Press Association Trott had 186 points after five of the six disciplines, 14 points more than nearest rival Jolien d’Hoore of Belgium, with Kirsten Wild of Holland third on 164. The final, decisive discipline in a revised omnium format is the points race which once proved Trott’s Achilles heel. However, her confidence boosted by winning gold at the Commonwealth Games in July, the 22-year-old produced a tactical masterclass in a race which features sprints every 10 laps. Trott was limpet-like on the wheel of D’Hoore, who was wearing the all-white Track World Cup series leader’s jersey, for much of the 100-lap (25-kilometres) race. The pair also monitored Wild and Australia’s Isabella King, who began the final discipline in fourth. D’Hoore tried to shake Trott off her wheel and won the seventh of 10 sprints as Trott failed to score, reducing the deficit to eight points, but with time running out. Wild and D’Hoore attacked after failing to score in the eighth sprint, but Trott marked the move and then, roared on by a partisan crowd, won the penultimate sprint and five points to ensure the gold would be hers. Trott finished on 193 points, with D’Hoore second on 181 and Wild third on 167. Tougher tests are to come for Trott as she eyes reclaiming the world title in Paris in February. The United States’ Sarah Hammer, who has beaten Trott to gold at the two Track World Championships since London 2012, was absent, but the field was nevertheless strong. Trott, who won gold in track cycling’s equivalent of the heptathlon at London 2012, claimed her second gold of the three-day event at the Lee Valley VeloPark, formerly the Olympic Velodrome. She was a key figure in Friday’s win in the women’s team pursuit, while Britain also won the corresponding men’s event and Owain Doull and Mark Christian on Saturday won the Madison. Olympic champion Laura Trott won Great Britain’s fourth gold of the Track World Cup in London with victory in the women’s omnium on Sunday.
Wounded Warrior has moved to the top of the weights for the BoyleSports Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse on Easter Monday after 45 horses stood their ground at the latest forfeit stage. Press Association The Noel Meade-trained six-year-old was third to Don Poli in the RSA Chase at Cheltenham and would be making his first appearance in a handicap over fences should he take his chance. Tony McCoy, who will be riding for the final time in Ireland before he retires, will have the choice of a number of JP McManus-owned contenders including If In Doubt, trained by Philip Hobbs, and the Paul Webber-trained Cantlow. Ante-post favourite Gallant Oscar remains in the mix but connections of the Tony Martin-trained gelding are keen on going for the Crabbie’s Grand National instead if he can get a place in the maximum 40-strong field. Other leading fancies in line for Fairyhouse include Grand Jesture, trained by Henry de Bromhead, Colm Murphy’s Empire Of Dirt, Robert Tyner’s Embracing Change, the Dermot McLoughlin-trained Vics Canvas and Los Amigos from Jim Dreaper’s stable. Champion trainer Willie Mullins has left in Perfect Gentleman and Dogora as he bids to win the race for the first time.
“It’ll be a tough game for us away at Stoke but we go there and we want to finish the season strongly. “I always believe it’s a good sign of the team if they can keep going to the very end and that’ll be our ambition against Stoke.” While the contract dispute with Sterling is likely to rumble on throughout the summer the club were at least able to tie down another promising youngster to a long-term deal this week. Jordon Ibe, a year younger than Sterling, enjoyed his first-team breakthrough in the second half of the season after returning from a loan spell at Derby. He is hoping to make greater strides next season. “To be honest, the number-one target for me is to get goals and try to stay in the team. They’re the two main goals for me,” he told LFCTV. “I need to keep playing well, getting goals and making the gaffer happy. I’ve got to help the team win games and then hopefully I can secure it (my place) in the new season. “To win medals – that’s the number one thing for me. I want to help us get back into the Champions League and try to win that one day. “We were close last year to the league title, so that is another aim – as well as the FA Cup.” Headlines about Raheem Sterling’s contract issues and the prospect of Liverpool losing a star player this summer have deflected attention from the departure of one of the club’s true greats. There was, quite correctly, great fanfare surrounding Steven Gerrard’s final match at Anfield last week but Sunday’s trip to Stoke will be the midfielder’s 710th and final appearance for the Reds. Having got through the emotionally-charged send-off in front of his home fans, manager Brendan Rodgers has no doubts about the 34-year-old’s ability to handle his final curtain call at the Britannia Stadium. Press Association “He’ll be very able,” said the Reds boss. “I’m sure for Steven it’s been a huge relief. Leading into your last game at Anfield, which has been his home for 17 years, there was probably a whole load of emotion. “Unfortunately our performance level wasn’t what we expected (they suffered a 3-1 defeat to Crystal Palace) but I think the crowd and the supporters recognised the moment and gave him a great send-off. “So I’m sure for him it’s a huge sigh of relief and he has worked well this week concentrating on Sunday’s game.” A disappointing campaign will come to an end with Liverpool playing for nothing more than the security of fifth place and a Europa League spot. It will be of little consolation after the minimum target set in pre-season was a top-four slot. “I’ve said at the beginning of the season (the aim) is to finish as high as we possibly can,” said Rodgers. “That is the aim for the game. Our season doesn’t finish until the whistle blows on Sunday.
