The Sports Matrix: Tuesday 15 March 2011

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Hurricane Fly on right track to glory

Irish hurdler Hurricane Fly will be the favourite going in to today’s Champion Hurdle as the festival gets underway. The horse has lost just once from eight starts in the Grade One category under trainer Willie Mullins, son of Paddy, who trained Dawn Run. MORE

England’s fate out of their hands

England could be eliminated from the tournament whatever happens in their final group game against West Indies on Thursday. But they hope they can repeat their feat at last year’s World Twenty20 when they started sluggishly but won the title. MORE

Pakistan through to quarter-finals

Pakistan have progressed from the first stage of the tournament for the first time since 1999, after beating Zimbabwe by seven wickets in a rain-affected match. Umar Gul took three wickets and Asad Shafiq hit 78 not out.

Wolf Moon the best value of the day

The best value of today is Wolf Moon in the Stewart Family Spinal Research Chase. In the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, Paddy Power is refunding all bets if Cue Card wins. That said, Zaidpour may well be a better option for the punters. MORE

Tindall to learn if fit to face Ireland

England captain Mike Tindall will hear today if he is fit for Saturday’s Grand Slam decider against Ireland in Dublin. The centre twisted his ankle ligaments in the 22-16 win over Scotland last weekend. If he is out, Matt Banahan is likely to replace him. MORE

Have years caught up with Kauto Star?

Going into the Festival, many are wondering whether the 11-yearold Kauto Star is past it, as he is under pressure to regain the Gold Cup. Chris McGrath looks at his chances and four more questions that we will learn the answers to in the coming days. MORE

Late Norwich goals earn crucial win

Norwich City moved up to second after a 3-1 home win over with Bristol City. A Grant Holt penalty put Norwich ahead, although Albert Adomah’s equaliser looked to have held them only for Henri Lansbury and Andrew Surman to win it with late strikes. MORE

Ferguson delights in Valencia’s return

Wayne Rooney’s return to form and Antonio Valencia’s return from injury is a fillip for Sir Alex Ferguson ahead of tonight’s second leg with Marseilles. “They are both young and have great energies,” said Ferguson. “Antonio is a great boost to us.” MORE

Torres admits teething problems

Chelsea’s record signing Fernando Torres has admitted that he has struggled to settle since his January move. The striker, who has yet to score for Chelsea, said: “The first few weeks are not easy. You don’t just arrive and everything is waiting for you.” MORE

Opinion: James Lawton

If an Animal Aid activist, protesting against the deaths of race horses, confronted Peter O’Sullevan, the veteran commentator knows what his old horse Attivo would say: “For heaven’s sake, don’t stop me racing.” MORE

Terry likely to be made captain again

Fabio Capello is likely to re-instate John Terry as England captain ahead of next week’s European Championship qualifier against Wales. He sacked the Chelsea defender as captain 13 months ago after a series of indiscretions but insists that Terry has served his time and that it is his right to bring him back. “I am the manager and it is my decision,” said Capello. “Now I believe he is still a good player and still a good captain. I still have to talk to some players and then make my decision and it will be announced next week.” The often-injured Rio Ferdinand has officially been captain, since it was taken from Terry before the 2010 World Cup. MORE

Marseilles captain hails ‘great’ United

Marseilles goalkeeper and captain Steve Mandanda knows how strong a challenge United will give this evening. “They’re very solid, especially defensively,” he said. “They also have a couple of very intelligent lads up front. They’re a great, great team.” MORE

Bayern distracted by Van Gaal exit

The probable elimination of current champions Internazionale tonight has been forgotten in Munich. The talk is of last week’s announcement that the German champions will be dispensing with manager Louis van Gaal at the end of the season. MORE