A Cheltenham Festival winner over hurdles last season, he has excelled over fences and was a good winner of the Topaz Novice Chase over Christmas. However, that was over three miles and he would be dropping three furlongs in trip were he to take up his option this weekend. Advertising the strength in depth of trainer Willie Mullins and owners Gigginstown House Stud, Valseur Lido is another possible. He has not been seen since a very impressive display in the Drinmore Novice Chase in November. Jarry D’Honneur and Adriana Des Mottes are other options for Mullins. Gigginstown also have Mouse Morris’ Rule The World and Band Of Blood under consideration, along with Noel Meade’s Very Wood, who is another previous Cheltenham winner. Morris said of Rule The World: “He will either go to Leopardstown this weekend or Navan a week later, we’ll just see what the weather does. It’s been pretty cold here the last two days. “He’s taken well to fences, I think. “First time he was only just beaten by a smart mare of Willie’s (Adriana Des Mottes) giving her lumps of weight and then the ground was just a little bit testing at Naas. “That’s taking nothing away from the winner (Wounded Warrior), though, because he looks a smart one. “At that time I just had a few not running up to scratch and I think he could have been one” The Tullow Tank, disappointing the last twice for Sandra Hughes, Shanahan’s Turn, Le Vent D’Antan and Draycott Place are the other possibles. The race used to be run as the Dr P.J. Moriarty Chase and the likes of Bostons Angel and Cooldine have won it before winning the RSA Chase the following month, while Lord Windermere was beaten in it two years ago before winning at Cheltenham. RSA Chase favourite Don Poli is among a total of 12 horses in the mix for Sunday’s Flogas Novice Chase at Leopardstown. Press Association
highlights Brendon McCullum became the first triple centurion for New Zealand in Tests.New Zealand notched up 680/8 declared, their then-highest Test score.McCullum shared a partnership of 352 with BJ Watling, the highest for the sixth-wicket in Tests. New Delhi: Ever since New Zealand started playing Test cricket in 1929, the country had not produced a triple centurion. Martin Crowe, the best batsman ever produced by the country, had come close in 1991 against Sri Lanka in Wellington but he fell for 299. For many years, New Zealand’s highest individual score in Tests remained Crowe’s brilliant effort. However, all that changed on February 18, 2014, thanks to Brendon McCullum. The New Zealand skipper led from the front in the Wellington Test against India and created history with a knock that changed the face of cricket in the country. With the Kiwis staring down the barrel, McCullum played a knock that can be termed as one of the best cricketing knocks the world has ever seen.McCullum had already decimated India with a brilliant 224 in the first Test in Auckland as New Zealand won a Test against India after 12 years thanks to a 40-run win. In the final Test at the Basin Reserve, New Zealand were bowled out for 192 with Ishant Sharma taking 6/51. India took a 246-run lead thanks to Ajinkya Rahane’s brilliant 118 and Shikhar Dhawan’s 98. In response on day 3, New Zealand lost half their side and the match looked like getting over quickly. McCullum himself had survived a dropped chance on 9 off Mohammed Shami with Virat Kohli dropping a simple catch at silly mid-on. This was the moment the game changed comprehensively and McCullum stitched a series-defining partnership with BJ Watling. The duo first looked to steady the innings and then proceeded to find the gaps with regularity.RELATEDThe New Zealand skipper notched up his fifty with a sweep off Ravindra Jadeja and he grew in confidence. At the other end, Watling played the sheet anchor role to perfection. McCullum went past 5000 runs and he notched up