Chris Brunt has told West Brom a new contract for team-mate Gareth McAuley is “a no-brainer”. McAuley’s previous deal has expired but the 35-year-old defender is mulling over a one-year extension with the Baggies. As a proven Barclays Premier League performer potentially available on a free transfer he has drawn interest from the likes of Leicester, but Brunt hopes his Northern Ireland colleague remains at the Hawthorns. Speaking ahead of Saturday’s Euro 2016 qualifier against Romania, where both men are set for key roles, midfielder Brunt said: “I’m quite surprised it’s in the situation it is. It would be a no-brainer for me. “He’s a guy who plays every week in the Premier League. People keep speaking about his age but if you see him day to day in training he’s an extremely fit lad. “For the age of him he’s a bit of a freak really and for him to keep grinding the level of performance he does week in, week out…it’s just a no brainer. “Ever since he got back in the side around Christmas time he’s never looked back. He’s pretty much been like that ever since he joined the club, so hopefully they get that sorted.” Press Association
Ante-post favourite Jack Hobbs pleased trainer John Gosden in his final piece of work on Wednesday morning ahead of the 150th Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby at the Curragh on Saturday. Gosden is seeking to win the Irish Classic for the first time with the colt that finished second behind stable companion Golden Horn in the Investec Derby at Epsom earlier this month. “He worked this morning with William Buick on him and we were happy with him and the horse seems in good order,” said the Newmarket handler. “We would appreciate a shower or two and something close to good ground but we are pleased with the horse and we’ll be heading over, all being well between now and the weekend. “He handled Epsom surprisingly well for a tall, rangy, horse and we hoped the Curragh would suit him better and it was the plan to always come here and we are holding with it.” Press Association
Arsenal can head into the new campaign with real belief they will be able to mount a sustained assault on the Barclays Premier League title, according to chief executive Ivan Gazidis. Press Association Having brought in veteran goalkeeper Petr Cech from the champions, Arsenal have again signalled their intent to build on FA Cup success and so close the gap on the Blues and Manchester City. Gazidis accepts while the Gunners may continue to face a somewhat uneven financial playing field, the squad should be positive of what they can achieve going forward. “We always have to do things better than our competitors, that is our challenge, b ut there is a real belief we can win the Premier League and compete to win major trophies in the next few years,” Gazidis said in an interview with Fox Sports Asia. Wenger is preparing for a 20th campaign in charge of the Gunners. Gazidis believes the 65-year-old Frenchman, whose last contact extension took him up to the summer of 2017, still has the appetite for more success following almost a decade without silverware before back-to-back FA Cup successes. “It is difficult to imagine anybody else could have done it as well as Arsene. I think Arsene has had tremendous support from the board and in return Arsene has really put the club first and made sure we progressed through that period and come out of it strongly,” the chief executive added. “I joke that we are developing our training ground and one of the things we are doing is putting a cryo-chamber in there and if we put Arsene in there we can preserve him for a little longer. “But he is in great shape – fit, enthusiastic, as hungry as ever and ambitious as ever, and he can see what is happening with this squad and he is very excited about the direction of travel so we aren’t thinking at all about changes. “Of course long-term you have to have the right infrastructures in place and a lot of work is going into that with Arsene’s support and involvement as he knows at some point – and I hope that will be far down the road – he will step aside and someone will step into his large shoes.” Wenger remains keen to add further quality to the squad before the end of the transfer window. Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema is one reported target, while Borussia Dortmund moved to warn Arsenal off any interest in Gabon international Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Midfielder Mathieu Flamini, meanwhile, is expected to join Galatasaray. Competition is set to be fierce for a place in the Arsenal starting XI next season, provided everyone remains fit. England midfielder Jack Wilshere is hopeful he can remain very much in contention following recent injury setbacks. He told Arsenal Player: “I have played two games (in Singapore) and there are another two games coming up next weekend after another tough week of training, so I am feeling good. “I think you feel better day by day. The fitness staff here are really good. They make the sessions individualised, so they know what you need in your position. “Each session gets harder and harder. I am feeling better and better and hopefully that can continue.” The Gunners have returned to London from a successful tour to the Far East where they won the Barclays Asia Trophy with an impressive 3-1 victory over Everton on Saturday. Arsene Wenger’s men will now step up their preparations for the start of the domestic season by hosting the Emirates Cup at the weekend, with games against Lyon and Wolfsburg, before the traditional curtain-raiser of the FA Community Shield against Chelsea at Wembley on August 2.
