Having saddled five of the six winners of the major trophy races in the last quarter of last year, 15-time champion trainer Wayne DaCosta is likely to continue where he left off in 2015 by winning the CTL Fan Appreciation Day Trophy overnight allowance feature with down-in-class ALL CORRECT at Caymanas Park today.DaCosta will mount a two-pronged challenge in the 1820 metres event as in addition to ALL CORRECT, he will saddle last year’s winner ROYAL VIBES in a nine-horse field. A year ago, ROYAL VIBES got up in the nick of time to deny hot favourite ALL CORRECT by a head.Since then, ALL CORRECT has rubbed shoulders with the best in grade one company, while ROYAL VIBES has declined in ability.better run expectedWith DaCosta calling up four-time champion Omar Walker, ALL CORRECT having finished eight lengths, sixth to stable-companion SEEKING MY DREAM in the recent Diamond Mile, clocking a personal time of 1:38.0 in that fast-run race, will report even better today. As such, he is likely to stave off the vastly improved HOUDINI’S MAGIC, who won the Royal Dad Trophy over this trip on November 21, and will again be ridden by newly crowned champion jockey Shane Ellis for trainer Anthony ‘Baba’ Nunes.DaCosta capped a record-breaking season on Boxing Day by winning the co-feature races, the $4 million Supreme Ventures Jamaica 2-Y-O Stakes with FUTURE KING and the Harry Jackson Memorial Cup with top distance horse PERFECT NEIGHBOUR for an 11 straight trainers’ title and an unprecedented 15 overall, surpassing Hall of Famer Philip Feanny with 14.DaCosta not only won the Boxing Day co-features, but saddled PERFECT NEIGHBOUR to win the Burger King Gold Cup on October 17, DREAMLINER to win the Cash Pot ‘Only One For Me’ Trophy for two-year-olds on October 19, and SEEKING MY DREAM who won the inaugural running of the $13.5 million Diamond Mile on December 5.Also on the 10-race programme are the New Year’s Day Trophy over 1300 metres, here the DaCosta-trained DRIPPING IN GOLD (Robert Halledeen up) starts favourite; and the $180,000 claiming race over 1820 metres for the McKay Security Trophy to be run in two divisions, both attracting 11 starters.In division one, OH MY GRANDPA has a strong chance based on his close third to GO GO TRAIN in a blanket finish over this trip on a $210,000 claiming tag on October 24.Division two looks tailored for GOFORTHEGLORY, who not only has appealing form, but steps down two classes to vie for this trophy.He can win from PERFECT FLYER and CAUSE FOR CONCERN, who won this race in 2014 when owned by Carlton Watson.
Despite putting on a fearless, entertaining and commanding first-half performance which should have seen his Jamaican team outscore Costa Rica en-route to a comfortable win, Reggae Boyz’ head coach Winfried Schafer labels the 1-1 result in Friday night’s CONCACAF Semi-final Round Group Two World Cup Qualifier a good one and believes his charges will win the return tie tomorrow. Jamaica’s Je-Vaughn Watson scored a bullet header in the 16th minute, while a number of close chances for the home team went beckoning inside the almost full to capacity National Stadium. The Jamaicans also had the lion’s share of possession in the first-half and were more direct, but just couldn’t get the ball into the net more than once in Friday night’s game. Analysing his team’s performance during Friday’s post-match press conference, Schafer called his team’s play in the opening period exemplary. “We played with our all, that’s what we worked at in training and in the second-half the players got a little bit tired. The left side had a small problem, but we showed teamwork because we are one of the best teams in the CONCACAF and the end is OK, 1-1 is OK,” said the coach. Schafer admitted that his charges were short with that elusive second goal, but showed guts. “We were not complacent and (Rodolph) Austin is not here, but I am very happy about the performance of our team, it was fantastic and our team gave 100 per cent for the country and the people and I am very happy about that and how the team goes out against Costa Rica,” he underlined. The coach also defended his substitutions, stating that Lee Williamson, who was very good in the first-half, was taken out because he was tired, adding that forward Darren Mattocks might have been introduced a little too late. “Again, our team today played in this match was very good. We intend to beat Costa Rica at home,” he reiterated. “The plan is to recover the players, the players sleep good and we make our recovery. After that we go to Costa Rica,” he added, noting that captain Austin should be OK to play in Costa Rica.
