Tag Archives: festival

JT McNamara in "very positive frame of mind" after being paralysed by horror fall

McNamara in 'very positive frame of mind' despite being paralysed by horror fall

By
Marcus Townend

PUBLISHED:

19:16 GMT, 29 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

23:57 GMT, 29 March 2013

Jockey JT McNamara, seriously injured in
a fall at the Cheltenham Festival earlier this month, has expressed his
gratitude for the support he has received as it was publicly confirmed
he has been left paralysed.

A statement issued by Dr Adrian McGoldrick, Irish Turf Club Senior
Medical Officer and Lisa Hancock, CEO, Injured Jockeys Fund on behalf of
the McNamara Family, said: ‘JT McNamara remains in the Frenchay
Hospital, Bristol.

Moving: JT McNamara is improving and will be moved to a hospital in Ireland

Moving: JT McNamara is improving and will be moved to a hospital in Ireland

‘Whilst he suffered a serious neck injury resulting in paralysis, he has made progress in the last week and is in a very positive frame of mind.

‘He is greatly appreciative of the many messages, cards and letters received and also wishes to thank the Frenchay Hospital who are looking after him so well.’

McNamara was injured in a first fence fall from Galaxy Rock in the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup.

Speaking to Sky Sports News, Hancock said: 'It's a risky sport. Safety is important and it continues to be, but it is a risky sport and every jockey knows that. We are looking at safety measures and continue to do so.]

'But at the end of the day you're riding a horse at speed and jumping fences at speed so the risk is always there.'

JT McNamara

Paul Struthers, chief excutive of the Professional Jockeys Association, tweeted: 'Awful news with confirmation of the extent of JT's injuries. The risks faced/sacrifices made by our brave boys & girls face to entertain us.'

The Jockey Club tweeted: 'We echo the sentiments expressed across our sport & beyond, and send our very best wishes to JT McNamara & those dear to him.'

Grand National-winning rider Mick Fitzgerald has also spoken of his sadness and of the risks involved in racing.

Now a successful pundit on television and radio, Fitzgerald told Sky Sports News: 'It's a mixture of sadness, it's the end of a great career for a jockey who was an amateur and did it because he loved the game.

'When it happened at the time a sombre (mood) descended on Cheltenham, everyone had everything crossed and plenty of people were praying their worse fears wouldn't be realised. This is the end of a glittering career.

'The great thing I can say is that he's in a positive frame of mind and that is number one. He's surrounded by people who love him and I can only extend my best wishes to him and his family.

'It's a high-risk sport and this is one of the things that can happen. As a jump jockey you go out to ride every day knowing it could be your last. You never think it could be you, it always happens to someone else.

'We devote our lives to the sport we love. None of us want to see a jockey injured, the same goes for the horse.

Sombre: Former Grand National winner and racing pundit Mick Fitzgerald spoke out about his sadness

Sombre: Former Grand National winner and racing pundit Mick Fitzgerald spoke out about his sadness

'Getting injured is always in the back of your mind but if you were thinking about it, you wouldn't be able to do your job.

'He's alive and well and in a positive frame of mind. It's important that racing does what it can to help him enjoy the rest of life. I cannot tell you how nice a guy he is.'

The latest statement on McNamara's condition was issued jointly by Dr Adrian McGoldrick, Irish Turf Club Senior Medical Officer and Lisa Hancock, CEO, Injured Jockeys Fund, on behalf of the rider's family and read: 'JT McNamara remains in the Frenchay Hospital, Bristol. Whilst he suffered a serious neck injury resulting in paralysis, he has made progress in the last week and is in a very positive frame of mind.

'He is greatly appreciative of the many messages, cards and letters received and also wishes to thank the Frenchay Hospital who are looking after him so well.'

Alex Ferguson says Rafa Benitez should stand in front of him to shake hand

Rafa wants to shake my hand Well, he should stand in front of me next time! Fergie stokes new row with Chelsea boss

By
Graeme Yorke

PUBLISHED:

13:40 GMT, 15 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

09:41 GMT, 16 March 2013

Sir Alex Ferguson has re-opened his feud with Rafael Benitez over their handshake row.

The pair, who have a history of fall-outs, didn't shake hands before their FA Cup clash at Manchester United on Sunday.

Benitez later claimed that Ferguson ignored him prior to kick-off in the 2-2 draw at Old Trafford.

