Britain’s oldest professional jockey Jimmy Quinn has confirmed his intention to continue riding until the end of the season, having initially planned to announce his retirement at Newmarket on Tuesday.

The 56-year-old has enjoyed multiple big-race victories during a 40-year career, most notably making the most of his light weight when coming in for the ride aboard John Best’s rapid two-year-old Kingsgate Native, who provided him with a first Group One victory in the 2007 Nunthorpe Stakes at York.

With the Charlie Hills-trained Bodorgan his only booked ride at this year’s Craven meeting, Quinn felt the time had come to call it a day, but he has now been persuaded to carry on for the rest of the year.

“It (licence) runs out today and word got out on the street pretty quick (regarding the planned retirement),” he told Racing TV.

“I got a few phone calls, positive ones from senior riders and other people riding, and one of them said ‘why are you packing up at the start of the season, why not ride for a bit longer in the summer?’

“I’m going to reapply for my licence again and ride until probably the end of the season on the turf and then say thank you very much.

“I’ve had a lot of support over the years and I’ve had a few good phone calls to say keep going with it. I have no weight issues, I’m pretty fit and ride out every day.

“Even if I get 20 rides between now and then, it’s 20 rides. I enjoy it a lot still, it’s a great job and it keeps you young. It keeps you active and gives you something to aim at every day.”

Track & Field fans around the world will be treated to an exciting clash in the women’s 100m hurdles at the season’s opening Diamond League meet in Xiamen on Saturday.

Jamaica’s two-time World champion, Danielle Williams, will take on newly crowned World Indoor 60m champion and record holder, Devynne Charlton, as well as 2021 Olympic bronze medallist Megan Tapper.

World record holder Tobi Amusan and reigning Olympic champion Jasmine Camacho-Quinn are also set to line up on Saturday along with Americans Alaysha Johnson and Masai Russell.

The field is completed by Switzerland’s Ditaji Kambundji, 2022 World Indoor champion Cyrena Samba-Mayela and China’s Yanni Wu.

Reigning Olympic champion Hansle Parchment will compete alongside countryman Orlando Bennett in the 110mm hurdles.

Bajan two-time World Championship bronze medallist Sada Williams will line up in the 400m alongside Guyana’s Aliyah Abrams.

Bahamian Anthonique Strachan will take on some of the world’s best in the 200m.

Finally, Jamaica’s World Indoor 60m bronze medallist Ackeem Blake, 2011 World 100m champion Yohan Blake and reigning national 100m champion Rohan Watson will all line up in the 100m against a stacked field including the likes of American world champions Christian Coleman and Fred Kerley.

 

In Excelsis Deo will not be winning out of turn if he can belatedly open his account for the season in the Matt Hampson Foundation Silver Trophy Handicap Chase at Cheltenham.

Although winless since making a successful British and chasing debut for Harry Fry at Hereford in December 2022, the JP McManus-owned six-year-old has run several good races in defeat and his trainer feels he is due a change of fortune.

Placed on his first two starts of the current campaign at Cheltenham, the Saddex gelding may well have secured top honours on his next appearance at Sandown but for unseating Jonathan Burke at the final fence.

He then did well to finish as close as he did when fifth at the Cheltenham Festival last month after being hampered by a faller four fences from home.

Fry feels In Excelsis Deo has more than enough ability to claim victory in Wednesday’s Grade Two feature if getting the rub of the green.

“He bumped into Madara in December, who then went and won at the Dublin Racing Festival, and we obviously unseated when with every chance at the last at Sandown on his next run,” said the trainer.

“I think it’s fair to say he hasn’t necessarily had luck on his side or the rub of the green this season, but he’s been running well in defeat and, with a bit of luck in running, hopefully he won’t be too far away in this.

“Hopefully he can put it all together and he’ll be in there with every chance.”

The title-chasing pair of Dan Skelton and Paul Nicholls are both represented in the £70,000 contest, with Skelton saddling Sail Away and Nicholls running course-and-distance winner Il Ridoto.

Sail Away returns to handicap company after finishing last of four in the Grade One Ascot Chase, while Il Ridoto has been placed in the Paddy Power Gold Cup, the December Gold Cup and on Festival Trials day at Cheltenham this season, but could finish only eighth in the Plate on his latest visit.

“He’s a standing dish at Cheltenham and usually runs very well in these two-and-a-half-mile handicaps,” Nicholls told Betfair.

