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England U21 v Austria U21 live from Amex Stadium

LIVE: England U21 v Austria… follow all the action from the Amex Stadium

By
Charlie Skillen

PUBLISHED:

19:15 GMT, 25 March 2013

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UPDATED:

19:44 GMT, 25 March 2013

Follow Sportsmail's coverage of England U21's clash with Austria at Brighton's Amex Stadium, with kick-off at 7.45.

Having wrapped up a record eighth win on the bounce – every one a clean sheet – with a comfortable 3-0 win over Romania on Thursday night, Stuart Pearce's men are going for cloud nine tonight.

It's the final chance for England's young lions to impress in a bid to make this summer's European championships in Israel.

Join the debate by Tweeting @charlieskillen or you can email me your views at [email protected]

19:43 …and here's God Save the Queen.

19:41 Kick-off is in about five minutes, we're just hearing the Austrian national anthem…

19:39 Stuart Pearce just spoke to ESPN before the game about the side's lead-up to the match and the make-up of tonight's team:

'We've had a brilliant week,' said Pearce.

'After Thursday, the way the players have been in training has been outstanding.

'We need to top off the week with a good result and a good performance here.'

On not selecting usual captain Jordan Henderson for tonight's starting line-up:

'I know what Jordan can do. He's an outstanding player and leader of men at this level and I'm not sure how much I would learn from playing him here.

'It was more important to keep Nathaniel Chalobah in the side after what he did on Thursday.'

That seems like Henderson is a certainty to be part of a growing Liverpool contingent in Pearce's squad.

19:26 And let's not forget – victory here will be Stuart Pearce's side's ninth on the spin. Friday's triumph over Romania sealed a record eighth win, and the young Lions have achieved that without conceding a single goal. More of the same tonight, please…

19:25 The action for England U21s this summer in Israel kicks off on June 5 when they face Italy, before playing Norway on June 8 and facing the hosts June 11. Performances in this game will be key to making up the squad that travels to the tournament.

19:18 So Wilfried Zaha is not in the squad tonight – but he's a dead cert for the European Championships squad. He's returned to Crystal Palace for dental work. This gives a chance for the more borderline players to make an impact before Stuart Pearce names his squad for the summer tournament in Israel.

19.15 Evening everyone, and welcome to Sportsmail's live coverage of England U21s clash with Austria.

Kick-off is in about half an hour, but let's start with tonight's line-up:

England Jason Steele, Andre Wisdom, Danny Rose, Jason Lowe, Tom Lees, Craig Dawson (capt), Andros Townsend, Nathaniel Chalobah, Connor Wickham, Jonjo Shelvey, Raheem Sterling.

Subs Adam Smith, Jack Butland, Jack Robinson, Nathaniel Clyne, Michael Keane, Jordan Henderson, Josh McEachran, Nathan Delfouneso, Marvin Sordell, Tom Carroll.

Romania Richard Strebinger, Florian Neuhold, Kevin Wimmer, Tobias Kainz, Michael Sabitzer, Raphael Holzhauser (capt) Robert Zulj, Patrick Farkas, Simon Piesinger, Lukas Spendlhofer

Subs Christoph Riegler, Christian Schilling, Martin Ziegl, Daniel Offenbacher, Michael Grogoritsch, Mattias Maak, Dominik Starkl.

Young gun: Nathaniel Chalobah is making his second start for the U21s

Young gun: Nathaniel Chalobah is making his second start for the U21s

England"s rugby stars play with Flavia Cacace from Stricly Come Dancing

Strictly scrum dancing: TV queen Flavia joins England trio at training

By
Thom Drake

PUBLISHED:

12:49 GMT, 12 February 2013

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UPDATED:

16:16 GMT, 13 February 2013

England may have found their rhythm in the Six Nations but there were some more impressive dancing feet on show yesterday.

Flavia Cacace, the recent winner of Strictly Come Dancing with gymnast Louis Smith, swapped the ballroom for a rugby ball as she waltzed through a training session.

Brad Barritt, Alex Goode and Mike Brown took a break from England's attempts to win their first Grand Slam since Martin Johnson's heroes were triumphant in 2003, to join forces with the dancing star at the launch of O2 National Touch Rugby campaign at Ely's Yard.

