runners pass us and the women’s long jump in full flow!

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The race resulted in a 100m sprint in the end as Jo Pavey made nearly all the running but the 40 year old had the company of 20yo young whippersnapper Emelia Gorecka who sat right behind her as the laps tumbled and the seventeen runner field got slowly whittled down,Laura Whittle and Helen Clitheroe were also in the Van guard as was little Charlotte Purdue and Elinor Kirk but as they got down to the serious side of the race it was Pavey and Gorecka who treated us to the finish of the day.

With three laps to go Pavey and Gorecka began to open up from Clitheroe and Whittle then with 450m to go Gorecka took the lead but it wasn’t over yet as Pavey came back on to Gorecka’s quarters with 150m left,down the straight they battled on like two prize fighters with both giving it everything but eventually the line came in time for Emelia Gorecka, it was the sort of finish you pay to see in athletics.

This was a fine win for Emelia Gorecka and only being 20 she has lots of good races ahead of her over the years and is becoming the worthy successor to Jo Pavey in these long distance events.

Men’s 1500m came next with favourite Charlie Grice of Brighton Phoenix duly obliging,the pace was steady with a bit of drama as they went down the back with 300m left as we had a couple of tumblers in Chris Warburton who seemed to have got pushed and he forced Alex Tovey down and both got hurdled by David Bishop,thankfully we didn’t end up with another Foinavon!

Charlie Grice won as easy as he did,only 20yo he has a bright future ahead of him.

Women’s 800m came up next.

Below,finish of the W800m

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It was another win for Scotland as Edinburgh’s Lynsey Sharp the 2012 European Champion took the spoils, As expected Jenny Meadows set the early fractions with Jess Judd following along with Sharp as they did the first lap,going down the back Meadows was headed and overtaken by Judd but Sharp overtook her around the final bend with 200m to go and kicked on in the last 100m and the result was never in doubt in a time of 2.01.40., Alison Leonard and Jenny Meadows filled the minor places.

Back to the jumpers with the Men’s 110m Hurdle final and William Sharman destroyed the field in a time of 13.18,he was a country mile clear of Lawrence Clarke who would have been closer but made a real horlicks of one of the hurdles and that cost him dearly.

Women’s 100m final had a bit of controversy at the start as Bianca Williams false started so could not take part under the current one false start rule, the win went to Asha Phillip of Newham and Essex Beagles in 11.11s with a photo needed for second and third which ended up going to Ashleigh Nelson and Jodie Williams despite both having the same time of 11.15s, this was a thrilling finish.

Below,Finish to the Women’s 100m

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So to the last track event and this was a fifth British title in a row and an eighth in all for 36yo Dwain Chambers who powered down the lane to take the Men’s 100m final, despite not hitting top stride early he came through with 40m left and just hung on from the fast finishing Harry Aikines Aryeetey in second with third spot filled by Chijindu Udah with times of 10.12,10.14 and 10.18, it was that close at the end!

Below,M100m finish.

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Below,A quick selfie

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It wasn’t all track though, the field events had some exciting action too.

The main one for me was the Women’s Long Jump in which Liverpool’s Katarina Johnson Thompson leapt into the sand with a score of 6.81m on her second jump which was was 32cm clear of Jazmin Sawyers who got second with 6.49m and Sarah Warnock for Edinburgh was third with 6.42m

KJT who you may remember won at Sheffield back in February is in good heart at the moment and with Jessica Ennis-Hill currently pregnant the heptathlon is in good hands with Katarina,this young lady is going places in the sport.

In the Men’s Shot Put a throw of 18.34m was enough for Birchfield Harrier’s Scott Rider,the nearest challenger was Zane Duquemin with 18m.

Women’s Hammer went to Blackburn’s Sophie Hitchon,she threw 65.56 m.

The Men’s Pole Vault was the victor of Steve Lewes,his 5.55m was more than enough for the Newham and Essex Beagle,he had the two Sale Harriers behind him of Paul Walker and Andrew Sutcliffe with their height of 5.35m.

The Men’s Triple Jump went to Julian Reid with 16.82m on his third jump,He was almost caught by Ben Williams of Sale but his 16.73 on his last jump was a few centimetres to short.

