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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

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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

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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

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Neil Ashton previews tonight"s midweek mayhem in the Barclays Premier League – Video Special

VIDEO: Neil Ashton previews Wednesday's matches… and tips Fulham to shock Chelsea in the derby

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UPDATED:

17:24 GMT, 28 November 2012

Neil Ashton

It's midweek mayhem tonight in the Baclays Premier League – and Sportsmail is right in the thick of it.

With every game tonight a belter, Daily Mail Football News Correspondent Neil Ashton (right) talks us through all the big clashes and offers his predictions for MailOnline.

MailOnline's Ash Wednesday columnist doesn't hold back, reckoning on a shock result in tonight's west London derby at Stamford Bridge and a predicting outcomes which are sure to prove unpopular in certain areas of Merseyside.

Ashton said: 'After a last week's managerial sackings and a period of off-field controversies, it's great to get back to the football this midweek.

'I'm looking forward to a glut of goals and silky skills in all eight matches. But I'll be watching with interest from the Stamford Bridge press box.'

WATCH NEIL ASHTON'S VIDEO PREVIEW HERE…

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VIDEO: Neil Ashton previews tonight's Premier League matches

Click HERE for his verdict on Chelsea v Fulham (7.45pm)

Click HERE for his verdict on Everton v Arsenal (7.45pm)

Click HERE for his verdict on Southampton v Norwich (7.45pm)

Click HERE for his verdict on Stoke v Newcastle (7.45pm)

Click HERE for his verdict on Swansea v West Brom (7.45pm)

Click HERE for his verdict on Tottenham v Liverpool (7.45pm)

Click HERE for his verdict on Manchester United v West Ham (8pm)

Click HERE for his verdict on Wigan v Manchester City (8pm)

Liverpool"s Raheem Sterling barracked by Brendan Rodgers

Is this training ground barracking from Rodgers behind Sterling's stunning start to season at Liverpool

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UPDATED:

10:21 GMT, 28 August 2012

He first caught the eye with a man-of-the-match
performance in Liverpool’s Europa League tie with Hearts last week and then
took it a level further by terrorising the Manchester City defence on Sunday.

But could a pre-season dressing down from boss Brendan
Rodgers be behind Raheem Sterling’s outstanding start to the season

A sneak preview of a behind-the-scenes documentary about
Liverpool filmed by American broadcaster Fox shows the 17-year-old on the
receiving end of a barracking from the new Liverpool manager on the club’s
pre-season tour to America.

Scroll down to watch the video

Raheem Sterling gave Manchester City's Kolo Toure a torrid time at Anfield on Sunday

Raheem Sterling gave Manchester City's Kolo Toure a torrid time at Anfield on Sunday

Rodgers singles Sterling out during a training debrief
after the winger interrupts his team talk and tells him he’ll be on the ‘next
plane home’ if he doesn’t listen.

The manager says: 'Your attitude you need to improve and your work. You need to improve your attitude.'

Sterling clearly disagrees and says 'steady' to which Rodgers replies: 'You say 'steady' to me again when I say something to you and you'll be on the first plane back.'

Sterling's protestations of innocence aren't picked up by the microphone, but Rodgers continues: 'You know what you said, I know what you said. You'll be on the first plane back.'

Pointing to some of the senior first teamers, he says: 'You should be like sponges here, learning off these guys here. You're very very fortunate to be here.'

Rodgers then singles out the Academy striker Adam Morgan for praise, adding: 'Make sure when you're here you show the attitude of this kid here who works his socks off, who listens, who learns, and will get his rewards.'

And as the players walk back to the changing rooms
following the session in Boston a month ago, Rodgers makes a bee-line to Sterling
to get an apology.

The fly-on-the-wall footage offers an insight into the
strict Rodgers regime as he tries to bring a new brand of attractive, attacking
football to Anfield.

And the manager was quick to recognise how far Sterling
has progressed after the 2-2 draw with City on Sunday, in which the youngster gave
Kolo Toure a nightmare afternoon.

The documentary is an insight into the authoritarian regime of Brendan Rodgers at Anfield

The documentary is an insight into the authoritarian regime of Brendan Rodgers at Anfield

In an indication of how things have turned full circle,
Rodgers said: ‘I have seen a lot of development in him in a short time. He takes
on a lot of the concepts and he is very good with instructions.

‘Normally wingers want to do their own thing but he is
tactically improving every day. I said when I first came in, I wouldn’t judge
people on their status, on what they are or what they have done, but on what I
see in front of me.

‘He is a young player who has just improved every single
day since I came in here. For a 17-year-old playing against the champions, I
thought his performance was fantastic.’

Liverpool are still searching for their first win of the
Premier League season after losing 3-0 at West Bromwich on the opening day, but
the breakthrough performances of Sterling present Rodgers with a very pleasant selection
dilemma.