Scroll down for video

Eyes on the prize: Brad Barritt looks on as Strictly star Flavia Cacace dives for glory

Eyes on the prize: Brad Barritt looks on as Strictly star Flavia Cacace dives for glory

Handling: Flavia gets a good feel of the ball as she lines up alongside the England stars

Handling: Flavia gets a good feel of the ball as she lines up alongside the England stars

The trio were in good spirits just days after England battled to a superb win in Dublin on Sunday, and will hope to lead France a merry dance in their next eye-catching clash in two weeks' time.

England had not won in Ireland in 10 years, and that victory has given the rugby world another noticeable reminder what this young side has to offer.

But judging by these pictures, they are ready to be this year's movers and shakers…

Twirl: Flalvia shows the England boys a couple of moves

Twirl: Flalvia shows the England boys a couple of moves

Flying high: England are on a roll now with the Grand Slam within their grasp

Flying high: England are on a roll now with the Grand Slam within their grasp

VIDEO: Flavia Cacace tries out touch rugby with England stars

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Arsene Wenger praises Pat Rice after MBE

Wenger heaps praise on Rice after former Arsenal assistant is awarded MBE

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UPDATED:

00:02 GMT, 29 December 2012

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger paid tribute to former assistant Pat Rice as 'someone you could go to war with' after it was announced the long-serving Gunner has been awarded an MBE.

Rice made more than 400 appearances for Arsenal, helping the club win their first league and FA Cup double in 1970-71, while he also won 49 caps for Northern Ireland.

Following his retirement from playing after a spell at Watford in 1984, Rice became a coach with the Gunners and then assistant to Wenger when he was appointed manager in 1996.

Pat Rice

Pat Rice

From player to coach: Pat Rice has a rich history with Arsenal

Rice, 63, played a part in two more doubles and the unbeaten league season of 2003-04 before announcing his retirement at the end of last season 48 years after first joining Arsenal.

Wenger said: 'I am absolutely delighted because if someone deserves it, it's Pat Rice.

'He had 100 per cent genuine commitment every day and you respect that when you see that from somebody, and he is someone you could go to war with. You would love to be in the trenches with Pat and those are very difficult qualities to find in modern society.'

Rice greeted the news with shock and joy, saying: 'I'm delighted and honoured to be receiving an MBE. The news of the award came as a complete surprise and I'm just so flattered to be included in the Queen's New Year's Honours List.

'Football and Arsenal have been my life and I have so many fantastic memories during my career. I have been lucky to have played and worked with so many great individuals, and through hard work I have enjoyed some success along the way.

Team work: Arsene Wenger (left) with Pat Rice at Arsenal

Team work: Arsene Wenger (left) with Pat Rice at Arsenal

'I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has helped me throughout my career, and importantly, a special thank you to all my family, who have always been there for me and supported me throughout my career.'

Sports honours were dominated by athletes, coaches and administrators involved in the London Olympic and Paralympic Games, but St George's Park chairman David Sheepshanks led the way among other sporting figures, receiving a CBE for services to football.

He oversaw the building of the National Football Centre near Burton-upon-Trent, which opened in October, while he was chairman of Ipswich for 13 years from 1995 to 2008.

Sheepshanks, who is also honoured for charitable services in Suffolk, was appointed chairman of the Football League in 1997 and has been involved with the Football Association, UEFA and FIFA.

Recognised: David Sheepshanks

Recognised: David Sheepshanks

Former England cricket captain and Kent president Mike Denness is awarded an OBE for services to sport 37 and a half years after his last Test match.

The 72-year-old, the only Scotsman to captain England, played 28 Test matches, scoring four centuries, and led his country on 19 occasions.

Denness, who later became an International Cricket Council match referee, was named president of the county for which he played for 14 years last December.

Among those to receive MBEs are two more recent England cricketers, Mark Ramprakash and Robert Croft.

Both men retired this summer after long careers in county cricket, with Croft playing for Glamorgan for 23 seasons and Ramprakash representing Middlesex and Surrey.

'This honour eclipses anything I have done in my career,' Ramprakash said.

David Collier, the chief executive of the England and Wales Cricket Board, welcomed the honours for the trio.

He said: 'The award to Mike Denness is fitting recognition for a long and distinguished career in cricket which has seen him fulfil a variety of key roles.

'Mark Ramprakash was among the most supremely gifted batsmen of his generation and can be justifiably proud of being one of an elite band of cricketers who have scored 100 first-class hundreds.

