Tag Archives: farewell

Aussie super-horse Black Caviar to retire after 25-race unbeaten run

We want her to bow out at the top! Aussie super-horse Black Caviar to retire after 25-race unbeaten run

PUBLISHED:

06:21 GMT, 17 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

06:53 GMT, 17 April 2013

Unbeaten Australian mare Black Caviar will retire after winning 25 consecutive races, with her trainer Peter Moody admitting that the super sprinter 'has done everything we asked her to do.'

Moody, appearing at a news conference in front of Caulfield race track on Wednesday, where the six-year-old mare will make a farewell appearance for race patrons on Saturday, said he and the ownership group led by Neil Werrett had discussed Black Caviar's future over the past few days and 'we decided at lunch today' to announce her retirement.

Fond farewell: Black Caviar is paraded in front of the media with strapper Donna Fisher

Fond farewell: Black Caviar is paraded in front of the media with strapper Donna Fisher

Emotional: Trainer Peter Moody announces retirement of Black Caviar

Emotional: Trainer Peter Moody announces retirement of Black Caviar

Race team: Black Caviar and her connections at the press conference

Race team: Black Caviar and her connections at the press conference

'She has done everything we have asked her to do,' trainer Peter Moody said.

'We
thought long and hard about racing on but believe she has done
everything we asked of her and felt it was the right time to call time
on her wonderful career.

'She's in great shape and that's the way we wanted her to bow out. We just thought the time was right – it was a hard decision.

'She brought interest to our sport that hasn't been there for decades.'

Final flourish: Black Caviar, ridden by Luke Nolen, wins the TJ Smith Stakes

Final flourish: Black Caviar, ridden by Luke Nolen, wins the TJ Smith Stakes

Stunner: Black Caviar (left) wins the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot in 2012

Impressive: Black Caviar (left) wins the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot in 2012

Black Caviar, purchased by Moody for
$225,000, won $8 million in prize money, including an Australian-record
15 Group One wins, most over distances around 1,200 meters.

She'll now have some time being spelled in a paddock before being bred.

'We hope that in three years, Peter
Moody will be training a progeny of Black Caviar,' said Werrett, his
voice breaking at times during the retirement announcement.

Black Caviar, ridden by her regular
jockey Luke Nolen, won her 25th race last Friday in the T.J. Smith
Stakes at Royal Randwick by two lengths. It was the sprinter's third win
since coming back in February from an eight-month injury layoff.

Storming finish: Luke Nolen rides Black Caviar to victory in the TJ Smith Stakes at Royal Randwick

Super horse: Black Caviar claimed a Australian-record
15 Group One wins

No stopping her: Black Caviar again showed who's boss in the Sydney showdown

Money spinner: Black Caviar won $8 million in prize money

Black Caviar narrowly won the Diamond
Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot, England last June and faced possible
retirement after tearing a quadriceps muscle at Ascot.

But laser therapy and exercise
enabled her to return to the track for another – and what turned out her
final – abbreviated season.

There were suggestions as recently as
the weekend that she'd race again at tracks in Brisbane or Adelaide, or
perhaps return to Royal Ascot.

'Black Caviars don't come along every day,' said Moody. 'It's time to call it a day.'

Triumph: Jockey Nolen celebrates the win - making it 25 out of 25 victories

Triumph: Jockey Nolen celebrates making it 25 out of 25 victories

That's my girl! Black Caviar trainer Peter Moody celebrates with and strapper Donna Fisher

That's my girl! Black Caviar trainer Peter Moody (centre)

BLACK CAVIAR'S VICTORIES

2yo Hcp Restricted, Flemington (18 Apr 2009)

Blue Sapphire Stakes, Caulfield (2 May 2009)

Crockett Stakes, Moonee Valley (22 Aug 2009)

Daneholl Stakes, Flemington (5 Sep 2009)

Australia Stakes, Moonee Valley (22 Jan 2010)

Schillaci Stakes, Caulfield (9 Oct 2010)

Schweppes Stakes, Moonee Valley (23 Oct 2010)

Patinack Farm Classic, Flemington (6 Nov 2010)

Lightning Stakes, Flemington (19 Feb 2011)

Newmarket Handicap, Flemington (12 Mar 2011)

William Reid Stakes, Moonee Valley (25 Mar 2011)

T J Smith Stakes, Randwick (9 Apr 2011)

BTC Cup, Doomben (14 May 2011)

Schillaci Stakes, Caulfield (8 Oct 2011)

Schweapped Stakes, Moonee Valley (22 Oct 2011)

Patinack Farm Classic, Flemington (5 Nov 2011)

Australia Stakes, Moonee Valley (27 Jan 2012)

C F Orr Stakes, Caulfield (11 Feb 2012)

Lightning Stakes, Flemington (18 Feb 2012)

Robert Sangster, Morphettville (28 Apr 2012)

Goodwood Handicap, Morphettville (12 May 2012)

Diamond Jubilee Stakes, Ascot (23 Jun 2012)

Lightning Stakes, Flemington (16 Feb 2013)

William Reid Stakes, Moonee Valley (22 Mar 2013)

TJ Smith Stakes, Royal Randwick (13 April 2013)

Anderson set to leave Manchester United in summer

Anderson set for Man United exit while others could follow in Old Trafford clear-out

By
Paul Collins

PUBLISHED:

07:19 GMT, 17 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

07:20 GMT, 17 March 2013

Anderson is set to leave Manchester United in the summer after failing to hold down a place in Sir Alex Ferguson's side.

The 24-year-old Brazilian has failed to fulfill on the potential that United saw in him when they prised him from Porto with a 17million bid in the summer of 2007.

Bar the odd brilliant match, Anderson has not looked like reaching the level expected of a United midfielder and is behind Tom Cleverley, Michael Carrick and Ryan Giggs in Fergie's plans.

Farewell Anderson (left) could leave Man United in the summer after failing to earn a regular starting position

Farewell Anderson (left) could leave Man United in the summer after failing to earn a regular starting position

He has made just 12 Barclays Premier League appearances this season and scored just one goal in the competition.

His other strike this season came against Newcastle in the Capital One Cup.

