Castlegrace lands Fortria prize at Navan | Racing News

first_imgCastlegrace Paddy proved too strong for hot favourite A Plus Tard in the Tote Fortria Chase at Navan.Henry de Bromhead’s A Plus Tard filled the runner-up spot behind Ballyoisin in last year’s renewal of the Grade Two contest – and having since won a Grade One at Leopardstown and finished a close-up third in the Ryanair at Cheltenham, he was well fancied to go one better.- Advertisement – – Advertisement – However, it was clear some way from home it was not going to be entirely straightforward for the 1-2 favourite, as he jumped stickily on occasions under Rachael Blackmore behind his pacesetting stablemate Ornua.After the latter dropped away early in the home straight, Pat Fahy’s stable star Castlegrace Paddy (9-1) took over the lead, with both A Plus Tard and Eclair De Beaufeu in hot pursuit.In the end it turned into a straight shootout and try as he might, A Plus Tard could never quite get on terms with Castlegrace Paddy, who passed the post half a length to the good in the hands of Bryan Cooper.- Advertisement – “He jumped brilliant and himself and Bryan seem to get on very well,” said Fahy.“Hopefully we can keep going in this direction. We won the Hilly Way Chase in Cork a couple of years ago, but didn’t have a great year after that, so we won’t get too carried away.“More than likely we’ll look at Leopardstown over Christmas. He’s beaten a horse there that will probably improve a lot, but so will ours – I’d rate him him a serious horse.- Advertisement – “Maybe if the ground was good you’d be looking to go up in trip, but on that sort of ground I think that (two miles) is his trip.”last_img read more

Pellegrini calm as City close in

first_img The Reds surrendered a 3-0 lead to draw 3-3 at Crystal Palace, a result which cost them the chance to move three points ahead. Pellegrini said: “We prepare exactly the same as we prepare for all the games during the year. “We know the next game is the most important game. “We are not going to win the Premier League tomorrow if we win. We must win tomorrow and then we will see what happens on Sunday. “All the teams are under pressure but if we play at home as we did so far, I hope we can win the game.” Pellegrini does not accept the claim of his Liverpool counterpart Brendan Rodgers that the race is now effectively over, even though the initiative is now clearly with City. He said: “I really don’t know what Brendan said. I only know we have two games and we have to win the game against Aston Villa. “At the end of the week we will see which team has more points.” City can move two points clear at the top of the Barclays Premier League, with just a game to play, if they beat Aston Villa at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday. City’s position has been enhanced after Liverpool squandered a chance to apply considerable pressure on Monday night. Pellegrini, speaking at a press conference to preview the visit of Villa, even claimed he did not watch Liverpool’s dramatic late capitulation against Palace, when they conceded three times in the last 11 minutes. When asked about the result, he said: “I feel it is just one result more in the Premier League. “In the Premier League it is very difficult to win the games. “You cannot be sure you are winning until the end, until the last minute.” Pellegrini sees the performance of Palace, who had already achieved their aim of avoiding relegation, as proof that there can be no room for complacency against Villa. Paul Lambert’s side are also now guaranteed to be in the top flight next season. “Maybe Crystal Palace didn’t have anything to fight for but they were a very strong team and I am sure Aston Villa will be a very strong team for us,” said Pellegrini, whose side lost at Villa Park in September. Lambert insists his side head City with the intention of playing to win despite there being little riding on the outcome for them. Few expect either Villa, or Sunday’s visitors to Manchester West Ham, to be able to prevent City winning their second title in three years. With Villa’s safety secured by last weekend’s win over Hull the general feeling is they will not be in much of a mood to put up a fight but Lambert said that assumption would be wrong. “We’re not going there just to make up the numbers, we’re going there to try to win,” he said. “You have to run a lot and run without the ball. We’re going to have to work really hard without the ball but you also know you’ve got to try to win the game and that’s what we’re going to try and do. “We’ll go there now in a lot better place than we were before the Hull game.” Villa left it uncomfortably late to secure their own future with safety coming in the penultimate game just when it appeared they could get sucked into a last-day relegation battle. Their players have been under a different pressure to City’s for some weeks now but Lambert has been pleased with the spirit they have shown to get themselves out of trouble with a match to spare. “It was major pressure. It was excruciating at times. They showed character, grit and determination to see a game through when it really mattered,” said the Villa boss. “You have to give them credit too. They are the ones in the dressing room who have to go out and perform.” Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini claims nothing has changed in the title race even though his side have now become overwhelming favourites. Press Associationlast_img read more