Makyn The Shot
Maurice Wilson, coach of 2015 Pan American Games 100-metre gold champion Sherone Simpson, is seeing where his athlete can improve even further on this past season, her most successful in years. The 31-year-old Simpson has been training with Wilson since late 2014 and won Pan American Games gold in 10.95 seconds in July, her first title since she won the Commonwealth Games 200m title in 2006. It was also the first time since 2008 that she was breaking 11 seconds in the 100m. She went on to win sprint relay gold at the IAAF World Championships in August in Beijing, China, where she ran a season’s best 22.50 in the final of the 200 metres. She also advanced to the semi-finals of the 100m. Wilson believes the success Simpson achieved this year will help her achieve new targets for the 2015/2016 season that includes the Olympic Games in Rio, Brazil, next August. “Personally, I felt we had a great season. Sherone was perhaps the only athlete who had to be ready for three major meets – the national trials, the Pan American Games and the World Champion-ships and she excelled tremendously at the Pan Am Games, she made the national team and, in my estimation, she did fairly well at the World Champ-ionships,” he said. He revealed that he got Simpson into the best shape possible for the Pan Am Games to give her the best chance of success there. “I felt a couple of the other ladies were a little ahead of her, and I had to be realistic. I wanted her to have a platform in terms of confidence, and it really worked out for us,” he said. LOOKING FORWARD TO IMPROVEMENT The confidence she would have gained from this season, he said, will help her improve for next season. “I am not the type of coach to get ahead of myself, but I believe it is possible for her to improve at the very least by 0.05s. I never normally judge persons off just one run, so I am talking about being consistent in that region, and if she can be consistent, then her 200m will be better as well,” he said. “I am quite certain that we will make tremendous progress for the Olympic year.” Now that he has learned even more about her, he said it will help him do an even better job of preparing her. “I would have known so much more about her. In terms of some of the things that we were not able to do, I think we will be able to do those things, and as I have always said she is extremely professional, and once she continues to bring that to the game, and with the sort of effort that we both will put into the season coming up, the sky is the limit.”
Portmore United’s dream start to the Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL) came to an unlikely end yesterday after they fell 1-0 to bottom-of-the-table University of the West Indies (UWI) Football Club at the UWI Bowl. The St Catherine-based club had a perfect three wins from as many matches, but Kemar Cummings’ 87th-minute strike ended that record and gave newcomers UWI their first-ever Premier League win. “We were hungry for it,” UWI’s coach, Marcel Gayle, told The Gleaner. “We were more disciplined and more organised, but most importantly, we got the win.” The three points lifted UWI to ninth, tied with eighth-place Harbour View (three points), but sit above Tivoli Gardens, Boys’ Town and Waterhouse, who are all yet to win this season. The defeat also meant Port-more lost their place at the top, as they slipped to second behind Reno, who stopped Tivoli 3-2. Randell Morris netted the winner from the spot in the third minute of added time after the teams were locked at 2-2. At Stadium East, Cavalier registered their second straight win with a 2-0 win over Rivoli. Ryan Miller fired the home team ahead on the stroke of half-time before Chevone Marsh sealed the win seven minutes from time. “It was a harder game than I thought it would be,” winning coach Rudolph Speid said afterwards. “They came close to scoring on a few occasions, but once we settled and started passing the ball, we got the first goal, and the second goal was just a matter of time.” The win carried Cavalier to third on seven points, ahead of Humble Lion only on goal difference, three behind leaders Reno (10) and two adrift of Portmore United (9). At Barbican field, Montego Bay United continue Boys’ Town’s miserable start, handing the hosts a 3-0 defeat. MoBay sit mid-table with Arnett Gardens, on six points. Waterhouse currently sit at the bottom with one point from their games, and will play Harbour View in the Monday-night game at Harbour View this evening at 8:30 p.m.
