Sir Alex Ferguson to address European Ryder Cup team

Alex Ferguson with Address the European Ryder Cup team

Alex Ferguson with Address the European Ryder Cup team

He wanted to keep it a secret, but Paul McGinley had to admit that Sir Alex Ferguson would address his European team on Tuesday evening ahead of the 40th Ryder Cup.

"He's a guy that I played with in the JP McManus pro-am about 15 years ago and that I've seen now and again over that time, and when I became captain I asked him," McGinley said of the former Manchester United manager.

"Of course he was more than willing to help. But the one thing he asked me to do was keep it really quiet. Walking around (the course) is not keeping it quiet, is it? We wanted a bit of a surprise for the players but I guess it's not a surprise."

West Ham fan McGinley joked that Ferguson would not be giving any of his team the famous "hairdryer" treatment, with the Hammers coincidentally making the trip to Old Trafford on Saturday.

"Although I'm a West Ham fan, I've always loved the way his teams played and there's a number of things that he's dealing with that he was particularly good at that I think he'll be a particularly strong fit," McGinley added.

"He's asked me a lot of questions and I know he's very keen and looking forward to tonight. He's a big fan of golf, as we know. He knows Rory (McIlroy) very well and Rory is a big Man Utd fan. Not everybody in the room is a Man Utd fan, so that should be a bit fun.

"This is not about him being a headmaster and coming in and preaching to them. He's very aware of that. This is relaxed. This is a conversation. There will be questions coming back at him.

"They all love football and a chance to spend a bit of time with one of the greats in soccer doesn't come around very often, particularly with somebody they all admire. In my dealings with him, he's been absolutely fantastic and I know he'll be great with the players."

McIlroy and McDowell kept apart in practice round

McIlroy did not pair up with McDowell

McIlroy did not pair up with McDowell

Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell were kept apart on Tuesday as Europe’s players prepared for their first official practice rounds ahead of the 40th Ryder Cup at Gleneagles.

McIlroy and McDowell have been regular partners in team events since 2009, winning three of their four matches in the Seve Trophy and also representing Ireland in the World Cup that year and 2011.

The Northern Irish duo have also played six times together in the Ryder Cup, including the very first match at Medinah two years ago, and would seemingly make an obvious pairing at Gleneagles.

However, European captain Paul McGinley said on Monday that their record of two wins, three losses and one half from those six matches meant they were not a formidable pairing "written in stone", and Tuesday's practice line-up offered hints about possible alternative partnerships.

With the 12-man team split up into four groups of three, McIlroy was alongside Medinah hero Martin Kaymer and Spain's Sergio Garcia, with McDowell alongside France's Victor Dubuisson and Sweden's Henrik Stenson.

It was no surprise to see good friends Justin Rose and Ian Poulter in the same group with local favourite Stephen Gallacher, with Thomas Bjorn, Lee Westwood and Jamie Donaldson making up the other threesome. All three played in the Wales Open last week, with Westwood and Donaldson playing together in the first two rounds at Celtic Manor.

Europe were due to practice at 11am with the American team starting at 9:30am and split into three groups of four.

Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson, who played three matches together at Medinah, were out with Matt Kuchar and Jordan Spieth, while Jim Furyk, Zach Johnson, Hunter Mahan and Patrick Reed made up the second group.

Keegan Bradley and Phil Mickelson, who won all three of their matches two years ago, were out with Rickie Fowler and Jimmy Walker.

Hamilton seizes F1 championship lead

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton steers his car to victory in the Singapore Grand Prix

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton steers his car to victory in the Singapore Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton chalked up win number 29 of his Formula One career to regain the lead of this year’s world title fight after Nico Rosberg suffered only his second retirement of the season.

Rosberg's Mercedes encountered an electronics issue before the start of the Singapore Grand Prix and he was ultimately forced out of the race after 14 laps.

Hamilton drove faultlessly from pole position around the Marina Bay Street Circuit to take the chequered flag for the seventh time this campaign and eke out a slender three-point gap lead over Rosberg with five races remaining.

It is only the second time this season Hamilton has led the way in his one-on-one feud with Rosberg, the other occasion after a win in Spain going into what proved to be a highly-controversial race in Monaco.

Behind Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel chalked up his best result of a troubled year with second in his Red Bull, followed by team-mate Daniel Ricciardo and Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, the trio covered by 1.8 seconds at the line.

For Rosberg, this was a taste of the emotions Hamilton experienced in Australia, Canada, Germany, Hungary and Belgium.

Prior to this race Rosberg had suffered just one retirement, at Silverstone when his car suffered a gearbox failure.

On this occasion, Rosberg's race was virtually over before it had even started due to an electronics issue related to the gearbox.

Come the start of the formation lap, as Hamilton set off ahead of him and the rest of the field filed around him, Rosberg was sitting on the grid doing all he could to engage the gears.

It was to no avail, resulting in his mechanics wheeling him off the grid and into the pit lane where they at least managed to get him going.

With Kamui Kobayashi pulling his Caterham off track on the formation lap due to a technical issue, it left Rosberg 21st and last.