'Very few cricketers achieve the feat of scoring more than 10,000 first-class runs and taking more than 1,000 first-class wickets as Robert Croft did for Glamorgan during a 23-year career. His honour is richly deserved.'

Also awarded OBEs are Catherine Caithness, president of the World Curling Federation, and John Sanderson for services to the horseracing industry.

All out: Mark Ramprakash retired this summer after a long career in cricket

All out: Mark Ramprakash retired this summer after a long career in cricket

The same honour goes to Amanda Reddin, the head national coach for British Gymnastics and personal coach to Beth Tweddle, Britain's most successful female gymnast.

Former Wales and Lions wing JJ Williams receives an MBE for services to rugby and charitable services in Wales.

The 64-year-old won 30 caps for his country between 1973 and 1979 and was selected for the iconic Lions tours in 1974 and 1977, playing in seven Tests.

Former St Helens and Great Britain star Paul Sculthorpe is recognised for his rugby league career and charity work while Colin Appleyard and Elizabeth Littler are also awarded MBEs for services to motorcycle sport and ice skating respectively.

Honoured: John James Williams

Honoured: John James Williams

Former Great Britain hockey player Tina Cullen receives the same award as does Andrew Thomson for services to bowls and James Gundill for services to horseracing.

Finally, Andrew Gairdner is also awarded an MBE following his retirement this summer as voluntary chief steward at Wimbledon after 34 years working at the All England Club.

Sheepshanks was pleased to receive his award in a year he helped oversee the opening of St George's Park.

'I feel both humbled and proud,' he said.

'Of course, it is a wonderful honour to receive personally, but I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for all the special people that I have been privileged to work with along the way, both in the world of football and locally in Suffolk, not least thanks to my wonderful wife and family, whose support is unwavering.

'The year 2012 has been magnificent for all of us at the FA with the opening of St George's Park.

'I feel that I receive this award in recognition of the combined efforts of the fabulous team that I have been fortunate to lead who have designed, built, and now operate St George's Park.'

Sprinter Sacre wins Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown

Sprinter Sacre storms to Tingle Creek Chase victory at Sandown on seasonal debut

PUBLISHED:

16:02 GMT, 8 December 2012

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UPDATED:

16:19 GMT, 8 December 2012

Sprinter Sacre ran out a hugely-impressive winner of the the Sportingbet Tingle Creek Chase on his seasonal bow at Sandown.

Nicky Henderson's charge arrived unbeaten in five chase starts last term and he extended that run to six in the hands of Barry Geraghty.

Deeply impressive: Sprinter Sacre and Barry Geraghty jump the last

Deeply impressive: Sprinter Sacre and Barry Geraghty jump the last

Assuming control from the Pond Fence, the 4-11 favourite accelerated away to claim the Grade One prize by 15 lengths.

Sprinter Sacre ran out a hugely-impressive winner of the the Sportingbet Tingle Creek Chase on his seasonal bow at Sandown.

Nicky Henderson's charge arrived
unbeaten in five chase starts last term and he extended that run to six
in the hands of Barry Geraghty.

Assuming control from the Pond Fence, the 4-11 favourite accelerated away to claim the Grade One prize by 15 lengths.

Henderson said: 'He has got the 'wow'
factor. It's been a long time since Aintree and I admit to being
petrified about Sanctuaire.

All too easy: Barry Geraghty takes a peek over his shoulder

All too easy: Barry Geraghty takes a peek over his shoulder

'I knew that horse had got pace and
would put it into the race which would stretch anybody and it was as
soft as our fellow would ever want to go on. “He's just class isn't he

'I knew that I had something a bit special and I just wanted it to stay that way.

'That's as good a two-mile chase as you'll ever see.

'He will probably go for the Victor
Chandler and Cheltenham, I don't know for sure, but there aren't that
many options and then on to Aintree or Punchestown.'

Sprinter scores: Barry Geraghty shows his delight after Tingle Creek success

Sprinter scores: Barry Geraghty shows his delight after Tingle Creek success

Geraghty partnered Moscow Flyer to
win 10 Grade One chases, including two Queen Mother Champion Chases, and
he believes Sprinter Sacre compares favourably.

He added: 'He's the closest I have ridden to Moscow. Time will tell (if he will be as good) but he's going the right way. “He's the most natural I have ever ridden and so far, so good.'

