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The Glancing Queen aiming to reign for King in Dipper | Racing News

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The Glancing Queen will bid to give trainer Alan King his third Paddy Power Novices’ Chase – better known as the Dipper Novices’ Chase – in five years at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day.

No fewer than nine runners are scheduled to line up for the first graded race of 2022 in what appears to be the deepest renewal of the extended two-and-a-half-mile heat for many years.

Last year’s race was run at Wincanton after waterlogging forced the abandonment of Cheltenham’s traditional curtain-raiser to the year, and King supplemented his 2018 win with Yanworth as Messire Des Obeaux beat two rivals.

The Glancing Queen, the only mare in the field, has won both her starts over fences after landing two mares’ Listed novice chases at Bangor and Warwick.

King also had the option of running the seven-year-old at Plumpton on Sunday, but admitted he was looking for more course experience ahead of the Festival in March.

“I thought Plumpton looked fairly hot as well,” laughed King. “We had a chat with the team and owners and decided we’d go to Cheltenham. It looks a cracking renewal.

“She is in good order, we gave her a little school on Thursday morning and we are hoping she will run very well.

“Thinking ahead, I just thought it would be good to give her a bit of match practice around Cheltenham before March. That was in the back of my mind.

“She has been to a few Cheltenhams and ran very well in the mares’ bumper last year, but I felt from a chasing point of view it would do her good to go around there and we’ll see what happens.”

Among her rivals is the Venetia Williams-trained L’Homme Presse, who ran out a 13-length winner of a graduation chase at Ascot a fortnight ago.

The six-year-old has been hiked up another 12lb from his last run and is 20lb higher than when winning at Exeter on December 3.

Millers Bank, who unseated Harry Bannister in a Grade Two novices’ chase at Newbury last time, is out to restore his lofty reputation.

He is officially rated 1lb superior to L’Homme Presse on a mark of 149 and trainer Alex Hales hopes last season’s Aintree Hurdle third will make it two wins from three over fences, despite predominately running on flat tracks.

Hales said: “I don’t see why the track wouldn’t suit him. He has done most of his running on flat tracks, but that is more by chance. It has been just the way the races have fallen.

“It is the ideal option to see if an undulating track would suit him and therefore whether we will be able to come back there for the Festival, or we’d skip and go to Aintree. Cheltenham is not the be all and end all.

“I thought Venetia’s horse was very impressive at Ascot but also thought our horse would have learned plenty from Newbury, so if he has, he is in a very good place. He is in great form and we are looking forward to it.”

Fantastikas, who chased home Threeunderthrufive at Doncaster, bids to give Nigel Twiston-Davies his first Dipper winner. His son, Sam Twiston-Davies, renews the partnership after Jordan Nailor deputised on his previous run.

“It is a tough race and a difficult one,” said the trainer. “I thought the race would cut up and it hasn’t done. We have a good chance for a place and he is good form.”

Tom George hopes that Come On Teddy, who won on his chasing bow at Uttoxeter, can learn plenty from this step up in class.

“He’s fine, we are happy with him and it is a big stepping stone for him. He won nicely at Uttoxeter and will learn a bit from that, so we are ready for the next step,” he said.

“He was always going to improve over fences and he will probably improve when he goes a bit further as well. Let’s see how we go.”

Quality abounds with Nicky Henderson represented by Gallyhill, while Colin Tizzard saddles Oscar Elite. The field is rounded out by the Jane Williams-trained Gladiateur Allen and Sophie Leech’s Zurekin.



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Chelsea and Liverpool prove Premier League excitement, even if title is a foregone conclusion

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LONDON — Manchester City have shown themselves to be in a league of their own, so the Premier League should be thankful that Chelsea and Liverpool are still able to keep us all entertained. Sunday’s 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge helped neither team and only consolidated City’s vice-like grip on the top spot, but football is about jeopardy, risk and overcoming flaws, and when it all comes together, you get an unforgettable game like this one.