Men’s Discus went to Zane Duquemin who was doubling up today,he threw 60.38m on his fourth throw which was enough to seal the gold.

The Women’s Javelin was taken by Goldie Sayers,her distance of 62.75m did the trick although before that she had three consecutive foul throws,this was a real bounce back for Sayers,injury in London 2012 kept her out so it’s hopefully onwards and upwards from here for the javelin thrower who surprisingly hails from Newmarket of all places.

A lovely afternoon then in the world of track and field,next Saturday racing returns with the Lancashire Oaks and Old Newton Cup at Haydock.

The people at British Athletics really do know how to put on a good show for the crowd and with some promising young athletes slowly coming through I can safely say that the future is secure of this sport.

Until next weekend, a very goodbye.

Doncaster Races,Saturday 7th June 2014

Derby Day on Town Moor at the home of the fifth and final classic of the season the St Leger.

A reasonable crowd came out to an afternoon that began with rain and drizzle and ended with the sun making an appearance later in the day.

Quality wise naturally it was a bit low but a couple of nice three year old races helped make the card look decent enough.

2.00 Ladbrokes British Stallions EBF Maiden Fillies Stakes,Class 5,6f 110yds,2yo Fillies.

A 16-1 surprise in the opener as Assault On Rome made all for Adrian Nicholls and Mark Johnston, tailed off last on her debut at Newmarket she improved and despite being a bit green still,she edged to her left in the last furlong and just held on from the fast finishing Godolphin debutant Turning Times, Liberty Sky another debutant from the yard of Richard Fahey will have learnt from this race.

Hard to know what to make of the winning filly,she is bred well and could be anything.

2.35 Download The New Ladbrokes App Handicap,Class 5,1m6f 132yds,4yo+ (0-70)

Run over the full course and distance of the St Leger this was a poor staying contest.

Old warrior Colinca’s Lad took them along and was going great guns until Robert Winston on Precision Strike came up smoothly in the last furlong and comfortably took the win by 2.75 lengths.

The well fancied Duke Of Yorkshire ran no sort of race and was never happy,he doesn’t seem in love with the game at the moment.

Precision Strike did win a couple on the sand this year so was fully entitled to take this,there is a race over 2m at Newcastle on the first day of the Plate Festival which could be the next race for him.

Below,At the start for race two.

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3.10 Bet With The Ladbrokes App Handicap,Class 4,1m4f,4yo+ (0-85)

A fair handicap which went to the Paul Midgley trained Linguine under Paul Mulrennan he had the 8yo Tepmokea for company all the way until the race came to the business end where he found an extra two lengths which was all he needed, the inform One Pursuit kept on in third and despite Jenny Powell taking seven pounds off,the handicapper might just of got him although he could be turned out again.

Linguine stays further than 1m4f so it’s possible a return to staying trips will be next.

3.45 Ladbrokes Classified Stakes,Class 3,1m2f 60yds,3yo (0-90)

A tight and fascinating looking contest on paper with three year olds that might have been a shade below the Derby quality but still more than useful in their own right.

As expected Fire Fighting took them along from the gate with Gold Trail for company, coming down the straight Fire Fighting was headed and overtaken as Roseburg took the lead with two furlongs out and had a real fight on his hands as the favourite Satellite made his move,however he hung to his left and had to be switched by Shane Kelly and got denied by a short head by Roseburg who took the prize.

Roseburg trained by Luca Cumani is going in the right direction and although he did wander a bit he is clearly useful, Satellite seems to have a mind of his own and the hold up tactics looked to be ideal today.

Gold Trail in third could be better being dropped down to 1m.

4.45 Ladbrokes Handicap,Class 2,1m Str, 3yo (0-105)

Racing resumed after the hours break for the big race from Epsom.

A very useful winner for the Normandie Stud as the John Gosden trained and Nicky Mackay ridden Wannabe Yours gave a nine length thrashing to Braidley in the style of a more than useful performer.

Plenty to like about this winner, the owners for my regular readers will know the Normandie Stud had last weeks Pinnacle Stakes winner at Haydock and no doubt the next target for this horse will be to get some Black Type as he should be going up in grade after this unless he goes for the Britannia at Royal Ascot.

