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Greenham Stakes preview: Perfect Power charged up for Newbury stamina test | Racing News

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Perfect Power bids to answer a significant stamina question on his return to action in the Watership Down Too Darn Hot Greenham Stakes at Newbury on Saturday.

Trained by Richard Fahey, last season’s Norfolk Stakes winner progressed to take two Group One contests – the Prix Morny at Deauville and the Middle Park at Newmarket.

Christophe Soumillon maintains his partnership with the talented son of Ardad, who has yet to race beyond six furlongs.

Fahey admits the straight seven-furlong test at the Berkshire track will determine whether or not he will take on Native Trail in the Qipco 2000 Guineas.

“It is a fact-finding mission, really,” said Fahey.

“He has to step up from six (furlongs), but he has been working really well and we are happy with him, and we will know where we are going after this.

“They have let him in without a Group One penalty, so it gives him a chance to have a run.

“You have to think the Guineas would be an option if he came through this.

“He will go on any ground – he has won on fast and won on slow – no excuses, anyway.

“We are very pleased with him and he has strengthened up and progressed well. We are very pleased.”

Having won the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere on Arc day at ParisLongchamp and then come from last to first to complete a French Group One double in the Criterium International at Saint-Cloud in October, Angel Bleu figures to have a leading chance.

However, Kimpton trainer Ralph Beckett is concerned about the quicker ground he is likely to encounter as the son of Dark Angel starts his three-year-old campaign.

“I think it is a good starting place for him and that is the way we will be approach it,” said Beckett.

“He is healthy and ready to go, the ground is obviously drying but he has got to start somewhere.

“It is going to be tough. Perfect Power is going to be difficult to beat, but we’re in good from and looking forward to it.”

Richard Hannon saddles both Gubbass and Lusail, who are both by Mehmas.

Lusail won a pair of six-furlong Group Two contests – the July Stakes at Newmarket and the Gimcrack at York – before finishing last of four in the Champagne Stakes on good to soft ground at Doncaster when upped to seven furlongs.

Gubbass, who won the Weatherbys Super Sprint at Newbury, was not beaten far in the Group Two Richmond Stakes and by Perfect Power at Deauville, before ending his campaign with a disappointing run in the Mill Reef at Newbury.

Hannon said: “Gubbass and Lusail are both in good form. Lusail had a good year last year and he is working very well. I’m very happy with him.

“The ground should be fine for him. Whether he is going to get a mile in time, we will learn on Saturday. It was soft ground (at Doncaster) and he was wheel-spinning the whole way. He hated it. So he will be avoiding any ground with the word ‘soft’ in it from now on.

“Gubbass is a good horse and he also had a good year, but he might be on a recovery mission after his last run.

“He ran well at Goodwood and in the Morny as well. They have both grown and done physically very well.”

Stan Moore is never daunted by a challenge and expects The Wizard Of Eye to make his presence felt.

Though the son of Galileo Gold won just once in his juvenile campaign, that success came in July at the Berkshire track and he went on to finish a close-up fifth to Angel Bleu in the Lagardere.

He has already run this season, finishing seventh in the Saudi Derby on the dirt in Riyadh.

The Wizard Of Eye is 66-1 with Coral for the Guineas and Moore is keen to see if the weekend will answer a few questions.

“He went over to Richard Hannon’s for a gallop, just for a change to get him away and we were very pleased with the work,” he said.

“John Egan came down and rode him and was over the moon with him. He is still a big, raw horse who will make natural improvement, but he should put up a big show.”

The Lambourn trainer, who earned Group One success in the 2009 Prix de l’Abbaye with Total Gallery, added: “In the Saudi Derby he was only beaten 11 lengths on his first time on the dirt and he took some kickback in the first two furlongs. I think it made a bit of a man of him.

“So I think he will go and he will have a fighting chance. He is not going for a day out.

“There are some good horses in the Greenham, but he is a good horse, too.

“He is a fantastic-moving horse and he covers a lot of ground. We had to put the (measuring) stick on him last year because Hong Kong people were interested in him. He was just over 17 hands as a two-year-old.

