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2020 Cox Plate: Jockey Willie Pike says Arcadia Queen is back to her best

Willie Pike has sent his Cox Plate rivals an ominous warning as he declared Arcadia Queen was getting back to her “confident and untouchable” three-year-old days.

The Bob Peters-owned five-year-old mare goes into the Cox Plate after having a form rejuvenation this spring, capped by toppling Russian Camelot in the Group 1 Caulfield Stakes last start.

She is reclaiming her throne after being waylaid by a series of feet problems which saw her off the scene for an extended period following last year’s Golden Eagle when she finished fifth behind Kolding.

Pike, her regular partner, says she is back to her brilliant and confident best and it’s reminiscent of when she took all before her as a three-year-old including winning the 2018 Group I Kingston Town Stakes in Perth.

“She is getting back to those confident, untouchable three year old days where she was all but unbeaten,” Pike said.

“I am not going to say she has got lengths and lengths of improvement up her sleeve but I think confidence wise she is getting much better.

“I think the main issue holding her back was her feet and they seem to be getting and better.”

Arcadia Queen ridden by Willie Pike wins the Caulfield Stakes. Pic: Racing Photos via Getty Images.Source:Getty Images

There were plenty who doubted whether Arcadia Queen could ever recapture her devastating best form as she spent a while in the racing wilderness while other big names were strutting their stuff.

Pike says he never once doubted her ability.

But he has revealed there were plenty of doubts over what was her pet distance and the best way to get the best out of the daughter of Pierro.

“I never really second guessed her ability at the level but what I was second guessing was what distance was the right distance for her and what was the right approach for her,” Pike said.

“Ability wise when she gallops she is always the best worker out of the lot.

“She is bigger, stronger and better than the others and you can just tell that by riding her.

“But what sort of racehorse was she? That was the issue.

“She has almost got a sprinter’s attitude but her record suggests she is better at 2000m.”

Arcadia Queen during Breakfast With The Best trackwork at Moonee Valley. Pic: Racing Photos via Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

The obvious query going into the Cox Plate is the prospect of a wet track.

In her 13 career starts, the daughter of Pierro has never raced on anything worse than a soft track.

She has twice raced on soft tracks in Melbourne this campaign, producing a fifth when first-up in the Group 2 PB Lawrence Stakes and then two starts ago she ran third behind Russian Camelot in the Group 1 Underwood Stakes over 1800m.

She turned the tables on Russian Camelot on a good track over 2000m in her most recent outing, in the Group 1 Caulfield Stakes.

On Friday morning, TAB had Arcadia Queen as a $5.50 chance to surge to Cox Plate glory on Saturday.

Originally published asCox Plate: Queen back to her ‘untouchable’ younger days

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Soccer

Notts County forfeit FA Cup tie due to Covid-19 outbreak

Notts County become latest non-league team to forfeit FA Cup tie after six players tested positive for coronavirus… but Barnet plan to fulfil their fixture despite a Covid scare

  • Notts County will not travel to Kings Lynn Town for fourth qualifying round tie 
  • Two players have tested positive for the virus this week after four last week
  • Six Barnet players and manager Peter Beadle have tested positive

Notts County have withdrawn from the FA Cup after an outbreak of Covid-19. 

Two players have tested positive for the virus this week after four last week, leaving manager Neal Ardley with only 14 available players and the former FA Cup winners will not to travel to King’s Lynn Town for their fourth qualifying round fixture on Saturday. 

National League fixtures, against Halifax and Aldershot, have also been postponed. 

Notts County have decided not to travel to Kings Lynn for their fourth qualifying round tie

‘While I’m devastated I won’t have the opportunity to put together a Cup run, the safety of my players, staff, the opposition and their families have priority at this terrible time,’ said Ardley. 

King’s Lynn will receive a bye and will be in the first round proper for the first time in their history. 

The draw is on Monday.