Anderson is likely to head back to Portgual in the summer, according to The Mirror.

Javier Hernandez

Nani

In the balance: Javier Hernandez (left) and Nani (right) could also leave Old Trafford in the summer

Other players who could leave Old Trafford in the summer are Paul Scholes, who may retire again, and Javier Hernandez who wants to start more games.

Alexander Buttner and Anders Lindegaard will also be evaluated come the end of the season, while Nani could also be sold, with his contract set to expire in 2014.

Fran Halsall vows to bounce back in Rio – Laura Williamson

I'll make waves in Rio, vows Halsall after flopping at home Olympics

|

UPDATED:

22:09 GMT, 30 December 2012

Fran Halsall has made an important New Year’s resolution. The British swimmer never again wants to feel the way she did in the summer of 2012 after finishing the Olympic Games without a medal.

She has written it all down, just in case she ever needs a reminder, because Halsall is determined she will never feel like that again; so low she did not attend the post-Games parade because she ‘didn’t think she should enjoy it’.

While 2012 was an unforgettable year of sport for so many, there are those for whom 2013 and beyond promises far better things.

Gutted: Fran Halsall struggled to perform at the London Olympics

Gutted: Fran Halsall struggled to perform at the London Olympics

More from Laura Williamson…

Laura Williamson: Farewell to Plucky Brit syndrome, and good riddance
23/12/12

Laura Williamson: Pity 2012 feelgood factor has faded so quickly
16/12/12

Laura Williamson: Wake up Gary, or Match of the Day's old boys' club may close for good
09/12/12

Laura Williamson: Booth and Co aim to end golf's old school traditions
02/12/12

Laura Williamson: I won't be fighting in Rio but you could as taekwondo seeks new stars
25/11/12

Laura Williamson: Dangerous message that strong isn't sexy for women
18/11/12

Laura Williamson: As Sportsmail enters the ring with an Olympic star, Jonas shows being a warrior woman is worth fighting for
11/11/12

Laura Williamson: Kids have no chance when vile chants are treated like nursery rhymes
06/11/12

VIEW FULL ARCHIVE

A silver medal in the 50-metre freestyle at the World Short Course Championships in Istanbul earlier this month ‘was never going to make up for the Olympics’, but it has helped Halsall get her spark back. She has a new coach — James Gibson, who guided France’s Florent Manaudou to Olympic gold in the men’s 50m freestyle in London. But, most importantly of all, her confidence has returned.

‘Knowing I’m still a fast swimmer feels really good,’ she says. ‘I gave myself a little pat on the back, if you like. I’m really happy.

‘It took me a couple of months to get over the Olympics. There was a lot of upset and blame; of thinking I’m not good enough. I couldn’t deal with the fact I wasn’t good enough and it wasn’t a very nice feeling.

‘But I took ownership of it and I swam fast again. That was all me. It’s not an Olympic medal but I had to differentiate between Fran the swimmer and the person. You can’t live your life like that.’

Halsall was tipped to star in the pool at London 2012 but did not win a medal in any of her five events. She was not the only one to disappoint, of course: Britain’s swimming team came away with only a silver and two bronze medals at their home Games and have lost 4million of funding as a result.

British Swimming conducted a review into what went wrong in London, which largely blamed the leadership of coaches and the timing of the national trials, which were held 13 weeks before the Games in March.

Bouncing back: Halsall has vowed to return to form for Rio in four years

Bouncing back: Halsall has vowed to return to form for Rio in four years

Head coach Dennis Pursley and performance director Michael Scott also quit, prompting Rebecca Adlington to call the situation ‘an absolute mess’.

Halsall, though, has conducted her ‘own review’ and has a much simpler explanation: she over-trained. Working under Ben Titley, who has since moved to Canada, at Loughborough University, she says she was an ‘Olympic keeno’.

Halsall picked up a shoulder injury in mid-May, which kept her out of the pool for ‘a few weeks’.

‘Trials weren’t the problem,’ adds Halsall. ‘I have always swum faster in the summer: this was the first year I didn’t. You have to swim fast for the trials, wherever you put them.

Back on track: Halsall in Turkey

Back on track: Halsall in Turkey

‘The issue for me was I did too much. I was an Olympic keeno. I probably overdid it and ended up picking up an injury. I tried to do more than I had ever done before.

‘I didn’t want to talk about my shoulder problem (before the Games). It’s an excuse and I didn’t want that. My focus was on swimming as fast as I could and I didn’t want to have that distraction. I still fought for every 10th of a second in every race.’

Halsall, though, is already a veteran of two Olympic Games, despite being only 22 years old.

She is determined not to make the same mistakes third time around.

‘I’m not too old just yet,’ she says. ‘I’m looking forward to Rio in four years’ time.’

Fran Halsall uses Multipower Sportsfood: www.multipower.co.uk

What they said

It's little wonder David Weir described the New Year Honours list as ‘a bit strange’ after Sarah Storey became a Dame but Weir, who also won four Paralympic gold medals in London, was given a CBE.

‘Sometimes it seems that Paralympians have to win lots and lots of medals to get a damehood or a knighthood,’ Weir told the Daily Telegraph.

Here's what I've been doing this week

Chugged around the country for the feast of festive football. Clubs might whinge about fixture congestion, but I love the tradition of it all. It works in other sports, too: just look at the record 82,000 people at Twickenham for Saracens’ win against Harlequins on Saturday.

Watched Superstars and revelled in the sheer naffness and rain-sodden Britishness of it all. I can cope with only having shooter Peter Wilson on my television screen every four years, but I enjoyed Mo Farah’s attempts at kayaking, the Brownlee brothers’ rivalry and being proved wrong by Helen Glover’s prowess on the track. And there was I thinking rowers are not always the most co-ordinated of athletes on dry land.

Back on our screens: Olympians took part in the BBC show Superstars

Back on our screens: Olympians took part in the BBC show Superstars

According to Fulham’s programme for their 1-1 draw with Southampton, I ‘swooned’ when I wrote about Dimitar Berbatov’s ‘style and swagger’ in his side’s 2-1 victory against Newcastle this month. That made me laugh, but not as much as the striker’s handwritten ‘Keep Calm and Pass Me the Ball’ T-shirt, which suggested Berbatov is not averse to ‘swooning’ about himself, either.