Scroll down for video

Clash: Sir Alex Ferguson (right) and Rafa Benitez on the touchline on Sunday

Clash: Sir Alex Ferguson (right) and Rafa Benitez on the touchline on Sunday

Hitting back: Sir Alex Ferguson (right) at the Cheltenham Festival with Paul Nicholls this week

Hitting back: Sir Alex Ferguson (right) at the Cheltenham Festival with Paul Nicholls this week

But Ferguson has now hit back, insisting that he did not refuse – before giving them Chelsea boss some advice.

He said: 'It is nonsense. Why would I refuse to shake his hand

'I was signing autographs and I never saw him. Why he has said that I have no idea.

Pointing the way: Benitez takes charge of Chelsea's training session on Friday

Pointing the way: Benitez takes charge of Chelsea's training session on Friday

'If he wanted to shake hands he could have stood straight in front of me. It is absolute nonsense.'

Ferguson and Benitez have had several run-ins in the Barclays Premier League – dating back to their United v Liverpool clashes.

The Spaniard famously held a press conference in 2009 where he ran down a list of 'facts' attacking Ferguson's record.

VIDEO “I didn't see him.” Fergie denies Benitez handshake claim

Absolute NONSENSE. Fergie rubbishes Benitez handshake claim

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Alex Ferguson on Rio and Reading

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John McCririck released from hospital

McCririck released from hospital with wife claiming Channel 4 axe caused illness

By
Rod Minchin

PUBLISHED:

12:21 GMT, 15 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

14:08 GMT, 15 March 2013

Veteran racing pundit John McCririck will have to watch today's Cheltenham Gold Cup race on television after being released from hospital.

McCririck, 72, known for his distinctive sideburns and deerstalker hat, is convalescing at home after being detained in Cheltenham General Hospital.

He complained of feeling unwell during the first day of the Cheltenham Festival on Tuesday and was taken to hospital by ambulance.

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Unwell: John McCririck, pictured on day one of the festival, has been released from hospital

Unwell: John McCririck, pictured on day one of the festival, has been released from hospital

The former Channel 4 pundit had said earlier this week that he planned on returning to Prestbury Park to watch the highlight of the four-day National Hunt festival.

But after being released from hospital he has returned home to recover.

Mr McCririck's agent Patsy Martin said today: 'John is resting today.

'He is not going racing today and the next race meeting he will be attending will be Doncaster on Saturday week.'

John McCririck.

Horse Racing - Royal Ascot - 4th Day John McCririck English Horse Racing Pundit at Ascot

Larger than life: But McCririck was taken ill, with wife Jenny blaming the stress of his Channel 4 dismissal

In January Channel 4 dropped McCririck from its racing coverage when it unveiled its new presenting team, headed by Clare Balding.

McCririck announced he was to sue the broadcaster for 3million, claiming it axed him from its racing coverage because he was too old.

His wife Jenny told the Daily Mirror she believed the stress from a continuing disagreement with his former employer caused his illness.

Mrs McCririck told the newspaper: 'Look at the stress from Channel 4. He was perfectly OK, he had a check-up two weeks ago, but Channel 4 have done this to him.'

Some of John McCririck's memorable moments from Channel 4 Racing

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John McCririck taken to hospital after collapsing at Cheltenham Festival

Racing pundit McCririck taken to hospital after collapsing at Cheltenham Festival

By
Louise Eccles

PUBLISHED:

18:49 GMT, 12 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

20:40 GMT, 12 March 2013

Television pundit John McCririck has been taken to hospital after collapsing at Cheltenham Festival.

The 72-year-old will spend the night at Cheltenham General Hospital where he will undergo tests but his condition is not said to be serious.

McCririck isn't presenting Channel 4's coverage of the four-day festival for the first time in 30 years after it was revealed in January that he wouldn't be part of the corporation's broadcasting team.

His wife blamed his collapse on the stress of being sacked by Channel 4. McCririck is currently suing the channel for 3m for ageism and loss of earnings.

Taken to hospital: John McCririck collapsed on day one of the Cheltenham Festival

Taken to hospital: John McCririck collapsed on day one of the Cheltenham Festival

Taken to hospital: John McCririck collapsed on day one of the Cheltenham Festival

The 72-year-old – who was dropped by
Channel 4 in favour of a new racing team headed by Clare Balding –
called his wife before the last race today to say he felt unwell.

As he walked to meet her, he
apparently took a turn for the worse and had to be treated at the edge
of the parade ring by paramedics. He was then taken to hospital in an
ambulance.

Prior to his collapse, McCririck was
seen sitting in the media centre alone, looking glum. He rose
periodically to smoke a cigar on the balcony outside.