Barnet, meanwhile, confirmed six players and manager Peter Beadle have tested positive for Covid-19 but plan to fulfil their FA Cup tie against Leiston.

Kettering Town and Boston United were forced to forfeit FA Cup ties earlier in the competition after players tested positive for coronavirus.




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Soccer

Leo Messi Foundation wins lawsuit against Spanish outlet ABC

Leo Messi Foundation wins lawsuit against Spanish outlet ABC with newspaper ordered to pay £6,455 in compensation after accusing Barcelona star’s charity of manipulating its accounts

  • ABC was ordered to pay £6,455 in compensation to The Lionel Messi Foundation 
  • The paper accused the Barcelona star’s foundation of manipulating its accounts 
  • Gava magistrates’ court made the ruling and also said legal costs must be paid 
  • The foundation will donate the amount to Hospital Sant Joan de Deu in Barcelona

Spanish daily newspaper ABC has been ordered to pay compensation after losing a lawsuit against The Leo Messi Foundation.

The paper had accused the Barcelona star’s foundation of manipulating its accounts suggesting a tax fraud.

Gava magistrates’ court ruled that £6,455 must be paid in damages plus legal costs, which the foundation is donating to Hospital Sant Joan de Deu in Barcelona.

Publication ABC will pay compensation after losing a lawsuit against The Leo Messi Foundation

The ruling reprimanded the media outlet for failing to display due diligence after a series of articles using wording that damaged Messi’s honour and reputation.

‘The information published is not verified or true, and featured alongside headlines, subheadings and wording, which, based on previous legal proceedings, encouraged the reader to believe the possibility of further tax evasion by the Foundation that carries that claimant’s name.’

The ruling is all the more significant as it serves to refute a series of articles published that have served as the basis for legal proceedings brought about by third parties against Messi’s foundation and the player’s family.

These regard alleged irregularities in the running of the organisation, all of which have, to date, been dismissed.

The Spanish paper had accused the Barcelona star’s foundation of manipulating its accounts




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Steven Gerrard hails Kemar Roofe strike as 'the best goal he's seen

‘The best goal I’ve seen live!’: Steven Gerrard hails Kemar Roofe’s incredible long range strike from inside his own half as ‘a moment of genius’

  • Rangers’ Kemar Roofe scored from inside his own half to secure the 2-0 win
  • Steven Gerrard says it’s the best goal he’s seen live since being a professional
  • Tensions ran high as Roofe was booked in the aftermath of his goal celebration 

Steven Gerrard hailed Kemar Roofe’s moment of genius and insisted he had never seen a better goal live than the Rangers frontman’s stunning strike from inside his own half that sank Standard Liege in rain-soaked Belgium.

The Ibrox boss has a catalogue of impressive goals from his playing days but he admitted none stack up to the effort which put the seal on a 2-0 Europa League triumph at the Stade Maurice Dufrasne.

James Tavernier fired Gers ahead from the penalty spot as the Light Blues claimed their first away win in a group-stage clash since Walter Smith’s team beat Lyon back in 2007.

Kemar Roofe’s stoppage-time strike from the halfway line sank Standard Liege on Thursday

But it was Roofe’s incredible effort which has snatched the headlines, and Gerrard insists the former Leeds man deserves his moment in the spotlight.

He said: ‘None of my goals were in that league.

‘I think it was a moment of genius. I’ve been lucky enough to watch it five or six times since the end of the game and it’s the actual build-up and preparation before the strike.

‘He knocks two people off the ball with sheer strength on a very difficult pitch in the worst conditions I’ve seen.

Boss Steven Gerrard says it’s the best goal he’s seen live since being a professional

‘Then he manages to take someone on – and to then have the vision and audacity to try the strike in the first place, I just think that’s a moment of genius.

‘And it’s probably the best goal I’ve seen live – and I’ve been a professional since 1998. Unbelievable strike and he deserves all the plaudits for it.’

But Roofe’s celebrations did not go down well with the hosts.

