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F1 Lewis Hamilton dismisses Horner comments over Button threat

Lewis Hamilton

13 March 2012Last updated at 18:34 GMT

courtesy of BBC

Lewis Hamilton dismisses Horner comments over Button threat

Horner told BBC Sport he is predicting a closer contest for the World Drivers’ Championship although he expects Sebastian Vettel to defend his title.

But he said that the German’s main rival from another team was Button.

“It’s the first time I’ve heard of [the remarks] but they definitely don’t wind me up,” said Hamilton.

“There are a lot of opinions, and everybody has their right to an opinion, but it doesn’t really affect me.

“It doesn’t really matter at the end of the day when I go out and do the job.”

Hamilton equalled Button’s tally of three grand prix victories last season but finished 43 points behind his team-mate in the final standings.

 
 

Hamilton testing the new McLaren in Barcelona

“Losing to Jenson didn’t really bother me,” insisted the 27-year-old.

“If it had been a case where we had been fiercely competitive throughout the year it would have been quite tough to deal with.

“But knowing it was a year where I threw away points, made very silly mistakes – sometimes a little unfortunate, but it was just a shocking year – I wasn’t really too devastated by it.

“I’ve drawn a line under it because at the end of the day he didn’t win the world championship, so it could have been even worse.

“But there are still many years ahead, and I don’t plan on [what happened last year] being the case this year.”

Hamilton, who will begin his sixth season in F1 in Australia on Sunday, is confident he can still become a multiple champion.

And he is equally dismissive of claims that he should have achieved more.

“There’s no point saying whether I should have done better,” said the 2008 world champion.

“Of course, given my own expectations, I would have liked to have achieved more and have done better.

“But the journey I’ve had is the one that has been mapped out for me, and I would say the learning curve has been a steep one.

“I’m only 27 so if I’m to race as long as Michael [Schumacher] is racing, then I’ve still quite some time on my side.

“Given that, I definitely feel as if I can win more titles. My commitment to that has never really changed.”

AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX 2012, DAY ONE

  • Friday, 16 March: Practice 0130-0300 and 0530-0700. Live commentary on BBC Radio 5 live. Live text and audio commentary on BBC Sport website

AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX 2012, DAY TWO

  • Saturday, 17 March: Practice 0300-0400. Qualifying 0600. Live commentary on BBC Radio 5 live. Live text and audio commentary on BBC Sport website. Extended highlights on BBC Two 1300-1415

AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX 2012, DAY THREE

  • Sunday, 18 March: Race 0600. Live commentary on 5 live. Live text and audio commentary on BBC Sport website. Extended highlights on BBC One at 1400-1600

Colm Murray’s Cheltenham Tips.

Colm Murray’s Cheltenham Tips: Day One

Tuesday 13 March 2012

courtesy of RTE

'Hurricane Fly ranks up there among the very best I have ever seen, alongside Istabraq and any of the other great Champion Hurdlers before him.'

‘Hurricane Fly ranks up there among the very best I have ever seen, alongside Istabraq and any of the other great Champion Hurdlers before him.’

By Colm Murray

I have covered Cheltenham for RTÉ since 1990 with one or two notable exceptions. I missed it because of foot-and-mouth in 2001 and the other was 2009, when RTÉ cutbacks dictated that I had to stay at home. My last festival was in March 2010, about two weeks before I was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease.

The only winner I backed in the very first year was Dermot Weld’s Rare Holiday, which was ridden by Brendan Sheridan. Rare Holiday is still the only Weld festival winner and he was a 33/1 outsider that day, but paid about 50/1 on the tote. I had a fiver sterling each-way on the latter to win about £350 and that one bet meant I got out of Prestbury Park just ahead!

Hopefully I will be able to help you find one or two winners on day one this year.

The Stan James Champion Hurdle is one of the great centre-pieces of the festival and is the highlight of the opening day and here we will see Hurricane Fly attempting to make it back-to-back wins. He ranks up there among the very best I have ever seen, alongside Istabraq and any of the other great Champion Hurdlers before him.