WESTERN BUREAU:Montego Bay United (MBU) FC not only lost their chance of advancing to the next round in the CFU’s Caribbean Club Championship by losing 1-0 to Trinidad and Tobago’s Central FC on Sunday night, they also may lose the services of red-hot striker Owayne ‘Turtle’ Gordon for at least three weeks.Midfielder Darren Mitchell’s 87th-minute strike was the decisive factor as MBU ended with 10 men after the sending off of centre back Winston Wilkinson for a second bookable offence.DECIDING GAMEBoth teams had beaten the other group contender, Cayman Islands’ Scholars FC, and their Sunday night clash was the decider. Central FC had won 6-0 over Scholars, while MBU had won 4-0.Gordon was replaced in the first half after he was accidentally poked in the left eye by a Central FC defender.”We took him to see an ophthalmologist and the diagnosis is that he suffered what they say is a laceration of the eyeball, meaning that he was scraped in the eye, most likely from a fingernail,” said Sandra Christie, the club’s chief operating officer.The injury could keep the player off the field for close to a month and comes at a most inappropriate time for both player and club.MoBay United are currently leading the Red Stripe Premier League with 55 points, one more than Portmore United, who drew 2-2 away to FC Reno in their Sunday fixture. But the Montego Bay club has played one game less, while boasting a league-leading 45 goals.Gordon, for his part, has been in sensational form, racking up seven goals in his last three outings for the club, including back-to-back braces in the Premier League before exploding for a hat-trick against Scholars FC of Cayman in last Wednesday’s opening Group Three match in the Club Championship.He has also become the focal point in attack for MoBay United in the absence of Dino Williams, who inked a season-long deal to play football in the United States.”Gordon’s injury does not sit well with the club. In fact, we are totally unhappy with the officiating in this match,” said Christie, adding that Cuban referee Marcos Despaign was not of a quality befitting such levels.”The referee, it would seem, never had an angle on the game. How can a player be seriously injured in the eye and you telling him to get up and play?” she questioned.
The Jamaica International Invitational (JII) meet this past weekend churned out some mind boggling results. This being the year of the Rio Olympics, greater significance is inevitably placed on what athletes bring to the table in early outings. Foster’s Fairplay was stunned by the 100m mark of 10.71 rolled out by MVP girl Elaine Thompson. It was aided by a +2.4 metre per second (mps) wind, marginally over the legally accepted limit of 2.0. However, although it will not have record keepers reaching for their books, it cannot be underestimated as another milestone in the rise to world prominence of this pint-sized gift to the sport from the district of Banana Ground in hilly Manchester. As former Olympic and World Champion, Linford Christie, once told this columnist, “wind or no wind, it proves the time is in your legs”. Another JII event that attracted the attention of this columnist in a poignant way was the women’s 100m hurdles. Reigning world champion, Danielle Williams, took that title at a time when the high-riding Americans had faltered, suffering mishaps at one stage or another. There was a claim that the 2015 Sportswoman of the Year runner-up’s performance was diluted because of the missteps by the USA girls. They included defending champion Jasmine Stowers, who pulled out of Saturday night’s proceedings at the last minute, 2015 USA champion Brianna Rollins, Sharika Nelvis and Queen Harrison, all Beijing World Championship finalists and the cream of the USA’s crop. What Danielle showed on the night in a close, wind assisted race, is interesting. None of those named, including the always effervescent Jamaican miss, had competed in more than two finals this year. They were all in the infant stages of the 2016 season, but the revelation was clear. They can dance together at the same party. Also worthy of mention – in the context of exciting prospects for this summer’s action – is Kemar Bailey-Cole’s 10.01 clocking to win the men’s 100m. The 2014 Commonwealth Games champion left Beijing injured last year. His only appearance since was a 200m on local soil in April. With this 2016 best, he has factored in himself to make that sprint trio for Rio. Over in Doha, Qatar, the previous day (Friday), there was another eye-catching run by sprint hurdler out of the prestigious University of Arkansas program, Omar “Mr. Silk” McLeod. He sounded the trumpet of his presence, also in Beijing last year. Slamming hurdles repeatedly, he muscled into the final, where in the same rhythm-challenging style he placed a more than creditable sixth. Now a professional athlete under the guidance of IAAF athletes representative, the very selective and overall quality-conscious, Claude Bryan, he created what the organising team called the ‘Performance of the Meet’. It was a world leading 13.05 seconds, legally crafted and throwing down the gauntlet to the most lettered of his rivals. Several of them trailed him in Doha, notably countryman Hansle Parchment (Beijing silver medallist) and the USA’s power men – Aries Merritt (world record holder) and David Oliver (2013 World champion). Foster’s Fairplay, with all these top end performances in mind, calls on the experience and lessons learnt covering this sport. Medals are won on the day. Even before that, there is a