“It didn’t quite happen for him last time at the Festival, when he was towards the rear in the early stages before staying on at the finish. He has his chance, but is probably still on a stiff enough handicap mark.”

Scarface has won three of his last four starts over fences for Joe Tizzard and faces a rise in class.

Tizzard said: “He’s done nothing wrong and we were tempted to wait for Sandown next week, but the forecast is drying out all the time and we thought we’d have a go here.

“It’s a step up, but he’s in cracking form and he’s on the upgrade.”

Katie Taylor is relishing “the rematch the world has waited to see” after it was announced she will defend her status as undisputed world light-welterweight champion against Amanda Serrano on July 20.

The rivals made history as the first female fighters to headline at New York’s famed Madison Square Garden two years ago, with Taylor prevailing by split decision in an all-action lightweight contest.

A return bout will take place at 140lbs as the co-main event to Jake Paul v Mike Tyson at Dallas’ AT&T Stadium being broadcast by Netflix, which has more than 260million paid memberships globally.

It is set to be the third live sports event shown by the streaming giant following a celebrity golf event last November and a tennis exhibition between Carlos Alcaraz and Rafael Nadal in March.

“This is the rematch the world has wanted to see and I’m delighted that it’s finally happening,” the 37-year-old Taylor said.

“The first fight in New York was obviously an epic occasion and it more than lived up to the billing, and I’m sure the rematch will be no different.”

Taylor captured the WBC, WBA, IBF and WBO light-welterweight titles in November by outpointing Chantelle Cameron, who handed the Irish fighter her first professional defeat six months earlier.

Serrano, who has won world titles in seven weight divisions, stepped back down to featherweight after losing to Taylor and has won all four fights since then.

She was the undisputed world champion at the 126lbs weight limit but elected to vacate her WBC crown to fight 12 three-minute rounds – the men’s championship standard – against Danila Ramos last year.

But the Puerto Rican, who has 46 wins – 30 inside the distance – two defeats and one draw in her decorated professional career, will drop back down to 10 two-minute rounds to face Taylor (23-1, 6KOs).

“I promised my fans they would see this rematch after we made history at MSG,” the 35-year-old Serrano said.

“It feels like a dream come true to know that Katie and I are finally making it happen on the biggest stage possible to show the world what elite women’s boxing is all about.

“While my focus continues to be on giving women the choice to fight with the same rules as men, I’ve always said that this is the one fight I’d go back to 10×2 for, if that’s what Katie wanted.

“I’m coming for her belts, she wants 10×2, so that’s what we will do. I believe I won our first fight, but I didn’t get the decision, so this time I’m not leaving it to the judges.”

Philippe Clement has put Rangers’ historic defeat to Ross County down to an “off-day” that even the best teams in the world experience as he looks for a reaction against Dundee on Wednesday night.

County’s 3-2 cinch Premiership victory on Sunday was the Dingwall club’s first win over Rangers in 25 attempts and dented the Light Blues’ title hopes.

Rangers are four points behind Celtic, with their game in hand against Dundee at Dens Park getting the green light to go ahead after two previous postponements due to an unplayable pitch.

Clement’s side have won just two in seven and taken four points from their last 12 but the Belgian was keen to isolate the County display as the first of its kind with deficiencies in structure, organisation and basics since he took over in October and insists such days happen at every club, including all-conquering Manchester City.

“They were very disappointed in themselves and that is a positive thing,” said Clement, who revealed left-back Ridvan Yilmaz remains out along with midfielder Mohamed Diomande, while defender Leon Balogun is a doubt with illness.

“I had some clear words after the game and then we had a good debriefing on what went wrong – individually and collectively – and how we can make it better.

“It was an off-day.

“It is the first time in six months that I have seen my team like that and I was disappointed. But I think every manager has moments like that, even with teams that win amazing things.

“I have been watching the series of Man City’s treble last year and I saw quite a few of those moments.

“It doesn’t mean that I want to see it back on Wednesday of course, but it is part of the game.

“It’s not something that you want, not the players or manager, fans.

“But the most important thing is how you react and I have a good feeling about that, that I will see the real face of my team tomorrow.

“Motherwell (lost 2-1) was a freak accident, we could have won 6-1, we had a lot of chances but it wasn’t our lucky day.