Speed key to Hurricane Fly chance

Hurricane Fly Champion Hurdle 2011

The key to him is his speed. He has the ability to take off like an aeroplane and can put so much daylight between himself and the rest of the field at the crucial stage in a race.

If he were to be campaigned on the flat, I could see him earning his place in the line-up for the Prix De L’Arc de Triomphe. I know for a fact that Willie Mullins believes he is the best horse he has ever trained and reckons he may never look upon his likes again. He is that good.

He will be one of my bankers having backed him months ago at 7/2 when there was a huge amount of doubt about whether or not he would run. At the currently available short odds, I would only look to back him in doubles, trebles or Lucky 15s.

Zarkandar could be the one to chase him home with Binocular also running a big race, but I hope I am right in saying that there is no danger to the Fly.

The Mullins stable can get in the winner’s enclosure immediately after the Champion Hurdle as they have a very strong hand in the Cross Country Chase with both Scotsirish and Uncle Junior set to run.

Last year’s winner Sizing Australia could also run a big race but if I had to pick one, I would take Scotsirish with Uncle Junior rated a huge danger. It will be interesting to see which one Patrick Mullins rides.

A horse I have an interest in, Sweet My Lord, was unfortunately ruled out of the Festival recently but my colours will be seen in this race as they are set to be carried by Tally Em Up from the Phillip Rothwell stable.

The Supreme Novices Hurdle is a very open race, and I think the Irish horses will have a tough job on their hands. The two I like are Darlan and Montbazon. Owner JP McManus says that Darlan is his best chance of a winner this year at the festival while Alan King’s Montbazon has – I hear on good report – been burning it up on the gallops at home and both are worthy of a close look.

The Arkle Trophy is a fascinating contest. I got a big tip around Christmas for Nicky Henderson’s Sprinter Sacre and backed him ante-post at that stage. He is a very exciting recruit to steeplechasing and Barry Geraghty says he could be the best horse he has ever ridden. That is some statement from the rider of Moscow Flyer and all going well, I would expect one of the performances of the meeting from him in this race.

Can Mullins make it a festival four-timer?

Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh

Mullins can make it winner number three on the opening day with Quevaga, the hot odds-on favourite for the David Nicholson Mares’ Hurdle. She is a bit moody and temperamental, but she is an incredible mare. She has not been seen on track since winning last year but is in great form at home and the race looks to be at her mercy if she turns up in the right frame of mind.

How would she go in a Champion Hurdle? I think she would run very well, but she would have no business taking on Hurricane Fly.

The last two races of the day – the Novices’ Handicap Chase and the National Hunt Challenge Cup – can go to Triolo D’Alene and Allee Garde. I hear from a good English source that Triolo D’Alene is the Nicky Henderson stable’s value bet for the meeting and they really fancy this horse while a huge run is also expected from Allez Garde, another Willie Mullins inmate.

Could Mullins possibly make it four winners on day one? Incredible – But it could just happen!

Watch Cheltenham coverage live on RTÉ 2 from 1.25pm on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday or listen live on to all 27 races with commentary on Radio (1pm to 5.30pm, all four days)

MAN UTD GO TOP

Man Utd 2
West Brom 0
 
 
Wayne Rooney

11 March 2012Last updated at 15:53 GMT

courtesy of BBC

By Nabil HassanBBC Sport

Manchester United went top of the Premier League with two goals from Wayne Rooney sealing victory.

United took advantage of City as they went a point clear of their neighbours.

Rooney gave United a 1-0 lead at the break, diverting Javier Hernandez’s shot past Ben Foster on the volley.

The United striker then made it 2-0 from the penalty spot, while West Brom’s Jonas Olsson was earlier sent off for a second bookable offence.

 

Ferguson hails ‘significant’ win as Man Utd go top

It was a deserved win for United who should have added to their tally in the second half.

