ROYAL ASSAULT, installed a howling 1-5 favourite, justified the support with an all-the-way victory in yesterday’s restricted stakes over 1100 metres for native and imported three-year-olds at Caymanas Park.One of two winners for leading jockey Shane Ellis and trainer Anthony ‘Baba’ Nunes, ROYAL ASSAULT disputed the early lead with 7-1 chance DWAYNE STAR before opening up from the half mile, holding on by three-quarter length from the fast-finishing WINGS OF HOPE (9-1), in the good time of 1:06.2.Owned by Preferred Racing, the chestnut colt by Blue Pepsi Lodge out of Mayken ticked off his third from seven starts, all over 1100 metres.Ellis and Nunes had a second winner in 3-5 favourite GOLDEN BULLET, the 4-y-o colt coming through on the inside approaching the home turn to win the seventh race over 1500 metres by 7 1/2 lengths.Lead establishedWith closest rivals Robert Halledeen and Omar Walker failing to ride a winner on the card, Ellis (58 wins) extended his lead in the jockeys’ championship race to three over Halledeen and seven over Walker.Jevanne Erwin emulated Ellis with two winners – COURT CALL at 5-1 in the opening race and VESPERS at 4-1 in the closing race.The Dalton Sirjue-trained GARY GLITTER, ridden by Rayan Wilson for owner/trainer Gordon Lewis at odds of 7-2, romped the two-year-old race by six lengths in post-to-post fashion.
GOALS HARD TO COME BY Portmore have found goals hard to come by lately. After netting five in their first three, they’ve only managed two in their last five. However, the former winners have continued to keep things tight and just need to sort out their goalscoring issues. Usually, when Boys’ Town and Waterhouse meet it is a top-table clash, but not so this season. Waterhouse are currently in the relegation zone, in 11th on seven points, with two wins from eight games. Boys’ Town are two points better and two places higher with the same number of wins from as many matches. The season looks bleak for both teams, so they have all to play for. Things are going downhill fast for Cavalier, who are winless in five and have slipped from third to 10th. They will have a tough task halting their losing slide against fifth-place Humble Lion. A point separates sixth-place Tivoli and eighth-place Rivoli, and both are keen to return to winning ways. Reno will start favourites against UWI, but the home team cannot be underestimated. Buoyed by their first win in four games, after beating Rivoli 1-0 last Monday, Harbour View will look to take advantage of Portmore United’s recent slump to make further strides up the Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL) table when the teams meet at Juici Patties field today at 3 p.m. In other games, Cavalier play Humble Lion at Stadium East, Rivoli entertain Tivoli at Prison Oval, Waterhouse take on Boys’ Town at Drewsland, and UWI host Reno at UWI Bowl. All games will start at 3 p.m., except the Cavalier-Humble Lion encounter which begins at 5 p.m. Montego Bay United will host Arnett Gardens in tomorrow night’s live game at the Montego Bay Sports Complex. Since beating Waterhouse in round four, Harbour View had to wait five rounds before tasting victory. The points lifted the east Kingston club two places up to seventh, and they will fancy getting a result against Portmore, who have drawn their last three.