Performance of the week

Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert continues to predict that ‘Aston Villa will be fine’ despite his side suffering a 15-0 deficit over the festive period. That’s some crystal ball he got for Christmas.

Lewis Hamilton says fond farwell to McLaren on last official outing

Tears shed as Hamilton says fond farewell to McLaren on last official outing… and he does not rule out emotional return

|

UPDATED:

13:22 GMT, 11 December 2012

Lewis Hamilton left the door open to a possible return to McLaren after saying an emotional farewell to the F1 team.

Tears were shed as the British driver hugged his colleagues and thanked them for their support during his last official official outing.

End of the road: Lewis Hamilton on his last official outing with McLaren

End of the road: Lewis Hamilton on his last official outing with McLaren

Sad ending: Tears were shed as Hamilton made emotional farewell

Sad ending: Tears were shed as Hamilton made emotional farewell

Hamilton, who will join Mercedes in January, took part in a demonstration event in Malta at the weekend, his last drive in a McLaren car.

And the 2008 World Champion did not rule out a return to the Woking-based outfit in the future.

'My time at McLaren has been fantastic,' he told staff at the
McLaren Technology Centre.

'When I arrived in Formula One in 2007, I now
realise I never really grasped what I was taking on. Ron [Dennis] had
told me: “Don't be surprised if you're 0.5sec slower than Fernando
[Alonso]”, and I just smiled because I knew it wouldn't be the case.
But, even so, that year was very hard, for many reasons.

Driving seat: Hamilton took part in a demonstration event in Malta

Driving seat: Hamilton took part in a demonstration event in Malta

Can't stop partying: Instead of having a night in after a hectic weekend, X Factor judge Nicole Scherzinger shows up to the premiere with Lewis Hamilton in tow

Night out: Hamilton and girlfriend, X Factor judge Nicole Scherzinger, at the Jack Reacher premiere in Leicester Square on Monday

'You were brilliant – you still are. I have so much affection and love
for this team. And that's why McLaren has always felt like home,' he
added.

McLaren's sporting director Sam Michael admitted Hamilton's departure would be 'a loss to McLaren' but the team will 'move on quickly'.

Hamilton leaves to join Mercedes following six seasons with the team in Formula One and a further seven as part of the team's driver development programme.

'Of course it's a loss to McLaren but just like if anybody leaves, whether it's a driver – there have been some very big, famous names leave McLaren before in terms of drivers – and you don't dwell on it,' Michael told James Allen on F1. 'You move on quickly because Formula One's all about change management.”

Michael also said that Hamilton leaves on good terms.

'I think the whole team gets on very well with Lewis, and we still do. He's a great guy, he's a fantastic racing driver; he's possibly the quickest driver on the grid at the moment in terms of pure natural talent.'

Hamilton is backing Sebastian Vettel to maintain his stranglehold on the Formula One drivers’ championship for a fourth successive season.

Hamilton, who has left McLaren to race for Mercedes in the coming campaign, admitted he expects the combination of Vettel’s pace and the genius of Red Bull’ s chief designer Adrian Newey to be unbeatable once more.

‘It's going to be hard to beat Sebastian next year,’ Hamilton said. ‘I think Sebastian's going to have another amazing car. The car he had this year was fantastic. It's going to be an evolution of that next year. Adrian only seems to get better with age; I think he's going to do something pretty special next year as well.’

Laid back: Lewis looked rather coy as he relaxed in the back of his car and headed home

Back seat driver: Lewis looked relaxed as he headed home

Hamilton faces an uphill battle to
turn Mercedes into frontrunners next year but is eagerly anticipating
racing for his new team – even if he is forced to battle in the
midfield.

Hamilton added: ‘I like that people
know that I'm a racer and I'm a winner. But it doesn't matter where you
are on the grid, you can still race. But I want to win – of course.
That's my goal. I can't wait to get my hands on the team and the car and
just try to work as quickly as possible.

‘It doesn't matter how many days, how
many hours it takes. I'm willing to put all the effort in. I feel like
I've got a new breath of life in me, so I'm ready for it.’

Meanwhile Hamilton’s former teammate, Jenson Button, is looking forward
to being the main focus at McLaren now that he is sharing the garage
with Mexican youngster Sergio Perez.

Button said of his team leader status: ‘It's not the first time I've
done that. When I got to BAR and Jacques [Villeneuve] left it was
exactly the same situation.

‘I was there to lead the team and it's something I really look forward
to and it's something where the best comes out of me in that situation.’

Determined to drive the design process of next year’s car in a direction
which can give him a machine capable of consistently challenge the
likes of Vettel and Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso, Button added: ‘I can
really build that team around me and direct the team in a direction I
like with the car.

‘We all drive differently and have different styles. For me, I need a
car I can develop beneath me and feel comfortable in. If the car feels
neutral and unbalanced it doesn't work for me.

‘I need to develop a car and engineer a car in a position that feels
comfortable for me, and I don't think anyone can do a better job than I
can in that position. The problem for me is if I can't get the car there
I do struggle more than some.'

David Beckham hailed by his peers as LA Galaxy stint ends

Goodbye America, it's been magical! Beckham hailed by his peers after dazzling USA

|

UPDATED:

23:23 GMT, 2 December 2012

How do you know when you’ve made it in America Public endorsements from national icons certainly do not do any harm.

‘David Beckham, thank you for making pro soccer relevant in the USA,’ tweeted Magic Johnson, the former LA Lakers basketball star in the run-up to his neighbour’s final game in the MLS on Saturday afternoon.

Beckham is not short of famous friends in California. On Friday he told how he recently called up Michael Jordan for a restaurant recommendation during a visit to Chicago. This, over the last six years, has gradually become the life of the former England captain.