The commentator claims he was axed by
Channel 4 for being too old. In a statement issued in January, he said:
‘After 29 years with Channel 4 Racing, on a rolling annual contract, I
have been sacked without any consultation or cogent explanation. I am
72. For loss of future earnings, unfair career damaging, public
humiliation, stress and mental anguish, I will be seeking 500,000.

John McCririck

John McCririck's wife

Ill: McCririck complained to his wife about feeling unwell before taking a turn for the worse

‘Ageism is illegal. For tens of
thousands of employees it has become the feared scourge of our society.
This litigation should prove to be a watershed.

‘There’s no upper limit to the amount of damages employment tribunals can award under the Equality Act 2010.

‘I am seeking a further exemplary,
punitive 2.5m, part of which will be donated to charitable
organisations helping to prevent negative prejudice in the workplace.’

Channel 4 denied the allegations and said they would ‘vigorously’ defend the claim.

Cheltenham Festival 2013: Day one inspection at 10.30am due winter weather

Concern on day one at Cheltenham with early morning inspection set after parts of the course are left frozen by winter weather

By
Mike Dawes

PUBLISHED:

07:04 GMT, 12 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

08:15 GMT, 12 March 2013

Cheltenham will hold an inspection at 10.30am today ahead of what is predicted to be the coldest-ever start to the Festival.

Although the covers were put down at the track over the weekend, officials report the track to be frozen in a few places this morning after a wind chill of -12C overnight.

Over 55,000 spectators are expected to
attend the first day of the meeting when nine horses, including three
previous winners – Binocular, Hurricane Fly and reigning champion Rock
On Ruby – will line up in the Champion Hurdle.

Bleak: Cheltenham will host an inspection after temperatures plummeted to -12C overnight

Bleak: Cheltenham will host an inspection after temperatures plummeted to -12C overnight

Essential Cheltenham reading

Your guide to the best bets on the opening day

Sam Turner's top tips

Everything you need to know in one place

Cheltenham Festival preview video

Clerk of the course Simon Claisse said: 'We are frozen in places but it seems to be small areas. We can't really tell the extent of the frozen areas until we start to take the covers up.

'If the weather does what we expect it to and the temperature gets up to 3C by 12 noon, we should be kicking off as planned at 1.30pm.

'The wind chill dropped to -12C overnight and it was still -9C at 5am today.

'The is sun is out now and if we get an hour or two of sunshine on it, it should start to move.

'If we get some cloud cover, the rate at which that will happen will obviously slow.'

Frozen: As many as 55,000 spectators are expected to arrive for the opening day of the Festival

Frozen: As many as 55,000 spectators are expected to arrive for the opening day of the Festival

Claisse says he remains 'optimistic' about the meeting going ahead as planned.

He told Channel 4's The Morning Line: '90 per cent of the course is fine but obviously we can't clear it as fit to race until it's 100 per cent OK.

'(The problem areas) tend to be on some of the take-offs and landings and some of the wider ground. We have got fresh ground seven or eight yards on the inside, but you just have to be a bit careful of a horse that's going wide.

'It's on those areas that were worn a little bit in October, November and December, that's where the frost has got in under the covers.

'We will look at everything we can possibly do to ensure the meeting goes ahead. If we have to, we will go round any fences or hurdles.

Covered up: Cheltenham remain confident that racing will go ahead on the first day of the Festival

Covered up: Cheltenham remain confident that racing will go ahead on the first day of the Festival

'We are not running on the cross
country course until 4pm this afternoon and the afternoon temperature is
4C or 5C, so it may take a little bit longer to get fit when the sun
comes out, but should be OK by 4.

'I remain optimistic but you just
never quite know what is happening with this weather. Our experiences
last night were beyond anything we've seen before.'

The process of lifting the covers is
expected to be completed by 1.15pm with the traditional curtain raiser,
the William Hill Supreme Novices Hurdle, due off 15 minutes later.

Cheltenham Festival video: Peter Scudamore, Sam Turner and Marcus Townend preview the big races

VIDEO: Sportsmail's top team preview the big races at the Cheltenham Festival

PUBLISHED:

13:22 GMT, 18 February 2013

|

UPDATED:

13:58 GMT, 19 February 2013

Racing doesn't get any better than the Cheltenham Festival so to preview the famous meeting we've put together the best team in the business.

Our man Marcus Townend talks to our top tipster Sam Turner and columnist and former champion jockey Peter Scudamore.

Sportsmail's award-winning photographer Graham Chadwick is the man behind the camera who put it all together.