Wisconsin set for matchup with instate rival Marquette

first_imgFredrik Ask leads the Badgers singles play with a 2-0 record at the No. 1 singles spot and holds an overall 2-1 record. Ask pairs up with Billy Bertha (not pictured) in doubles play where the duo is currently undefeated with a 3-0 record.[/media-credit]The Badgers will try to snatch their first win since January as they face the Marquette Golden Eagles Feb. 22 at the Nielsen Tennis Stadium. The Badgers got their season off to a fast 2-0 start but have been winless in their last three matches. Although all three of their recent opponents have been ranked in the top 30, Wisconsin sits at 2-3 heading into its meeting with Marquette.Head coach Greg Van Emburgh is confident that Wisconsin will stay positive heading into the match. His team has narrowed the gap in each of its losses since they were shut out against a talented Notre Dame squad Feb. 10.“It seems like we’ve improved; I know we’ve improved a great deal from playing Notre Dame to now playing our last match against Georgia Tech,” Van Emburgh said. “I think we’re right on track, and I think we’re starting to play better and starting to realize that we have the potential, and we’re gaining the confidence for the match against Marquette.”A consistent bright spot for the Badgers this season has been the play of the doubles teams. Wisconsin has secured the doubles point in four of five matches this season and is looking to translate that success into the singles matches as well. Junior captain Billy Bertha and sophomore Fredrik Ask have been the backbone of the doubles teams, winning all five of their matches this season. The duo most recently defeated Georgia Tech’s Kevin King and Juan Spir, the No. 2 doubles team in the nation.Ask arrived in Madison just last January from Oslo, Norway, but that has not stopped him and Bertha from accumulating victories. When questioned about the team’s success, Bertha attributed it to chemistry.“I think we mesh well together,” Bertha said. “He’s a lefty, I’m a righty. We’re friends off the court. I think both of our games complement each other well.”“I think we have a good chemistry on the court,” Ask added. “We have different strengths. We’ll see how far we can go.”Although the Badgers are excelling in doubles, the opposite can be said about their singles play, as the team has recorded just two singles victories during their current three-match losing streak.Wisconsin should be especially alert for its matchup against Marquette freshman Cameron Tehrani. The Arizona native has posted seven straight victories in singles play and currently owns a 10-4 overall record through the early part of the season.Van Emburgh expects Wisconsin to make the most of its singles opportunities against Marquette.“I’m really hoping that everybody comes out with a strong desire to win some singles matches tomorrow,” said Van Emburgh. “That’s the one thing we’ve been stressing a lot in our team meetings and in practices – to start finishing those singles matches when we’re in a position to win.” Home court advantage means a lot to both teams. Both Marquette and Wisconsin are undefeated at home, but have yet to earn a win outside their respective stadiums.Van Emburgh said playing at home should allow the Badgers to regroup after a tough weekend on the road.“I think it’s always great to play here on your home court,” Van Emburgh said. “Obviously we were away playing a couple of away matches, so we’re glad to be back.”Marquette should not pose as looming a threat as the previous opponents. While the Golden Eagles are 5-3 on the season, none of those wins are against ranked teams.Playing an in-state rival may provide additional incentive for Wisconsin, especially given the team’s previous successes against Marquette. The Badgers have yet to fall to the Golden Eagles since the 2001-2002 campaign, as UW has recorded four shutouts over MU in that span of time.Ask was not hesitant to verbalize his thoughts on his next opponent.“We should probably try to beat them as much as possible,” Ask said. “We don’t like them too much.”last_img read more