Family party: David Beckham shares the glory with his sons Brooklyn Beckham, Cruz Beckham and Romeo Beckham

Family party: David Beckham shares the glory with his sons Brooklyn Beckham, Cruz Beckham and Romeo Beckham

Paying tribute: Beckham was much loved by the Galaxy fans

Paying tribute: Beckham was much loved by the Galaxy fans

Famous friends: Magic Johnson tweeted about Beckham to thank him

Famous friends: Magic Johnson tweeted about Beckham to thank him

Early on Saturday evening, though,
Beckham received a tribute from his peers that — set against the
background of his time in the States — perhaps meant more to him as he
celebrated LA Galaxy’s 3-1 Cup final victory over Houston Dynamo in the
dressing room of the Home Depot Center.

‘One more year, one more year, one
more year,’ was the spontaneous song from Beckham’s Galaxy team-mates
as he prepared to say his farewells. Quite something, that, from a group
of players who as recently as 2009 were questioning his commitment to
their cause.

Moments later Beckham sat in the press
conference next to Landon Donovan, the colleague who famously said
three years ago: ‘I can’t say he’s a good team-mate. He’s not shown
that. At a minimum you should bust your ass every day. That hasn’t
happened.’ Here, in the aftermath of victory, was Donovan’s latest take.

Fond farewell: Beckham crowned his six year spell with LA Galaxy with another MLS Cup victory, after they beat Houston Dynamo 3-1

Fond farewell: Beckham crowned his six year spell with LA Galaxy with another MLS Cup victory, after they beat Houston Dynamo 3-1

Impact: Beckham is hailed by the adoring Galaxy fans

Impact: Beckham is hailed by the adoring Galaxy fans

‘David’s demeanour earlier this season
was overwhelming,’ Donovan said. ‘All the players were saying it. We
were struggling but he simply influenced people.

‘Players bought in to what he was saying and here, months later, we have our reward.’

Donovan is a complicated character,
one currently contemplating his own future in MLS. His tribute to
Beckham, though, appeared genuine and in tune with much of what has
recently been said here about the league’s most famous player.

There will, of course, not be one more
year for the 37-year-old Beckham. He leaves America as a winner and
that will be important to him. It was the way he left Manchester United
in 2003, and Real Madrid in 2007 too. He will not be back.

Equally pertinent, though, is that he
leaves believing he has ultimately kept his side of the bargain he
struck when he arrived in LA at the relatively young age of 31.

Still got it: Beckham produced a number of superlative, hallmark passes during the final

Still got it: Beckham produced a number of superlative, hallmark passes during the final

Hair-raising: Beckham challenged Houston's Ricardo Clark to the ball

Hair-raising: Beckham challenged Houston's Ricardo Clark to the ball

Questions about his commitment, about
the sincerity of his oft-stated belief in the future of MLS, dogged his
early years in Los Angeles.

On Saturday night, though, he left the field embraced not only as an Englishman abroad but as one of the league’s very own.

This has been a difficult journey at
times. Loan spells in Milan in 2009 and 2010 raised understandable
questions about his priorities, as indeed did his early returns to
England to extend his inter-national career.

To be here on Saturday, though, was to realise that America now loves Beckham just as much as Beckham loves America.

‘If this had been a failed experience
with David then it would really have set us back as a league,’ said MLS
commissioner Don Garber. ‘But it hasn’t been. It has, in the end, been
enormously successful.’

Here's the punchline: Beckham celebrates after Omar Gonzalez had brought the match level at 1-1 early in the second half

Here's the punchline: Beckham celebrates after Omar Gonzalez had brought the match level at 1-1 early in the second half

Once upon a time, Beckham looked up
from the Home Depot field to see banners telling him to ‘go home’. It
wasn’t only Donovan who wondered where his heart and mind really lay.

On Saturday, though, the slogans pleaded: ‘Please take us with you,’ and declared: ‘David we will miss you.’

Garber added: ‘It took time for David
to find his legs here and get used to things. There were some trials and
tribulations with the loans in the early part. They created issues.

‘But we look back now and see that we
had a lot of “full-time David” and that “full-time David” over-delivered
on a lot of levels.

‘There are very few people in the world who don’t know about MLS now and that’s because David’s been here.’

As is often the case in America,
perspective is required. Off-the-field measures in MLS suggest muted
improvement during the Beckham years.

Average attendances have risen from
15,500 per match to 18,800. There are now 19 franchises in the MLS,
compared to 13 in Beckham’s first season. Television viewing figures,
meanwhile, remain fairly stagnant, with just over a million people
tuning in to watch Beckham on Saturday.

Much loved: Beckham's departure was mourned by LA Galaxy fans, who made a number of tribute banners for his farewell

Much loved: Beckham's departure was mourned by LA Galaxy fans, who made a number of tribute banners for his farewell

The great, sprawling monsters of
American football, basketball and baseball are not under any threat from
what remains a minority sport and an admission from the Galaxy on
Friday that they are targeting the Brazilian Kaka as Beckham’s
replacement in a bid to attract Hispanic TV audiences suggests some
decisions are still being made for reasons not entirely centred on
sport.

Nevertheless, it can be argued that Beckham’s presence in LA has, latterly, helped to inch the game forwards.

‘When David came here people overseas
described it as a retirement league,’ said Garber. ‘Now people can see
it’s much more competitive.’

At Home Depot on Saturday, Beckham was
feted. Win or lose, this was set up to be his day. Playing in his now
familiar deep midfield role, he passed the ball very well.

He may not be able to run like he
once could. As a football technician, though, he remains imperious and
his control over a football — his judgment of weight and distance — is
as exquisite as ever.

Joking with a team-mate last week,
Beckham likened himself to the New England Patriots quarter-back Tom
Brady, only to be told: ‘No, man, you are not that good.’

Memento: This Galaxy fan wanted the shirt of Beckham's back

Memento: This Galaxy fan wanted the shirt of Beckham's back

It’s easy to see his point, though. On
Saturday, given the time and space a 37-year-old needs, he increasingly
dictated the rhythm of the game as Galaxy recovered from a half-time
deficit to win.

When they earned a last-minute
penalty, it looked momentarily as though Beckham might take it. Some
farewell that would have been, but common sense dictated otherwise and,
after Robbie Keane had sealed victory from 12 yards, Beckham departed
the stage to a generous ovation.