“The Celtic game (3-3) was a big game, we didn’t start well but we had a great reaction and we played a really good second half and I think it was a deserved draw.

“But this one on Sunday was a bad one, that is true, so we have to react tomorrow.

“Sometimes you need a knock on your head to remind you what you need to do to be strong.”

Clement was pleased to see that the match between Dundee and Rangers is set to go ahead at the third time of asking after a pitch inspection at Dens Park.

Rangers have already made the trip to the Scot Foam Stadium twice – on March 17 and April 10 – only for the pitch to be deemed unplayable, and contingency plans had been drawn up for the game to be moved to St Johnstone’s McDiarmid Park if the pitch failed its latest inspection.

He said: “People who decided to play at Dens Park are sure that there will be a game tomorrow and that is a very positive thing.

“They know the weather forecast probably and they are certain that the pitch will cope with that.

“So it’s good for us to know where we will play and people from Dundee and Rangers are happy that we can finally play the game.”

Bernardo Silva is motivated by the prospect of making history as Manchester City chase an unprecedented second successive treble.

City have put themselves in a strong position to retain the three trophies they won in glorious fashion last year after taking control of the Premier League title race at the weekend.

Pep Guardiola’s side are now two points clear of rivals Arsenal and Liverpool with six games remaining.

Their attention now switches to the Champions League and the second leg of a quarter-final tie against Real Madrid at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday that will begin with the aggregate score at 3-3. They then head to Wembley on Saturday for an FA Cup semi-final date with Chelsea.

Midfielder Silva said of City’s triple target: “Of course it’s obviously (an) inspiration and motivation.

“We want to create that legacy and win another Premier League, to do six in seven years and four in a row, and we want to win the Champions League, to do two in a row, that only Madrid did (with) three in a row. No-one else has won consecutive Champions Leagues, if I am not mistaken.

“If we can win two trebles in a row, that no-one did, that would be legacy. That is definitely motivation.

“It’s very difficult as in one week we could be out of all the competitions, but we are fighting for it and going to do everything in our power to be, each day, a step closer that goal.”

Manager Pep Guardiola, who was speaking alongside Silva at a press conference, was more circumspect in detailing his ambitions but made clear his team will be giving everything to achieve the maximum.

He said: “I am not going to say don’t feel this to my players when they feel this, but I have a different opinion. We are far away from those hypothetical dreams.

“When we are in the final of the FA Cup, and (have) two or three games (to go in the Premier League) with an advantage, and in the final of the Champions League, I will start to think about that. But not before a game against Real Madrid.

“We have a lot of difficult games. It is one game at a time and it is Real Madrid tomorrow. I started to think of the treble last season when we beat (Manchester) United in the FA Cup final.

“The success for me this season is that we are still there, in this position four or five weeks away, still in contention. It’s incredible.

“Now, extend the chance one more week, then one more week. This is what we try to do tomorrow and Saturday and the next games.”

Guardiola, as a former Barcelona captain and manager, has had a fierce rivalry with Real Madrid throughout his career.

This is the third successive year his City side have played Real in the Champions League knockout stages, with the Spanish side going through in 2022 but the Premier League outfit prevailing a year ago.

And after last week’s pulsating draw in the Bernabeu Stadium, Guardiola is relishing another contest against Carlo Ancelotti’s team.

Guardiola said: “Real Madrid in this competition is always a big game. It’s been special for me as a player and manager, but that doesn’t count. What counts is what we have to do to win tomorrow.

“I don’t fear them but I respect them a lot.”

City hope to have Kyle Walker back after five games out with a hamstring injury.

Werder Bremen have suspended Naby Keita for the rest of the season and imposed a “substantial” fine after accusing him of walking out of Sunday’s Bundesliga clash with Bayer Leverkusen.

The 29-year-old former Liverpool midfielder did not feature in a 5-0 defeat at the Bay Arena, with his club claiming he had chosen “not to travel to the ground with the team and decided to go home instead” after discovering he was not in the starting line-up.

A statement on the club’s official website said: “Werder Bremen have suspended Naby Keita until the end of the season. The club have also handed the midfielder a substantial fine.”

Guinea international Keita, the statement added, “will no longer train with the team or be part of the first-team dressing room.”

Bremen’s head of professional football Clemens Fritz said: “As a club, we won’t tolerate Naby’s behaviour.

“He let his team down in a time of difficulty surrounding our recent run of form and squad availability and put his own interests above those of the team. We can’t allow that.