Braidley ran a lot better than his recent run in the Silver Bowl at Haydock,he is in good heart,possibly a step up to 1m2f may be ideal.

The big disappointment was from top weight Lat Hawill, he won his maiden at Newcastle back in October first time out as a 2yo, beginning this season he was fourth behind Kingman in the Greenham before coming last in the French 2000 Guineas, He clearly should be better,it’s possible he’s more of an autumn horse.

Below,Wannabe Yours after his win.

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5.20 Download The Ladbrokes App Handicap,Class 2,7f,4yo+ (0-105)

Most of the field came into this race out of form so it was no shock to see the bottom weight 4yo Red Refraction take this although he did have a real fight to the line as Sir Reginald under Oaks winning jockey Paul Hanagan finished with a wet sail and would have won had this been over an extra half furlong.

Red Refraction came here off the back of a recent win at Goodwood,he is a solid and consistent sort this season although he was really lucky here.

Sir Reginald has a win in him somewhere,it’s just hard to know when that will be.

5.50 Ladbrokes Maiden Stakes,Class 5,5f,3yo+

Not a strong contest and 11-10f favourite War Spirit under Sean Levey jumped out and made all,rated 71 he will be of interest when he goes back handicapping and 5f for the moment looks to suit him better than 6f.

Red Forever the more experienced runner here was having his fourteenth start but is one of those who always finds one to good in a race

The eye catcher looked to be Koala Bear from the James Fanshawe base in Newmarket,this 4yo filly was having only her third start and kept on well in third, now qualified.

A pleasant afternoon on the Town Moor,the weather was poor to start but thankfully it brightened up as the day progressed.

Derby wise Australia did exactly as his mummy and daddy would have expected, it would be no surprise should he race two or three more times before being packed off to stud duties at stud.

As for me the next event planned is the Sunday of the British Athletics Championships in Birmingham,before that a nice earned rest.been racing on the go since April so I’m due a break to recharge for the busy summer.

Till then,enjoy the likes of the World Cup,Royal Ascot,Wimbledon,Commonwealth Games and of course in Yorkshire the Grande Depart.

Haydock Park,Timform Jury and Sandy Lane Stakes Day,Saturday 31st May 2014

Unlike last week it was much nicer weather this afternoon at Haydock as the sun blessed us with its presence so much so that the Panama made it’s first appearance of the season having spent a long time in hibernation.

Two Group Three races,two listed and some fiercely tricky handicaps made for an informative card and with Epsom and Royal Ascot on the horizon the emphasis was on quality as opposes to quantity.

Below,Channel Four recording the opening on the course.

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1.30 haydock-park.co.uk Handicap,Class 4,1m,4yo+ (0-80)

It was a 1-2 for the older brigade here as the 8yo Dubai Hills comfortably took the spoils four lengths ahead of the evergreen 10yo Extraterrestrial,from the back of the pack Bob stayed on for third.

This was a fair race but nothing more,Dubai Hills has won most of his races at Southwell so it was a bit of a surprise to see him win on the green stuff.

2.05 Pinnacle Stakes,Group 3,1m4f,4yo+ Fillies and Mares.

A fascinating renewal here of this Group race with plenty unexposed fillies in it from the top stables in the country chasing black type and getting some good value plus a nice winners prize of £28073 which will be handy for paying the training bills.

The field went a fair pace as the left the stalls,Special Meaning and Astonishing set the fractions until they got overtaken by the pelaton with just under 2f to go, from here the John Gosden pair of Sultanina and Freedom’s Light took over and had a real ding dong battle in the last furlong with Silk Sari and Quiz Mistress staying on, in the end.

The finish was amazing as Sultanina and William Buick just got her head in front on the line from stable mate Freedom’s Light by a short head, only her second start in her life she battled on tenaciously and is clearly going the right way,She could be back here in July for the Lancashire Oaks which would be the best option

Special Meaning was an unlucky loser but she is all heart and deserves a big prize while Silk Sari who I nominated for this race after a win at Doncaster stayed on and is still improving so keep an eye on her still.

Astonishing and Cubanita ran poor but they can be forgiven for that.

