Tag Archives: length

Leonardo Bonucci dive for Juventus v Palermo

Is this the most embarrassing dive ever Juventus cheat Bonucci leaves Cazorla and co in the shade

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UPDATED:

13:04 GMT, 11 December 2012

If you thought Santi Cazorla’s dive against West Brom on Saturday was disgraceful then just be thankful that Leonardo Bonucci isn’t also trying his simulation antics in the Premier League.

Cazorla won a highly controversial penalty for Arsenal, which played a big role in sealing a 2-0 win for the Gunners, after going to ground despite not being touched by Steven Reid’s attempted tackle for the Baggies.

Scroll down to watch the video…

Tumble: Bonucci is challenged by Samir Ujikani (above) and celebrates with his team-mates (bottom left) after the win at Palermo

Tumble: Bonucci is challenged by Samir Ujikani (above) and celebrates with his team-mates (bottom left) after the win at Palermo

Tumble: Bonucci is challenged by Samir Ujikani (above) and celebrates with his team-mates (bottom left) after the win at Palermo

But although the Spaniard managed to con
the referee, Bonucci was fooling nobody after the Juventus defender’s
antics in a Serie A match at Palermo on Sunday.

With the Bianconeri leading 1-0 and on the counter attack, the Italian ran the full length of the pitch to latch on to a pass inside the box, only to crumble in a heap when faced one-on-one with the goalkeeper.

After doing brilliantly to beat the offside trap, it all became so bad it’s laughable. Faced with the on-rushing Samir Ujkani, Bonucci dragged the ball back to nobody before flopping over a keeper who never even made a challenge while on the ground.

Not even the Palermo players could be
bothered to protest as the referee booked the Italian international
straight away, forcing him to miss the club’s next match.

Unlike Cazorla though, Bonucci admitted on Twitter he was wrong trying to win a penalty shortly after the Serie A leaders’ 1-0 win.

Shameful: Cazorla takes a tumble against West Brom

Shameful: Cazorla takes a tumble against West Brom

Shameful: Cazorla takes a tumble against West Brom

Bonucci said: ‘I had to shoot but I got stuck for ideas. I picked up a caution and set a bad example, I serve a lesson.’

But is it the worst dive ever There are a plethora of candidates so let us know yours by naming and shaming the worst offenders in the comments section below.

Mario Balotelli worth as much as the Mona Lisa, says agent

He's no oil painting but agent says Balotelli is worth as much as the Mona Lisa

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UPDATED:

17:33 GMT, 5 December 2012

Mario Balotelli's agent has insisted that no Italian club can afford to buy the Manchester City striker because he 'costs as much as the Mona Lisa'.

The 22-year-old has been linked with a move to the San Siro and a return to Italy after slipping down the pecking order at the Etihad Stadium.

Familiar face: The Mona Lisa

How much would you pay Mario Balotelli

Spot the difference: Mario Balotelli's agent compared him to the Mona Lisa

The Mona Lisa

The Mona Lisa is a half-length portrait
of a woman by the Italian artist Leonardo da Vinci, which has been
acclaimed as 'the best known, the most visited, the most written about,
the most sung about, the most parodied work of art in the world.'

The
painting, thought to be a portrait of Lisa Gherardini, the wife of
Francesco del Giocondo, is in oil on a poplar panel, and is believed to
have been painted between 1503 and 1506.

It was acquired by King Francis
I of France and is now the property of the French Republic, on
permanent display at the Muse du Louvre in Paris.

The ambiguity of the
subject's expression – frequently described as enigmatic, the
monumentality of the composition, the subtle modeling of forms and the
atmospheric illusionism were novel qualities that have contributed to
the continuing fascination and study of the work.

Manager Roberto Mancini prefers Carlos Tevez and Segio Aguero to the young Italy international.

Milan
president Silvio Berlusconi has previously suggested that their
interest in Balotelli is serious, claiming that signing him 'is not a
dream' with the January window around the corner.

But
Mino Raiola, Balotelli's agent and close advisor, told Sky Sport
Italia: 'Balotelli costs as much as the Mona Lisa. There are no teams in
Italy who could afford him.'