Where he goes next is the question. In
all honesty a place in a top European side looks some way beyond him.
For now, though, he will lay that issue to one side.

‘This is a good day,’ Beckham said. ‘I
tell my children every day that if you want something you have to put
in the hard graft. I think I have done that here. It’s been a successful
six years.

‘All I hope is that people have enjoyed watching me play. My impact here will have to be judged by others.’

David Beckham farewell ends with victory for LA Galaxy over Houston Dynamo

From cynicism to people's champion, Beckham heads back to Europe after his American adventure more acclaimed than ever

|

UPDATED:

00:23 GMT, 2 December 2012

What began amid cynicism and courted controversy and suspicion along the way, ended here in California tonight with a standing ovation. David Beckham’s American journey is over and he heads back to Europe as a winner.

It was six years ago that Beckham moved to Los Angeles at the age of 31 to play football. It seemed a peculiar thing to do for a man still with so many years ahead of him. The MLS was not a great league and LA Galaxy were a club – or a ‘franchise’ – in a bit of a mess.

But as Beckham took his leave a minute before the end of his team’s 3-1 win in the MLS Cup Final here today, few would contest his own view that America has been as good to him as, eventually, he has been to America.

Fond farewell: David Beckham has crowned his six year spell in the United States and the Los Angeles Galaxy with another MLS Cup victory, after they beat Houston Dynamo 3-1

Fond farewell: David Beckham has crowned his six year spell in the United States and the Los Angeles Galaxy with another MLS Cup victory, after they beat Houston Dynamo 3-1

Here's the punchline: Beckham celebrates after Omar Gonzalez had brought the match level at 1-1 early in the second half

Here's the punchline: Beckham celebrates after Omar Gonzalez had brought the match level at 1-1 early in the second half

Family man: Beckham lines up with his sons, Brooklyn (left), Romeo (middle) and Cruz before kick-off

Family man: Beckham lines up with his sons, Brooklyn (left), Romeo (middle) and Cruz before kick-off

Trailing by a goal at half-time, it looked for a while as though Beckham’s big day was about to collapse around his sparkling pink football foots. Galaxy had been the better team but had been hit by a sucker punch from Houston just before the interval.

In the second half, though, Beckham wrote his name all over this contest. He was the game’s best player and by full-time he had made many of the decisive contributions.

Beckham may not be able to run like he once could. It will be this, in all likelihood, that ultimately prevents him landing a contract at one of Europe’s bigger clubs as he looks to extend his remarkable career yet further in the coming weeks.

As a football technician, though, he remains almost unparalleled. Here today, some of his passing was reminiscent of his salad days at Manchester United and Real Madrid. Playing deep in the centre of midfield, the 37-year-old found the time and space to deliver telling passes with familiar regularity.

Still got it: Beckham produced a number of superlative, hallmark passes during the final

Still got it: Beckham produced a number of superlative, hallmark passes during the final

Hair-raising: Beckham challenged Houston's Ricardo Clark to the ball

Hair-raising: Beckham challenged Houston's Ricardo Clark to the ball

Indeed the one 80-yard first-time pass he played with his right foot to Robbie Keane on the hour will not be bettered anywhere this weekend. It was classic Beckham.

With the Home Depot Center awash with Beckham t-shirts and banners – “Take us with you, Becks” read one popular shirt – this day was somewhat different to the difficult early ones when the former England captain’s commitment to his team was questioned by supporters and colleagues alike.

Ultimately, it was just a shame that he was denied a fitting finale.

Much loved: Beckham's departure was mourned by LA Galaxy fans, who made a number of tribute banners for his farewell

Much loved: Beckham's departure was mourned by LA Galaxy fans, who made a number of tribute banners for his farewell

Memento: This Galaxy fan wanted the shirt of Beckham's back

Memento: This Galaxy fan wanted the shirt of Beckham's back

With Galaxy awarded a penalty with seconds remaining, Beckham and team-mate Landon Donovan – the regular taker – seemed to agree that the Englishman would take it. He seemed set to end his career here with a goal.

Keane had other ideas, however, and the Irishman didn’t even look at his team-mate as he placed the ball and slotted it in to the net for the third goal.

As Keane celebrated, though, it was Beckham who was mobbed. Moments earlier he had sunk to his knees. His final mission had been accomplished.

As he left the field soon after, 30,000 people rose to applaud him. He merely waved to his three sons in the crowd and took his place on the bench.

Beckham’s visit to America is over and he ends it with another trophy. Has he been a success over here Try telling the Galaxy otherwise.

Ricky Ponting scores just four runs in farewell match in Australia v South Africa

Ponting falls for just four runs as Australia collapse against South Africa in his farewell Test match

|

UPDATED:

10:47 GMT, 1 December 2012

A final session rich with runs put South
Africa in complete control on the second day of their third and
deciding Test with Australia in Perth, with the retiring Ricky Ponting among the home side's failures.

With both sides having been dismissed cheaply first up, the Proteas headed back to the crease just before tea with a lead of 62. Come stumps their card read 230 for two, an overall advantage of 292.

They helped themselves to 206 runs in the final session, with Hashim Amla walking off unbeaten on 99 while Graeme Smith (84) was only stopped on his way to a century by a brilliant catch from Nathan Lyon.

On his way out: Ricky Ponting heads to the crease at WACA on Saturday

On his way out: Ricky Ponting heads to the crease at WACA on Saturday

And on his way OUT: Ponting walks away after being dismissed by South Africa's Vernon Philander

And on his way OUT: Ponting walks away after being dismissed by South Africa's Vernon Philander

The same player would drop Jacques
Kallis shortly after, though, although with a lead of close to 300
already and with plenty of time on their side, South Africa would have
no doubt remained in command regardless.

Their riotous session overshadowed
the grand farewell of Australian batsman Ponting, although the retiring
Tasmanian will probably be glad of that.

He contributed just four to a
first-innings total of 163 all out which left South Africa in credit
before they even started their second innings.