The former Anderlecht striker was booked in the aftermath of his goal but a member of the Liege back-room staff took matters into their own hands as they confronted him at full-time, sparking a touch-line quarrel between the teams.

Gerrard has no idea if that bust-up will see his team get into trouble but says he will talk to Roofe.

Roofe’s celebrations did not go down well with the Standard Liege players towards the end

‘I can’t control what comes our way from that,’ he said. ‘I don’t think I’d describe it as ugly. I think it’s too harsh. I think it was a little something or nothing.

‘They were disappointed in Kemar’s celebration. OK but Kemar was punished for that and that’s for me to deal with and for me to handle.

‘They are obviously very frustrated that they have been beaten for the first time in six years on their home patch.

‘It’s not nice to lose football matches, especially when you’re the favourites to win them. We can understand the frustrations but it was disappointing. We thought it could have been avoided.’

Roofe’s goal put the seal on a 2-0 victory in the Europa League tie against the Belgians

The final 20 minutes were played out on a swamp as storm clouds deluged the pitch.

But Gerrard was delighted with the way his defensive dam held firm in the final stages.

He said: ‘I had to say certain things at half-time. We needed to be better in possession.

‘I thought our organisation was good and besides a couple of crosses that we allowed to come in, I thought we were OK from a defensive point of view.

‘We needed to show more style and to believe in ourselves more once we regained the ball, so we could keep it for longer periods.

The Ibrox club rode their luck at times in a rain-soaked Liege on Thursday night

‘So we had to have a little go at half-time but the first 20 minutes of the second half we were outstanding, more like the Rangers that I like to see with style and a real possession-based approach when we win the ball back.

‘But then obviously the weather changed dramatically and the conditions became unplayable and very unpredictable.

‘It became about who was going to manage the conditions better from there on in.

‘But you have to give the players credit because I think you saw a different side to us in the final 25 minutes. We dug in, we handled the conditions and we thoroughly deserved a big win at a difficult place to come.’




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Soccer

Madrid captain Ramos could miss El Clasico clash with Barcelona

Real Madrid anxiously waiting on fitness of Sergio Ramos with captain a doubt for crunch El Clasico clash with rivals Barcelona

  • Sergio Ramos could be facing a spell on the sidelines with an injury
  • Real Madrid are now waiting to learn whether he will be fit for the Clasico
  • Ramos has been training alone after picking up a knock against Cadiz
  • The 34-year-old did not feature in Madrid’s Champions League tie with Shakhtar 

Real Madrid are anxiously sweating on the fitness of captain and talisman Sergio Ramos, ahead of a crunch Clasico showdown with bitter rivals Barcelona this weekend.

Ramos has spent time on the sidelines and trained alone ever since picking up a knock during a recent LaLiga clash with Cadiz.

The 36-year-old hobbled off following the half-time interval in a match which Madrid were dealt a shock 1-0 defeat, placing even more emphasis upon the upcoming meeting with Barca.

Sergio Ramos faces a fitness race to be back in time to play rivals Barcelona in the Clasico

Madrid have taken just 10 points from five games after starting the season at a slow pace, and will learn at the last minute whether Ramos will be back in time for Saturday’s showdown at the Nou Camp.

Ramos did not feature midweek as Madrid were again defeated, this time by Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League.

Ramos has been training separately after picking up a knock in the recent clash with Cadiz

The Madrid captain watched from the stands as his side lost their opening group game 3-2 at home, despite scoring two second half goals and looking on course to stage a comeback.

Dani Carvajal, Eden Hazard and Martin Odegaard already ruled out of the Barca fixture, while Mariano Diaz and Alvaro Odriozola are also unavailable for Zinedine Zidane’s side.

Eder Militao partnered Raphael Varane in the heart of Madrid’s defence against Shakhtar, and could be set to do the same should Ramos not return in time.

Madrid will face an in-form Barca team who won 5-1 in the Champions League in midweek

In contrast Barca triumphed spectacularly during the midweek Champions League action, hammering Ferencvaros 5-1, despite seeing Gerard Pique sent off.