Balotelli
has only started eight games for the Barclays Premier League champions
this season but Raiola says the club are not willing to let him leave.

Raiola added: 'Manchester City don't want to sell Balotelli.'

City crashed out of Europe after losing to Borussia Dortmund in Germany in their final Champions League match, making it the worst European campaign by an English club in the history of the competition.

The face neighbours Manchester United in a huge derby clash at the Etihad this Sunday.

Andre Villas-Boas hopes Mousa Dembele will return soon

Villas-Boas hopes Dembele will make speedy return to Tottenham squad

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UPDATED:

23:00 GMT, 21 October 2012

Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas hopes he will not be without Mousa Dembele for too long after revealing the midfielder has suffered a recurrence of the niggling hip injury which sidelined him for Fulham last season.

Spurs greatly missed Dembele's calmness and distribution on Saturday as their four-match winning streak came to an end at the hands of Chelsea, who ran out 4-2 winners at White Hart Lane.

Dembele, who has been a big hit since arriving for 15million on deadline day, had to come off at half-time during Belgium's win over Scotland on Tuesday after the 25-year-old fell and triggered an old hip injury he suffered at Fulham last season.

Hope: Mousa Dembele (right) was ruled out after a recurrence of a hip injury

Hope: Mousa Dembele (right) was ruled out after a recurrence of a hip injury

The versatile midfielder missed three games towards the end of January with the same problem and Villas-Boas admits losing Dembele for a similar length of time would be a big blow for the Londoners.

'Top players are missed,' the Spurs boss said.

'He had a scan, but we haven't seen the results yet. He suffers discomfort and pain on his hip which is not something that shows on the scan so it's difficult to assess.

'Fulham took him off for a period of two weeks. He had a chance to play (on Saturday) and had a late fitness test but the pain didn't go away.

'It's something that comes back to him. He fell awkwardly in the Scotland game against Belgium and felt the pain.'

Without Dembele, and Gareth Bale, who missed the game because his partner went into labour, Spurs looked weak in midfield, with Tom Huddlestone still lacking match sharpness after recovering from a long-term ankle injury this summer.

Much had been made of Villas-Boas' hidden determination to get one over on his old employers and defender Jan Vertonghen admits the manner of Saturday's London derby defeat was frustrating.

No revenge: Andre Villas-Boas (right) was unable to get a win against his former employers

No revenge: Andre Villas-Boas (right) was unable to get a win against his former employers

Since Villas-Boas arrived at Spurs this summer, the Portuguese has failed to instil a sense of consistency in his team's home performances, although his predecessor Harry Redknapp also struggled to achieve as much last season, particularly towards the end of the campaign.

The victory over Aston Villa aside, Spurs have failed to produce a solid 90-minute display at White Hart Lane this season.

Only a much-improved second-half display allowed Spurs to beat QPR and the team were patchy at best against West Brom and Norwich.

And on Saturday they were terrible in the first half, allowing Gary Cahill to open the scoring during a period in which Chelsea should have sealed the match.

'At home we seem to play better in the second half than the first,” said Vertonghen, who signed from Ajax this summer.

'We need to think about how to put two strong halves together.

'We need to work out how to put a bit more pressure on teams from the start.

Missed: Dembele's absebce was noticed as Juan Mata and Co dismantled Tottenham at White Hart Lane

Missed: Dembele's absebce was noticed as Juan Mata and Co dismantled Tottenham at White Hart Lane

'They were the best team I faced this year, but I knew they would be.

'I knew their players before I came here and what they are capable of.

'Chelsea are a good team but I feel we should have done better.'

Gallas drew Spurs level with his first for the club just after the break and Jermain Defoe netted his 200th career goal moments later, but things started to unravel for the hosts halfway through the second period.

Gallas, whose poor clearance allowed Cahill to score, again failed to clear his lines properly, allowing Juan Mata to score.

The Frenchman then let the Spaniard slip past him so he could convert an Eden Hazard pass to put Chelsea back in front soon after.