“At this stage of the season, we need full focus on the remaining games and a team who stick together. That’s why we’ve been left with no alternative.”

Leverkusen’s win clinched them the title and left Bremen sitting in 12th place, just five points clear of the bottom three with as many games remaining.

Keita, who had a spell in Germany with RB Leipzig earlier in his career, joined the club as a free agent on a three-year deal last summer following the expiry of his contract at Anfield.

Harry Kane admits the season will be a failure if Bayern Munich do not win the Champions League.

Bayern host Arsenal on Wednesday in the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final, with the first match last week ending in a 2-2 draw.

Bayer Leverkusen romped to the Bundesliga title at the weekend, ending Bayern’s run of 11 straight league trophies and leaving them with only Europe’s highest honour to play for.

While Kane has excelled individually, his wait to win a team trophy after more than a decade without one at Tottenham could well continue.

The England captain told a press conference: “Of course every player, every club wants to win trophies, that’s the ultimate goal every season, but there’s a process into winning, there’s a process individually and in the team.

“You want to improve as a player every year, you want to show the world your capabilities and you want to push yourself to the very limits and you hope that helps with the team.

“Of course, from the club’s point of view it will be a failed season if we don’t win anything this year because we’re expected to win but all we can do is take that into next year and try and turn that around.

“The main thing for us is we still have an opportunity to turn this season into a great season if we win the Champions League. That motivation is still there and as players you can only hang onto that. If we can do something special tomorrow night then of course that keeps that hope alive.

“It’s a time to raise our game, it’s a time for me and the players who have been in big situations, pressure situations, to step up and be counted. It’s going to be an amazing atmosphere. There’s a lot of expectation but I think there’s a good belief among the squad that we can achieve something tomorrow.”

Kane’s history with Spurs adds an extra edge to the occasion, with the striker also having been released by Arsenal as a child.

He played down the significance, saying: “I think it’s something that’s probably built up more from the outside, from the media, from the fans, rather than me myself.

“Of course I had a lot of history with Arsenal playing for Spurs for so many years in that north London derby, obviously it was the biggest game of the season every year probably, but it’s a different chapter, it’s a different moment for me playing for a different team and my focus is trying to beat a really good side.

“Of course I know there’ll be a lot of Spurs fans watching hoping that Bayern Munich go through but I can’t focus on that.

“Maybe it was in the back of my mind, being released from a young age, there was always a point to prove, and I feel like I’m the type of player who throughout my whole career has had points to prove. I don’t think that ever leaves you.

“Now I’m at Bayern Munich and they’re a top team in the Champions League and of course I have history with them but all I can do is try and help Bayern Munich qualify for the semi-finals.”

Cole Palmer has joined Erling Haaland at the top of the Premier League goal-scorer’s chart after adding four more to his tally in Chelsea’s 6-0 thrashing of Everton.

The Chelsea midfielder surged alongside Manchester City goal machine Haaland in the race for the Golden Boot, with both players currently on 20 in the top flight this season.

Here, the PA news agency takes a look at the top six contenders for the award as the 2023-24 Premier League campaign enters the run-in.

Golden Boot battle

Cole Palmer (Chelsea) – 20 goals in 28 appearances

The 21-year-old’s remarkable first season at Chelsea just keeps getting better. Palmer, who did not score a league goal for Manchester City, has notched 10 in his last five league matches, rocketing into Golden Boot contention.

Erling Haaland (Man City) – 20 goals in 26 appearances

Haaland set the Premier League ablaze in 2022-23, claiming a new record of 36 goals in a season. The 23-year-old started like a train again this season before missing five games with a foot injury. Since returning in January he has scored six in 11 appearances, underwhelming by his standards, but the Norway hit man remains a heavy favourite to retain the Golden Boot.

Ollie Watkins (Aston Villa) – 19 goals in 32 appearances

Watkins is enjoying his most prolific season in the top flight, already surpassing his 15 goals from last season, while also providing the most assists (10) of those on this list. The 28-year-old’s current goal conversion rate is better than Haaland’s and he will be hoping to feature for England at the Euros.

Alexander Isak (Newcastle) – 17 goals in 24 appearances

Isak has more than justified Newcastle’s outlay of around £60million after a thigh injury limited his impact in his first campaign at St James’ Park. The 24-year-old is the first Newcastle player since Alan Shearer in 2003-04 to score 20 goals in a season for the club in all competitions.

Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) – 17 goals in 26 appearances

Salah has won the Golden Boot on three occasions during his stellar Liverpool career and has scored 20 top-flight goals or more in four of his six previous seasons at the club. The Egypt forward is on course to make that five in seven.

Dominic Solanke (Bournemouth) – 17 goals in 32 appearances

When Solanke struck the opener in last weekend’s 2-2 draw at Manchester United he broke the record for the most Premier League goals scored in a single season by a Bournemouth player. The 26-year-old has produced his best form under Andoni Iraola and could force his way into England’s plans for the Euros.

Southgate’s sharp-shooters

Gareth Southgate must be filled with excitement when he looks at the top 10 scorers in the Premier League this season, with six England players on the list.

Palmer only made his England debut in November but his astonishing form for Chelsea must surely earn him a spot in the squad for this summer’s Euro 2024.

Watkins could find himself in a straight shoot-out with Ivan Toney for the spot as back-up striker to Bayern Munich’s Harry Kane, while Solanke has just one England cap to his name back in 2017.

Further down the scoring charts, West Ham’s Jarrod Bowen has enjoyed a stellar campaign with 15 goals while Manchester City midfielder Phil Foden has netted 10 goals since Christmas to take his tally to 14 overall.

Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka, a certain starter for England in Germany injury permitting, also has 14 goals to further add to England’s firepower.

And when Kane’s 43 goals in all competitions for Bayern and Jude Bellingham’s 22 for Real Madrid are factored in, Southgate’s side are an exciting prospect.

Cole Palmer has joined Erling Haaland at the top of the Premier League goal-scorer’s chart after adding four more to his tally in Chelsea’s 6-0 thrashing of Everton.

The Chelsea midfielder surged alongside Manchester City goal machine Haaland in the race for the Golden Boot, with both players currently on 20 in the top flight this season.

Here, the PA news agency takes a look at the top six contenders for the award as the 2023-24 Premier League campaign enters the run-in.

Golden Boot battle

Cole Palmer (Chelsea) – 20 goals in 28 appearances

The 21-year-old’s remarkable first season at Chelsea just keeps getting better. Palmer, who did not score a league goal for Manchester City, has notched 10 in his last five league matches, rocketing into Golden Boot contention.

Erling Haaland (Man City) – 20 goals in 26 appearances

Haaland set the Premier League ablaze in 2022-23, claiming a new record of 36 goals in a season. The 23-year-old started like a train again this season before missing five games with a foot injury. Since returning in January he has scored six in 11 appearances, underwhelming by his standards, but the Norway hit man remains a heavy favourite to retain the Golden Boot.

Ollie Watkins (Aston Villa) – 19 goals in 32 appearances

Watkins is enjoying his most prolific season in the top flight, already surpassing his 15 goals from last season, while also providing the most assists (10) of those on this list. The 28-year-old’s current goal conversion rate is better than Haaland’s and he will be hoping to feature for England at the Euros.

Alexander Isak (Newcastle) – 17 goals in 24 appearances

Isak has more than justified Newcastle’s outlay of around £60million after a thigh injury limited his impact in his first campaign at St James’ Park. The 24-year-old is the first Newcastle player since Alan Shearer in 2003-04 to score 20 goals in a season for the club in all competitions.

Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) – 17 goals in 26 appearances

Salah has won the Golden Boot on three occasions during his stellar Liverpool career and has scored 20 top-flight goals or more in four of his six previous seasons at the club. The Egypt forward is on course to make that five in seven.

Dominic Solanke (Bournemouth) – 17 goals in 32 appearances

When Solanke struck the opener in last weekend’s 2-2 draw at Manchester United he broke the record for the most Premier League goals scored in a single season by a Bournemouth player. The 26-year-old has produced his best form under Andoni Iraola and could force his way into England’s plans for the Euros.

Southgate’s sharp-shooters

Gareth Southgate must be filled with excitement when he looks at the top 10 scorers in the Premier League this season, with six England players on the list.

Palmer only made his England debut in November but his astonishing form for Chelsea must surely earn him a spot in the squad for this summer’s Euro 2024.

Watkins could find himself in a straight shoot-out with Ivan Toney for the spot as back-up striker to Bayern Munich’s Harry Kane, while Solanke has just one England cap to his name back in 2017.