Ronald Koeman’s team enter the Clasico sitting in 9th place, having played one game fewer than Madrid and taking seven points from four matches. 




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MLB

Fitzy, Channel 7 stars stitch up David Koch

David Koch is taking Port Adelaide’s recent loss pretty well but he can’t escape cracks from members of his own network.

The Sunrise co-host and Power president was licking his wounds last Friday night when his beloved team lost to Richmond in the preliminary final, denying Port its first grand final appearance since 2007.

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But being the good sport that he is, Koch agreed to make a cameo on the grand final edition of Channel 7 footy show The Front Bar on Thursday night.

Wearing Port’s prison bars guernsey alongside Nova radio host and diehard Crows fan Ryan “Fitzy” Fitzgerald, it didn’t take long for the gags to arrive after removing a balaclava to reveal his identity.

“Kochie, growing up in Port Adelaide, you’d be used to wearing a balaclava, wouldn’t you?” Fitzy said.

Front Bar panellist, Aussie comedian Mick Molloy, also chimed in when he suggested Koch was the angry Power fan who threw a bourbon and coke at Richmond forward Tom Lynch during a TV interview after the Tigers had booked their place in the decider.

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Kochie was cut after the Tigers beat Port.Source:News Corp Australia

“I just wanted to say bad luck Kochie, the team played well but I just have to say, that last incident where you threw the bourbon and coke, you let yourself down, you really did,” Molloy said.

But Fitzy knew Koch couldn’t have been the culprit: “Don’t be stupid, you’d never waste a bourbon a coke.”

Koch wasn’t the butt of all the jokes though, enjoying a laugh of his own at the expense of Fitzy’s Crows.

Adelaide endured a horror year and finished last, so Koch had the perfect gift. “Just a final present for you, a couple of wooden spoons,” he said.

Kochie wasn’t the only target of the funny football crew. Fitzy also referenced AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan being dragged into a storm two years ago when Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton intervened to prevent a French au pair being deported after being lobbied by McLachlan.

Just before he had a chinwag with Kochie, Fitzy stumbled upon a woman with a strong French accent wearing a beret and holding a breadstick. She said she worked for McLachlan but doesn’t get paid, instead receiving “a visa and free tickets for the polo”.

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Rugby

Match Report – Huddersfield 14 – 18 Wakefield

Tom Johnstone’s try inside the final five minutes secured Wakefield Trinity’s first win since the Super League season resumed in August as they defeated Huddersfield Giants 18-14.

A promising start from Wakefield was rewarded through Matty Ashurst’s opening try, but Huddersfield hit back to lead 10-6 at half time through well-taken scores from Aiden Sezer and Jordan Turner.

Sam Wood pushed the Giants further ahead after the break, but Trinity dug deep and two tries from winger Johnstone secured the win.

With both sides scoring three tries, the result came down to the goalkicking of Ryan Hampshire, who slotted over all three conversions, compared to just one from three by Huddersfield’s Lee Gaskell.

A third successive defeat under caretaker coach Luke Robinson effectively ends the Giants’ lingering play-off hopes while Wakefield boss Chris Chester can savour a much-needed victory that rounded off a difficult week, even though they stay bottom of the table.

Trinity were hit by more covid-19 cases in the build-up to the match and Chester was forced to answer an allegation that he was facing a dressing room revolt.

There was little sign of unrest, however, and Wakefield’s spirit was epitomised by returning captain Jacob Miller, who laid on the first try of the match for second rower Ashurst with a precision kick to the line.

Hampshire’s conversion made it 6-0 but Huddersfield struck back immediately through dangerman Sezer, who glided effortlessly through the Trinity defence for his seventh try of the season.

Gaskell locked up the scores with the goal and the Giants went in front five minutes before half-time when winger Jake Wardle plucked Sezer’s kick out of the air to get centre Turner in for their second try.