Many were surprised that Villas-Boas has started Gallas in every game this year given that he is 35, but Vertonghen insists the Spurs skipper is not past it.

In action: Dembele (right) played for Belgium as they beat Scotland 2-0 in their World Cup qualifier

In action: Dembele (right) played for Belgium as they beat Scotland 2-0 in their World Cup qualifier

'William is very experienced and with his experience he can be a very good player for us,' Vertonghen said.

'He is our captain and an important player.

'He treats me like I am his little brother so that's why he is a very good captain.

'He always wants the best for me, even though we are both centre-backs. I really appreciate him.'

Richard Hughes wins seven of eight at Windsor

Seventh heaven! Hughes claims string of Windsor wins at odds of 10,168-1

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UPDATED:

17:59 GMT, 15 October 2012

Red riding: Richard Hughes won seven of his eight races at Windsor on Monday

Red riding: Richard Hughes won seven of his eight races at Windsor on Monday

Richard Hughes rode his way into the racing record books with his own fantastic 10,168-1 seven-timer at Windsor on Monday.

The 39-year-old jockey, who is on the verge of his first championship, won on all but one of his mounts to become the first jockey to ride seven winners at a meeting since Frankie Dettori's Magnificent Seven at Ascot on September 28, 1996.

Hughes said: 'I'm over the moon. I always thought I might do it one day at Windsor – my lucky track. It’s one thing after another this year, it’s been great.'

HUGHES' SEVEN WINNERS

Pivotal Movement 13-8

East Texas Red 5-2

Embankment 7-1

Magic Secret 4-1

Links Drive Lady 5-2

Duke Of Clarence 7-4

Mama Quilla 15-8

Hughes, who has ridden 161 winners this season, leads nearest title race pursuer William Buick by a massive 47 wins.

His winning roll started with
three-and-a quarter length success of Pivotal Movement in the colours of
Sir Alex Ferguson and trained by his boss and father-in-law Richard
Hannon, who supplied three of his winners.

The opportunity to go through the
eight-race card was blown when Ever Fortune could only finish third in
race six – the mile handicap.

But the Irishman was back in the
winner’s enclosure with a rallying effort on Hannon’s Duke of Clarence
before Ryan Moore stood down to allow his friend to pick up the
successful mount on William Haggas-trained Mama Quilla in the final
race.

Hughes celebrated with his own (less flamboyant) version of the Dettori flying dismount.

Bookmakers bemoaned the result but said the day was nowhere near as financially damaging as Dettori's 20,095-1 achievement which cost the industry 40million.

David Williams of Ladbrokes, who said
one client had won almost 250,000 for a 256 Hughes-related bet, said:
‘It would be wrong to liken it to Dettori day which was a Saturday with
terrestrial TV coverage but we have not had as bleak a midweek day for
a long time.’

'That was probably the cheapest
seven-timer ever for the bookies,' said William Hill spokesperson, Kate
Miller. 'The last time a high-profile jockey rode a big seven-timer it
cost us 7million, so we're very grateful that Richard timed his on a
quiet Monday.

'We'll pay out around 100,000 but the figure could easily have been 10 times that if he'd chosen this Saturday instead.'

The record for winners at a meeting
outside of Britain is held by US jockey Eddie Castro, who rode nine from
11 mounts at Calder in 2005.

Jack Wilshere thought he would never make it back

Jack 'thought he'd never get back': Returning Wilshere frustrated by rate of recovery

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UPDATED:

22:06 GMT, 21 September 2012

After more than a year on the sidelines, Jack Wilshere's journey back to Arsenal's first team is almost complete.

Arsene Wenger admitted on Friday that
there were times when the midfielder, who has not played a Barclays
Premier League game for Arsenal since a 2-2 draw with Fulham on May 22
last year, feared he might not make it and was angry at the time it has
taken to recover from operations to his ankle and knee.

But Wilshere's hard work and
dedication is about to pay off and Wenger is convinced the talented
20-year-old will be razor sharp in the centre of midfield within weeks.