2.40 Timeform Jury Stakes (John O’Gaunt) Group 3,7f,4yo+

Just like the first race it was another veteran trained by David O’Meara in the popular 8yo Penitent who in a pulsating finish held off the late challenge from the Spring Trophy winner of three weeks ago over CD Breton Rock,these two were a couple of lengths ahead of Eton Forever who won the 2013 Spring Trophy and filling the fourth spot was favourite Garswood.

This was Penitents eleventh career win and showed he is not finished with yet,he has ran poor in his first three runs this season but he battled as he always does and although he does have an entry at Epsom on Friday he could be saved for a sporting chance in the Queen Anne at Royal Ascot.

For many the big disappointment was Garswood,he ran in races much better than this last season but so far he has looked a tricky horse to place,he may be better back at 1m as no doubt the owners want him to become a decent stallion.

3.15 Winning Express Achilles Stakes,Listed,5f,3yo+

A nice little contest of runners to highly rated to run in the big handicaps but also just a little short to take part in the big group events, still it was a useful race.

This year saw a Kieren Fallon master class as he got Steps to just lead when it matters to get the better of Eton Rifles by a neck, the one horse who caught my eye in the paddock Da’quonde stayed on for third.

Favourite Swan Song missed the break which cost her but she was prominent until fading in the last two furlongs,the well fancied York Glory needs 6f and this will have sharpened him up for a crack at Royal Ascot,probably the Wokingham.

A nice win for the popular sprinter Steps,he is an out and out 5f horse,he has entries in next Saturdays Epsom Dash as well as the Kings Stand.

Eton Rifles is better at 6f,he wins his races in France nowadays which will be where he could end up going after this.

3.50 New Timeform Flags Sandy Lane Stakes,Listed,6f,3yo

A couple of unexposed sorts in this with a few who have found their level.

The short priced favourite for this was Parbold who was third in last seasons Gimcrack,he travelled well and was up with the pace until found for speed as eventual victor Aeolus under Richard Huges who was in front of Parbold in the Free Handicap at Newmarket took this in the style of an improving horse and it’s clear that sprinting is now his forte, The Jersey at Royal Ascot would be the obvious choice and it would be no shock should he find extra improvement to be back here in September for the Sprint Cup.

Betimes was second and ran here after being 15 from 17 in the 1000 Guineas,only her third start it’s possible that 7f will see her in an even better light,Shamshon was giving the whole field 3lb and Betimes 7lb, this extra furlong proved to far for Shamshon and a drop back to 5f will be just what’s needed.

4.25 Racing UK Anywhere Available Now Handicap,Class 4,6f,3yo,(0-85)

A bloodless success for short priced favourite Lightning Moon who came into this off the back of a maiden win at Salisbury, going in here of 82 he will be put up to 90 or there abouts after this, the big 6f race at York in a fortnight could be the next port of call,still an entire no doubt some black type will be important for the owner.

Lightning Moon was six lengths ahead from Pennine Warrior who ran on well,it’s possible 7f will suit him better,Red Lady came third,she is still tricky to place but is probably happier in smaller fields.

5.00 Download New RacingUK iPad App Handicap,Class 4,1m2f,3yo,(0-80)

A field of 3yo who are slowly coming to hand and top weight Farquhar who has been disappointing since his maiden win at Nottingham last October bounced back under Frankie Dettori,held up off the pace he made smooth headway down the straight and led inside the last furlong before going away easily to beat Early Morning by four lengths.

This Peter Chapple-Hyam trained horse is finally coming to hand,Royal Ascot may beckon but it’s possible France could be on the agenda for him in some way,Early Morning who he beat is still a maiden and was making his first start in a handicap,he just found one too good,Classical Art a length behind in third looked much better up in trip today and could be even better upped to 1m4f in time.

Of the other beaten horses Clear Spell was fourth,trained by Alistair Whillans he will be going over timber at some point so keep an eye on those juvenile hurdles at Kelso and Perth in the early autumn for him.

A good afternoons racing then,the busy summer season is now well underway, next Saturday I shall be spending Derby Day on the Town Moor at Doncaster before a nice break of a few weeks then the next review after that will be a Sunday of athletics in Birmingham.

Until next weekend thank you for reading and keep RT and spreading the word.