All smiles: Geraghty (right) and trainer Nicky Henderson

All smiles: Geraghty (right) and trainer Nicky Henderson

Cristiano Ronaldo named Ibero-American Athlete of the Year

Don't worry if you miss out on the Ballon d'Or, Ronaldo! The Ibero-American Athlete of the Year trophy is a cracker

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UPDATED:

13:13 GMT, 6 December 2012

Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo added another piece of silverware to his collection when he was named the greatest Ibero-American athlete of last year.

Ronaldo, widely tipped to finish runner-up to Lionel Messi again in the race for the Ballon d'Or, was presented with the massive trophy during a presentation at the Royal Palace of El Pardo.

Royal approval: Queen Sofia of Spain presents Cristiano Ronaldo with the Ibero-American Community Trophy

Royal approval: Queen Sofia of Spain presents Cristiano Ronaldo with the Ibero-American Community Trophy

Congratulations: Ronaldo is applauded as he goes up to accept his award

Congratulations: Ronaldo is applauded as he goes up to accept his award

He said: 'It was an honour for me to receive such a beautiful trophy from Her Majesty the Queen of Spain.

'Once again, as with all the awards I've received, I want to individually thank all those who chose me for this award, but especially my team-mates and coaches because without them this wouldn't have been possible.

Size does matter: Ronaldo was all smiles as he walked off withe the massive piece of silverware

Size does matter: Ronaldo was all smiles as he walked off withe the massive piece of silverware

'I want to dedicate this award especially to Real Madrid fans.'

Real president Florentino Perez, director of institutional relations Emilio Butragueno and honorary president Alfredo Di Stfano accompanied Ronaldo to the ceremony.

The former Manchester United favourite helped his side to a 4-1 win over Ajax on Tuesday as they wound up their Champions League group stage in style.

Glamour game: Princess Letizia was at the Palace of El Pardo in Madrid as Ronaldo was honoured

Glamour game: Princess Letizia was at the Palace of El Pardo in Madrid as Ronaldo was honoured

The Queen"s horse Carlton House to be trained in Australia

The Queen's horse Carlton House to be trained Down Under in bid to revive fortunes

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UPDATED:

17:06 GMT, 4 December 2012

The Queen is to have her first horse trained in Australia with Carlton House being transferred from Sir Michael Stoute to leading Australian trainer Gai Waterhouse.

Carlton House has ensured a disappointing season and failed to build on his third to Pour Moi in last year's Derby when he had an interrupted preparation and then lost a shoe in the final furlong.

The colt, whose biggest win came in last year’s Group Two Dante Stakes at York, will head Down Under after competing in Sunday’s Hong Kong Cup.

Down Under: Carlton House will now be trained in Australia by Gai Waterhouse

Down Under: Carlton House will now be trained in Australia by Gai Waterhouse

This season the son of Street Cry, who was a gift from Sheik Mohammed, won the Group Three Brigadier Gerard Stakes on his comeback at Sandown. Before putting up arguable a career best when second to So You Think in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot.

A failure to settle in the early stages of his races led Stoute to drop Carlton House back to a mile but on both occasions, most recently when fourth to Excelebration in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot in October, he disappointed.

The Queen’s racing advisor John Warren said: ‘Carlton House looks the perfect candidate to race in Australia where there are a considerable number of options for an older horse.

‘The Queen is very enthusiastic about the prospect of having her first runner in Australia and Gai Waterhouse, who is one of Australia's leading trainers, will train the horse.

Change: Her Majesty will be hoping Carlton House's move will revive the horse's fortunes

Change: Her Majesty will be hoping Carlton House's move will revive the horse's fortunes

‘We will let Carlton House settle in and acclimatize before a race programme will be decided upon. It is an exciting plan and a wonderful opportunity for Her Majesty to have a horse that can participate in Australia where racing is top class.’

Waterhouse is a former actress and model who once appeared in The Young Doctors Down Under as well as making an appearance in Dr Who. She was born in Scotland.

She is one of Australian racing's most famous racing names and the daughter of TJ Smith, who was also a top racehorse trainer in Australia.

Rhys Priestland is seeing a sports psychologist to regain form

Wales fly-half Priestland reveals he's having therapy to halt declining form

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UPDATED:

01:05 GMT, 26 November 2012

Rhys Priestland has revealed that he is seeing a sports psychologist in a desperate bid to recapture his form.