Tomorrow’s game: – 8:40 p.m: Arnett Gardens vs Humble Lion – Anthony Spaulding Complex Today’s Games: “It has to change. We had a good game against Montego Bay on Monday last and should have won. “The fact is that we are on our way up. The last five games we only lost one, a contentious game against Arnett Gardens, and the five games before, we lost four and drew one so our record bears that out,” Speid explained. Rivoli United, despite their position on the table, are a competitive unit and can get the better of any team in the league on their day. They are capable of scoring goals and with Cory Burke, the second leading scorer in the league on nine, they have a player who will cause problems for any team. A major weak point for Rivoli is the number of goals they concede. Their 19 goals conceded are only better than the promoted UWI FC and Boys’ Town, who struggled at the start of the season. This situation could benefit Cavalier’s leading scorer, Chevone Marsh. A place above the relegation zone is not where Rudolph Speid, coach of Cavalier, thought his team would have been at this stage of the Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL), and this could get worse if they achieve any other result but win when they play away at bottom of the table Rivoli United. Blessed with talent but plagued by injuries, Cavalier will have to go against their season form book to affect their fortunes positively. “We have issues. There are injuries and other things, but I think we are getting over them, but one of the things we have to be aware of going into this game is that we tend to play well against the better teams and have bad results against teams below us. So based on our record, it is going to be a difficult game,” said Speid, summing up his team’s situation. Add to that the fact that Cavalier have not won a single away game this season and the reasons for Cavalier to worry increase. Speid, however, puts a positive spin on things. -3 p.m: Montego Bay United vs Boys’ Town – Wespow Park – 3 p.m: Portmore United vs UWI FC – Juici Park, Clarendon – 3 p.m: Rivoli vs Cavalier – Drax Hall, St Ann – 3 p.m: Tivoli Gardens vs Reno – Edward Seaga Stadium – 3 p.m: Waterhouse vs Harbour View – Drewsland Stadium POSITIVE SPIN
Christoffe Bryan opened his season with a win in the men’s high jump at the Kansas State University (KSU), University of Kansas (KU), Wichita State University (WSU) Showdown in Lawrence, Kansas.Bryan, the former Wolmerian, won with a leap of 2.20m as his team finished second in the contest among the three universities.His countrywoman, Kimberly Williams, won the women’s equivalent with a 1.87m leap as she continues her gradual improvement since attending KSU two season ago.Despite his winning opening, Bryan is far from happy. A bothersome knee that has plagued him for years now continues to hamper his progress, a big concern since he plans to represent Jamaica at the Olympic Games in Rio this summer.”That’s the main goal,” said a frustrated Bryan. “I was supposed to go to the World Championships last year, but I had to pull out because of the same knee issue. But I am trying to get it sorted out as soon as possible.”Bryan has been struggling with a bad knee since his days in high school. He has had it treated, but nothing seems to be able help him put the injury behind him. It has now become a nuisance.”I am having this problem for too long and it’s holding me back. I went 2.28m last year and couldn’t get back there, so I was pretty frustrated and disappointed,” he said.The knee has not allowed him to jump much in practice this off-season, and he believes it affected him on Friday.”I feel it was a pretty good performance because I haven’t jumped that much in practice, so my timing was off,” he said. “When I got to 2.25m, my knee was bothering me a little, but I pushed through.”Bryan said that he aims to break 2.30m this season, which should help him earn a spot on the national team to Rio, and as such, he plans to undergo a procedure in a couple of months that he hopes will alleviate the knee problem that has been preventing him from soaring to new heights.