VIDEO For top tips on runners and riders check out Sportsmail's special preview

Play Video

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Cheltenham Festival – win VIP tickets

WIN VIP tickets to the Cheltenham Festival, including meal and drinks – courtesy of lovetheraces.com

UPDATED:

17:21 GMT, 18 February 2013

Sportsmail has teamed up with lovetheraces.com to offer you a sensational VIP trip to the Cheltenham Festival.

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PLEASE NOTE: You must validate your entry with the words CHELTENHAM COMP in your subject box; tickets do not include travel to/from the Cheltenham Festival or accommodation; normal Associated Newspapers terms and conditions apply – the Editor's decision is final.

If you don’t win the big prize, you can learn more about great racing days out by going to lovetheraces.com or check availability of any tickets for this year’s Cheltenham at cheltenham.co.uk

London 2012 Olympics rowing: Great Britain win gold in women"s lightweight sculls

Golden girls! Hosking and Copeland create history on the lake after securing another win

|

UPDATED:

11:11 GMT, 4 August 2012

Great Britain's Katherine Copeland and Sophie Hosking have won the gold medal in the women's double sculls.

The British crew were roared to victory by over a length, with China in second and Greece in third.

More to follow…

We've done it! Great Britain's Sophie Hosking and Katherine Copeland celebrate winning gold

We've done it! Great Britain's Sophie Hosking and Katherine Copeland celebrate winning gold

KATHERINE COPELAND AND SOPHIE HOSKING FACTFILE

1986: Sophie Hosking born on January 25 in Wimbledon and learns to row at Kingston Grammar School.

1990: Kat Copeland born on December 1 in Ashington and begins to row at Yarm School at the age of 14.

2006: Hosking wins bronze in the lightweight women's quadruple sculls at the World Championships.

2007: Hosking wins silver in the lightweight women's quadruple sculls at the World Championships.

2009: Hosking wins bronze in the lightweight double sculls with Hester Goodsell at the World Championships. Copeland wins gold in the quadruple sculls at the Youth Olympic festival in Sydney.

2010: Copeland comes close to quitting the Great Britain set-up because she wants to remain based in the north-east.

2011: Copeland wins gold in the lightweight single scull at the Under-23 World Championships in Amsterdam. She wins silver in her first senior event, at the Munich World Cup.
: Hosking wins bronze with Goodsell at the World Championships in the lightweight double sculls

2012: May – Copeland and Hosking come together for the World Cup series, winning a silver in Belgrade but place out of the medals in Lucerne and Munich.

August 4 – Copeland and Hosking win a gold medal at the Olympic Games.

London 2012 Olympics diving: Chris Mears and Nick Robinson-Baker finish fifth

Tears for Mears' proud parents after brave Brit finishes fifth in synchro diving final

|

UPDATED:

17:09 GMT, 1 August 2012

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LIVE RESULTS |
EVENT SCHEDULE |
MEDALS TABLE

Chris Mears' parents were left in tears in the Aquatics Centre grandstand after their 19-year-old son made his Olympic debut – three years after he almost lost his life during a junior competition in Australia.

Mears and springboard synchro partner Nick Robinson-Baker produced one of the performances of their careers to claim fifth in a high-quality final.

While world champions Qin Kai and Luo Yutong nervelessly clinched yet another diving gold for China, the emotion of the Britons' performance was plain to see at the end.

Fine finish: Chris Mears (R) and Nicholas Robinson-Baker finished fifth in the men's synchronised 3m springboard diving final

Fine finish: Chris Mears (R) and Nicholas Robinson-Baker finished fifth in the men's synchronised 3m springboard diving final

Mears was given just a five per cent chance of survival when he collapsed during the Youth Olympic Festival in January 2009 after rupturing his spleen performing a dive the previous day.

After initially being misdiagnosed with meningitis Mears lost five pints of blood and had his spleen removed after it was eventually discovered he had contracted the Epstein Barr virus.

He spent a month in an Australian hospital as he slowly made his way back to full health before beginning his journey to the Olympic Games and a performance to remember today.

'My parents are up there and they were crying,' Mears said.

Golden boys: Qin Kai (L) and Luo Yutong (R) celebrate another victory at the Games for China

Golden boys: Qin Kai (L) and Luo Yutong (R – and both pictured diving below) celebrate another victory at the Games for China

Qin Kai and Luo Yutong dive for a Chinese victory

'I know it means a lot to them and it definitely means a lot to me. To have come from where I came from in 2009 and now being in the Olympic Games and coming fifth in the world – I can't quite believe it actually.

'It is in the back of my mind and I think 'that's a really great achievement' but there's no negative input in that.