It was their rousing bowling
performance that gave them the platform, on a morning when fans had
flocked to the WACA in anticipation of one last masterclass from the
departing Ponting, but instead it was the Proteas attack who grabbed the
limelight as they took eight wickets for 130.

Australia, who need to win to return
to top spot in the ICC rankings, would have been in more trouble had
wicketkeeper Matthew Wade not made a fluent 68.

The hosts resumed on 33 for two in
the morning session but David Warner fell to the first ball of the
second over, aiming a swipe at Dale Steyn's loosener to feed AB de
Villiers a catch.

Got him! Philander celebrates dismissing Ponting for lbw on day two of the third Test

[caption

That brought Ponting to the crease to
a rousing ovation and the clapping had scarcely abated when he scooped
his first ball just short of mid-wicket.

A nervy single got him going but
nightwatchman Lyon was gone inside the same over, Steyn and Faf Du
Plessis combining for the wicket.

Vernon Philander then played the role
of party pooper, Ponting tucking bat behind pad before being struck on
the knee-roll after some late inswing.

Asad Rauf raised the finger and Ponting's unsuccessful use of DRS screamed of hope rather than judgement.

Australia were desperate to take the
sting out of the situation but instead things went from bad to worse as
in-form skipper Michael Clarke (five) was undone by another brute of a
ball from Steyn.

That left Clarke's side reeling at 45 for six and Wade decided to launch the counter-attack.
He hooked Philander for six and then nicked him through an empty third
slip for four and from there was looking to score from most balls.

A second six followed off Robin Peterson and he found the boundary again with a couple of cross-bat shots.

Final farewell: Ponting runs out in Perth

Final farewell: Ponting runs out in Perth

Final farewell: Ponting runs out in Perth as Australia bid to stay in touch with South Africa

Michael Hussey made 12 in 40 balls
before edging Morne Morkel to Graeme Smith at slip, but Wade continued
unabashed, bringing up his half-century with a third maximum off
Peterson.

Wade went into his shell somewhat after lunch and was eventually bowled by the left-arm spin of Peterson for 68.

That exposed the tail but John Hastings struck three fours in a row off Peterson to offer hope.
Peterson had more luck against Mitchell Johnson, who he bowled for
seven, and Hastings was last out for 32 when Alviro Petersen took a
smart catch in two movements at long-off.

Some streaky hitting from Petersen
took South Africa to 24 without loss at tea but, after he went to
Johnson, caught and bowled off a riser, the tourists took a firm grip on
proceedings.

Smith brought up his 50 off 67 balls –
Amla outpaced him and did it in 37 – although the hosts thought they
had snared Smith when Starc pinned him and was given out, although his
review proved a correct one as replays showed the ball was going over
the top.

Smith would eventually perish with
the partnership on 178, hooking Starc into the hands of Lyon who did
brilliantly to dive forward running in from the boundary, although he
was unable to cling on when

Kallis did something similar on
three. That was the last real action of the day, with Amla ending one
run shy of an 18th Test century and Kallis on 17.

David Beckham set for Monaco talks and rules out Premier League return

Monaco lead the chase for Beckham after former England captain rules out Premier League return

|

UPDATED:

17:42 GMT, 29 November 2012

David Beckham has revealed he has numerous offers to continue playing after his Los Angeles Galaxy career ends this weekend, with Monaco leading the chase, but the former England captain does not expect a return to the Barclays Premier League.

The 37-year-old will bring the curtain down on six seasons in Major League Soccer in Saturday's MLS Cup final against Houston, and clubs are already lining up to sign the former Manchester United and Real Madrid star.

French side AS Monaco have emerged as one of the favorites and negotiations are expected to take place after Saturday's cup final.

Plenty to ponder: David Beckham is considering his next move as his time at LA Galaxy draws to an end

Plenty to ponder: David Beckham is considering his next move as his time at LA Galaxy draws to an end

Final farewell: David Beckham will play his last game for LA Galaxy this weekend

Final farewell: David Beckham will play his last game for LA Galaxy this weekend

The 37-year-old is understood to be open to the idea of moving to the principality, but clubs in Russia and Brazil are also keen.

'I'm lucky because at 37 years old, I've been offered some exciting options,' Beckham told Sky Sports News. 'I've got quite a few offers on the table.'

Monaco are in the the second tier of French football, Ligue 2, following their relegation from Ligue 1 in 2010.

Fun in the sun: Beckham could be tempted by a move to Monaco

Fun in the sun: Beckham could be tempted by a move to Monaco

But billionaire Russian businessman Dmitry Rybolovlev bought a majority stake in the club in December 2011, with ambitions to return them to the level they were at in 2004, when they were runners-up in the Champions League.

They are currently top of the league after 15 matches of the season.

But asked if a return to England was on the cards, the childhood United fan was more cautious.

'I've always said I think I would struggle to come back and play in England because I've played for the biggest club in the world, the biggest club in England, Manchester United, and I couldn't see myself playing for any other Premiership team.

Silver lining: Beckham has the chance to win his second MLS Cup

Silver lining: Beckham has the chance to win his second MLS Cup

'But you never know. Like I said, we've got some exciting options on the table. I do think we'll be spending a little more time in England because it's good for the kids to see their grandparents.

'Over the last six years it's been difficult not seeing them as much as we'd like and they'd like, but we definitely won't be leaving LA for good.'

Beckham's reluctance to return to England to play could disappoint new QPR boss Harry Redknapp, who is among those to have been linked with an offer for the midfielder.

Red for life: Beckham says he could not play for another Premier League club having played for Manchester Untied

Red for life: Beckham says he could not play for another Premier League club having played for Manchester Untied

But Beckham said he appreciated all the praise that has come his way from Redknapp and others.

'What I'm really touched about is the fact that I've still got great managers like Harry, like (Paris St Germain coach) Carlo Ancelotti coming out and saying great things about me, not saying they would like to sign me, but saying nice things about me.

'I've spent a couple of months with Harry when I was training at Tottenham. He doesn't have to say the things that he says so it's nice that he talks about me in such a nice way.'