“He has filled out his frame a bit more and he is going to get better as he gets older. He will probably be a better horse in the second half of the season than the first half.

“He is in the three Guineas – the English, Irish and German.

“Probably the Greenham will tell you where he needs to go next. He needs to give them a run for their money if he is to go for the English or Irish Guineas. I think he will get a mile. In any race, he can hold a position. He has a very high cruising speed.

“He is able to sit in on a fast pace comfortably and it doesn’t take it out of him.

“He’ll put it to them, anyway.”

Flaming Rib will have his first outing for Hugo Palmer having previously been trained by Tom Dascombe.

Palmer took over the tenancy at Manor House Stables earlier in the year after Dascombe departed his role there and Flaming Rib, who is co-owned by Michael Owen – the yard’s landlord – stayed put.

The colt tallied up four consecutive six-furlong victories towards the end of of last term and is now stepping up in trip for his first start for Palmer.

“I haven’t known him all that well, but he’s been training really nicely and I’m very pleased with him,” said Palmer.

“He’s an attractive horse, quite a light-framed horse, he doesn’t look like a big, muscular sprinter and his pedigree says that he should stay.

“He may even get a mile, but if he were to do that we would have to change his run style a little bit.

“We’ll just see, we might be barking up the wrong tree and it might not work but I thought seven furlongs in the Greenham was the right place to start.

“If he ran very well he could go to the French Guineas and if not, he could be a Jersey horse or he could come back sprinting.”





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Chelsea FC: Brilliant Badiashile leading way for new signings as Thiago Silva partnership blossoms

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C

helsea have not conceded a goal in the first 270 minutes that Benoit Badiashile has been on the pitch since his £35million move from Monaco.

His promising early form at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea will hope, hint at better times to come through their new signings.

The arrival of French centre-back Badiashile at the start of last month kick-started a record January spending spree of more than £300m.

After Chelsea were sent spiralling into crisis with defeats by Manchester City and Fulham, Badiashile made his debut in a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace.

After the Blues claimed a further two clean sheets in 0-0 draws away at Liverpool and at home to Fulham, he is building an impressive partnership with Thiago Silva.

Impressive start: Benoit Badiashile has formed a promising partnership with Thiago Silva

/ Getty Images

Badiashile was one of five new signings to feature in Friday’s 0-0 draw with Fulham. He started alongside £106.8m Enzo Fernandez, who started well but faded over 90 minutes, £89.5m Mykhailo Mudryk, who struggled over 45 minutes while carrying a cold, and £30m Noni Madueke, who was bright after being brought on at half-time.

“What a waste of money” was the regular chant from the Fulham fans in the away end.

That felt harsh in Badiashile’s case. With his size and speed, he looks like a perfect partner for 38-year-old veteran Silva.

In addition, he showed the ability to play brilliantly out of Fulham’s well-drilled press and he coped in his duels against Aleksandar Mitrovic.

There is still adaption to be done, as Graham Potter barked instructions about his positioning in relation to Silva.

However, using French to communicate with the former Paris Saint-Germain captain, Badiashile has helped steady the ship in the absence of the injured Wesley Fofana, and with Kalidou Koulibaly out of form.

While still only averaging just 1.05 goals per game in the Premier League, Chelsea will draw more than they win unless their new midfielders and forwards step up.

Arriving in the weeks after Badiashile, the likes of Fernandez, Joao Felix, Mudryk and Madueke have not had as much time to adapt to their surroundings.

With Chelsea still in 10th place and increasingly falling behind in the race to qualify for Europe, they must follow Badiashile’s lead and hit the ground running before time runs out.



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Reporter’s notebook: Jesse Marsch’s Leeds side showed encouraging signs at times but lack of points cost him his job | Football News

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Jesse Marsch was approaching his one-year anniversary as Leeds United head coach before the decision was taken on Monday to relieve him of his duties.

The defeat to Nottingham Forest a day earlier had been the final straw for the Leeds board, who were all aligned in the view that a change was necessary after almost three months without a Premier League win.