The Wales fly-half has been severely criticised for his performances during Wales' run of sixth consecutive defeats and has now quit Twitter because of the torrent of abuse.

Following the 33-10 thumping by New Zealand at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday, Priestland said: 'After Samoa (which Wales lost 26-19) I did not want to leave the flat or see anyone, I felt I had let people down.

Desperate: Rhys Priestland is talking to a therapist to regain his form

Desperate: Rhys Priestland is talking to a therapist to regain his form

'The poor performances were a lot to do with me because I have been playing with blinkers on.

'I buried my head in the sand, cutting myself away and that has been the problem. One of the issues I have is I have not been asking for help.

'I have started to see the sports psychiatrist we used during the World Cup and he has been really good. A lot of the boys have been using Andy McCann so I thought I would give it a shot because I had nothing to lose.

'I have tried to address it and hopefully I can get back to the way I have been playing.'

Priestland was the surprise star of Wales' run to the World Cup semi-final last year but his form has been on a steady descent ever since and Warren Gatland's stubborn commitment to stick with him regardless is a cause of fierce debate in the pubs of Queen Street.

United: Priestland (right) says a number of the Wales team use a sports psychologist

United: Priestland (right) says a number of the Wales team use a sports psychologist

Alternative: James Hook received a massive cheer when he was introduced against New Zealand on Saturday

Alternative: James Hook received a massive cheer when he was introduced against New Zealand on Saturday

Wales have a very able deputy in James Hook and the Perpignan playmaker was greeted with one of the loudest cheers of the afternoon when he replaced Priestland with 13 minutes left to play.

Unfortunately, next week's game against Australia falls outside the official IRB Test window, so Hook has to return to his club in France.

With alternative Dan Biggar unlikely to be fit Wales must stick with Priestland for another week at least.

Frankel and Sir Henry Cecil sign off in style

Frank goodness! Superhorse Frankel and trainer Cecil sign off in style at Ascot

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UPDATED:

21:30 GMT, 21 October 2012

A young and freakish horse was welcomed into the winners' enclosure as 'The Champion of All Time'.

Watching on, a frail and ageing chap tapped his fingers on the rail and his arctic-blue eyes glistened.

Frankel and his trainer Sir Henry Cecil, two of the great beasts of the racing world, combined at Ascot on Saturday to create as poignant a sporting scene as could be imagined.

Outstanding: Trainer Sir Henry Cecil (right) watched Frankel romp to victory at Ascot in style

Outstanding: Trainer Sir Henry Cecil (right) watched Frankel romp to victory at Ascot in style

Unbeatable: Frankel made it 14 wins from as many races in the Champion Stakes at Ascot

Unbeatable: Frankel made it 14 wins from as many races in the Champion Stakes at Ascot

Frankel factfile

Sire: Galileo

Dam: Kind

Age: Four

Foaled: February 11, 2008

Owner: Prince Khalid Abdullah

Trainer: Sir Henry Cecil

Career earnings: 2,998,302.

Race record: Fourteen wins from 14 starts, including 10 victories at Group One level.

Group One victories: Champion Stakes (2012); Juddmonte International (2012); Sussex Stakes (2012); Queen Anne Stakes (2012); Lockinge Stakes (2012); Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (2011); Sussex Stakes (2011); St James's Palace Stakes (2011): 2000 Guineas (2011); Dewhurst Stakes (2010)

Other notable wins: Greenham Stakes (2011), Royal Lodge Stakes (2010).

Frankel deserved every accolade
Roget's Thesaurus could bestow, and he was lavished with every one of
them in the accompanying media love-in.

His 14th and farewell victory in the
mile-and-a-quarter Qipco Champion Stakes on alien, rain-softened
terrain, against classy rivals, confirmed his status as arguably the
greatest equine specimen in 300 years of breeding.

As for Sir Henry Richard Amherst
Cecil, nephew of the third Lord Amherst of Hackney, he is left with a
hoarse whisper after a six-year fight against cancer waged as defiantly
and jauntily as the angle at which he wore his brown trilby.

His record since beginning his career
in 1969 – 10-time champion trainer, 37 Classic winners, four Derby
winners and more than 70 Royal Ascot winners – is a mark of the man.

But figures do not reveal enough
about his special touch with horses and humans. He trains by instinct
and sagacity rather than any manual. With regard to his common touch
with us two-legged creatures, he is in danger of giving toffs a good
name.

