TODAY marks the final racemeet before Christmas, and with the 10-race programme offering a $5.4 million Pick-9 carryover, a payout in excess of $8 million looks a real possibility.Three trophy races will be run on the afternoon, including the annual renewal of the Sweet Ruckus Trophy over 1400 metres for native and imported two-year-olds, with a purse of $850,000.The other trophy races on the card are the round-five Stewards’ Cup for maiden two-year-old colts and geldings, and the Restricted Allowance II for the Titania Trophy over 1100 metres, which is confined to fillies and mares.The Philip Feanny-trained BUBBLING KITTEN, who impressed in the Dye Job Sprint, over 1200 metres, on December 12, renews rivalry with the runner-up and then-favourite, BLUE DIXIE, in a small field of six, and judging from the manner of her victory, she looks hard to oppose.Dye Job SprintBUBBLING KITTEN beat BLUE DIXIE by all of six and a half lengths in the Dye Job Sprint, covering the distance in the smart time of 1:13.1 under former champion jockey Wesley ‘Callaloo’ Henry, who again has the ride.With the tongue tie fitted for that race, the bay filly, by Blue Pepsi Lodge out of Shanna D, showed good speed to dispute the early lead with RALLY BABY and skittered away on entering the straight for a facile win, behind splits of 23.0 and 46.1.She is still extremely fit, and with the additional furlong no obstacle, should lead home Gary Subratie stable companions BLUE DIXIE and GOLDEN GLORY.Subratie indicated last Saturday that BLUE DIXIE had some minor issues for the Dye Job Sprint, but is expecting a better race today, and has called up outgoing champion jockey Dane Nelson to try and make a difference. BLUE DIXIE looks a safe exacta horse.I also like the well-advanced newcomer, SIR RAJA BABA (working well) to lead home EQUUS in the Stewards’ Cup, in which nine two-year-olds will run; fleet-footed FIRE ALARM ahead of COMMANDING AVIATOR in the Titania Trophy; MESSITHEGREAT to recoup losses in the sixth; CRUCIAL VALOR in the seventh; and PRINCESS SHEMIKA to stave off CHEERS in the eighth.
SYDNEY, Australia (CMC):West Indies’ hopes of using two spinners for the third Test match against Australia have been squashed after leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo was ruled out of the final game here starting today (last night Jamaica time).Captain Jason Holder announced that Bishoo had not fully recovered from a left shoulder injury and was not available for selection.The one specialist spinner left in the squad is left-arm spinner Jomel Warrican, who played in the first match in Hobart and the second match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.”We’re down to one spinner with the injury to Bishoo, so we just have to work with what we have. I’m sure Kraigg Brathwaite will come to the fore and bowl a bit more,” Holder told reporters on the eve of the match.”I’ve seen they’ve gone with two spinners. We’ve been accustomed to spin-bowling in the Caribbean and, hopefully, our batsmen can get into that a lot better than we have in this series.”Heavy defeatsWest Indies have already lost the series following heavy defeats in the first two Tests. They went down by an innings and 212 runs in the Hobart opener before losing by 177 runs in the second Test in Melbourne last week.Holder said the team was buoyant following their improved outing in the second match, when they showed more resistance than in the three-day defeat in Hobart.”We showed some improvement with the bat in Melbourne and we will look to take that into this match here. From the start of the tour, many people say the odds are against us, but we have belief and we will put up a good showing,” Holder contended.
BARCELONA, Spain (AP):Barcelona’s big three of Lionel Messi, Luis Su·rez and Neymar all scored to beat Arsenal 3-1 yesterday, sending the defending champions into the Champions League quarter-finals for a ninth consecutive season with a 5-1 victory on aggregate.Leading the tie after Messi scored both goals in a 2-0 first-leg win, Su·rez passed for Neymar to open the scoring in the 18th minute at Camp Nou.Arsenal’s Mohamed Elneny struck in the 51st and the English side threatened to add another, before Su·rez answered with an acrobatic goal in the 65th.Messi chipped in Barcelona’s third with two minutes to play, following a pair of timely stops by goalkeeper Marc-AndrÈ ter Stegen to protect the lead.Arsenal coach Arsene Wenger, whose side was eliminated from the round of 16 for a sixth straight year, said Barcelona’s strike trio took the game to the level of “art”.”We played against the team with the best strikers I have seen,” Wenger said. “The three together are exceptional. Messi is incredible. They are two or three players who transform normal life into art.”BAYERN MUNICH ADVANCEAlso yesterday, Bayern Munich fought back to beat Juventus 4-2 in extra time to advance.Thomas Mueller equalised in the first minute of injury time, and Bayern Munich scored two more goals in extra time.Thiago Alcantara scored in the 108th minute to put Bayern ahead for good in the second-leg match of the last 16 and Kingsley Coman, on loan from Juventus, added the hosts’ fourth goal just two minutes later to seal a 6-4 victory on aggregate.Bayern trailed 2-0 at half-time after goals from Paul Pogba and Juan Cuadrado put Juventus firmly in charge. The home side looked to be on the way out until Robert Lewandowski scored in the 73rd and Mueller’s late header changed everything.”To score four goals against an Italian side, wow, compliments to my team,” Bayern coach Pep Guardiola said.
PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania:Jamaica had to play second fiddle to the United States in the Nike USA versus The World events on yesterday’s final day of competition at the 2016 Penn Relays.Jamaica’s only success came in the men’s 4×100 metres, where they took advantage of a big mistake by a strong USA Red team to win the event in 39.70 seconds. Jermaine Hamilton, Julian Forte, Rasheed Dwyer and Oshane Bailey were the members of the winning Jamaica quartet. USA Blue placed second in 39.02, with third going to St Kitts in 39.49. The USA Red team included the likes of Justin Gatlin, Tyson Gay and Mike Rodgers.Jamaica were second in three women’s relays the 4x100m in 42.90, 4x200m in 1:31.34, and 4×400 m in 3:29.00. The Americans won five of six relays contested.- R.G