The recent statistics paint a grim picture for Leeds. Seven Premier League games without a win and just two wins in the last 17 league games. And against Forest, although they dominated in the first half and created the better chances, a worrying pattern had started to develop which had become a huge concern for fans. Leeds were producing performances with lots of positives, but not enough points.

There is little doubt that a large proportion of the fan base had lost patience with Marsch, and they made their frustrations clear at the full-time whistle on Sunday with calls for a change of head coach.

What is very evident is that Leeds have not kicked on this season. At times there have been really promising signs, but the fans and the board at Leeds wanted more. Marsch will feel that with time he could have delivered more, but he was also realistic enough to know that he was walking a tightrope.

I got to know Jesse well during his 12 months at Elland Road and it was abundantly clear he cared passionately about the club. He understood what it meant to be head coach of Leeds United and what the club meant to the city and the fans. And he has to be given great credit for keeping Leeds in the Premier League last season.

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from the Premier League match between Nottingham Forest and Leeds.

Although it hasn’t worked out for Marsch this season, there is a strong argument to suggest that the next Leeds boss will be in a great position to move the club forward.

Patrick Bamford and Luis Sinisterra are now fit, and the January additions should make the starting line-up stronger. The club has also invested heavily in young players and one of those, Willy Gnonto, has emerged as one of the shining lights of the season.

Those factors have created an expectation that Leeds are better than their current league position, and that means a reluctance to accept another season fighting to avoid the drop. It also means that there are reasons to be optimistic about the future.

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Former Leeds United goalkeeper Paul Robinson believes sacking Jesse Marsch was the right decision as he was given enough time at the club.

The process of finding a replacement for Marsch is already underway and Leeds hope to make a swift appointment. A move for Marcelo Bielsa is highly unlikely, but West Brom boss Carlos Corberan, who worked under Bielsa, is a candidate, while Ange Postecoglou at Celtic has also been linked.

It is also worth noting Leeds have a track record of leftfield appointments, so as they work through their list of targets, there is a good chance that a candidate emerges that could surprise everybody.

In the meantime, Michael Skubala, Paco Gallardo and Chris Armas will take training at Thorp Arch, and will be in the dugout for Wednesday’s Premier League fixture against Manchester United at Old Trafford.

Leeds’ next Premier League fixtures

February 8: Manchester United (A) – kick-off 8pm

February 12: Manchester United (H) – kick-off 2pm, live on Sky Sports

February 18: Everton (A) – kick-off 3pm

February 25: Southampton (H) – kick-off 3pm

March 4: Chelsea (A) – kick-off 3pm

March 11: Brighton (H) – kick-off 3pm

March 18: Wolves (A) – kick-off 3pm



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Tom Brady in his underwear is taking over Twitter

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Um .. oh.

Um .. oh.
Screenshot: Twitter: Tom Brady

It’s Super Bowl week, and if you thought Tom Brady was going to let this week go by without being all up in your timeline…well. Just a week after announcing he’s retiring from football (you’ll never convince me he didn’t play an extra year just to stick it to Adam Schefter), Tom Brady has dropped his first thirst trap on Twitter. Or, attempted thirst trap. Actually, IS this a thirst trap?

As will many things Tom Brady, the attempt to be cool and edgy just winds up being sterile, boring, and kinda sad. A beige man in a beige room in beige underwear with a “pleass clap” look on his face.

And because OF COURSE:

Yes, Tom. We all knew the plug as coming. I’m not sure what color “heather crimson” is supposed to be, but I believe this is what we used to call “puce,” which… meh. The fact that there is something called the “Brady Boxer Brief” is enough to make me want to stick my head in the oven, because you know there are guys in New England burning up the internet right now to wear the same undies as their hero. And even more so because no amount of refusing to mask during COVID, vouching for Antonio Brown, stumping for Donald Trump, or getting a PPP loan during a nationwide pandemic is enough to get people to stop buying what this guy is selling. He’s even gotten to Jane Fonda, for crying out loud.

Of course, this entire thing was set up by Brady’s own brand:

So…whatever. It’s Super Bowl week and everyone is talking about Tom Brady, which is exactly how he wants it to be.



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