Even before City moved 11 points clear at the top of table with a 2-1 win at Arsenal on Saturday, this second-versus-third clash was always a case of both sides needing to win to maintain faint hopes of catching Pep Guardiola’s winning machine. City’s win at the Emirates was their 11th successive Premier League victory and they have all been won with such monotonous ease, scoring 33 goals and conceding just seven, that every three points is now met with little more than a shrug of inevitability.

Barring an unlikely collapse in the second half of the season, City will win a fourth league title in five years and you will struggle to count on the fingers of one hand the times they have had to dig deep into their reserves to overcome adversity during that period. Guardiola has built one of the all-time great teams in English football history during his six years at the Etihad, but they may simply be too good to contribute to games like this one.

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Chelsea and Liverpool gave us such a pulsating encounter because they both have weaknesses that can be exploited by their opponents. And as a result, they both had to take risks in an attempt to secure a crucial victory.

And they also had to go into the game with unwanted distractions hovering over both clubs.

Chelsea, with three wins from their past eight in the league, were without £97.5 million striker Romelu Lukaku, dropped by coach Thomas Tuchel because of an outspoken interview about his failure to impress so far at Stamford Bridge since returning to the club from Internazionale in the summer. And Liverpool were without manager Jurgen Klopp, goalkeeper Alisson, defender Joel Matip and forward Roberto Firmino — all isolating because of COVID-19.

City, in contrast, have enjoyed a remarkably serene run of successes since losing to Crystal Palace in October, which is why they are free-rolling to another title. But the Premier League is regarded as the most exciting in world football because of games like this, and teams like Chelsea and Liverpool and the drama they create.

From the first minute, when Sadio Mane was fortunate to escape a red card for appearing to strike Cesar Azpilicueta in the face with an elbow after just 14 seconds, the game was incident-packed. Azpilicueta later said it was a “clear red card” when interviewed after the game.

Christian Pulisic, playing centrally in the absence of Lukaku, wasted a golden chance to open the scoring on seven minutes when, with only stand-in keeper Caoimhin Kelleher to beat, he was indecisive and allowed the youngster to smother the ball. It proved a costly miss when, two minutes later, Mane took advantage of his lucky escape from a sending off by pouncing on a mistake by Trevoh Chalobah to score.

Chelsea were in disarray and Liverpool looked like the team that won the title in 2019. When Mohamed Salah made it 2-0 on 26 minutes with a stunning near-post finish after gliding past Marcos Alonso, it seemed as though Liverpool were about to give Chelsea the kind of hammering they inflicted on Manchester United during a 5-0 rout at Old Trafford earlier this season.

Liverpool were unable to score a third, though, and two Chelsea goals in the space of three minutes at the end of the first half turned the game on its head.

When Kelleher punched Alonso’s in-swinging free kick clear on 42 minutes, the keeper looked to have done well to deny the Chelsea defender. But the ball dropped the Mateo Kovacic on the edge of the penalty area and, as he was backpedaling, the midfielder somehow guided a volley beyond Kelleher and into the net. It was a spectacular display of technique by the former Real Madrid player and it gave Chelsea a foothold back into the game.

And it took them just three minutes to score the equaliser when Pulisic atoned for his earlier miss by latching onto N’Golo Kante‘s pass before beating Kelleher with a precise left-foot shot past the Republic of Ireland international. As the chaos continued on the pitch, Mason Mount almost put Chelsea 3-2 up in first-half stoppage time with a scuffed volley that bounced just wide of the post.

When a game is so eventful in the first half, it rarely delivers a second half of the same quality because of coaches plugging the holes that had led to the earlier excitement. But while the goals stopped flowing, the entertainment didn’t.

Salah forced a crucial save from Edouard Mendy with a 25-yard lob on 57 minutes and Mane was also denied by the Chelsea keeper. Kelleher, not to be outdone, then produced a stunning save to prevent Pulisic from scoring his second of the game.

In total, there were 25 chances over the 90 minutes, with both sides registering six on target. Neither could find a winner, though.

“For the outside world it was quite a good game to watch, but we came here for three points and didn’t get them,” Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk said.

