Saturday 25 March 2017

From the stands: Wee Willie can't see beyond Royal bias

SO distraught were the BBC that the Queen's horse, Carlton House, failed last week to deliver a Royal Epsom Derby winner that they searched tirelessly in the immediate aftermath to find some reason why the Michael Stoute-trained colt had been unfairly denied a victory that was rightfully his.

They soon focused on the fact that jockey Ryan Moore was forced to switch his mount to the outside in an effort to get a clear run. This seemed like a plausible explanation for the travesty until the aerial replay revealed that the French invader Pour Moi, trained by the dastardly Andre Fabre, had to take an even wider course but still had the finishing speed to snatch the spoils.

It was left to wee Willie Carson, whose punditry skills will never even come close to matching his prowess in the saddle, to deliver the final rueful verdict. "The best horse on the day won, unfortunately," he concluded, neglecting to note that the real best horse wasn't even second.

Another footnote, if you'll pardon the pun, to the race will see the shoe that Carlton House lost in that mad dash to the line auctioned to raise money for charity. The shoe was retrieved by a member of the ground staff at Epsom who donated it to Racing Welfare. The piece of racing memorabilia has been authenticated by the Queen's racing manager and will be sold to the highest bidder during the Betfair Pride of Racing awards at Epsom on July 14.

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WITH three national sports dailies, mainly devoted to soccer, Italians had plenty to read about last Tuesday's 2-0 defeat to Ireland. The only trouble was finding it. La Gazzetta dello Sport, Tuttosport and Corriere dello Sport all chose to include their reports half-way through their editions.

The reason? The betting scandal is still the big story, while the insatiable appetite for transfer speculation at this time of year was also considered of greater importance than the performance of the national team, currently top of Group C and poised to qualify for Euro 2012.

'Super Trap tricks Prandelli's Italy,' said La Gazzetta, which gave the Italians a five rating overall compared to Ireland's 6.5, with Stephen Hunt, Darren O'Dea and Sean St Ledger all getting the top rating of seven. Trap also got a 6.5 compared to Prandelli's 5.

Corriere dello Sport writer Andrea Santoni made Hunt man of the match and compared him, in character, to Marco Tardelli, for his ability in the 90th minute to run 50 metres to lay on the second goal for Simon Cox.

Tuttosport's report was headlined 'Prandelli, lessons from Trap', while their ratings saw Keith Andrews and subs Glenn Whelan and Cox fare best with seven.

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THERE are some 350,000 club golfers in Ireland, taking to the fairways each weekend to slice, hook and poke their way around their local course, dreaming, perhaps, of playing like the pros.

But how many would actually like to turn professional? How many would give up the thrill of weekly competition, of battling for the monthly medal, of representing their club in the cups and shields?

If you fancy joining the paid ranks, well now's your chance to do it with just one shot.

Druids Glen Resort are running a competition which will culminate 75 golfers having a chance to win €1,000,000 in September.

This is how it works. If you play on either the Druids Glen or Druids Heath courses, Monday to Thursday, from now until the end of August you will be entered into a draw. One winner from each day will be invited back to play in the Druids Glen Shot In A Million competition on September 16.

And if any of them happens to enjoy that happy combination of skill and luck and gets a hole in one on the 12th hole, they will walk away with €1,000,000.

You'll have to relinquish your amateur status, of course, but if you're going to go you might as well go in style.

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It was announced last week that TG4 will replace RTE as broadcasters of the Heineken Cup highlights. Does this mean that George Hook and Brent Pope are frantically brushing up on their Irish in preparation for next season?

Fergus McDonnell and Seán Ryan

ssport@independent.ie

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