Racing: Jones fined after Gunner's long-shot victory

A TRAINER was was fined pounds 210 by the stewards at Folkestone yesterday after Surprise Gunner won the fourth race at 20-1. Merrita Jones, based at Lambourn, was called in by the stewards after the nine-year-old romped home in Bilsington Handicap Hurdle.

Snooker: Drago delight, Hendry hurt

TONY DRAGO described his first-ever Benson and Hedges Masters victory yesterday as the finest result of his career. The 33-year-old Maltese player finally came good at the expense of the six-times Wembley winner Stephen Hendry after four previous failures in the tournament.

Racing: Malta shines while Boxer hits canvas

ANTE-POST UPDATE

Racing: McCoy the realist

TONY McCoy experienced the ups and downs of a jump jockey's job on the two Martin Pipe-trained Gold Cup candidates on view here yesterday. A frustrating fall from Unsinkable Boxer in the Timeform Novices' Chase was followed 35 minutes later by a wholly satisfactory victory on Cyfor Malta in the Pillar Properties Chase. And, as if it were needed, those two races, and one earlier, provided a microcosm of the qualities that make the 24-year-old Ulsterman just about the finest of his profession ever to throw a leg over a racehorse.

Racing: Cyfor Malta can do the Business

WHEN THE crowds struggle away from Prestbury Park after today's card at Cheltenham, the people who are not already planning their next trip to the course will be wishing desperately that they could. After the Wragge & Co Four-Year-Old Hurdle which brings proceedings to a close, the next race at Cheltenham will be the Supreme Novices' Hurdle, the opening event of the Festival itself. Many of those at the track today will be back again in March - and so, for that matter, will plenty of the horses.

Racing: Pipe keeps a close guard on Cyfor plan

CYFOR MALTA, unraced since winning the Murphy's Gold Cup in November, is to return at Cheltenham on Saturday. The Martin Pipe-trained gelding, who has the Gold Cup or Champion Chase as possible Festival targets, has a choice on Saturday between the Pillar Chase or Ladbroke Handicap Chase.

Obituary: Maj-Gen Robert Loudoun

IN DECEMBER 1943 Brigadier Fitzroy Maclean, the head of the Allied Military Mission to the Yugoslav partisans, informed the GOC, General Alexander, that reinforcements were needed if the partisans were to keep the Germans out of Vis, one of the last Dalmatian islands not held by the enemy.

Racing ante-post update: Get Real has serious chance in Chandler

GET REAL, despite being set to carry 5lb more than his true handicap mark, is the favourite for the Victor Chandler Handicap Chase at Ascot on Saturday. The Nick Henderson- trained eight-year-old bolted in by 11 lengths from Celibate in the Frogmore Handicap Chase over Saturday's course and distance in December and reopposes on just 1lb worse terms this weekend.

Racing: Malta loses standing in Gold Cup market

CYFOR MALTA has been eased in Cheltenham Gold Cup betting in the wake of the news that he is also to be entered for the Champion Chase and that the two-mile event may be his Festival target. The Martin Pipe- trained gelding is now 10-1 from 8-1 with William Hill, who have shortened Florida Pearl to 4-1 from 9-2.

Racing: Teeton on brink of leap to the top

The former top jump jockey Steve Smith Eccles analyses today's King George VI Chase

Snooker: McManus breaks into Irish final

snooker

Snooker: Drago on `auto-pilot' to beat Hendry again

TONY DRAGO proved in Dublin yesterday that last week's first victory over Stephen Hendry was no fluke, when he beat the former world champion again.

Snooker: Higgins falls to Lee for first time

THE WORLD champion, John Higgins, was knocked out of the Irish Open in Dublin yesterday, losing to the Grand Prix title-holder, Stephen Lee, for the first time in his career. And after his 5-3 second round defeat, Higgins had few complaints. "It was scrappy, and I just didn't perform," he said.

Racing: Unsinkable Boxer is waterlogged

MARTIN PIPE'S Unsinkable Boxer is to make his chasing debut on Friday at Uttoxeter. The unbeaten nine-year-old was ready for his first appearance over fences today, but Newton Abbot's meeting was abandoned because the track was waterlogged.

Racing: Suny Bay ensures another grey day

SUNY BAY was not a certainty at Haydock yesterday but before, during and at the end of the Tommy Whittle Chase he gave barely a moment's worry to those punters who had backed him to 4-11 on the assumption that he would do until such a mythical beast came along. The grey nine-year- old jumped more or less immaculately to gain his revenge, by three and a half lengths, over Earth Summit, his conqueror in the Grand National eight months ago.
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