Chris McGrath

Chris McGrath is Racing Correspondent for The Independent.

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Wayne Rooney’s stellar career has now reached a crossroads

The Last Word: Lean years may lie ahead unless Wayne Rooney learns to think thin

Miccoli, and Cassano have – at various stages, and in varying degrees – seemed to absorb obsolete bulk

Tactical speed can win battle for War

Even the bitter certainty that they will occasionally put a rider into intensive care is a reflection on the essential unpredictability of thoroughbreds.

Paul Hanagan wants to make up for his close shaves at Royal Ascot

Paul Hanagan determined to end Sheikh Hamdan's long wait

Consecutive championships and a lucrative retainer for Sheikh Hamdan having failed to make the remotest impression on his innate humility, Paul Hanagan has no problem with the scenario facing him at Sandown on Saturday. For in order to give Mukhadram a chance of reversing form with Al Kazeem in the Coral Eclipse Stakes, Hanagan must deflect at least some of the praise lavished upon him for an outstanding ride at Royal Ascot last month.

Aidan O'Brien at Curragh racecourse in June

Aidan O'Brien opens Eclipse second front with War

Though once again lacking in quantity, the Coral Eclipse Stakes could yet gain an unexpected depth of quality after Aidan O'Brien said that Sandown on Saturday is "a strong possibility" for Declaration Of War. Originally omitted from the sponsors' betting, when one of three Ballydoyle colts left in the race on Monday, the Queen Anne Stakes winner was introduced as 7-2 second favourite behind Al Kazeem, himself eased from 11-8 to 15-8.

Choral Festival wins the fillies’ handicap at Windsor on Monday night, the final leg of a treble for her jockey, Richard Hughes, who reached his century for the season

Richard Hughes sets ton-up pace in defence of riders' title

While Frankie Dettori continues his mortifying hunt for a first winner since before Royal Ascot, the champion jockey himself has gained stunning impetus after ending his own frustrations at that meeting. Until overcoming a nightmare draw on Sky Lantern in the Coronation Stakes on the Friday, Richard Hughes had endured a maddening week, repeatedly finding himself stuck in traffic or caught out by the draw. As soon as Ascot was out of the way, however, Hughes promptly accumulated 20 winners in eight days – with a treble at Windsor on Monday evening completing the fastest hundred of his career.

Frankie Dettori, who rode for Godolphin until last autumn, has signed a retainer with Sheikh Joaan al-Thani

Dettori and Qataris form formidable foe for Dubai

Two beaten favourites at Wolverhampton on Monday made it 18 days without a winner for Frankie Dettori. Even so, it unmistakably felt like his first afternoon back in the big time. For both parties, the news that he has signed a retainer for Sheikh Joaan al-Thani – one of the Qatari investors suddenly taking on the superpowers of the Turf – represents a clarion statement of intent.

Wise Dan aims to scale fresh heights in weighting game

Unbeaten as he is, for now the Derby winner is arguably not even the most accomplished thoroughbred who happens to have an engagement on Saturday. For a few hours after Ruler Of The World attempts to extend his Epsom supremacy on to home soil, in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby, an outstanding American champion sets a fresh challenge to such parochial perspectives as may have been re-inforced by the failure of Animal Kingdom at Royal Ascot last week.

Winning Express scores in Listed company at Salisbury last autumn. She reverts to that grade today after finishing in the frame in two Group One contests

Ed McMahon lowers stakes to raise Winning chance

Many trainers with limited resources can impress at a corresponding level, but the most instructive measure of their acuity is how they set about making the most of a horse eligible for higher grades. That is when you will often see them exposed, excitably shooting for the moon. In his campaigning of Winning Express, then, Ed McMahon must be commended in both raising and lowering the stakes.

Andre Schurrle

Chris McGrath: What does André Schürrle’s desertion say of the 'perfect template' that is the Bundesliga?

Schürrle has left Germany’s third best team to be a squad player at Chelsea

Godolphin plan to rush Irish pace for Libertarian

Having seen Dawn Approach snared by a slow pace in the Derby, Godolphin seem determined to retain control of their own destiny with the colt they have since acquired out of the same race. Libertarian, who charged home for second as Dawn Approach was tailing off at Epsom, will run in Godolphin colours for the first time when making his final appearance for Elaine and Karl Burke in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby at the Curragh on Saturday. And he will be joined by Cap O'Rushes, upgraded from handicap company at Royal Ascot last week, as security against a lack of pace in his rematch with Ruler Of The World.

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