'I've come this far from pretty much rock-bottom and this is where I am now. I'm just so happy.'

Mears and Robinson-Baker had only been an outside hope of a medal, although a career-best second-placing behind the Chinese at the final World Series event in Mexico in April had them dreaming of a podium place.

Their score of 432.60 today was just shy of the personal best they posted in Mexico but stand-out performances from their rivals meant they were still 14.1 points short of a medal.

The Chinese were well clear in claiming their fourth diving gold and are on track for a clean sweep of the top podium, while Russia's Ilya Zakharov and Evgeny Kuznetsov took silver.

United States pairing Kristian Ipsen and Troy Dumais – who collected his first Olympic medal at the fourth attempt – finished third.

'It isn't our PB, but 432 in the final of the Olympics Games, when it's probably been the highest standard it's ever been, was absolutely phenomenal for us. We're buzzing,' Robinson-Baker said.

Taking the plunge: Mears made his parents proud after competing just three years after he almost died

Taking the plunge: Mears made his parents proud after competing just three years after he almost died

'I could go and do it again now.

'We've got the two Russians who I think have amazing talent, they train so hard and it shows.

'The Americans are very experienced with Troy Dumais and Kristian and they've smashed it. That's what the sport is all about – going in there and competing and the best team wins.'

The fifth placing was also the equal-best performance by a British springboard synchro pairing – after Mark Shipman and Tony Ally managed the same result at Athens 2004.

'Fifth place. That makes us feel so happy that we are the equal most successful team on the springboard,' said Mears. 'That's just another thing to add to the excitement.'

Robinson-Baker revealed afterwards that he was set to take a mini break from the sport after the Games to recharge his batteries after nearly a decade in competition.

Walking away: Mears (R) and Robinson-Baker managed to finish fifth

Walking away: Mears (R) and Robinson-Baker managed to finish fifth

The 25-year-old hinted, though, that he would be keen to resume his partnership with Mears looking ahead to Rio 2016.

'I'll take a little break first. There is another four years to go,' he said.

'I know Chris is well up for that but I'm taking a little time out because I'm getting old. But roll on Rio.'

Mears' plans are more immediate as he is due to return to the Aquatics Centre next Monday for the preliminary round of the individual springboard.

'I''ve still got the individual in these Olympics so I don't want to look too far into the future just yet,' he said.

'I'm concentrating on the now, my training has been brilliant and I think I showed that in the pool today.'

Michael Whitaker wins Aachen Grand Prix win

Whitaker puts doubt in selectors' minds with Aachen Grand Prix win

|

UPDATED:

16:28 GMT, 8 July 2012

British showjumper Michael Whitaker produced a dominant performance to win the prestigious Aachen Grand Prix in Germany on Sunday.

Whitaker, 52, missed out on a place in Britain's four-strong team for the London Olympics despite a long career highlighted by him clinching 14 major championship medals.

Simply soaring: Whitaker and Gig Amai clear an obstacle

Simply soaring: Whitaker and Gig Amai clear an obstacle

The Nottinghamshire-based rider also helped secure Britain's last Olympic showjumping medal – a team silver at Los Angeles in 1984 – and he cruised to victory in a three-horse jump off on GIG Amai.

They clocked 49.73 seconds to claim an emphatic victory and collect a bumper winner's purse of just over 87,000.

Still got it: Whitaker proves age is no barrier

Still got it: Whitaker proves age is no barrier

German Thomas Voss, riding Carinjo 9, had to settle for second on 54.37, while his German compatriot Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum was third on Bella Donna.

Amai has had its share of injury troubles, which probably counted against it when British team chief Rob Hoekstra finalised his London quartet of Nick Skelton, Ben Maher, Scott Brash and Peter Charles.

Aachen glory: Whitaker proved his point to Olympic selectors in no uncertain terms

Aachen glory: Whitaker proved his point to Olympic selectors in no uncertain terms

But Whitaker has never doubted Amai's ability.

The horse is a previous Olympia World Cup winner and today's triumph came among a world-class field of 39 combinations.

Hoekstra watched from the sidelines as Whitaker prevailed and it was a performance that sealed an impressive few days for British showjumpers at Aachen's World Equestrian Festival.

Flying high: The cream rose to the top... again

Flying high: The cream rose to the top… again

Skelton, eighth in the grand prix with Carlo, Brash and Guy Williams all won classes during the show, which is rated as arguably the highest profile on equestrian's global calendar.

Kiss for the winner: Germany's Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum congratulates Whitaker

Kiss for the winner: Germany's Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum congratulates Whitaker