hurdle to be tackled called Trials, where no quarter is given. The stern test of strength, endurance and character is almost seven weeks away. The order of the four-day championships is one-two-three for selection in individual events and top six in relays. There are no wild cards to allow any athlete, unfettered passage to the most appropriately named ‘Greatest Show on Earth’. The Diamond League has seen only one event on its four-month long calendar. The action, yet unfolded, will produce a plethora of oooohs and aaahs, spills and thrills, as is the tradition. Apart from those who competed on the Indoor circuit, other countries’ elite are not yet in full fitness or shape. It is a logistical impossibility for them all to make it. For those who do, Foster’s Fairplay wishes for them all the very best as they huddle under the black, gold and green. Until then, there is every confidence that the city of the samba will have a lot of time for the beat of Reggae. Onward Jamaica, the spirits of your athletic ancestors are watching. For feedback: E-Mail email@example.com
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DAMBULLA, Sri Lanka (CMC): Shimron Hetmyer fell agonisingly short of a hundred as he led a solid West Indies A reply on the second day of the final four-day ‘Test’ against Sri Lanka A here yesterday. The Caribbean side closed the day on 183 for four at the Rangiri Dambulla International Stadium, with Hetmyer top-scoring with an aggressive 94 and captain Shamarh Brooks unbeaten on 43. Sri Lanka A had earlier converted their overnight 272 for seven into 318 all out, as left-arm seamer Delorn Johnson helped polish off the tail to finish with four for 65. Off-spinner Rahkeem Cornwall claimed three for 93, while leg-spinner Damion Jacobs picked up two for 64. Roshen Silva added just nine to his overnight 40, while number 10 Kasun Madushanka slammed five fours in an eight-ball 20. West Indies A were quickly in trouble, however, when openers Rajendra Chandrika (11) and left-hander Kieran Powell (8) departed cheaply to leave the visitors stumbling on 35 for two. THIRD WICKET STAND Hetmyer and Brooks then came together to rescue the innings in an enterprising 104-run, third wicket stand. The left-handed Hetmyer was dominant throughout in a better than run-a-ball innings, carving out 17 boundaries off just 93 deliveries. Brooks, a right-hander, has faced 79 deliveries and struck five fours. When Hetmyer fell, the in-form Vishaul Singh joined Brooks to add a further 34 for the fourth wicket, before perishing 15 minutes before the close for 15, lbw to seamer Lahiru Gamage. The three-game series is tied 1-1 after the hosts won the opener in Colombo by seven wickets and West Indies A pulled of a massive 333-run victory in the second contest in Pallekele.
The frustration at Waterhouse Football Club in this season’s Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL) continues to build, as they went down 2-0 to Reno in an uninspiring performance at their Drewsland base. It was their fifth loss from 10 home matches.However, Coach Glendon ‘Admiral’ Bailey said it was not time to press the panic button as he believes there is more than adequate time to save their season.”It was lacklustre. I didn’t expect a lacklustre performance like this. We didn’t even look like we turned up to play until the secondhalf,” Bailey told the Gleaner.”But there are still a lot of points and a lot of games, so we can’t give up and it’s too early to hit the alarm bells. I don’t think the alarm bells should start ringing as yet. Yes, we want points and you want to assure yourself, but time is on our side. We just have to look in ourselves and see where we go from here. But as soon as we get some players off injury and get the new players coming in you will see a different team,” Bailey sought to assure.Reno looked dangerous from the onset and it was no surprise when Kavar Walker steered home Javed Richardson’s cross from 12 yards after 17 minutes of play.WASTED GIFTWaterhouse struggled to get themselves together, but DeAndre Brown rattled the bar from 18 yards of a low Irvino English cross and Jermaine ‘Tuffy’ Anderson wasted a gift after goalkeeper Dennis Taylor landed a spot-kick at his feet just outside the area, firing over the unguarded goal.However, when the Waterhouse defence failed to clear a ball from their area, it eventually fell to the prolific Craig Foster, who spun and fired pass Diego Haughton in the Waterhouse goal.The hosts improved slightly after the break, but still looked disorganised and lacked creativity for the most part. But while Anderson forced a good save out of Taylor midway the half, his opportunity in the final minute summed up his and Waterhouse’s play, as, with only Taylor to beat he dragged a tame shot wide from 12 yards.Reno’s Technical Director Wendell Downswell said the team’s aim is to win six straight and climb out of the bottom half of the standings.”We are on track in the new year,” Downswell said.In other games, Portmore and Montego Bay United played to a 1-1 draw. UWI stopped Harbour View 1-0, Arnett Gardens beat Boys’ Town 2-1 in the Trench Town derby, Tivoli edged Jamalco 1-0 and Humble Lion defeated Maverley-Hughenden 2-0.Montego Bay lead the table with 39 points, but that was cut to one by Tivoli (38). UWI are third with 35 points, followed by Humble Lion on 34, Portmore with 33, and Arnett on 28.Yesterday’s ResultsPortmore 1 – 1 Montego BayUWI 1 – 0 Harbour ViewBoys’ Town 1-2 Arnett GardensJamalco 0 – 1 TivoliWaterhouse 0 – 2 RenoHumble Lion 2 – 0 Maverley-Hughenden