- RACING MOURNS DEATH OF DARLAN
- RIO FERDINAND WANTS ENGLAND RETURN
- TUILAGI FIT AND READY FOR IRELAND ASSIGNMENT
What had been a very good bonus day of high quality racing on Monday turned sour with the death of Darlan in the Champion Hurdle Trial at Doncaster.
The JP McManus owned six year old was travelling well coming to the last against reigning Champion Hurdler and eventual winner, Rock on Ruby, but got his jump all wrong and fell to the floor, breaking his neck. Trainer, Nicky Henderson was visibly upset after the incident, reportedly telling the Racing Post “It’s some game, isn’t it? Why is it always the good ones?.”
AP McCoy was thrown clear by the fall and escaped major injury, but he was stood down for his remaining rides that day. At odds of 9/2, the highly rated hurdler had been expected to put it up to favourite, Hurricane Fly at the Festival, but Willie Mullins’ hopes of regaining the crown have got a boost in circumstances that are far from ideal. Hurricane Fly is the 7/4 favourite for the race with Grandouet (11/2), Zarkandar (6/1) and Rock On Ruby (6/1) rated his biggest challengers.
Back to more immediate and hopefully happier racing, today’s racing comes from Sedgefield, Fairyhouse, Market Rasen and Southwell.
Ahead of the FA’s ‘happy birthday to us’ friendly against Brazil on Wednesday night, Rio Ferdinand has revealed that he would ‘love’ to return to the England team. He’s not alone with that either, as many opposition players have also said they’d love it too. The 34 year old hasn’t been picked for ‘footballing reasons’, footballing reasons that may have something to do with John Terry’s run-in with Rio’s brother Anton.
Speaking to his own magazine, #5, Ferdinand said he’d be keen to return to the international fold if given the chance.
‘It is what it is,’ he said in the most annoying cliche to emerge in recent years. ‘I’m not being picked. The manager hasn’t picked me. If I got picked I’d pack my bags and go straight there.’
Meanwhile, the England squad has been struck down by a series of injuries that can only be treated by missing a mid-week friendly and playing for your club at the weekend. Daniel Sturridge, Jermain Defoe and Michael Carrick have all pulled out of the squad. England are 11/5 to claim victory in the surprisingly interesting friendly.
Manu Tuilagi looks likely to return to the England team for the trip to Dublin to take on Ireland in the Six Nations this weekend. The centre missed the cake-walk against Scotland due to an ankle injury, but he’s back in training this week and likely to replace Billy Twelvetrees who was keeping his place warm ata Twickenham. Coach, Stuart Lancaster has revealed the Ben Youngs is likely to be an absentee due to an ankle problem.
The game was already a biggie, but thanks to France’s shock defeat to Italy, there’s a possible Championship and Grand Slam there for the taking. Ireland count captain, Jamie Heslip, Gordon D’Arcy, Brian O’Driscoll and Mike Ross as their walking wounded, but all are expected to train during the week and be available for selection when Declan Kidney names his team on Friday.
The odds say it will be a close one with the handicap being set at scratch (0).