In the thick of it: Jack Wilshere (right) has returned to full Arsenal training after 14 months out

In the thick of it: Jack Wilshere (right) has returned to full Arsenal training after 14 months out

Getting stuck in: Wilshere (centre) will be eased back into Arsene Wenger's first team plans

Getting stuck in: Wilshere (centre) will be eased back into Arsene Wenger's first team plans

The Arsenal manager, preparing for Sunday's league clash at Manchester
City, said: 'He has had ups and downs, maybe more downs over the past
14 months.

'We have to be cautious because he has been out for a long
time and it takes a while to get back to match fitness.

'I have never
had any doubts, but when you are so young, and to be out for that length
of time, is a good test of mental strength. 'I didn't doubt he would be
back, but you would have to ask him if it crossed his mind – I would
say yes.

'I am certain he will be a better player. If you have this type
of injury after the age of 25 it is different. 'After three months
competition I am sure he will be back to his best. It takes time to find
that little burst again.'

Wilshere will continue to work at Arsenal's
training ground in the coming days and will play in a development match
for the Under 21 team when he is fully fit.

That is for the future, but
Wenger is still juggling off-field matters with his players ahead of Sunday 's match against champions City.

Although Wenger insisted on Friday that Theo Walcott's continued absence from the starting
line-up has nothing to do with his aborted contract talks, the issue is
no closer to being resolved.

The Arsenal winger, a regular last season,
has been on the bench ever since he refused to sign an extended and
improved offer to stay at the Emirates.

Happy lads The Walcott (left) could leave team-mate Wilshere (centre) in January

Happy lads The Walcott (left) could leave team-mate Wilshere (centre) in January

There is now a serious danger
that he could be left behind by this improving Arsenal team and Wenger
will consider selling the 23-year-old in January if they have not made
progress.

The Arsenal manager added: 'I still hope he will sign, but the
longer the situation lasts the more difficult it will be.'

'In terms of
January, it will depend on the needs of the team and the club whether
we sell him.

'We can afford to go to the end of the contract if needed.'

Walcott is expected to be on the bench again tomorrow as Arsenal aim to
continue their sparkling early-season form against City after wins at
Liverpool and Montpellier, along with last weekend's 6-1
victory over Southampton at the Emirates.

Main man: Arsenal will look to Lukas Podolski (right) to fire them to victory over Manchester City

Main man: Arsenal will look to Lukas Podolski (right) to fire them to victory over Manchester City

VIDEO: Wenger is preparing for the Manchester City game on Sunday

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London 2012 Paralympics: Jonnie Peacock and Oscar Pistorius T44 100m final

Peacock equals Paralympic record to ease through to final showdown with Pistorius

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UPDATED:

19:04 GMT, 5 September 2012

British teenager Jonnie Peacock defeated Oscar Pistorius' conqueror to reach the 100 metres final with an emphatic heat victory at the Olympic Stadium.

The 19-year-old, who looked relaxed and confident in his blocks, got off to a flying start and came home in 11.08 seconds, equalling the T44 Paralympic record.

It was a baptism of fire for Peacock, who lined up against American world champion Jerome Singleton and Brazilian Alan Fonteles Oliveira, the 200m gold medallist whose blades so incensed Pistorius

Streets ahead: Britain's Jonnie Peacock powers home to win his 100m T44 heat

Streets ahead: Britain's Jonnie Peacock powers home to win his 100m T44 heat

Only the top two advanced along with
two fastest losers, but the Cambridgeshire athlete is not the world
record holder with a best of 10.85secs for nothing.

Peacock,
who lost his right leg below the knee to meningitis aged five, easily
finished ahead of Singleton, who was second in 11.46s.

Oliveira was third in 11.56.

Peacock, who received a huge ovation
when introduced to the crowd, said: “It was nuts out there when they
called my name and my mates and family were by the start line and it
relaxed me. I haven't been nervous at all.

'I'll have to go back now and look at the video, the end of the race wasn't as controlled as I'd like it to be.