Downing Street take note. Always as
ready to talk to a scruff as a prince, he doffed his hat to ladies as
they greeted him. He signed autographs, left-handed with a big downward
stroke for the first line of the H and a quick scrawl thereafter.

Hug it out: Tom Queally grabs hold of Frankel's neck after their impressive victory

Hug it out: Tom Queally grabs hold of Frankel's neck after their impressive victory

One woman asked him a question and he pointed to his mouth, leaving her to lipread that he could barely talk.

He thought better of it and returned.
Pointing to the grass with those big expressive hands of his, he half
mimed, half whispered by way of explaining that the going was not
ideally to Frankel's liking.

Cecil craned his neck to tell me: 'I probably got him too relaxed.'

Frankel was dawdling in the stalls as the rest of the field left. It made a race of it.

But Cecil added: 'He's a magnificent horse. He is the best I've had and the best I've seen.

'I'd be amazed if there has ever been a better one. This has been the perfect day.'

Cecil took off his hat for the
presentation. In fact, the millinery is a recent addition to his
wardrobe as chemotherapy has left his hair wispy.

The ovation he received was the biggest of the day. Three cheers were proposed.

We are not acclaiming a saint. He is a
69-year-old who laughs at the notion he might be the only boy from his
prep school, Sunningdale, to fail the exam to Eton.

Job done: Saudi Arabian owner Prince Khalid Abdullah (right) congratulates Cecil on an historic day at Ascot

Job done: Saudi Arabian owner Prince Khalid Abdullah (right) congratulates Cecil on an historic day at Ascot

Forget it: Cirrus Des Aigles ridden by Olivier Peslier (right) had no chance of catching Frankel

Forget it: Cirrus Des Aigles ridden by Olivier Peslier (right) had no chance of catching Frankel

He went instead to Canford and then,
with his twin brother David, to the Royal Agricultural College,
Cirencester, where by his own admission he studied 'drinking and
gambling'.

He left without sitting an exam. His
life was occasionally paraded in the gossip columns, proving that
stables life and carnal lusts are not just Jilly Cooper fantasies.

He spiralled into decline when his twin died of cancer in 2000 and hit the bottle hard.

His career was ebbing away at the same time, a falling out with the significant owner, Sheik Mohammed, central to the malaise.

The 2005 season is what the Queen,
who was in attendance among Saturday's 32,000 sell-out crowd, might call
his annus horribilis. He had just 12 winners, 101 fewer than nine years
before.

His prize money amounted to a meagre 145,000.

Royal approval: The Queen watched Frankel win the Champion Stakes at Ascot

Royal approval: The Queen watched Frankel win the Champion Stakes at Ascot

While on Newmarket Heath he overheard someone say: 'That's Henry Cecil. He should have retired a long time ago.'

It fired him up. This year he won
2.65million. The dandyish Cecil , whose catholic tastes are hinted at
by the tin soldiers and fossils on display in his study, admits that
Frankel, along with his third wife Jane, has sustained him through the
illness.

How will he fare now that the
four-year-old colt, his all-consuming professional passion, is going to
Banstead Manor Stud to begin his life as a playboy bachelor

Around 120 trysts with the world's most alluring mares are planned next year at 100,000 a go.

Frankel deserves it. He is the
outstanding horse of our generation. Prior to Saturday, he had won his
previous 13 races by a total of 74 and a half lengths.

Crowd pleaser: Tom Queally and Frankel pass the stands after winning the Champion Stakes

Crowd pleaser: Tom Queally and Frankel pass the stands after winning the Champion Stakes

And if arguments could be put forward
for the likes of Sea Bird, Mill Reef, Brigadier Gerard, Sea The Stars
and Dancing Brave as being rivals for the title of greatest ever, no
horse ever did more to send the spirits soaring than Frankel.

Twice in his iridescent career he won
by 10 lengths or more, including unforgettably at Royal Ascot this
year.W e can laud him to the heavens now, but you sensed the crowd were
nervous before the race.

Eyes down: Willie Carson and Claire Balding take in the action

Eyes down: Willie Carson and Claire Balding take in the action

Eyes down: Willie Carson and Claire Balding take in the action

Going gets tough: there had been worries about the state of the track ahead of the big race

Going gets tough: there had been worries about the state of the track ahead of the big race

Yes, Frankel was 2-11 but there was
so much legendary status at stake in these sodden conditions that it was
a roar of relief as much as joy that broke out as he first drew level
with the French gelding Cirrus Des Aigles at the crest of the bend and
then quickened away to triumph by a length and three quarters.