Once in the race Rosberg's problems were highlighted further as he was told at one stage the only thing working on his dashboard were the gearshift paddles.

Rosberg was also without fourth gear, all of which resulted in him failing to close the gap on Marussia's Max Chilton and then Marcus Ericsson in his Caterham over the opening laps.

At the end of lap 13, and with a 75-second gap to Rosberg, Hamilton pitted from the lead, with the Briton in cruise control.

A lap later, and with no read-out on his dash, Rosberg coasted into his grid slot where he had to stall the car in order for his crew to fit new tyres.

Ordinarily, the engine would still be running to keep the revs high to allow a driver to pull away at speed, but with gear issues that was not possible on this occasion.

But after the team fired up his car again, Rosberg was unable to find any gear, the German flicking the paddles furiously, but again it was fruitless, with retirement following moments later.

After a consoling hug from Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff in the garage, Rosberg said: "Sitting on the grid, seeing everybody go by was a horrible feeling.

"There was no power, no gears, no nothing. The car was not working at all.

"I was hoping the team would fix it once the race started as it was sometimes working, sometimes not, but in the end there was no point in continuing. A tough day.

"Reliability has again proven a weakness, which is something we must improve on."

As for the championship, Rosberg added: "I make the most of it for the future, we try and understand today and then full attack for Suzuka (venue for the Japanese Grand Prix in a fortnight)."

There was more drama to come, however, with Sergio Perez losing his front wing underneath his Force India after colliding with Sauber's Adrian Sutil, bringing out the safety car for the seventh successive race at this venue.

After six laps to clear the debris, Hamilton was left running on the supersoft tyre – but needing to make a final stop – whilst those behind were running to the end on soft rubber.

Hamilton then wrung the life out of his car in a bid to clear as many cars as possible through to the end of lap 52, with nine remaining.

It was a breathtaking drive from Hamilton as he came out in between Vettel and Ricciardo, with Alonso on the heels of the Australian.

On fresh tyres it took Hamilton only one and a half laps to clear Vettel, from which point he stormed on to victory, with the race reaching its two-hour limit after 60 of the planned 61 laps.

Behind the leading quartet were Williams' Felipe Massa and Jean-Eric Vergne in his Toro Rosso, followed by Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen, Nico Hulkenberg for Force India and McLaren's Kevin Magnussen.

Jenson Button retired for the first time in two years and 36 races in his McLaren, whilst Chilton was 17th and last for Marussia.

Following his second victory under the lights at Singapore, Hamilton said: "I was dreaming about this last night, but you never think it's going to happen.

"But thanks to my team, knowing we have a car we can fight with and the way it felt on track, it's incredible.

"I was looking for that clean wekeend, and this has been it, but it has not been perfect as Nico didn't finish, so there are things we can still work on."

Jason Maguire back with a win

Jason Maguire back with a win

Jason Maguire back with a win

Jason Maguire made the perfect comeback after six months out of the saddle through injury when winning on Bonne Fee at Newton Abbott, his first ride back.

Maguire was kicked in the stomach on the eve of the Cheltenham Festival in March, suffering a fractured sternum and bleeding on his liver.

His return in the Royal British Legion Mares' Novices' Hurdle could not have gone any easier as Kim Bailey's seven-year-old travelled sweetly throughout, pulling clear before the home turn.

Maguire allowed himself a leisurely look around after jumping the last to see there were no dangers to the 5-6 favourite and coasted home.

Bailey told At The Races: "Jason lives very locally to us and comes in regularly to ride work and school plenty of lots

"We're aware that we are very much second fiddle to Donald McCain but he's a massive cog in our operation.

"We were delighted he came back quicker than anticipated."

Bailey also had news of stable star Harry Topper, who is in line for his own comeback next month.

He said: "Harry is on course for a repeat bid in the Charlie Hall at Wetherby, that's the plan."

Ryan advises caution on Gatsby run

The Grey Gatsby beating Australia in the Irish Champions Stakes

The Grey Gatsby beating Australia in the Irish Champions Stakes

Kevin Ryan has warned The Grey Gatsby is not a certain runner in the Qipco Champion Stakes at Ascot on October 18.

The Mastercraftsman colt caused one of the shocks of the season when beating dual Derby winner Australia in the Irish Champion Stakes.

The Grey Gatsby has also claimed the Dante and the French Derby this season, but soft ground could yet rule him out of Champions Day.

"He's come back absolutely fantastic, very fresh and well," said Ryan.

"He only lost six kilos all weekend which is quite incredible when you think about it, the race obviously took very little out of him.

"I've decided from now on I'm going to let the horse do the talking, he doesn't need me to talk him up any more.

"He's Ryan's (Moore) ride if he wants him but Richard Hughes and Jamie Spencer have also ridden him so it will be one of those three and they aren't bad to pick from.

"It's not a given that he runs at Ascot, the ground could have gone soft by then.

"He's getting better with every race and I'd love to go to Ascot, but it's all about next year with him.

"I'm convinced he'll get a mile and a half next year, the French Derby is nearly 11 furlongs anyway.

"If he doesn't run at Ascot, that will be it and he'll start off next year in the Dubai Duty Free."
 