his century by clobbering Ishant Sharma to the deep midwicket fence for a six. At day 4, McCullum and Watling continued to flay the Indian bowling as New Zealand chipped away at the deficit.With every passing hour, India found it harder to dislodge the duo. Watling raced to his third century and first against India and McCullum got to his second consecutive double ton of the series by flicking Zaheer Khan to the deep square leg fence. India finally managed to break the 352-run stand for the sixth wicket, the best-ever at that time, when Watling fell for 124 but India encountered another problem with debutant James Neesham giving McCullum solid support. Neesham got going with some aggressive boundaries and McCullum went past 250. New Zealand had already erased the deficit and were looking to get to safety. By the end of day 4, McCullum had reached 281 and on the cusp of creating history. On day 5, the crowd had packed the Basin Reserve in anticipation of something special. McCullum moved calmly into the 290s and he survived an outside edge of Ishant that fell in front of MS Dhoni. The right-hander pulled a short ball Kapil Dev style to the deep square leg boundary and Sunil Gavaskar dubbed it the ‘Nataraj shot’. Neesham notched up his maiden century but McCullum created history by guiding a back of a length ball from Zaheer past gully to become the first New Zealand batsman to hit a triple century in Tests. The standing ovation from the grass banks of the Basin Reserve was a sight worth seeing. At the far end, near the members pavilion, McCullum’s father Stu McCullum cheered his son. For five minutes, the crowd at the Basin refused to sit down as they cheered the feat by Brendon McCullum. The skipper fell for 302 off 557 and the knock spanned 775 minutes, the most a New Zealand batsman has ever batted. Speaking about the achievement, Martin Crowe wrote a poignant column on ESPNCricinfo thanking McCullum’s contribution. “With Brendon scoring our nation’s first ever triple-hundred, I have finally removed the one remaining stone in my shoe. It’s pathetic to even have to do so, yet massively necessary. Yes, it has been quite an uplifting few days of personal selfish rehabilitation. Indeed they (McCullum and Ross Taylor) have reinvigorated a cricket nation, and most importantly encouraged many young aspiring athletes to dream big.”The 2015 World Cup tagline was Greatness is Contagious. It might well have been written for McCullum and the legendary knock of 302. It was indeed a great sight for a cricket fan and one genuinely appreciated by fans across countries. For all the Latest Sports News News, Cricket News News, Download News Nation Android and iOS Mobile Apps.
Ghana Premier League side Berekum Arsenals say they will appeal the six match ban and a fine of GHc5000 handed them by the Disciplinary Committee of the Ghana Football Association for misconduct, during their Glo Premier League fixture at home to Asante Kotoko on May 12 at the Golden City Park.The Berekum-based side received the ban after video evidence proved their supporters were guilty of violence and lawlessness, during their week 26 fixture which saw them losing 3-0 to the Porcupine Warriors. Aside the ban and fine, Arsenals also have to deal with the painful thought of slipping into relegation at the end of the 2012/2013 league season.Mohammed Salifu, spokesperson of the Ghanaian soccer gunners told JOY Sports “we still have a couple of days to decide what to do next if we want to appeal against the sanctions.For now our survival chances are quite open after winning our last game against Wa All Stars.So that has kept us busy and more focused than this problem that has come up. So we will deal with our survival first then think of appealing the ban. What happened doesn’t warrant a ban of six matches and a GHc5000 fine, it is very harsh so we will appeal.”