Even if one team had done enough to claim all three points, it’s difficult to imagine they would have been able to close the gap on City, who are destined for another title. And the challenge facing both chasing clubs only grows more daunting in the next month, with Salah (Egypt), Mendy and Mane (both Senegal) now heading off to the Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon.

But the Premier League still knows how to excite, even if the title is already a foregone conclusion.

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Michael Scudamore has Do Your Job in mind for Doncaster | Racing News

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Doncaster’s Lightning Novices’ Chase could be next on the agenda for Do Your Job following his creditable effort in defeat at Kempton over the festive period.

Runner-up to My Drogo and Belfast Banter in Grade Two and Grade One novice hurdles in the spring, Michael Scudamore’s stable star made a successful start to his chasing career at Warwick in November.

The eight-year-old fell at the eighth fence when stepped up in class for the Henry VIII Novices’ Chase at Sandown, but bounced back to finish second to Edwardstone in the Wayward Lad last week.

With Scudamore keen to avoid a rematch with the winner, who is seemingly bound for the Kingmaker at Warwick, Do Your Job could instead bid for Grade Two honours at Doncaster on January 29.

Reflecting on his Kempton performance, the trainer said: “I was very pleased. He jumped well and travelled well and did everything right, he was just beaten by a better horse on the day.

“The main objective was a clear round really and maybe if we hadn’t fallen at Sandown we might have pressed on a bit more and made it more of a staying race.

“The most important thing was to get a clear round under his belt and get some more experience over fences for him.

“I think we’ll stick to novice races while we can and we might look to the race at Doncaster. That is what we have pencilled in at the moment, anyway.

“It would certainly be Plan A to try and avoid Edwardstone and I was very pleased to read he was going to go for the Kingmaker. Hopefully they stick to that plan!”

While Do Your Job looks set to remain in novice company on his next start, Scudamore admitted is considering a step into the handicap arena for the Grand Annual at Cheltenham – a race he won with Next Sensation in 2015.

He added: “I’m sure he’ll have an entry in that. He also ran very well at Aintree last year, so there’s that to consider as well.

“He looks like a horse that could have the right sort of profile for a Grand Annual and we’ll see nearer the time.

“In some ways it might make more sense to go for a handicap now, but as we saw at Kempton some of these novice events don’t have a lot of runners in them and there’s some decent prize-money on offer, so it seems silly to pass them over when you’ve only got one chance to run in them really.”



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Adiwang hopes to fight Saruta next

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Lito Adiwang was booted out of ONE Championship strawweight rankings after coming up short against Jarred Brooks. ‘The Thunder Kid’ is already itching to step back inside the cage and hopes to fight a ranked fighter next.

Of the fighters in the ONE Championship strawweight division rankings, the 28-year-old Filipino seeks to score a date with No.2-ranked Yosuke Saruta.

“I want a big comeback. I still want a big name. I want to challenge Yosuke Saruta. Maybe if ONE allows it, and he wants it, then I’ll take it. Saruta is someone who I really want to test myself against,” said Adiwang in an interview with ONE Championship.

The 28-year-old admits it is a dangerous fight and a huge risk to take. The high-risk, high-reward scenario is something that Adiwang would like to take as he seeks to put his name back in the rankings again by beating a former champion.

“It’s a big risk for me because I’m coming off a loss, but I want a great comeback and a big name in my return so I don’t fall far off from the rankings.”


Lito Adiwang seeking for a better year in 2022 at ONE Championship

Adiwang now holds a professional record of 13-4 and has been competing in ONE Championship since October 2018. He won his first five fights before receiving his first loss against Koha Minowa via a split decision two years later.

The Benguet-based fighter had three fights in 2021. However, he also suffered his second loss in ONE Championship against Jarred Brooks.

Still in his prime, Adiwang goes back to the drawing board and seeks to polish his MMA skills in 2022.

“I have to check my mistakes inside the Circle, but I also have to check my mistakes outside the Circle. It has to be a balance. Sometimes, I forget other personal obligations and those are the things that I have to work on. I have to balance things out based on last year. I have to correct this in 2022.”




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