Victory took United top of the Premier League for the first time since early October and with 10 games remaining they will be favourites to claim their 20th league title following City’s unexpected slip.

They head to Wolves next Sunday knowing a win would take them four points clear of City who do not play again in the Premier League until Wednesday week against Chelsea.

Manager Sir Alex Ferguson used his programme notes to rally both United players and supporters as his side entered the “business end” of the campaign.

And Ferguson picked a side full of attacking intent with Rooney, Danny Welbeck and Hernandez all named in the starting line-up.

Analysis

Steve WilsonBBC Match of the Day commentator

It took United a while to get going in this game, but this was a victory that was thoroughly deserved. Wayne Rooney gambled and got his reward, it was a fine finish.

But their start to the game was turgid and lacklustre, with West Brom the better of the two sides early on.

Keith Andrews poked the ball wide at full stretch following Liam Ridgewell’s cross, and later forced a fine low save from David de Gea.

But the champions soon got going, with Paul Scholes finding space to orchestrate things from midfield, and in Ashley Young, United had the game’s outstanding player.

The pressure eventually told, with Rooney breaking the deadlock. United’s in-form striker gambled at the near post and expertly diverted Hernandez’s shot past Foster on the volley from six yards out.

It was Rooney’s 25th goal of the season – and his 14th in as many games – and gave them a deserved lead at the break.

 

‘Always an uphill task’, admits Hodgson

West Brom began the second half like the first – full of intent – and were unlucky not to have been awarded a penalty after Patrice Evra tripped Peter Odemwingie in the box.

Referee Lee Probert waved away their appeals and replays suggested the Baggies man may have gone to ground too easily.

Straight after, United nearly doubled their advantage with Hernandez crashing a fierce shot from the edge of the box against the post before West Brom cleared for a corner.

From the resulting corner Rooney went close with his adventurous overhead kick straight at Foster.

United’s pressure continued and Welbeck should have put them 2-0 up but, after rounding Foster, he inexplicably fired wide of an empty goal from a tight angle.

TITLE RUN-IN

Man Utd   Man City

Wolves (a)

18/21 Mar

Chelsea (h)

Fulham (h)

26/24 Mar

Stoke (a)

Blackburn (a)

2 Apr/31 Mar

Sunderland (h)

QPR (h)

8 Apr

Arsenal (a)

Wigan (a)

11 Apr

West Brom (h)

Aston Villa (h)

15/14 Apr

Norwich (a)

Everton (h)

22 Apr

Wolves (a)

Man City (a)

30 Apr

Man Utd (h)

Swansea (h)

6 May

Newcastle (a)

Sun’land (a)

13 May

QPR (h)

West Brom’s task became that much harder with Olsson shown a second yellow for a lunge on Hernandez, meaning the Baggies had to play with 10 men for the remaining 25 minutes.

Young continued to terrorise the Baggies defence and he was bundled over by Andrews for a United penalty, which Rooney converted for 2-0.

With the game won, United introduced highly rated youngster Paul Pogba, 18, for Scholes and it provided an interesting sideshow for the remaining 20 minutes, as Pogba has been linked with a summer move.

The Baggies brought on Shane Long and he forced an excellent save from De Gea while, at the other end, Young headed wide from 12 yards.

But it stayed at 2-0 with the biggest cheer of the day reserved for the announcement of Swansea’s shock victory over Manchester City.

West Brom boss Roy Hodgson said:

“We made a good fist of the first half until Rooney’s goal.

“I didn’t think we were attacking as well as we could do in that period. When we won the ball back we lost it too quickly and easily.”

Liverpool lose again

Team badge of Sunderland
Sunderland 1
Team badge of Liverpool
Liverpool 0
  • 90 +5
  • HT 0-0
 
 

courtesy of BBC

 

Liverpool’s faltering league form continued as they were beaten by a determined and dogged Sunderland side.