The Lakers are in freefall, a needed, potentially fortuitous freefall that could land them a premium lottery pick in next summer’s draft.By now, you know the drill. The Lakers promised the Phoenix Suns a 2015 first-round pick in the Steve Nash trade. But the Lakers keep it if they finish within the top five of the lottery. They currently have the fourth-worst record in the NBA, meaning they have an 82.8% chance of staying in the top five, a 37.8% chance of landing in the top three and an 11.9% chance of getting the top pick overall. The Lakers’ rebuilding project depends on importing as many young, talented players as possible and adding them to a couple of established veterans via free agency or trades.The lottery pick, coupled with the first-round pick they get from the Houston Rockets from the Jeremy Lin trade and the two second-round picks they’ll likely have, means adding four players with upside to promising youngsters like Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson. And with the money they will have to play with in free agency, they can add one or two impact veterans. By October, we could be looking at a completely different Lakers team.So while you keep one eye on the Lakers’ plunge, it’s probably time to start looking at whom the Lakers might be considering pick within the top five selections. And while they desperately needing a big-body presence to anchor the defense or an explosive playmaker, expect the Lakers to target an elite post player or a play-making wing or guard.With the help of two high-ranking NBA team executives who spoke on the condition of anonymity, here are five players the Lakers should be considering. JAHLIL OKAFORFreshman center, Duke, 6-11, 18.2 points, 9.3 rebounds, 1.5 blocks The lowdown: Without question, the most polished offensive big man available, and though there are questions about his ability to consistently protect the basket, his defense has improved during the course of his freshman season and he is an efficient rebounder. His calling card is an advanced, offensive game, an NBA body, big hands and terrific footwork. The Lakers have always built from the inside out, and in Okafor they’d have their center for the next decade.NBA executive: I think he’s going to go with the top pick. Does he have some aspects of his game that need to improve? Yes. But offensively, the way he can score in the low post, his foot work, and he’s actually a really good passer, he’s a very good rebounder and while he’s not a tremendous athlete, he’s sneaky. Are there other guys who can go before him? Maybe. Maybe if you have a big already on your roster, maybe you’d go in another direction or maybe you pick him anyway, just to have as an asset. I just don’t know if there are enough guys who can challenge him at this point.EMMANUEL MUDIAYPoint guard, China, 6-5, 17.7 points, 6.0 rebounds, 5.9 assistsThe lowdown: One of the true wild cards in the draft, Mudiay originally committed to Larry Brown and SMU but opted to play professionally in China this year. A minor ankle injury cut short his season after just 10 games — although some suspect a short season was the plan all along — curtailing his exposure to scouts. In the time he did play, Mudiay put up outstanding numbers. Coming out of high school, Mudiay was considered the potential top-pick overall while drawing comparisons to elite point guards like John Wall, Kyrie Irving and Derrick Rose. The Lakers desperately need a new star and dynamic playmaker, and Mudiay checks both boxes.NBA executive: Haven’t seen him since high school, but, you know, he’s talented. With the injury, it’s going to be interesting to see how he does in the draft just because teams might be a bit leery of drafting a guy like that without seeing him, and depending on whether he works out for them or not. I think he’ll still go pretty high, but it might hurt him that he’s injured. The guys you’re seeing now that are playing, let’s be honest, they’re getting more exposure. Of course, there’s something to be said sometimes about the mysterious guys. Sometimes that actually helps.D’ANGELO RUSSELLFreshman point guard, Ohio State, 6-5, 19.5 points, 5.9 rebounds, 5.4 assistsThe lowdown: No one is shooting up the draft board faster than Russell, an explosive, creative playmaker who is showing he can handle point-guard duties but also take over games with his scoring. Some wonder if he is tall enough to be an NBA two-guard — he is listed at 6-5 but some think he is closer to 6-3 or 6-4. Nevertheless, he’s been an awakening with his combination of scoring and passing ability. And at this point he’s a lock in the top five. In fact, with Mudiay still somewhat of a wild card on some boards, there are some who think Russell can overtake him as the second overall pick.NBA executive: I think he’s really made a push recently. He came in originally more as a two guard. And when we saw him in high school, at the McDonald’s All-America game and things