Friday 15 December 2017

Navan success for Oscars Well

HORSE RACING: Jessica Harrington has lots to look forward to with Oscars Well after the five-year-old put in a tremendous performance in the Grade One Navan Novice Hurdle.

With the track covered in a light dusting of snow but having passed a morning inspection, Oscars Well oozed class as he made the most of Hidden Cyclone's absence on account of the ground to score by eight lengths from Sweet Shock. Paddy Power reacted with first-show quotes of 16/1 for the Albert Bartlett at Cheltenham in March and 33/1 for the shorter Neptune Novices' Hurdle.

The form of Oscars Well had been given a timely boost in the opener as the Dessie Hughes-trained Mackeys Forge (7/2 second favourite) stayed on best to take the two-mile maiden hurdle in the hands of Roger Loughran. Davy Condon and Silverlor had looked a huge danger but a bad mistake two out hampered his chance and, try as he might, he never quite looked like getting back on terms and went down by two and a half lengths.

* * * * *

GOLF: Ernie Els will take a two-shot lead into the final day of the South African Open after a second successive 65 put him in command in Durban.

The South African finished 14-under par and in pole position to win the title for a fifth time. Retief Goosen is second on 12-under after a 68.

Romain Wattel is a further shot back on 11-under after a 66, with British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen (67) and Charl Schwartzel (69) another shot back. Damien McGrane, who carded a second round 70, is the best of the Irish on three-under. Michael Hoey (70) is on one-over.

* * * * *

Martina Gillen of Team Ireland fired a 69 yesterday, finishing on two-under par to ensure safe passage into today's final round of the Ladies European Tour's Final Qualifying School after signing for three birdies and one bogey to secure a tie for 15th place.

Danielle McVeigh ended an extraordinary year with a final-round 79 to trail the field on 31-over, bringing to an end her frantic chase for her Tour card on both sides of the Atlantic.

Sweden's Caroline Hedwall will take a three-stroke cushion into today's final round at seven-under-par 281 after a 70.

* * * * *

Greyhound racing: Farley Turbo, owned in Derry by Paul Ellis and trained by Owen McKenna, had a comfortable win in the Kerry AgriBusiness Irish St Leger final at Limerick last night to land the €21,000 prize.

It was McKenna's second time to win this Classic -- his father Ger trained 13 winners at the old Market's Field.

A capacity crowd of nearly 3,000 saw 3/1 shot Farley Turbo get out to a perfect start and he led all the way to win in 29.57 for the 550 yards. Hare Mack was second, with the joint favourite Judicial Pride third.

* * * * *

RUGBY: Munster outscored Leinster by three tries to none in a 21-3 victory to keep the Women's Interprovincial Championship for the fifth successive season in the final at Donnybrook yesterday.

Hooker Christine Fanning went over for the opening try in the 11th minute. Then a beautiful blind pass from Ireland full-back Niamh Briggs put Sarah Jane Cody over to double the lead in the 32nd minute.

Centre Nora Stapleton responded with a penalty, but Laura Guest showed good speed for Munster's third try in the 44th minute and Briggs wrapped up victory with a pair of penalties at the death.

* * * * *

CRICKET: India battled to delay the inevitable after their torrid start to the first Test against South Africa continued with Jacques Kallis' double century on the third day.

The tourists' poor performance continued yesterday as the Proteas racked up a mammoth 620-4 declared in response to the tourists' paltry first-innings 136. Kallis was unbeaten on 201, Hashim Amla made 140 and AB de Villiers cracked a century off just 75 balls.

After the declaration, India reached the close on 190-2, trailing by 294 and needing to bat out two more days. Virender Sehwag (63) and Gautam Gambhir (80) put on 137 for the first wicket but their departures left India deep in the mire.

* * * * *

BOXING: Willie 'Big Bang' Casey will challenge Cuban southpaw Guillermo 'The Jackal' Rigondeaux for his WBA World title in Ireland.

Dolphil Promotions, who manage Casey, yesterday confirmed that a deal has been struck between both Rigondeaux's manager Gary Hyde of Top Rank Promotions and Dolphil for the proposed World Title fight. Casey is the current European super-bantamweight champion and Rigondeaux is the WBA interim king.

The fight is scheduled for next March and is likely to be held in at the City West in Dublin rather than Millstreet in Cork, which was originally touted as a venue for the clash.

* * * * *

athletics: Fionnuala Britton is expected to get a chance to gain revenge for her narrow miss in getting a medal at the European Cross-Country Championships in the Algarve last Sunday.

The 26-year-old Wicklow runner finished a close fourth in the women's senior event, so close in fact that she had the same time as the bronze medallist, Dulce Felix of Portugal, but now Britton is in line to get another opportunity of turning around that finishing order at the IAAF Grand Challenge event in Edinburgh in two weeks' time.

* * * * *

Basketball: UL finished the year off with a resounding 92-63 victory over UCD Marian last night. Eagles were quick out of the blocks, with Scott Kinevane shooting two of his seven outside shots inside the first minute.

And with former Colaiste Éanna classmate Ciaran White rebounding well, UL pulled away in the third quarter. American Cameron Mitchell top scored on 30 points.

In the other men's superleague game played last night, unbeaten Killester had five players on double figures in their 94-72 win over Moycullen at the IWA.

Irish Independent Sport Star Awards

Pick our magic sports moment of the year and win a trip for two to London. To view the shortlist and cast your vote click here.

Sunday Independent

Promoted Links

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport