Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 1st 2017 Contents sports A51
Saturday, April 1, 2017 guardian.co.tt
Master Carpenter ticks enough boxes to
justify a sporting wager in the 22-runner,
£100000, Lincoln Handicap over a pictur-
esque Doncaster straight mile this afternoon.
Ground conditions are forecast good to soft,
nigh on perfect for April Fools Day!
This highly-prestigious cavalry charge once
again kicks off our 2017 turf-flat racing season
which, apparently, is later than usual because of
Easter scheduling. Don't ask me to explain but we
can give you reasons for selecting a 33/1 chance.
Solid form, which includes a group success, a tal-
ented 5lbs apprentice, Lulu Stanford, aboard last
time, and a gift
BHA mark which
ly with general
should make one
of four placings
available and ear-
lier this week, following initial, fastidious, scrutiny
we took odds to small money of 40/1!
Although I'm committed to all-weather racing
and set-weight events I'm always keen to back to
my roots, especially when confronted with a real-
istic challenge on a straight course with no bias,
featuring top-grade jockeys.
Anyone can plump for a big-priced selection in
the hope the pin sticks at the right name but some
of my best wagers have been in huge handicaps. A
major Lincoln coup for this column, several years
ago, was Pablo trained by the redoubtable Barry
Hills, eighty tomorrow!
We sent him a birthday card with the words,
"thanks for the memories, what an experience...!"
How lucky to be associated for more than thirty
years with a genius who, unbelievably, was never
knighted! Barry is still compus mentis and reckons
Hamdan Al Maktoum-owned newcomer, Manaa-
hil, will oblige in the Maiden Stakes over seven
furlongs of Kempton polytrack. "He'll win" were
the magic words after phoning him back with my
opinion of the field!
Incidentally, Mick Easterby was 86, Thursday.
He's getting winners, landing gambles and, ap-
parently, still doing the business!
Barry once said, "it's not much fun growing
old" but with reasonable health just think of that
weapon, experience, and what it represents. He's
not finished with bookies, yet! One-hundred and
forty "gnoshers" have been invited to his birthday
celebrations, all in one big tent!
William Buick appeals eight-day ban
William Buick is set to appeal the eight-day
suspension he picked up at Chelmsford on
Buick was penalised by the stewards for his
ride on the John Gosden-trained Zillion, who was
beaten over 10 lengths in finishing fourth in the
Bet toteexacta At betfred.com Median Auction
Maiden Stakes. The stewards inquired into the
horse's performance and Buick reported Zillion
had hung badly up the straight, while Gosden's
representative said the handler was satisfied under
the circumstances with the ride given.
A post-race check by the vet showed the colt to
be lame, prompting the stewards to find Buick in
breach of the rules in that "he failed to pull up a
horse where it was contrary to the horse's welfare
to continue as there was a problem which was ma-
terially affecting the colt's performance"
The eight days include the Craven meeting at
Newmarket and valuable Good Friday cards and
Lingfield and Newcastle.
CHICAGO---Nikola Mirotic tied
season highs with 28 points and
six 3-pointers, Jimmy Butler scored
25, and the Chicago Bulls beat the
Cleveland Cavaliers 99-93 on a
night when LeBron James moved
into seventh place on the NBA's
career scoring list.
James moved past Shaquille O'Neal,
finishing with 26 points and giving him
28,599 for his career---three more than
O'Neal. But the big night by the four-
time MVP couldn't prevent the Cava-
liers from matching a season high with
their third straight loss. That dropped
them a half-game behind Boston for the
Eastern Conference lead and left them
with a 6-10 record in March.
For Mirotic, it was his second
straight game with 28 points and six
3s. He also had 10 rebounds, finishing
a strong March. Rajon Rondo added
15 assists, Robin Lopez had ten points
and 11 rebounds, and the ninth-place
Bulls moved within a game of Miami
and Indiana in the Eastern Conference
They also finished 4-0 against Cleve-
land to complete their first sweep of the
Cavaliers since they took all three games
during the 2011-12 season.
Kyrie Irving scored 20 for the Cav-
aliers, while Tristan Thompson added
15 points and nine rebounds.
TRAIL BLAZERS 117, ROCKETS 107
Damian Lillard had 31 points and 11
assists, leading the Portland Trail Blaz-
ers past the Houston Rockets.
Jusuf Nurkic had a team-high 11 re-
bounds to go along with 19 points for the
Trail Blazers, who have a season-high
five-game winning streak and a lead
over the Denver Nuggets for the eighth
seed in the Western Conference.
James Harden finished with 30 points
and eight rebounds to lead the Rockets.
Harden's 3-pointer at the end of the first
quarter gave the Rockets 1,078 3s, an
NBA single-season record.
Portland held a 96-85 lead into the
fourth, but Houston made a run ear-
ly in the quarter. Trevor Ariza's dunk
tied the game at 105 with 2:29 left, but
Nurkic's post-up gave Portland the lead
right back with 2:05 remaining.
Allen Crabbe sealed the win with steal
on Harden, taking it coast-to-coast to
give the Blazers a 113-105 lead with 1:12
Federer makes semis
Florida---Roger Federer's run at the
Miami Open was one point from end-
ing. Down 6-4 in a third-set tiebreak-
er to Tomas Berdych, the situation was
Yet even in that moment, Federer still felt
"I had belief I could turn it around, even
then," he said.
Somehow, he was right, and his stellar
start to 2017 continued. The fourth-seeded
Federer fought off those two match points
and beat the 10th-seeded Berdych 6-2, 3-6,
7-6 (6) in the quarterfinals on Thursday---
avenging a third-set tiebreak loss to Berdych
at Key Biscayne seven years ago in a match
he still thinks he should have won.
"I got incredibly lucky," Federer said.
"Could have gone either way. Felt like maybe
this one I should have lost."
Federer feels right at home at Key Bis-
cayne, and so does Caroline Wozniacki---
with good reason, since she sometimes
practices at the facility. The 12th-seeded
Wozniacki, a part-time South Florida res-
ident, made the women's final for the first
time in ten tries by topping second-seeded
Karolina Pliskova 5-7, 6-1, 6-1.
Wozniacki will play No 10 Johanna Kon-
ta in today's championship match. Konta
topped No 11 Venus Williams 6-4, 7-5 in
the second semifinal, one that ended just
"This is one of the few tournaments where
I've never made a finals," Wozniacki said.
"I think my best result here was semifinals
five years ago. It's always been a tournament
where I wouldn't say I struggle, but I've just
not had the results I wanted."
Federer improved to 17-1 this year and will
face No 12 Nick Kyrgios in the semifinals
Kyrgios defeated 16th-seeded Alexan-
der Zverev 6-4, 6-7 (9), 6-3 in the last of
the men's quarters, a match that lasted 2
1/2 hours. Kyrgios had 16 aces, no double
faults and never faced a break point, though
his 19-year-old opponent saved five match
points before falling.
Zverev fought off three match points in
the second-set tiebreaker, and won the set
when Kyrgios---who pulled off two between-
the-legs shots on the same point in the first
set---tried another that didn't work.
"I don't know what I was thinking," Kyr-
He recovered and gets to face Federer,
whom he called "the greatest of all time ...
my favourite tennis player." Federer-Kyrgios
is a rematch---sort of---from this year's quar-
terfinals at Indian Wells, a match where Kyr-
gios withdrew beforehand with an illness.
Rafael Nadal and Fabio Fognini are the
other men's semifinalists, meaning there's
still a chance for Federer-Nadal on Sunday
for the men's crown.
"I would love it," Federer said.
Federer is now 4-0 in tiebreakers this year
at Key Biscayne, none of the first three as
pressure-packed as the one he needed in the
quarters. He was serving for the match at
5-3 in the third and got broken, had a match
point in the next game and couldn't convert,
then was down 6-4 in the breaker before
winning the final four points.
Berdych actually won 91 points to Feder-
er's 89. He needed 92---and after coming
up with big shot after big shot in the final
two sets, he wound up going out on a dou-
"I just lost by one point. That's what hap-
pened. Very simple, very straightforward,"
Berdych said. "He was the one serving out
the match, didn't make it. I had a match
point, didn't make it. I had two, didn't make
it. So what else to say?"
Like Federer, Wozniacki rallied, albeit
with far less drama. She won 12 of the last
"I got a good start to the second set and
that kind of got me fired up," Wozniacki said.
This will be the second consecutive time
two double-digit seeds make the women's
final at Key Biscayne, after No 13 Victoria
Azarenka beat No 15 Svetlana Kuznetsova a
year ago. Konta was down 3-1 in the second
set, and wound up breaking Williams five
times---in a staggering 17 chances.
Williams was bidding for her fourth Key
Biscayne title, the last of which came 16
years ago. (AP)
Roger Federer, of Switzerland, celebrates
after defeating Tomas Berdych, of the Czech
Republic, 6-2, 3-6, 7-6 (6) at the Miami Open
tennis tournament on Thursday in Key
Biscayne, Florida, USA. AP PHOTO
Chicago Bulls forward Nikola Mirotic, right, talks with
guard/forward Jimmy Butler during the second half
of an NBA basketball game against the Cleveland
Cavaliers on Thursday, in Chicago. AP PHOTO
...as Venus stumbles against Konta
Now the Bulls whip Cavs
TIMBERWOLVES 119, LAKERS 104
CLIPPERS 124, SUNS 118
PISTONS 90, NETS 89
Doncaster, 12.35 Master Car-
penter (e.w) 2.20 Never Sur-
Chelmsford, 4.45 Farook (e.w)
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