Huddersfield, who lost second rower Kenny Edwards with double vision early in the game, might have been fortunate to be in front at the break but they looked the more creative side after the interval.

Both sides had chances early in the second half, with Giants forward Chris McQueen coming up with a timely interception to snuff out one attack while at the other end Trinity full-back Max Jowitt pulled off a try-saving tackle on Wood.

Sezer went close to touching down Gaskell’s kick before producing another pinpoint pass that gave Wood another opportunity, and this time he handed off Johnstone to score his first try of the season.

Johnstone made amends shortly afterwards, taking Jowitt’s long pass to go in for his first try of the match.

Hampshire’s second goal cut the gap to just two points and Wakefield thought they had gone back in front when winger Ben Jones-Bishop touched down a kick from centre Reece Lyne only to have the try disallowed for offside.

If that was a contentious decision, there was also some doubt about the match-winning effort by Johnson, who went over for his ninth try of the season after Miller’s tackle on Wood had forced the ball loose just 15 metres out from the Huddersfield line.

Hampshire kicked his third goal to nudge his side four points clear and Wakefield were able to see out the rest of the game.

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Soccer

Chelsea’s Hakim Ziyech explains how Tottenham ‘stole his dream’ and the importance of street football

“So yes, you have to take that as a lesson and I did. Now I know always that the game is not over until after the referee whistles. At that point, it helped me. It helped me improve, to never give up.”

The youngest of nine children, Ziyech was forced to endure heartache aged 10 when his father passed away.

While the verve and arrogance to his game can be traced back to the streets of Dutch town Dronten, where he was forced to toughen up to allow his skill to shine through.

“Yeah, things that happened in the past when I was younger, all this stuff when you’re playing on the streets, it makes you hard as a person,” Ziyech acknowledges. “Especially when you get older you can play that hard as well.

“When I was young and playing on the streets I always played against older guys and they didn’t back down, even when you were too good for them they were just kicking and those types of things make you hard as a person.

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“It helps you to grow, even on the pitch, and from that mentality it only helps you. I think I learned a lot from my past, it’s made me become what I am now at this moment.”

Many have become familiar with Ziyech dancing in from the right wing and opening up opponent’s with his wand-like left boot.

But Ziyech still maintains an affinity with the hallowed No 10 role that is treasured back in the Netherlands, where he was born, and at former club Ajax, where Johan Cruyff mastered the position.

“I still do [consider myself as a No 10],” Ziyech admits. “Even though I didn’t play there a lot in the last two years.

“But I know for myself what I’m capable of, even if it’s the No 10, or the left side, or the right side – it doesn’t change for me a lot. The way of the game is the same for me.”

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Soccer

Rangers boss Steven Gerrard says Kemar Roofe's goal against Standard Liege was the best he has seen live

Steven Gerrard hailed Kemar Roofe’s moment of genius and insisted he had never seen a better goal live than the Rangers striker’s stunning strike from inside his own half that sank Standard Liege in Belgium.

The Ibrox boss has a catalogue of impressive goals from his playing days, but he admitted none stack up to the effort which put the seal on a 2-0 Europa League triumph at the Stade Maurice Dufrasne.

James Tavernier fired Gers ahead from the penalty spot as the Light Blues claimed their first away win in a group-stage clash since Walter Smith’s team beat Lyon in 2007.

But it was Roofe’s incredible effort which has snatched the headlines, and Gerrard insists the former Leeds man deserves his moment in the spotlight.

He said: “None of my goals were in that league.

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“I think it was a moment of genius. I’ve been lucky enough to watch it five or six times since the end of the game and it’s the actual build-up and preparation before the strike.

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  • British Champions League and Europa League squads

“He knocks two people off the ball with sheer strength on a very difficult pitch in the worst conditions I’ve seen.

“Then he manages to take someone on – and to then have the vision and audacity to try the strike in the first place, I just think that’s a moment of genius.

