The King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes is one of the jewels in the crown of the flat racing season. While the Classics always create a real buzz, the King George is open to horses aged three and older which means more competition and the chance for horses to win more than once. That’s exactly what Highland Reel’s connections are hoping for as the 2016 champion returns to Ascot to defend his title.
The CONCACAF Gold Cup doesn’t always provide the most entertaining football but it has more than lived up to its billing this year. The latest twist in the tale came in the semi-finals. Nobody was shocked to see tournament hosts, the USA, book their place in the final on Sunday but few predicted that Jamaica would shock Mexico the following day. The Reggae Boys were full value for their win against the pre-tournament favourites and are just one game away from winning the Gold Cup for the first time in their history.
It’s never easy being an England cricket fan. The test team won their first match under new captain, Joe Root, with what looked like ease against South Africa. However, in just a week they turned a 211 run victory into a 340 run defeat. In truth, the warning signs were there. England suffered a batting collapse even in victory at Lord’s but few people predicted that they would fail so miserably with the bat in the second test at Trent Bridge. The task for Root and his players now is to flip this test series on its head once more. That means playing proper test cricket and not giving away silly wickets when they face South Africa again, this time at the Oval.
The International Champions Cup is an interesting tournament. On the face of it, it’s just a collection of meaningless friendlies but when you look a little deeper it’s much more than that. Firstly, the tournament allows fans around the world to see some of the best teams and players in the world in the flesh. Then there’s the fact that it allows these top teams pretty competitive football as they prepare themselves for the upcoming season. But the best thing about the International Champions Cup is the mouth-watering matches it throws up. We’ve already had heavyweight encounters and on Sunday we’ve got El Clasico being played at Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens.
While the attention of most football fans ahead of the new season is on who their club have or haven’t signed, managers are balancing transfer activity with tactical plans and the need to get their players fit and raring to go for the first match. For Pep Guardiola and Mauricio Pochettino that means taking part in the International Champions Cup in America. Both managers know that this is merely preparation for the months of graft ahead but equally, a win over a potential title rival is welcome at any time from a morale point of view so expect both managers to take Saturday’s meeting seriously.