Ayr hero Ramius set to retire

Captain Ramius, winner of the 2012 William Hill Ayr Gold Cup, will be retired regardless of whether he runs in this year's renewal on Saturday.

Kevin Ryan's classy eight-year-old needs rain in order to turn up this weekend, but with none forecast the likelihood is he has run his last race.

He is one of a handful of possibles for Ryan, who has won the race three times since 2007.

"Hamza will definitely run and Pat Smullen rides," said Ryan.

"Blaine will run and Amy (Ryan) will keep the ride on him – he's on the up.

"York Glory is a possible. He ran poorly at Doncaster last week when I thought I had him back to something like his best but nothing has come to light.

"Declan McDonogh will ride him if Captain Ramius doesn't run, which is doubtful now because of the ground and that's a shame as it was going to be his swansong.

"He's been a very good horse and if there's a downpour he could still run, but the main thing is that he retires sound."

David O'Meara remains undecided over whether to let last weekend's Curragh winner Watchable make a quick reappearance.

The four-year-old won the "Bold Lad" Sprint Handicap by a head on what was just his seventh career start, with the victory propelling him to the head of the market for the Scottish feature.

However, O'Meara has yet to commit to the handicap showpiece with the fact Watchable is still relatively inexperienced uppermost in his mind.

"I haven't decided whether Watchable runs yet," he said."He's come back from Ireland fine, and he seems well in himself. "He's only really had this season as a racehorse though and he's already done quite a bit.

"He's going to be a very good horse. We'll decide nearer the time."
 
Sea The Moon forced to retire
Sea The Moon, who was ruled out of the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe through injury, has been retired.

Niko Lafrentz of owners Gestut Gorlsdorf told the German website GaloppOnline that the impressive German Derby winner will not run again and will be retired to an as-yet undecided stud.

The son of Sea The Stars won four of his five career outings for trainer Markus Klug, with his only defeat coming in the Grosser Preis Von Baden earlier this month.
It later transpired Sea The Moon had suffered a recurrence of the injury he picked up when winning the German Classic by 11 lengths back in July, but connections had hoped he would be able to race on next year.
 
Arc an option for classy Dolniya
Dolniya has emerged a possible Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe contender for the Aga Khan after her fine run in the Prix Vermeille on Sunday.

Alain de Royer-Dupre's filly fared best of the three-year-olds in the Group One and may have the honour of carrying the famous green and red silks on the first Sunday in October.

Earlier in the season, stablemates Shamkala and Zarshana were in the mix for the Arc but that duo now has other options, including a trip to Ascot on Champions Day.

"Dolniya is still a possibility for the Arc," said Georges Rimaud, the Aga Khan's racing manager. "As she has only come on the scene quite recently we need to discuss things.

"We'll see how she comes out of this first. She will have other options, but the Arc is still one of them.

"Zarshana is still a possibility for Ascot, nothing has been ruled out. Several options are open to her and nothing has been ruled out.

"Shamkala could also go to Ascot but she won't run in the Arc. She will run again this season but over a shorter distance than a mile and a half. She wasn't beaten far in the Prix Diane.

"I don't think it was stamina which beat her last time, though, it was a combination of the course itself (Deauville) and the ground at the time."
 
 

 

Sole Power revving up for big test

Sole Power set for Haydock test

Sole Power set for Haydock test

Brilliant Irish sprinter Sole Power and defending champion Gordon Lord Byron star among a maximum field of 17 runners in the Betfred Sprint Cup at Haydock on Saturday.

Eddie Lynam's Sole Power has already struck twice at the highest level this season, turning in devastating displays in the King's Stand at Royal Ascot and the Nunthorpe at York to confirm himself top of the tree in the five-furlong division.

However, the seven-year-old steps up to six furlongs for the first time this year on Merseyside this weekend, a distance over which he has never previously won.

Fellow Irish raider Gordon Lord Byron was a hugely impressive winner of the Group One contest 12 months ago for Tom Hogan and returns as a major contender following a narrow reverse on his return from a break at the Curragh recently.

Hogan said: "Gordon Lord Byron is in great form. He needed the run (at the Curragh) and it has really brought him on.

"He has done very well since and would be somewhere around the same condition as he was before he won this race last year. His work rider even thinks that he has got better."

Wayne Lordan, who has ridden Gordon Lord Byron on six previous occasions, winning three times, gets back on board on Saturday.

Sole Power and Gordon Lord Byron are joined on the trip across the Irish Sea by Aidan O'Brien's Cougar Mountain and Evanna McCutcheon's stable star Maarek.

Henry Candy runs Hackwood Stakes winner Music Master, as well as Dinkum Diamond, while Dean Ivory's July Cup runner-up Tropics enters calculations following his Listed-race win at Newmarket a fortnight ago.

Other contenders include Olly Stevens-trained Nunthorpe third Extortionist, the mount of Pat Smullen, David Barron's Beverley Bullet winner Pearl Secret and Clive Cox's Lennox Stakes scorer Es Que Love.

Michael Appleby's highly regarded three-year-old Danzeno is first reserve.