like that, we saw him as a two. But now, the way he’s playing, I think he’s one of those guys that doesn’t really have a true position. He’s a combo guy. He can run a team, or at least make plays. He can score and make plays. He’s pretty unique. And that’s really boosting his stock because there aren’t a lot of point guards out there. People are looking at him, he’s 6-3, 6-4, and he rebounds, he shoots it pretty decently and he’s really good off the dribble. He can make plays and score off the dribble. The lack of point guards is helping him, and I think people are looking at him differently, someone they can convert to point guard in the NBA. He’s not quite big enough to be an NBA two, but he can run a team and he’s certainly creative enough off the dribble, and that’s I think what’s so intriguing about him. Russell is an impressive player, he can really go and he makes things happen. KARL-ANTHONY TOWNSFreshman center, Kentucky, 6-11, 9.0 points, 6.2 rebounds, 2.3 blocksThe lowdown: It’s tough sometimes getting a read on Kentucky players. There is so much talent in Lexington it forces individuals to sacrifice personal numbers and exposure for the good of the team. So don’t get caught up in the stats, they don’t tell the whole story. That said, Towns has flashed enough offensive game, defensive mastery and basketball I.Q. to thrust himself into top-five consideration. On the right team, he could develop into the premier player in this draft.NBA executive: I like him a lot. He’s probably the most skilled inside-outside kind of guy, for a big. I think he can make mid-range shots and threes. He’s pretty good around the basket. He’s a good athlete, although I’m not sure he’s a great athlete. He knows how to play, he’s got a high I.Q. One thing that’s underrated is his shot blocking. He plays on a team with a great shot-blocker, but he’s a pretty dang good shot-blocker himself. I think he can be a little bit stronger, add a little more strength. He’s not super chiseled, he’s sort of got that baby fat thing still going. But if he can improve his rebounding, and his defense — not just shot blocking but individual defense — it will help. He kind of reminds me a little bit of Al Horford in how he can step out and shoot. Al shoots more of a set shot, but from that 18-, 19-foot range he’s deadly. Al’s legs are spread out and he doesn’t jump, but his release is deadly and I think Towns has a little bit of that going on. He’s got a great stroke and he can hit college threes. I think a lot of guys were looking at him as a potential No. 1, but I think Okafor and some other guys have maybe nudged ahead of him. But I wouldn’t sleep on him.WILLIE CAULEY-STEINJunior center, Kentucky, 7-0, 8.9 points, 6.3 rebounds, 1.6 blocksThe lowdown: Again, if you play at Kentucky, expect to sacrifice some of your game. And in Cauley-Stein’s case, that means offense. However, there isn’t a prospect in the draft who can impact the defensive side of the court more than this elite, 7-foot athlete who flashes incredible speed, lateral quickness and shot-blocking ability that extends from the rim to the perimeter. Cauley-Stein would make an immediate impact with the Lakers on the defensive end — arguably their biggest weakness — while finishing on the break.NBA executive: I think he might be a sleeper. He’s going top 10 for sure, but I think guys like him, the way he can run and moreover his lateral quickness are off the chart. I’m not sure there are a lot of guys in the NBA, if any, that have that combination. He’s not super strong, he can definitely get stronger. And I know people criticize him offensively, but he’s a weapon because on pick-and-roll defense, he can guard the bigs but also switch down on the guard. He can play in front of guards. Maybe not for long periods but certainly enough in a shot clock or long enough for guys to rotate back and help them out. He can contain on the perimeter, even on some guards, and that’s a big weapon to have. Rim protectors and defenders like that are really at a premium. Look, if you had a great offensive team, he might be the No. 1 pick. But Okafor has all the footwork and huge hands and skill around the basket, but Stein is, and if you’re just talking (defense), that’s a huge component of being a good player. Most people would look at it like he isn’t great offensively. But he can run and finish and he’ll get better. I think his ability to defend and his ability to contain pick-and-roll, which is the staple of the NBA, makes him really, really intriguing.OTHERSStanley JohnsonFreshman small forward, Arizona, 6-7, 14.6 points, 6.8 reboundsKristaps PorzingisPower forward, Latvia, 7-0, 10.2 points, 4.6 reboundsKevon LooneyFreshman power forward, UCLA, 6-9, 12.3 points, 10.0 reboundsMyles TurnerFreshman power forward, Texas, 6-11, 11.0 points, 6.3 reboundsKelly OubreFreshman small forward, Kansas, 6-7, 8.2 points, 4.7 rebounds Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error