The Fox documentary, called ‘Being Liverpool’, will air in
six parts this autumn and promises viewers unique and ‘unprecedented access to
the club, the players and the management team.’ It will be shown by Channel
Five in the UK.

Now watch the video of Sterling's training ground barracking

Roberto Mancini rides bike in Manchester City colours

That's wheel passion, Roberto! City boss starts title bid with new bike in club colours

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UPDATED:

10:01 GMT, 8 August 2012

Fantasy football 2012

If there are any lingering skeptics when it comes to Roberto Mancini's future at Manchester City, it's time for them to get on their bike.

The Italian has long been linked with a move away from the Etihad Stadium despite the huge success he has delivered with the whopping budget.

A number of big Italian clubs have
been keen to take him home, while Russia were interested before they
eventually appointed Fabio Capello.

But
Mancini has given another indication of his commitment to the club – by
riding into training on his new custom-made City bicycle!

Sneak preview: Man City posted this picture on their Twitter account of Roberto Mancini's bike

Sneak preview: Man City posted this picture on their Twitter account of Roberto Mancini's bike

The sky blue bike is emblazoned with the club's badge and City were happy to show it off in pictures posted on their Twitter account.

Mancini has regularly cycled into their Carrington training HQ from his home to keep himself trim.

The manager is often seen arriving through the front gates ahead of putting the players through their paces.

Hands up if you're champions: Mancini watched Brazil v South Korea on Tuesday night

Hands up if you're champions: Mancini watched Brazil v South Korea on Tuesday night

Mancini is masterminding City's bid to retain the Barclays Premier League title after pipping rivals United to it in the dying minutes of last season.

They face FA Cup winners Chelsea in the Community Shield final on Sunday.

Huddersfield 12 Wigan 32

Huddersfield 12 Wigan 32: Warriors topple Giants to take Super League top spot

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UPDATED:

23:59 GMT, 18 May 2012

Three tries in eight minutes midway through the second half put Wigan two points clear at the top of Super League and posed serious questions about Huddersfield’s title ambitions.

Greg Eden had briefly levelled the scores at 12-12, but George Carmont’s double sandwiched Liam Farrell’s close-range effort in an impressive match-winning spell for the visitors.

Winning feeling: Wigan celebrate after edging out Huddersfield

Winning feeling: Wigan celebrate after edging out Huddersfield

WEEKEND PREVIEW

HULL KR v CASTLEFORD Sunday, Craven Park, 3pm

Rovers arewithout Jake Webster (double hernia) for a ninth successive game. Tigers’ Man of Steel Rangi Chase serves his final match of athree-week ban.

Prediction: Away win

LONDON v HULL FC Sunday, Priestfield Stadium, 2pm

Broncosare under huge pressure after chairman David Hughes this week launched a reviewinto the side’s poor performances. Joe Westerman could feature for Hull afterrecovering from a dislocated shoulder.

Prediction: Away win

WAKEFIELD v WARRINGTON Sunday, Belle Vue, 3.30pm

FormerLeeds and New Zealand forward Ali Lauitiiti returns for Wakefield. Warrington include Stefan Ratchford.

Prediction: Away win

WIDNES v CATALAN Sunday, Stobart Stadium, 3pm

Wiganhalf-back Joe Mellor starts a month-long loan at Widnes, but Shaun Briscoe(groin) is ruled out. Catalan are aiming to bounce back from last week’sChallenge Cup defeat.

Prediction: Away win

'We scored some great tries,' said Wigan coach Shaun Wane. 'To score seven tries against a team like Huddersfield, who I’m a big admirer of, I’m fairly satisfied.

'They asked us some questions in the first half and they were always going to do that, they’ve got some great players. The desire we showed to support each other was fantastic.'

Jeff Lima’s last-minute try added the finishing touches to a win that leaves Huddersfield’s big-match ability in doubt. They reached the Challenge Cup final in 2009, but have since lost in successive play-off campaigns without making any real impact. Only wins in games like this will engender a belief that the Giants are capable of making a first Grand Final appearance.

They started well enough, with hooker Luke Robinson spotting a gap on the blind side before quick hands from Leroy Cudjoe gave Jermaine McGillvary enough space to slide over.

But the Warriors hit back with three tries before half-time.

Smart passes from Darrell Goulding twice sent Josh Charnley over, either side of a try from Sam Tomkins after brilliant footwork.

Only Charnley’s three conversion misses left Huddersfield with any hope at the break. Eden’s score boosted the hosts, but Wigan pulled clear.

Giants coach Nathan Brown admitted: 'They were too good for us. They’re a very good team and they were better than us in a couple of key areas.'