The revelation that there would again be no hurdles event in this year’s Digicel Grand Prix series at the recent launch came as a big shock for many individuals close to the sport.On the schedule are the: 100 metres, 200 metres, 400 metres, 800 metres and 4×400 metres relays, along with the long and high jumps. The latter was added to the list this year.This snub can be seen as a slap in the face for the athletes who are involved in both the intermediate and sprint hurdles. One can understand the hurdles’ absence during last year’s introductory season of the Grand Prix, but it is indeed a big mistake that for the second year in a row this discipline is not one of those events that will be contested.The people who make up the Technical Committee are competent individuals and they do understand the strength of the country’s track and field, so why add the high jump and not one of the hurdle events? Why is it that both the 100m and 200m are being contested at the same meets? They could simply have replaced the 200m with either the 100m hurdles or the 400m hurdles.Outside of the 100 metres, hurdle events have been the country’s most successful at the international level, and athletes doing this discipline should be encouraged.At the last IAAF World Junior Junior Championships in Eugene, Oregon, Jamaica had two medallists as Jaheel Hyde won gold in the 400m hurdles, while Tyler Mason won silver in the 110m hurdles.Last summer, it was gold for Danielle Williams in the women’s 100m hurdles with her sister Shermaine also making the final. In the men’s 110m hurdles Hansle Parchment, an Olympic bronze medallist, won the silver medal here, while Omar McLeod almost made it to the final. Also, the defending champion in the men’s 110 metres hurdles at the Commonwealth Games is none other than our own Andrew Riley.If we are getting success in a particular discipline, we must continue to give the younger athletes in the event the support and encouragement that they need.EXCELLENT TRACK RECORDJamaica’s track record in the hurdles has been excellent over the years with several athletes winning major medals.Among the juniors it started with Gillian Russell and continued with Camille Robinson, Shermaine Williams, Natasha Ruddock, Latoya Greaves, Sherene Pinnock, Yanique Thompson, Jeneive Russell, Marvin Williams and Keiron Stewart who have all won medals at the junior level internationally.Among the seniors the likes of Michelle Freeman, Deon Hemmings, Delloreen Ennis- London, Brigitte Foster-Hylton, Winthrop Graham and Danny McFarlane have all had major success.The Digicel Grand Prix series will start on Saturday February 6 with the Western Championships in Montego Bay and the Youngster Goldsmith inside the National Stadium.There is hope that good sense will prevail and it will not be too late for the organisers to have a change of heart and replace one of the sprint events with either the sprint or intermediate hurdles.- R.G.
FRANKENSTORM, dropping down to classes for today’s Millard Ziadie Memorial Cup feature (claiming $350,000-$300,000 over 1100 metres), is tipped to resume winning ways in a competitive field of 11.Trained by Wilfred Chin, the six-year-old bay gelding, by Outrigger out of Seeking Lil, went out of his league on February 13 (claiming $500,000). He could only manage fifth to DWAYNE STAR in a fast-run round-five race.Although finishing 15 lengths fifth, FRANKENSTORM – having missed the break – recovered to straighten third on the heels of the leaders, RUNJOHNNY RUN and FORTUNENEHUNDRED, before gradually weakening.A fortnight before that, FRANKENSTORM chased home subsequent winner UNBREAKABLE over the straight, a race in which he galloped past the furlong pole just the leader before the winner came on the scene.That performance was on a $400,000 claiming tag. Considering he won back-to-back races last November and also won three consecutive races from August to October last year, speaks volumes for his insatiable appetite to win.Running on a $325,000 tag, FRANKENSTORM looks a good thing from his convenient mark of 53.0kg, thanks to smart apprentice Bebeto Harvey’s 3.0kg claim.FRANKENSTORM has good speed and, under these favourable conditions, should stave off hat-trick seeker DI COBRE and UNGLE G, who is up in class following a runaway win over the distance on February 13.Other firm fancies on the 10-race programme are LEGENDARY PLEASURE in the second race, 1500 metres; LEGAL ACCOUNT (working well) to rebound in the fifth over the straight; the lightly raced but promising three-year-old MEGATRON to stave off MACALLAN in the sixth; and MAN IN BLUE to get it right in the nightcap.
The Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ) renewed its sponsorship to the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) with a deal worth $7.2 million in fuel costs for two years.”Our relationship with the Jamaica Football Federation spans some 12 years. We started in September 2004 with a commitment to provide 2,400 litres of fuel to offset the transportation cost of the national men’s senior team. This commitment was initially for a two-year period and was later extended to four years,” Howard Mollison, Petrojam’s general manager, said, while announcing the new deal at Petrojam’s corporate office located at Marcus Garvey Drive yesterday.”This 12-year partnership is indicative of our commitment to national sports development; our commitment to fuelling dreams, fuelling passions, and by so doing promote solidarity, cultural awareness and camaraderie,” Morrison pointed out.”This afternoon (yesterday), we are pleased to announce the renewal of our commitment to the national football programme. We have strengthened our support for the activities of the JFF by extending the sponsorship arrangement beyond the men’s senior team to all national football teams,” he also said.HIGHER VALUE”For this sponsorship period, which ends in 2018, we have also increased the dollar value of the sponsorship from $4.8 million in 2012 to $7.2 million, meaning that the monthly fuel allocation has increased to $150,000 per month, up from $100,000 per month. We are sure that this partnership will redound to the benefit of our footballers and to our nation,” Morrison added.The national men’s senior football team – dubbed The Reggae Boyz is scheduled to engage Costa Rica in the CONCACAF World Cup qualification semi-final round match at the National Stadium tomorrow, starting at 7 p.m.”It is our pleasure to continue this partnership with the Jamaica Football Federation and we do wish the Reggae Boyz every success as they take on Costa Rica. Please be assured that we are with you every step of the way as we continue to fuel your dreams,” he concluded.Petrojam’s sponsorship came hot on the heels of telecommunications giant Digicel’s US$3 million contribution to the JFF programme on Tuesday, which runs for four years.JFF’s president, Captain Horace Burrell, was grateful for Petrojam’s partnership.”Coach (Winfried Sch‰fer) was a little bit concerned that a country that is so passionate about sports is not getting enough support. Now, getting two sponsorships in two days serves as a catalyst for further support,” Burrell responded.”There are other companies out there who sit back and criticise. We have 11 national teams to support, so we need assistance.”The support will dry up if we are not successful, so it is up to the Reggae Boyz as we have an opportunity come Friday to show the world that we have a good team. Costa Rica will get a big surprise,” the JFF head assured.
KINGSTON: THE Kingston Waterfront will be transformed for the 2016 staging of the Jamaica Cycling Federation (JCF) Kingston Criterium today as parts of Orange Street, Port Royal Street and Ocean Boulevard will comprise the closed-circuit road race event. With national and regional champion Marloe Rodman and former national cyclist Oneil Samuels among the entrants cycling fans are in for a real showpiece. Action is scheduled to get under way at 1 p.m., with the featured events slated for a 3:30 p.m. start. Registration will be from 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Kirk Finnikin, president of the JCF, hopes to use the event as a catalyst to rejuvenate local cycling. “It is going to be a cracker. This form of cycling is one of the most exciting and I believe we have everything in place to execute a professionally done event come Sunday,” said Finnikin. “The riders have been buzzing and are anxiously waiting to get out there as the circuit is one of the best in terms of the quality of the roads. This is our first major event of 2016 and we believe it has all the right ingredients to generate enough excitement and interest to spill over into other cycling events for the remainder of the year and beyond,” he added. The JCF’s mission is to restore cycling as a premier sporting activity and has been using 2014 Commonwealth Games representative, Rodman, as the flag bearer. This year, Maliek Byndloss will be looking to fly the flag in his pursuits to represent Jamaica at the Rio Olympics. Byndloss is the current BMX national champion and is considered to be among the world’s elite in the BMX category. The Kingston Criterium itself is a closed-circuit event that will see cyclists racing several laps to complete an event. The events will be contested based on categories, including women’s and men’s elite, masters’ and juniors’. In addition, there will also be a kids’ sprint event, plus an all-comers ‘Rambo Race’, which will be a cash-prize race for anyone brave enough to enter. The event is free to the public.