'I need to keep my core stronger and
my start could have been better, but that race into that kind of wind (a
1.6m/s head wind) could have been worth 10.90 or 10.95, which would
have been my fastest ever first round. I'll come back stronger tomorrow.

'I expected a few of the guys to push me more to be honest, I didn't think I'd win by so much, so I'm happy.'

Streets ahead: Britain's Jonnie Peacock powers home to win his 100m T44 heat

Pistorius appeared unaffected by the storm he has caused with his comments about Oliveira's blade length by winning his 100m heat in 11.18.

The South African finished 0.16 ahead of American Blake Leeper, who also uses the longer blades.

The 25-year-old claimed before the Games he was not expecting to retain his 100m title, having largely neglected the event to focus on fulfilling his dream of making the 400m at the Olympics, but he looked comfortable on Wednesday night.

The times in the second two heats ensured Alan too made it through as a fastest loser, setting up a mouthwatering final tomorrow night which looks too close to call.

Pistorius, Oliveira and the two Americans will also go up against each other later on Wednesday in the T42-46 4x100m relay.

Pistorius has since admitted his outspoken attack on the length of the blades worn by Oliveira in the immediate aftermath of the 200m final was badly timed.

The South African publicly questioned International Paralympic Committee regulations, claiming longer blades are giving his rivals an unfair advantage.

Oliveira won the gold in 21.45secs and Pistorius said: 'He's never run a 21-second race and I don't think he's a 21-second athlete.

'The guys are just running ridiculous times and they're able to do so.'

Charge: South Africa's Oscar Pistorius also made it through to Thursday's final

Charge: South Africa's Oscar Pistorius also made it through to Thursday's final

Pistorius apologised the following
day for his comments and the IPC said he would not face censure, with
the two parties set to meet to discus the issue.

The fact remained, though, that had
the 25-year-old, who had to settle for silver in 21.52s, matched the
world record 21.30 he ran in the heat in that final he would have won.

The blades worn by the likes of Oliveira and Leeper were within IPC rules, having been measured and approved before the race.

It is understood Pistorius'
objections relate to the complex formula used to calculate the maximal
allowable height for each athlete.

Pistorius cannot switch to longer
blades if he wants to carry on competing in non-disabled competition as
they have to conform to stringent IAAF regulations.

He had to win a lengthy legal battle
with the governing body at the Court of Arbitration of Sport for the
right to compete in the first place.

South Africa have made an official
complaint to the IPC that athletes are switching the size of their
running blades, but the governing body said they have found no evidence
to back their claims.

Danny Care signs three-year contract extension at Harlequins

There's no other club for me! Boost for Quins as Care pens three-year contract extension

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UPDATED:

15:39 GMT, 21 August 2012


Staying put: Car has signed a new deal at Quins

Staying put: Care has signed a new deal at Quins

England scrum-half Danny Care has agreed a three-year contract extension with Harlequins.

Care, who has made 116 appearances for the club, will now remain with the Aviva Premiership champions until 2016.

The gifted 25-year-old has won 33 caps for England and was named man of the match in the drawn third Test with South Africa in June, completing a timely reversal in fortunes.

Care had only just returned to the
international fold following a series of alcohol-related incidents that
threatened his Test future.

'For
Danny to commit to us for this length of time is news that everyone at
the club is delighted about,' Harlequins director of rugby Conor O'Shea
said.

'I'm looking
forward to watching Danny's continuing development both on and off the
pitch over coming seasons and to seeing him become the player that we
all know he can be.'

The most damaging moment of a turbulent six months saw Care banned from driving for 16 months and fined 3,100 after being arrested for drink driving in the early hours of New Year's Day.

That incident resulted in his exclusion from England's RBS 6 Nations campaign by head coach Stuart Lancaster.

Care was also fined 10,000 by Harlequins, on top of the undisclosed fine he received following his first arrest in December for being drunk and disorderly in Weybridge.

Distractions: Care has put trouble off the pitch behind him

Distractions: Care has put trouble off the pitch behind him

However, the former Leeds player announced in May he had given up drinking to get his international career back on track and was rewarded against the Springboks in June, scoring a try in the third Test.