Tiger Woods is cheap, petty and ruthless, says former coach Hank Haney

Tiger He's cheap, petty and ruthless, claims former coach Haney

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UPDATED:

23:50 GMT, 22 March 2012

Obsessive: Tiger Woods

Obsessive: Tiger Woods

Sportsmail has been given a sneak preview of the book set to shock the sporting world by lifting the lid on the real Tiger Woods. In The Big Miss, former coach Hank Haney admires Tiger the golfer but is shocked by Woods the man…

What is Tiger Woods really like His former coach Hank Haney believes
this to be the most unsatisfactorily answered sports question of the
last 20 years.

In The Big Miss, the most eagerly-anticipated golf book to be published
for at least that long and which hits the streets next week, he becomes
the first man to step outside Tiger's inner circle and offer an honest
response.

It is hardly surprising the Woods camp are incandescent with rage. Haney
believes Tiger to be the best golfer who ever lived. But cheap, petty,
ruthless and selfish are also words he uses to describe him.

There has never been a golf book that
has divided opinion quite like this one. The juicy bits drip-fed on to
Golf Digest's website with all the salacious relish of a red-top has led
to other players recoiling with horror. They feel the relationship
between player and coach is akin to the pact of confidentiality any
doctor undertakes with a patient.

Perhaps it is just as well that Haney has no intention of working with another tournament pro. The feeling is mutual.

Happy days: Hank Haney (left) and Tiger Woods

Happy days: Hank Haney (left) and Tiger Woods

The tit-bits released suggested Haney had
undertaken the project as an exercise in revenge for the ending of
their six-year partnership in 2010. But the book does not read like
that.

At 250 or so pages it is not long and
vast screeds are spent analysing Woods's swing. But it is the insights
in between that offer the most value. Haney does not hide his admiration
for Woods the golfer, nor his alarm at Tiger the dysfunctional human
being.

The most jarring sentence in the whole book is the startling revelation
that not once during their time together did the pair have a substantive
conversation about anything but golf.

The Big Miss: My Years Coaching Tiger Woods, by Hank Haney

Long emails from Haney are routinely ignored. A 'no television' rule
introduced by Tiger's ex-wife Elin at meal-times fails to elicit the
desired effect of dinner conversation. Time and again Woods goes to the
fridge for a popsicle without ever once asking Haney if he'd like one.

Then there is the golfing obsessive. A man who spends more than four
hours looking at his swing in a mirror; who replies to the doctor who
has told him he has a broken leg and his anterior cruciate ligament is
about to snap: 'Just patch me up doc. I've got a US Open to win. I can
deal with the pain.'

Given there is no common bond between them but their chosen sport, it is
easy to take Haney at his word that he knew nothing about Tiger and his
extra-marital affairs. He was not there at the 2009 Open at Turnberry
when Elin was supposed to have shown up unannounced and the pair had a
blazing row because Haney was going through a divorce of his own.

There is a poignant scene when Woods decides to go back to work
following his celebrated mea culpa in February 2010 and they meet on the
practice ground. Elin is there, too, with their two small children.

Haney writes: 'After a bit of small talk about how the kids were
growing, she gave a wave and said she was taking them to a playground.
After she left, Tiger was visibly relieved.'

The end for Haney came about the same time as the marriage. When it was
over he could reflect on the six majors they won and a better overall
winning percentage than Woods had enjoyed during his more celebrated
period with Butch Harmon.

Happier times: Woods and former wife Elin Nordegren

Happier times: Woods and ex-wife Elin Nordegren

What is Tiger Woods really like Ultimately, Haney answers the question
with an unflinching page where he talks about 'the package', the sum of
all Woods's qualities, both good and bad.

'Those qualities, foremost among them an extraordinary ability to focus
and stay calm under stress, also included selfishness, obsessiveness,
stubbornness, coldness, ruthlessness, pettiness and cheapness,'
concludes Haney.

'When they were all at work in the competitive arena, they helped him
win. And winning gave him permission to remain a flawed and in some ways
immature person.'

The Big Miss will be just that among the players. But there is plenty to
interest anyone with a fascination about perhaps the most talked-about
sportsman of the age.

Aviva Premiership preview: Saracens travel to Harlequins

Aviva Premiership preview: Saracens travel to top of the table Quins

Tuesday will be another busy day in the Aviva Premiership with three matches taking place.

Second place Saracens travel to top of the table Harlequins, while Worcester host Leicester. Elsewhere London Irish will play hosts to Exeter at the Madejski Stadium.

Unbeaten: Conor O

Unbeaten: Conor O”Shea and his Harlequins side but their 100 per cent league record on the line against second place Saracens

Sportsmail takes a look at the team news and stats from all the games.

Enlarge Aviva Premiership preview