After a forgettable first half, the Black Cats took the lead when a Fraizer Campbell shot rebounded off the post and keeper Pepe Reina’s head before Nicklas Bendtner side-footed in.

Liverpool brought on Steven Gerrard and Andy Carroll but to no avail.

Sunderland sat back and protected their lead against a Reds side which failed to come close to an equaliser.

More to follow.

LINEUP, BOOKINGS (2) & SUBSTITUTIONS (5)

Sunderland

  • 22 Mignolet
  • 02 Bardsley
  • 03 Bridge
  • 04 Turner
  • 16 O’Shea
  • 07 Larsson
  • 08 Gardner
  • 14 Colback
  • 23 McClean Booked
  • 09 Campbell (Vaughan – 75′ )
  • 52 Bendtner (Wickham – 83′ )

Substitutes

  • 01 Gordon
  • 12 Kilgallon
  • 25 Kyrgiakos
  • 15 Vaughan
  • 18 Meyler
  • 27 Elmohamady
  • 10 Wickham

Liverpool

  • 25 Reina
  • 03 Jose Enrique
  • 16 Coates
  • 34 Kelly
  • 37 Skrtel Booked
  • 14 Henderson (Downing – 79′ )
  • 20 Spearing
  • 26 Adam (Carroll – 69′ )
  • 07 Suarez
  • 18 Kuyt
  • 39 Bellamy (Gerrard – 69′ )

Substitutes

  • 32 Doni
  • 23 Carragher
  • 38 Flanagan
  • 08 Gerrard
  • 11 Maxi
  • 19 Downing
  • 09 Carroll
Ref: Taylor
Att: 41,661

MATCH STATS

Possession56%44%95minsSunderlandLiverpool

Shots

69

On target

15

Corners

32

Fouls

1315

Do Liverpool need a new Manager!

Cork City 2-3 Drogheda United

There was disappointment for Tommy Dunne's side once again

There was disappointment for Tommy Dunne’s side once again

Cork City 2-3 Drogheda United

Friday, 9 March 2012 23:04

Cork City surrendered a two-goal lead as Drogheda United stunned a crowd over just under 4,000 in Turner’s Cross in the Airtricity Premier Division.

City led from goals by Daryl Horgan and Vinny Sullivan and looked to be cruising until when Tiernan Mulvenna forced the ball over the line in the 40th minute.

Peter Hynes equalised with a penalty on 55 and then Shane Duggan was sent off for the Rebels two minutes later.

 

An own goal by Gavin Kavanagh after 71 minutes sealed the deserved win for Drogs and meant the return of top flight football to Cork ended in disappointment.

There was a positive opening from both sides in front of a large and loud crowd at the Cross. Tommy Dunne and Mick Cooke started with 4-4-2 formations and from the off, it was clear goals would follow.

Horgan opened the scoring for Cork City with a good finish low to the keeper’s left from a great pass by Shane O’Connor.

Horgan had cleared the ball off the City goalline seconds earlier from a goalbound Derek Prendergast effort following a corner. The home side’s goal came against the run of play but soon City were two up.

Sullivan netted with a very deft finish to the far post from a great first time cross from Horgan.

Drogheda hit back with goal from Tiernan Mulvenna who scored with a back post header after a great, deep cross from Gavin Brennan.

The game was completely changed in the space of two minutes of the second period.

Peter Hynes confidently slotted away a penalty for Drogheda United, low to the keeper’s left on 53 minutes.

Shane Duggan was dismissed for Cork shortly after following an altercation with Brian Gannon.

City were hanging on and had little possession because of the red card as Drogheda threw everything at Cork.

The winning goal, which seemed inevitable, came from a Drogs corner from Philip Hand that caused confusion in the City box.

The ball ricocheted off Rebel centre back Gavin Kavanagh and into the net to silence the home fans.

Cork tried to mount their own comeback but Drogs saw it out to condemn Cork to a second defeat on the season.

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