'There is no other club that I want to play for so I'm pleased to extend my contract with Harlequins,' Care said.

'I'm enjoying being part of a talented squad that is playing an attractive and successful style of rugby.

'Winning trophies is why we play professional rugby and having tasted some success in that regard, I would like more.'

Classic setback for Queen"s Estimate

Classic setback for Queen's filly after third-place finish in Lillie Langtry Stakes

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UPDATED:

23:04 GMT, 2 August 2012

The chances of having a royal runner in the final Classic of the season appear to be over after the Queen’s Estimate could only finish third in the Lillie Langtry Stakes.

The Sir Michael Stoute-trained filly had been quoted at 16-1 for next month’s St Leger by sponsors Ladbrokes after giving her owner a Diamond Jubilee Royal Ascot winner in the two-mile Queen’s Vase.

The Queen won the Silver Jubilee St Leger in 1977 with Dunfermline, but Estimate’s hopes look forlorn after her two-and-three-quarter length defeat by Wild Coco, who provided Sir Henry Cecil and Tom Queally with their fourth winner of the week.

Royal assent: The Sir Michael Stoute-trained filly had been quoted at 16-1

Royal assent: The Sir Michael Stoute-trained filly had been quoted at 16-1

Stoute said: 'She has run well and staying is her game. I’ll have to talk to connections but I’d think the St Leger is unlikely.’

Wild Coco could step up to the Group One Yorkshire Oaks later this month and thus accompany stablemate Frankel in Cecil’s team for the Ebor meeting.

Cecil, whose chemotherapy treatment has prevented him from attending this meeting, reported Frankel in good shape after his Sussex Stakes win on Wednesday.

But the trainer was lukewarm on suggestions that a tilt at the Prix du Moulin could be inserted in the colt’s programme between runs in the Juddmonte International at York and the Champion Stakes at Ascot in October.

Cecil said: ‘Whether he contests the Prix du Moulin is questionable.’
Cecil, who runs Midsummer Sun and Stipulate today plus Timepiece in the Group One Nassau Stakes, is battling Mark Johnston for the title of top trainer at the meeting after Johnston, who has claimed that crown seven times, landed his fourth race of the week with Heavy Metal in the Richmond Stakes.

Meanwhile, Irish trainer John Oxx chose the 200th Goodwood Cup to register his first Glorious Goodwood winner courtesy of the 2-1 favourite Saddler’s Rock.

The Johnny Murtagh-ridden winner, who held off fast-finishing Askar Tau by a length, had blown his chance by pulling too hard when third in the Ascot Gold Cup won by Thursday’s third Colour Vision.

Oxx said: ‘Not just one thing went wrong at Ascot, three or four things went wrong. If it had been one thing we might still have won.’

Saddler’s Rock is also York-bound with the Lonsdale Stakes his target.

Frankel wins Sussex Stakes at Goodwood

Sussex stroll: Fantastic Frankel's better by the dozen after Goodwood breeze

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UPDATED:

17:29 GMT, 1 August 2012

As Great Britain’s stuttering Olympic challenge finally moved into gold medal gear, Frankel underlined why he is the world’s most ruthless winning machine with a six-length victory in the Group One Sussex Stakes.

Forget Usain Bolt, move over Ye Shiwen and (much as we love him) step aside Wiggo.
You might be the best in your business but when it comes to invincibility, nothing matches the galloping hero of Glorious Goodwood.

Untouchable: Tom Queally eases Frankel down after a sensational victory

Untouchable: Tom Queally eases Frankel down after a sensational victory

And there may be an extra chance to see him race as Lord Grimthorpe, racing manager to owner Khaled Abdullah, revealed a tilt at the Prix du Moulin at Longchamp on September 16 in the eight-week gap between the Juddmonte International Stakes at York on August 22 and the Champion Stakes at Ascot on October 20 is being considered.

Grimthorpe said: ‘The Prix du Moulin would be a possible stepping stone. What we really want to do is get through York. There is no great plan beyond but we have to think about what we might do in that two- month gap.’