OFF YEAR Most things ran according to the script last weekend at the 122nd Penn Relays. Big wins for Edwin Allen High, Kingston College (KC) and St Jago High were predicted by many. There was, however, one event staged inside the chilly Franklin Field venue that proved why we actually run the races. Jamaica College (JC) arrived there as one of the favourites for the Championship boys 4×100 metres, but flubbed the second baton change. Perhaps pressure had been applied by a high-speed second leg by Akeem Bloomfield for KC. The national junior 400-metre record holder helped his school to equal the meet record set by Calabar at 39.63 seconds in bright conditions last year. Hopes for a JC track victory seemed to end there. Calabar and KC held the high cards for the 4x400m, with the impressive TC Williams High School a clear and present danger. Bloomfield was withdrawn due to the threat of injury, and remarkably, a businesslike JC quartet ran the field off its feet in the final. Calabar, the winner at Boys and Girls’ Championships, got an urgent anchor leg out of wonder boy Christopher Taylor. Noah Lyles, runner-up to Taylor at the 2015 World Youth Championships, zoomed his team forward. It was all in vain as Maleik Smith, 200-metre sprinter Michael Campbell, Devaughn Baker and Phillip Lemonios produced a big surprise. Just third at Champs in 3:15.06, the Old Hope Road school blasted that season’s best down to 3:12.34. Though Baker gave them a decisive advantage on the third leg, his team had no baton carries as quick as those by Taylor and Lyles. Smart team running did the trick instead. With the Philly chill slowing sprinters all weekend, the improvement by JC from 3:15.06 at Champs to 3:12.34 at Penns is no mean feat. By contrast, Calabar clocked 3:09.77 seconds at Champs and 3:13.09 on the new track at Franklin Field. The rest of the high-school competition ran to the script, with the JC pair of Clayton Brown and O’Brien Wasome taking the high and triple jumps, respectively, and with Shanice Love of Excelsior High continuing a great season, with a national junior record in the discus. Wins in the college men’s discus and the high-school section by Pan-Am Fedrick Dacres of the University of the West Indies and Munro’s Kino Dunkley suggested good things for the future. With the University of Technology (UTech) having an off year, the G.C. Foster College men stepped confidently into the breach with a 4×100 win. Spare a thought for Rayan Holmes of Edwin Allen. Pulled from the start of the Champs 400-metre hurdles final through illness, Holmes redeemed himself with victory in the same event on the last day of the 122-year-old event. The boys’ 4x800m was as enthralling as Holmes’ success was heartwarming. St Jago, winners in the girls’ long jump, through Tissana Hickling, held off STETHS in 7: 33.71 seconds. It was the first win by the school in the 4x800m since 1990. For all of that, and the win by Jamaica’s men in the USA versus the World 4x100m, pride of place goes to JC. Their dominating 4x400m win was a shock. In a meet where most things went with the form book, here was one time where predictions crashed and burned. – HUBERT LAWRENCE has made notes at track side since 1980.
Rafinha put Barcelona in control with a brace of goals after Neymar, who excelled as Barcelona’s playmaker, hit the crossbar early. The Brazil midfielder won possession of the ball near Deportivo’s area before opening the score in the 21st and added a second in the 36th. Luis Suarez tied Atletico Madrid’s Antoine Griezmann as the league’s leading scorer – with six goals – just before half-time after Neymar threaded a pass into the area for the striker. Messi went on in the 55th to play for the first time since September 21. He scored on his third touch of the ball in the 58th. Deportivo, who had earned draws in their last two league visits to Camp Nou, lost Laureano “Laure” Sanabria to a direct red card for elbowing Neymar in the face in the 65th. Barcelona’s convincing win comes shortly before former Barcelona coach Guardiola comes home to Camp Nou at the helm of new club Manchester City for a highly anticipated European clash on Wednesday. “We played a great game. This is the perfect way to arrive at the match against City,” said Barcelona coach Luis Enrique, who calls Guardiola a friend. It was a night of big wins for all the top teams in La Liga, as Atletico Madrid winger Yannick Carrasco scored a hat-trick to keep Diego Simeone’s side at the top of the table by destroying Granada 7-1. Real Madrid stayed second on goal difference to Atletico after outclassing Real Betis 6-1 to end their run of four consecutive draws. Sevilla ended their long wait for an away victory to remain a point behind in third, and a point ahead of fourth-placed Barcelona. BARCELONA, Spain (AP): Three touches of the ball were all Lionel Messi needed to score for Barcelona yesterday, showing that he is ready to take on his former coach Pep Guardiola in the Champions League. Messi displayed no signs of rust after more than three weeks out of action with a right groin strain and scored inside of four minutes after coming on as a second-half substitute. The Argentine added to Barcelona’s 4-0 rout of Deportivo La Coruna, firing in a well-placed pass by Neymar in the Spanish league match. Leading scorer Highly anticipated