Ron Dennis snubbed Lewis Hamilton"s McLaren goodbye party

EXCLUSIVE: Raging McLaren chief Dennis snubbed Hamilton's goodbye party

|

UPDATED:

23:00 GMT, 22 November 2012

Lewis Hamilton goes into his final race for McLaren this weekend under a cloud, having twice been snubbed in the last week by the man who brought him into Formula One.

Ahead of Sunday’s Brazilian Grand Prix, Sportsmail can reveal that McLaren chairman Ron Dennis was the only notable absentee from Hamilton’s leaving function on the pool terrace of the Hilton hotel in Austin, Texas, last Saturday.

Hamilton and team principal Martin Whitmarsh both made impressive speeches, with the departing driver reducing some of the catering staff to tears when he said he carries the team with him in the cockpit. But Dennis instead chose to attend what a team spokesman described as ‘an important cocktail reception hosted by Exxon Mobil executives at which he was guest of honour’.

Furious: Ron Dennis

Snubbed: Lewis Hamilton

No show: McLaren chairman Ron Dennis (left) snubbed the departing driver Lewis Hamilton's farewell do

Then, after Hamilton won the US Grand Prix the following day with one of the finest performances of his career, a stony-faced Dennis refused to join the rest of the team in wearing their usual Vodafone rocket-red victory T-shirts.

He has worn the shirt on other occasions, though he failed to do so after Hamilton’s previous win in September’s Italian Grand Prix.

Phil Duncan F1 blog

Dennis, a prickly character yet a
fastidious manager who has never been inclined to indulge a driver’s
ego, has decided not to travel to Sao Paulo for Hamilton’s farewell
race.

The latest developments reveal how sour relations between Dennis and Hamilton have become. At the centre of the fall-out is a row that is so serious that senior figures at McLaren have closed ranks to keep the matter secret.

It is understood the incident, probably dating back to the summer when Hamilton’s representatives were negotiating his future, may be embarrassing for Dennis if details emerge.

A senior figure within Formula One, who asked not to be named, said: ‘I do know what has happened. Everyone makes mistakes and Ron made a mistake. Everything went pear-shaped and I don’t think it would be fair to say any more than that.’

Still friends: Martin Whitmarsh and Lewis Hamilton's relationship is still strong despite Hamilton leaving

Still friends: Martin Whitmarsh and Lewis Hamilton's relationship is still strong despite Hamilton leaving

There remains great mutual affection
between Hamilton and many McLaren staff. In particular, Hamilton’s
relations with Whitmarsh remain strong despite the 27-year-old’s
decision to move to Mercedes.

It is specifically with Dennis that the bonds have broken. As has been the case with almost all previous McLaren drivers except Mika Hakkinen, Hamilton has found Dennis’s dictatorial approach too much to bear.

What makes this disagreement more poignant is the extent of the pair’s long and emotional ties. It was as a 10-year-old that Hamilton first met Dennis at the Autosport awards ceremony, asking for his autograph and telling him: ‘Hi, I am Lewis Hamilton. I won the British Karting Championship and one day I want to race your cars.’

Working it out: A McLaren spokesperson said Ron and Lewis would meet socially in the near future

Working it out: A McLaren spokesperson said Ron and Lewis would meet socially in the near future

Dennis wrote in the autograph book: ‘Phone me in nine years and we’ll sort something out then.’

In fact, Hamilton signed a contract aged 12 that led to him earning the Formula One drive in 2007.

Dennis, citing My Fair Lady, cast himself as Professor Henry Higgins to Hamilton’s Eliza Doolittle. Despite that, Hamilton, and his father Anthony, increasingly found Dennis’s controlling manner suffocating. Hamilton’s new management team, XIX, also found Dennis unhelpful in their contract negotiations.

Dennis, in turn, was infuriated by the 2008 world champion courting controversy with his erratic behaviour, such as posting team telemetry on Twitter in August.

Despite the friction, a McLaren spokesman added: ‘Ron and Lewis plan to get together socially in the near future, as they’ve both said a number of times recently.’

It is less than clear whether the date will be honoured.

Kauto Star retires tribute

Farewell super Star: Sportsmail's tribute as Kauto Star retires

|

UPDATED:

12:38 GMT, 31 October 2012

Kauto Star, one of the best
steeplechasers, of all time has been retired.

A massive question mark had hung
over the future of the dual Cheltenham Gold Cup winner, who won the King George
VI Chase a remarkable five times, since he was pulled up when going for his
third Gold Cup at Cheltenham in March.

Trainer Paul Nicholls In his Betfair
column: ‘We have had nine superb years
with the horse but, after seeing him in his work these past few weeks, myself,
(Head Lad) Clifford Baker and (assistant trainer) Dan Skelton were of the
opinion that the time had arrived to retire him.

Kauto Star, ridden by Ruby Walsh wins the Stan James King George VI Chase in 2008

Kauto Star, ridden by Ruby Walsh wins the Stan James King George VI Chase in 2008

‘Of course, as owner, the final
decision rested with Clive, but he agreed that the horse had done enough.

‘Don't get me wrong, Kauto looks
and feels as vibrant as ever, as those who saw him at our owners' Open Day last
month would testify to. He was mad fresh that day and continues to be as alert
as ever and very, very well in himself.

‘But I suspect Kauto will be like
that when he is 20-years-old.

‘Kauto is signing off in full
health and after a season in which he proved so many people wrong by winning a
fifth King George and a fourth Betfair Chase, to add to his two Cheltenham Gold
Cups and Tingle Creeks.

‘Who wouldn't want to train a
horse of this quality any more He is a once-in-a-lifetime horse, after all.

‘Ever since he won on his debut
for me at Newbury on December 29, 2004, the horse has consistently proved
himself a class apart.

'But sometimes, you have to listen
to your head and your heart, and both told me that retirement was the only
option.’

TRIBUTE BY MARCUS TOWNEND, RACING CORRESPONDENT

THE scale of the affection that the public held for Kauto Star was portrayed in the emotional seconds after he was pulled up in his fifth Cheltenham Gold Cup in March.

The remainder of his rivals were still scrapping over the most prestigious prize in steeplechasing, millions of pounds were riding on the outcome, but the Festival crowd rose as one to applaud a steeplechaser who had earned the right to be named in the same list as the greats of the sport.
Some would argue at the top of that list.