Further down the scoring charts, West Ham’s Jarrod Bowen has enjoyed a stellar campaign with 15 goals while Manchester City midfielder Phil Foden has netted 10 goals since Christmas to take his tally to 14 overall.

Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka, a certain starter for England in Germany injury permitting, also has 14 goals to further add to their firepower.

And when Kane’s 43 goals in all competitions for Bayern and Jude Bellingham’s 22 for Real Madrid are factored in, Southgate’s side are an exciting prospect.

Adam Peaty and Duncan Scott have been included in Team GB’s 33-strong swimming squad for this summer’s Olympics.

Peaty secured his spot at Paris 2024 at the British Championships earlier this month and will be gunning for a third successive gold medal in his signature men’s 100 metres breaststroke event.

He set the fastest time for 2024 in the discipline at the British trials after a turbulent past couple of years in which he has struggled with injuries and a much-publicised battle with his mental health.

“I’m thrilled to have made my third Olympic team,” Peaty said. “It’s always amazing to be part of Team GB, but with it being so close to home in Paris this summer, and us having more home fans there supporting us, it’s even more exciting.”

Scott, who became the first Briton to win four medals at a single Games at Tokyo 2020, also booked his passage by winning the men’s 200m individual medley and finishing as runner-up to Matt Richards in the men’s 100m and 200m freestyle events in London a couple of weeks ago.

Richards aims to break Scott’s record and become the first Briton to win five medals at one Games and has been chosen, as has Tom Dean although the double Olympic champion will almost certainly not defend the men’s 200m freestyle title he won in Tokyo after failing to get a top-two spot in the British trials.

Freya Colbert and Oliver Morgan are among 10 swimmers who will make their Olympic debuts, while Freya Anderson has been selected despite missing out on automatic qualification after contracting glandular fever at the start of the year.

Team GB won a record eight medals in the pool in Tokyo, surpassing their previous best of seven from the 1908 Games.

“Team GB has a proud tradition in Olympic swimming competitions, and I am delighted to welcome all 33 athletes to the team for Paris 2024,” said Team GB chef de mission Mark England.

“The strength and depth of our pool swimming team was evident to see at the recent Aquatics GB Swimming Championships, and along with the 10 swimmers making their debut for Team GB it is fantastic to welcome back seven Olympic Champions and nine Olympic medallists.

“I have no doubt the thrilling races we saw at the British Championships last week will be equally close fought.”

Roger Varian’s True Cyan will be put to the test in the Lanwades Stud Nell Gwyn Stakes at Newmarket on Wednesday.

The grey is a daughter of No Nay Never and the smart mare Realtra, a multiple Group winner who was also trained at Carlburg Stables by Varian.

True Cyan has run once to date, competing in a seven-furlong maiden on the Rowley Mile last September and prevailing by a length and a half.

She now returns to the same course and distance but at Group Three level to test her credentials in the Nell Gwynn, a race that can often serve as a trial to the various 1000 Guineas contests in Europe.

“She won her maiden well on the same track last autumn, we’re really on a mission to find out where we might go with her and what we might do this season,” said Chris Wall, racing manager to owner Shaikh Khalid’s KHK Racing organisation.

“It looks a good opportunity to do that, it’s a competitive race and depending on how we run, we’ll know what we’re going to do in the future.

“She’s wintered well, she’s been training satisfactorily, we’re hopeful of a positive effort and then we’ll take it from there.”

There are proven Group performers in the race in Matrika and Dance Sequence and those horses will act as good yardsticks for True Cyan as connections seek to understand her calibre.

“If you’re going to be stakes class, you’ll have to be up there competing with them – and if not, we’ll have to go down another route with her,” Wall said.

“We’ll see, we’ll know a lot more after her run tomorrow but she’s done everything in the right way and has been training nicely, we’re hoping for a nice run.”

Godolphin and Charlie Appleby’s Dance Sequence heads the market at present.

A winner of a July Course maiden last summer, the Dubawi filly then contested the Oh So Sharp over the Nell Gwyn course and distance and prevailed again.

That latter run was at Group Three level and the three-year-old now returns to start her season at the same grade.

“Dance Sequence has done very well over the winter,” Appleby said on the Godolphin website.

“She has already won over the course and distance in the Oh So Sharp Stakes and looks the one to beat again.”