“And it’s probably the best goal I’ve seen live – and I’ve been a professional since 1998. Unbelievable strike and he deserves all the plaudits for it.”

But Roofe’s celebrations did not go down well with the hosts.

The former Anderlecht striker was booked in the aftermath of his goal, but a member of the Liege backroom staff took matters into their own hands as they confronted him at full-time, sparking a touchline quarrel between the teams.

Gerrard has no idea if that bust-up will see his team get into trouble, but says he will talk to Roofe.

“I can’t control what comes our way from that,” he said. “I don’t think I’d describe it as ugly. I think it’s too harsh. I think it was a little something or nothing.

“They were disappointed in Kemar’s celebration. OK but Kemar was punished for that and that’s for me to deal with and for me to handle.

“They are obviously very frustrated that they have been beaten for the first time in six years on their home patch.

“It’s not nice to lose football matches, especially when you’re the favourites to win them. We can understand the frustrations, but it was disappointing. We thought it could have been avoided.”

The final 20 minutes were played out on a swamp as storm clouds deluged the pitch.

But Gerrard was delighted with the way his defence held firm in the final stages.

He said: “I had to say certain things at half-time. We needed to be better in possession.

“I thought our organisation was good and besides a couple of crosses that we allowed to come in, I thought we were OK from a defensive point of view.

“We needed to show more style and to believe in ourselves more once we regained the ball, so we could keep it for longer periods.

“So we had to have a little go at half-time, but the first 20 minutes of the second half we were outstanding, more like the Rangers that I like to see with style and a real possession-based approach when we win the ball back.

54.6 – Kemar Roofe's goal for Rangers against Standard Liège was scored from a distance of 54.6 yards, the furthest distance ever for a goal scored in the UEFA Europa League. Spectacular. #UEL pic.twitter.com/71qN1QUtdq

“But then obviously the weather changed dramatically and the conditions became unplayable and very unpredictable.

“It became about who was going to manage the conditions better from there on in.

“But you have to give the players credit because I think you saw a different side to us in the final 25 minutes. We dug in, we handled the conditions and we thoroughly deserved a big win at a difficult place to come.”

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Soccer

Mikel Arteta sends message to Mesut Ozil about his Arsenal tweets

Mikel Arteta praised Mesut Ozil for cheering on his Arsenal team-mates from home in the Europa League on Thursday.

Ozil has been left out of both Arsenal's Premier League and Europa League squads this campaign, and watched the win over Rapid Wien on TV.

The German made his feelings very clear on Wednesday as he released a statement slamming Arsenal and accusing the club of disloyalty.

But on Thursday the World Cup winner got behind his team-mates, and tweeted throughout the match as Arsenal came from behind to win 2-1 in Austria.

As the game got underway Ozil tweeted: "Okay then, let's go Gunners."

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He followed this up with a post at the break, reading: "0-0 so far, but c'mon lads let's try and make sure we take a win back home with us! I'm cheering you on."

Arsenal went behind after a mistake from Bernd Leno, prompting Ozil to tweet: "Chin up Bro Bernd Leno. We have still enough time to turn this around guys! Come on Gunners!! "

Upon David Luiz equalising Ozil then wrote: "Yessss boys! 1-1!!! David Luiz."

And after Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang hit the back of the net to put Arsenal in front, Ozil tweeted: "Aubaaaaaaaaaaa !!!! Good job guys!"

The German's final tweet read: "Nice to start with 3 points! Who was your Man Of The Match? My 4 options: Thomas Partey, Aubameyang, Mohamed Elneny, Luiz."

Arteta was unaware that Ozil was tweeting throughout the game, as he was on the touchline engaged in the action.

But he was made aware in his press conference following the victory, and appeared delighted by Ozil's mature and positive reaction.

"This is what I want from all the players who are not in our squad," said Arteta. "I didn't expect anything different from that so it's good to hear."

Has Mesut Ozil played his final game for Arsenal? Have your say here.

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