Ruby Walsh riding Kauto Star after winning The William Hill King George VI Steeple Chase at Kempton racecourse in 2006

Ruby Walsh riding Kauto Star after winning The William Hill King George VI Steeple Chase at Kempton racecourse in 2006

The cheers that echoed around jump racing’s most famous amphitheatre were in part fuelled by a feeling one of the icons of the game was leaving the stage.

Confirmation came from owner Clive Smith and trainer Paul Nicholls yesterday.

It is the right call. The risk to reward ratio was too unbalanced. With a shot at another Gold Cup ruled out, winning another Betfair Chase was hardly an incentive to carry on.

A sixth King George Tempting, maybe, but best, and safer, to remember the chaser that dominated Kempton on Boxing Day with that resurgent defeat of Long Run last year.

Quite simply, Kauto Star has gone out at the top, even if his last run did not have a fairytale end.
With him go a welter of memories – highs and lows, thrills and some spills and, never to be forgotten moments.

The grey beards might tell you Irish legends Arkle and has no peers in the staying chaser division.

Their sons will marvel at the achievements of Desert Orchid and the emotional connections triple Grand National winner Red Rum made with the wider public.

But, in 87 years time, when racing historians start compiling their pecking order of 21st century steeplechasing greats, Kauto Star’s name will be prominent in that debate.

There may be just over a 10th of the century gone but few will be willing to bet the remarkable record of Kauto Star will be matched, let alone superseded.

Twenty three wins from 41 races. Earnings of 2,375,883, the most ever for a jumper. A unique five King George VI Chases, two Gold Cups and two Tingle Creek Chase. Wins from two miles to three and a quarter.

Another glorious ride at Kempton for the great Star of the show

Another glorious ride at Kempton for the great Star of the show

Like Desert Orchid, whose four-time King George record he beat, Kauto Star was both versatile and durable. Few horses can claim to compete at seven successive Cheltenham Festivals, let alone in the biggest races of the demanding meeting.

But Kauto Star always looked something special, being nicknamed ‘The Extraterrestrial’ by his original trainer in France, Serge Foucher, where he had his first 10 races.

It took an eyewatering bid of 400,000 euros from owner Clive Smith to prize him across The Channel and, even then, Foucher, was a reluctant seller.

He disappeared when bloodstock agent Anthony Bromley arrived with a vet to carry out an inspection, vital with such a high-risk purchase.

So fractious was Kauto Star that it was impossible to carry out a scope test to make sure he had no breathing issues. Smith took the gamble to press on with his purchase and it was a decision he would never regret.

The Nicholls team knew they had a special talent on their hands when Kauto Star made an exhilarating British debut, brushing aside Foreman, a horse good enough to finish fourth in the Champion Hurdle, by an easy nine lengths in a Newbury novice chase on December 29, 2004.

It was performance that made him a leading Arkle Chase but he would never make it to that season’s Festival, picking up an injury when being beaten a short-head by Mistral De la Cour at Exeter in a controversial run when re-mounted by Walsh after falling two out when clear.

Kauto Star pulls away from the first fence at Kempton in 2006

Kauto Star pulls away from the first fence at Kempton in 2006

When he miraculously escaped serious injury when being trampled on in the following season’s Queen Mother Champion Chase, a pattern seemed to be emerging of a brilliant horse, liable to catastrophic lapses in concentration.

That reputation only seemed to be emphasised when he successfully stepped up in distance, captured his first King George in 2006 but committed a series of last-fence errors.

The questions over his jumping irritated Nicholls and were brushed aside by Walsh but only served to augment his story.

He was no seat-of-the-pants performer but he kept his fans on the edge of their seats, knowing that his spectacular leaps carried with them a degree of difficulty that left little room for error.

But both questions over his jumping and his stamina, were brushed aside when he beat Exotic Dancer two and a half lengths to land his first Gold Cup three months later.

But, just when it looked like nothing could stop topple him, a challenge emerged from the next-door box in Nicholls’ Somerset stable – Denman.

...and another win at Kempton in 2007

…and another win at Kempton in 2007

Racing suddenly had a rivalry to match other sports, the public lapped it up and the reputation of both horses benefited.

The bundle of muscle that was Denman came out on top in 12 months later in the 2008 Gold Cup with Kauto Star below par only for the placings to be reversed in 2009 as Denman, his season disrupted by a heart problem, could not live with his stablemate.

The 2010 Gold Cup became the War of the Wolds but Kauto Star took a hideous fall and Denman couldn’t live with Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained Imperial Commander.

A year on we had a battle to live up to that billing. The feeling was both of Nicholls’ chasers were up against – especially Kauto who had lost his King George crown to Nicky Henderson’s Long Run.

It was the latter who crossed the line in front at Cheltenham, seven lengths in front of Denman and 11 ahead of Kauto Star but only after one of the great Gold Cup battles.

Kauto may not have won but he had picked himself up of the deck and proved his racing heart beat as loud as ever.

It was that quality that characterised his last season and further endeared him to his fans.

Pulled up after a listless performance at Punchestown in May 2011, the pressure was on as Nicholls and Smith resisted call to retire Kauto Star and brought him back to win his fourth Betfair Chase in November.

The subsequent outpouring of emotion has seldom been seen on a British racecourse but it was repeated when he land his sixth King George at Kempton on Boxing Day, avenging his 2010 defeat by Long Run.

Kauto Star in his stable at Manor Farm, Ditcheat, Somerset.

Kauto Star in his stable at Manor Farm, Ditcheat, Somerset.

It set up a potential Gold Cup showdown, only for a training ground fall to disrupt his preparation and, ultimately, lead to his failure to finish.

Kauto Star will now enjoy his retirement but still be in demand for public appearances. Regal gallop-pasts will no doubt be demanded at both Cheltenham and Kempton, where he boasts a record of five wins and a third from six starts.

A horse who helped take the supporters’ scarf from the football ground to the racetrack, and whose name and his performances crossed the normal boundaries of the sport can hardly be expected to slip away quietly.

He’ll be a hard act to follow.