Aidan O’Brien is represented in the race by Matrika, another daughter of No Nay Never who steps up to seven furlongs having last been seen winning the Group Two Airlie Stud Stakes at the Curragh.

Prior to that, she won her maiden and was second in the Albany Stakes at Royal Ascot when coming home a length behind subsequent Cheveley Park heroine Porta Fortuna.

Ryan Moore takes the ride and told Betfair: “Dance Sequence has looked pretty good in winning in both her starts, including the Oh So Sharp Stakes, but I don’t think my filly is far behind her, if at all.

“Her only defeat came in the Albany at Royal Ascot, when second to the subsequent Cheveley Park winner and Breeders’ Cup runner-up Porta Fortuna, and she did it well for me in a Group Two at the Curragh subsequently.

“We didn’t see her after that win in July but the fact that she is here speaks for itself, Aidan has his horses in very good nick and, while she has plenty of speed, I’d have thought she will get the extra furlong here OK.

“But there are a few promising horses in this, and this certainly isn’t a straight match between us and the Godolphin horse, for all Dance Sequence is the hot favourite in here, I see.”

Elsewhere in the race is John and Thady Gosden’s Spiritual, fourth in the Rockfel on her last outing of 2023, with Richard Fahey’s Dubawi filly Pretty Crystal entered after collecting a Group Three placing last term.

A new £3million funding initiative will aim to help develop more players and coaches from across the British Isles ahead of the first British and Irish Lions Women’s tour in 2027.

The Lions will play three Tests against world champions New Zealand during September 2027 and are also expected to have warm-up fixtures against provincial sides.

Among the challenges facing the historic tour is England’s clear superiority over the other unions, which has seen the Red Roses dominate the Six Nations – with Saturday’s 46-0 victory over Scotland in Edinburgh stretching their overall winning run in the tournament to 27 matches.

Backed by the Lions Women’s team founding partner Royal London, the £3m ‘Levelling the Playing Field’ pathways funding grant will be utilised in tailored plans for each union to best match their needs.

The Irish Rugby Football Union has decided to use the funding to host additional women’s under-18 and under-20 camps and training matches to accelerate player development as well as developing a ‘Coach Accelerator Scholarship Program’ and working with universities to identify future talent.

The Welsh Rugby Union will strengthen its women’s pathway coaching staff with five new members, including a performance pathway coach and specialist skills coach. The WRU will also invest in talent identification programmes, and initiatives to engage Welsh qualified talent based outside of the nation.

Scottish Rugby is set to recruit two ‘Performance Pipeline’ coaches and will deliver additional youth camps and training matches to accelerate development within the teams as well as hosting residential camps for a national academy.

The Rugby Football Union will use the grant to further develop England’s current player development groups, which will help increase the targeted skill development of players coming through the pathway.

It is hoped collaborative working and shared research and ideas will help develop playing standards and give the Lions Women’s squad the best chance of a successful tour to in New Zealand in three years’ time.

Lions chief executive Ben Calveley said: “Supporting the growth of the women’s game is a key strategic priority for the British and Irish Lions as it is for each of our constituent unions.

“Royal London’s ‘Levelling the Playing Field’ grant represents a significant investment into the women’s game in the four unions and will make a positive impact on women’s rugby.”

The cinch Premiership match between Dundee and Rangers is set to go ahead at the third time of asking on Wednesday after a pitch inspection at Dens Park.

Rangers have already made the trip to the Scot Foam Stadium twice – on March 17 and April 10 – only for the pitch to be deemed unplayable, and contingency plans had been drawn up for the game to be moved to St Johnstone’s McDiarmid Park if the pitch failed its latest inspection.

A statement from the Scottish Professional Football League said: “The SPFL can confirm that the cinch Premiership game between Dundee and Rangers scheduled for tomorrow, Wednesday April 17, is set to go ahead as planned at the Scot Foam Stadium, Dens Park.

“On the basis of the weather forecasts and following discussions with the SPFL-appointed pitch consultants, who have been at the stadium for a number of days, no further inspection is planned ahead of the match.

“Contingency plans had been put in place by the league to switch the fixture to McDiarmid Park should the pitch have been deemed unplayable today, but these will no longer be required and the game will go ahead as planned at Dens Park.”

The fixture has taken on extra significance in the wake of Rangers’ shock defeat to Ross County at the weekend, which has left them four points adrift of Celtic, with this fixture their game in hand.

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