Jockey Tom Queally said: 'He didn't
bounce along the ground like he can. I gave him a crack (of the whip),
which isn't common, and he powered off. He's done so much for so many
people.

'For me to get this chance is a million-to-one shot.'

Yes, Frankel has added lustre to Flat racing to rival that contemporary legend of National Hunt, Kauto Star.

No, Frankel never raced over a
mile-and-a-half, an omission some believe means that he cannot be hailed
as first among equals. I leave that to the equine historians. I merely
celebrate a free-flowing, big-lunged, long-striding phenomenon and his
stylish trainer for their own unique splendour.

Full house: It was no course to see the stadium packed to the rafters

Full house: It was no surprise to see the course packed to the rafters

Odds on: Frankel was the huge favourite to win

Odds on: Frankel was the huge favourite to win

Frankel wins Qipco Champion Stakes at Ascot

Fantastic Frankel bows out in style with historic 14th consecutive victory at Ascot

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UPDATED:

16:52 GMT, 20 October 2012

Frankel was at his majestic best as he went in retirement after making it a perfect 14 victories in the Qipco Champion Stakes at Ascot.

The world's highest-rated racehorse, trained by Sir Henry Cecil, won his 10th Group One race with a trademark display of pure brilliance – despite being slowly away from the stalls and running in very testing conditions.

Sent off the 2-11 favourite, Khalid Abdullah's wonder colt took up the running from Cirrus Des Aigles over a furlong out under his ever-present jockey Tom Queally and pulled away from the French raider to win cosily by a length and three-quarters.

Unbeatable: Frankel made it 14 wins from as many races in the Champion Stakes at Ascot

Unbeatable: Frankel made it 14 wins from as many races in the Champion Stakes at Ascot

Frankel factfile

Sire: Galileo

Dam: Kind

Age: Four

Foaled: February 11, 2008

Owner: Prince Khalid Abdullah

Trainer: Sir Henry Cecil

Career earnings: 2,998,302.

Race record: Fourteen wins from 14 starts, including 10 victories at Group One level.

Group One victories: Champion Stakes (2012); Juddmonte International (2012); Sussex Stakes (2012); Queen Anne Stakes (2012); Lockinge Stakes (2012); Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (2011); Sussex Stakes (2011); St James's Palace Stakes (2011): 2000 Guineas (2011); Dewhurst Stakes (2010)

Other notable wins: Greenham Stakes (2011), Royal Lodge Stakes (2010).

Cecil said: 'He didn't like the crowd
much but he was very relaxed. He's the best I've ever had. He's the
best I've ever seen. I'd be surprised if there's ever been any better.'

Abdullah confirmed Frankel had run his last race and would to be retired to stud.

He said: 'That is the end of it and he will retire.'

With Frankel missing the break by a
couple of lengths, Ian Mongan on Bullet Train, Frankel's brother and
regular pacemaker, was left looking for his stablemate.

However, Queally let the horse make up the ground in his own time and join the other five runners.

Meanwhile, Cirrus Des Aigles had gone to the front until Bullet Train went on to do the job he is used to.

Cirrus Des Aigles, rated the second
best in the field, tried to stretch Frankel by going on early in the
straight but the great horse was simply too good.

Nathaniel was two and a half lengths away in third.

Hug it out: Tom Queally grabs hold of Frankel's neck after their impressive victory

Hug it out: Tom Queally grabs hold of Frankel's neck after their impressive victory

This was only Frankel's second race
over 10 furlongs, having stepped up from a mile for the first time at
York in August in the Juddmonte International Stakes, sponsored by his
owner.

His previous 12 victories before that
had come over seven furlongs and a mile, and included the 2000 Guineas
at Newmarket, the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at this meeting 12 months
ago as well as the St James's Palace Stakes and the Queen Anne Stakes on
this track.

Forget it: Cirrus Des Aigles ridden by Olivier Peslier (right) had no chance of catching Frankel

Forget it: Cirrus Des Aigles ridden by Olivier Peslier (right) had no chance of catching Frankel

Queally said: 'He's just getting more and more relaxed as time goes on. He waited until the gates were open then he was away.