Aidan O’Brien has no regrets about sidestepping the Sussex Stakes at Glorious Goodwood with the brilliant Gleneagles. The dual 2000 Guineas hero and St James’s Palace Stakes winner looked set for a mouthwatering clash with top older miler Solow in the Group One contest, but was not declared, with connections citing the rain-softened ground as the reason. Conditions had dried up prior to racing on Wednesday, with the going officially described as good, but O’Brien insisted he was happy with the decision not run his star three-year-old. Asked if he had any regrets about not running, O’Brien told Channel 4 Racing: “No, absolutely not. I was delighted the minute I walked out on the track that he was at home. “The straight is on the slow side of good and Gleneagles is a fast ground horse. “There are absolutely no doubts. When we were listening to everybody before we came, we would be (having doubts), but the minute we put a foot on it we knew it was the right thing.” The Prix Jacques le Marois at Deauville and the Prix du Moulin at Longchamp are the next viable options over a mile for Gleneagles and O’Brien is not ruling out a step up to a mile and a quarter in either the Juddmonte International at York or Leopardstown’s Irish Champion Stakes. He said: “The lads will make the decision on where he goes. He could go to France for the mile race (Marois), he could go to Longchamp for the mile race (Moulin), he could go to neither. “He could go to York for the mile and a quarter, he could go to Leopardstown for the mile and a quarter. “Wherever he gets proper fast ground, he’ll go somewhere like that.” Press Association
But Pulis reiterated the Baggies were unlikely to reject a monster bid for the 22-year-old after turning down Tottenham’s first approach. “I want to keep him and the club want to keep him but it’s market forces,” he said. “I’m sure Tottenham wanted to keep Bale and Manchester United wanted to keep Ronaldo so I’m not stupid enough to say ‘I’m not doing this’ or ‘I’m not doing that’. “Never say never, especially in football. I understand what goes on.” The Baggies rejected a bid for the striker from Tottenham this week but he is expected to face Chelsea on Sunday. Pulis has been open in his praise for the England Under-21 forward, who scored 20 goals last season to earn a call up to Roy Hodgson’s senior side. Boss Tony Pulis has told Saido Berahino to focus on his job at West Brom and forget any transfer talk. And, ahead of Sunday’s visit of the Barclays Premier League champions, the Baggies head coach wants him to concentrate on Chelsea. “I just had a chat with him on the pitch when we were training on Monday or Tuesday and told him what I thought,” he said. “I told him not to get wrapped up in all the hype, concentrate on his football and let the other people deal with the stuff that’s going on because he can’t affect it. “He’s a young lad and he might need some protection, we will see. “He has handled it very well at the moment. “The only advice I’ve given him is to concentrate on his football and try to improve himself as a footballer. “God has given him a great gift and he can’t waste it. “Lots of people have done that in the past and I just hope he’s not one of them.” Press Association
Press Association The 17-year-old winger has been training with Palace’s under-21 and under-18 squads since the summer and has now received international clearance to complete his switch to Selhurst Park. “I’m very happy to have signed with Crystal Palace,” Lokilo told the club’s website. Crystal Palace have confirmed the signing of Belgian youngster Jason Lokilo from Anderlecht. “It’s a good club making progress. They bought Yohan Cabaye, who is a very good player. And with (Yannick) Bolasie, (Wilfried) Zaha and (Jason) Puncheon, it’s very good for wingers! “I’ve trained very well and I’m looking to continue that.”
Press Association Only four went to post for the Grade One feature, and while all were of significant ability the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle winner oozed class in making it two from two over the larger obstacles. Willie Mullins’ five-year-old was expected to have a fight on his hands for the lead with Jessica Harrington’s Ttebbob, but Douvan’s jumping immediately put that rival under pressure and he was eventually pulled up. Sizing John closed after Douvan made a semblance of a mistake at the second-last, but Mullins knew what he had underneath him. Without asking for an effort Douvan began to pull away again and while he was not fluent at the last, he never looked like falling and the 4-7 favourite coasted home, nearly eased to a walk at the line in winning by 18 lengths. Paul Townend was supposed to take the mount on the Rich Ricci-owned victor, but after returning from injury after a spell out, he had a fall in the first race and stood himself down. Former jockey David Casey, representing Mullins, said: “Everything comes easy to him, and it was an easy decision to go over fences with his size. He’s built for fences and oozes class. “It’s about keeping the wheels on the bus now. He’s a special horse.” Patrick Mullins, winning his first Grade One over hurdles or fences, said: “That’s one of the best thrills that I’ve ever had. He was magnificent. “He was clever at the last and put in a short one, whereas at Navan he went long at the last. He was just idling in front. He covers so much ground that you don’t think you are going that quick. He’s like a Ferrari!” William Hill make Douvan the even-money favourite for the Arkle at Cheltenham in March, with RaceBets 10-11 from 6-4. Townend is expected to be out of the saddle for around 10 days. He returned to action on Saturday for his first mounts since December 13, and finished fourth on Beau Mome in the Clayton Hotel Leopardstown Maiden Hurdle, but felt he was not in the right shape to continue. The Turf Club’s medical officer Dr Adrian McGoldrick said: “Paul Townend has a bone bruise on his right lower tibia which is still giving him some trouble. He will be out for 10 days but should be OK after that.” Douvan was an imperious winner of the Racing Post Novice Chase under replacement rider Patrick Mullins at Leopardstown.