Unlike some of our stuttering Olympians, there was never a hint of jitters, nerves or doubt — not that any were expected with the 1-20 favourite which was a third winner at the meeting for trainer Sir Henry Cecil and jockey Tom Queally.

Downs destroyer: Frankel powers his way to glory

Downs destroyer: Frankel powers his way to glory

Grimthorpe spoke of ‘the glow of victory’ extending to Newmarket where Cecil is recovering from the draining chemotherapy and Los Angeles where Abdullah has undergone a back operation.

The nearest thing to a racing certainty that you are ever likely to see proved a stroll of the Downs for Frankel with Frankie Dettori fruitlessly chasing shadows on runner-up Farhh.

In the 12th win of Frankel’s career and an eighth at Group One level, he averaged 43.19mph in a visually deceptive, brutal penultimate furlong.

The fact that one of the most prestigious races in the calendar was widely viewed as a stepping stone to Frankel’s next great challenge in the International Stakes over an extra quarter of a mile tells its own story.

Glorious: The Frankel team pose in the winners' enclosure

Glorious: The Frankel team pose in the winners' enclosure

Queally said: ‘It felt like a piece of work. He is amazing and had all the horses cooked at halfway — it was a nice prep for his next race.

‘I came into the race thinking there wasn’t anything that could beat him but you have to
treat every race with a great deal of respect.’

Ryan Moore escaped serious injury but suffered soft tissue damage in a fall from Romeo Montague in the Goodwood Stakes. He gave up his remaining rides and is not certain to be in action this afternoon.

London 2012 Olympics: Katherine Grainger and Anna Watkins set Olympic record

Grainger and Watkins set Olympic best as Team GB rowers book final spots

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UPDATED:

09:56 GMT, 30 July 2012

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LIVE RESULTS |
EVENT SCHEDULE |
MEDALS TABLE

Katherine Grainger and Anna Watkins underlined their status as gold medal favourites by setting a new Olympic best time as they qualified for the final of the women's double scull.

The double world champions destroyed the previous mark, set by Germany in Barcelona 20 years ago, by nearly five seconds as they won their heat in six minutes 44.33 seconds.

It was a commanding performance from Grainger and Watkins, who left world bronze medallists New Zealand trailing home in second place around two lengths behind.

At the double: The British duo have set a new Olympic record after an explosive performance

At the double: The British duo have set a new Olympic record after an explosive performance

The British double are now unbeaten in 22 consecutive races and their victory will have laid down a marker to their nearest rivals Australia, who pushed them close in the final of last month's Munich World Cup regatta.

Earlier, the Great Britain men's eight also qualified for the final with a victory over Canada and Holland in Monday's repechage.

The new-look Great Britain crew made a fast start and quickly opened a three-quarter-length lead over reigning Olympic champions Canada to take control of the race.

After eight: The British team have booked their place in the final

After eight: The British team have booked their place in the final

The Canadians, Holland and Australia all put the pressure on in the final stages and succeeded in closing the gap.

But Britain remained calm, rowing within themselves at 36 strokes per minute to seal the win and a place in Wednesday's final.

The British crew only came together
six weeks ago when stroke man Constantine Louloudis proved he had
recovered from a back injury which kept him out of all three World Cup
regattas.

After a
confidence-boosting performance in the heat, finishing second behind
Germany, Britain will be better again for today's outing having won
without having to hit top gear in a final sprint.

See you in the final: Greg Searle reacts as Team GB progress from the repechage

See you in the final: Greg Searle reacts as Team GB progress from the repechage

The British women's quadruple scull squeezed into their Olympic final after battling back from the brink of elimination to finish third in this morning's repechage.

Beth Rodford, Debbie Flood, Frances Houghton and Melanie Wilson were trailing last in the six-boat field around the half-way mark before producing a strong push in the second 1,000 metres.

Britain moved into the qualification places after the New Zealand crew developed a crab – where a rower's oar blade sticks in the water and acts as a brake – and then overtook reigning Olympic champions China to cross the line third, behind Australia and the United States.