'I was happy all the way but there's
no doubt he's better on better ground. His class showed today. I walked
the track and I was a little worried about the conditions.

'Having walked it in the home straight I knew it wasn't too heavy for him to quicken up.

Royal approval: The Queen watched Frankel win the Champion Stakes at Ascot

Royal approval: The Queen watched Frankel win the Champion Stakes at Ascot

'You want every angle covered and
everything in your favour, so in that respect there was always a little
worry, but he was in great heart today and he looked a lot better than
he did 12 months ago on this day.

'He was so good today, even on that ground.'

Teddy Grimthorpe, the Abdullah's
racing manager, said: 'He's wonderful. He probably wasn't enjoying the
ground as he normally does, but he's produced it.

'I was quite relaxed when he missed
the break. He did it at York and the great thing is he got into a
rhythm. He wasn't pulling, he was just straightforward.

'He had a trouble-free passage, then
it always looked like he was going to win. He had it under control in
the straight and that is him.

Crowd pleaser: Tom Queally and Frankel pass the stands after winning the Champion Stakes

Crowd pleaser: Tom Queally and Frankel pass the stands after winning the Champion Stakes

'I was reasonably cool, but I began to yell a bit. The crowd's reaction is great – the greatest for the greatest.

'Frankel has brought a whole new
generation of people to the sport. He's brought a wider public
recognition of the sport and he's given them something to savour.

'He's the ultimate equine athlete. We've never seen anything like him.

'Prince Khalid said to me he has run
his last race and I think that is the correct decision – he has given us
three sensational years.'

Eyes down: Willie Carson and Claire Balding take in the action

Eyes down: Willie Carson and Claire Balding take in the action

Eyes down: Willie Carson and Claire Balding take in the action

Going gets tough: there had been worries about the state of the track ahead of the big race

Going gets tough: there had been worries about the state of the track ahead of the big race

Full house: It was no course to see the stadium packed to the rafters

Full house: It was no surprise to see the course packed to the rafters

Odds on: Frankel was the huge favourite to win

Odds on: Frankel was the huge favourite to win

Maria de Villota relives horror smash before British Grand Prix

'I had 140 stitches in my face and they looked like boat rope. I was terrified.' Female F1 driver De Villota relives horror smash in which she lost an eye

|

UPDATED:

11:25 GMT, 10 October 2012

Formula One test driver Maria de Villota has spoken for the first time about the horror smash in which she lost her right eye.

The 32-year-old spent a month in
hospital after suffering serious head injuries when she crashed into the back of a team transporter during a
straight-line test for Marussia on July 3.

Maria De Villota before the crash

Speed queen: Maria De Villota before the crash

De Villota has now returned home but she continues to suffer from headaches and has lost her sense of smell and taste.

'I remember everything – even the moment of the impact,' di Villota told
the Spanish Hola magazine.

'When I woke up everybody was around me and they didn't even know if I
was going to speak, or how I was going to speak. I started speaking in
English because I thought I was on an FIA check-up and that the nurse
was a trainer.

'Then my dad said 'Please, Maria, speak Spanish, because your mother is
missing half the things', and then I became aware of everything: of what
had happened, where I was and why.'

The smash, which happened at Duxford Airfield in the run-up to the British Grand Prix, had had a profound effect of De Villota.

'The accident has given me a new perspective about life, about the
things that matter,' she said.

'It has taught me that to achieve what
you want you have to educate yourself in sacrifice through effort.

Crash: De Villota suffered serious head injuries

Crash: De Villota suffered serious head injuries

'Now I have just one eye maybe I perceive more things than before.
Before this, my life was a race against the clock, and now I see you
have to stop and measure things in a different way.'

De Villota admitted she was shocked the first time she saw her injuries, but she is sure that the worst is now behind her.

'In the beginning they were covering it [the eye] so I couldn't see it,'
she added.

'The first day I looked at myself in the mirror I had 140
black stitches on my face, and they looked like they had been stitched
with a boat rope, and I had lost my right eye. I was terrified.

'I have to undergo more surgery soon, but the worst is now behind.'

She added: 'I have headaches that they don't know how long will last – maybe years.

'I have to control my efforts a lot because of the cranial pressure. I
have also lost smell, and taste, which is linked to smell. Now I like
things with a very strong taste.'