“To be honest, I’ve been a bit disappointed with him this season,” said Wylie. “I thought he was going to finish seventh when he came over the last in last year’s Gold Cup, but by the end, I thought he’d maybe won it. He stormed up that hill, and to come second was brilliant. I had to supplement him for the race, and I was just thinking ‘don’t make an idiot of me’. “He ran well in the Lexus, but the ground was heavy that day and it was a stamina test. That’s what he wants. In the Hennessy, it was better ground, and Ruby got off and said three miles wasn’t far enough for him. “He’s going back to the Gold Cup. It’s three-mile-two, with a hill at the end, and hopefully the greater stamina test, run at more of a pace, might suit him.” Speaking to The Northern Echo, he said: “He’ll run in the Albert Bartlett over three miles. He’s a monster, and I’m sure he’ll stay that no problem. He’s been in great form, although it’s a bit of a shame that we haven’t been able to get him out since December. “There haven’t been that many three-mile races to put him in, and that’s what he needs. Willie’s looking forward to seeing him in action again, and there’s also a chance he could roll on to Aintree and Punchestown too.” Wylie will be represented in all three novice hurdles, with last year’s Cheltenham Bumper runner-up Shaneshill in the Supreme and Nichols Canyon the favourite for the Neptune. The owner went on: “Shaneshill hasn’t been out since he came second at Navan in December because he had a setback. Willie says he’s hoping to get him to Cheltenham for us. He’s not there yet, but he’s getting there and if he lines up it’ll be in the Supreme and he’ll have a decent chance. “Willie obviously has Douvan in the race as well, and some people are saying the Supreme is not the right race for him (Shaneshill), but Willie is adamant it is. Hopefully, his stamina will come into play. “Nichols Canyon has been excellent all season, and it’s just a shame he stepped on that hurdle over Christmas (at Leopardstown) because that’s the only blemish on his record. He would have won three Grade Ones if that hadn’t happened. “He’s still a double Grade One winner, though, and if he jumps well, Ruby (Walsh) says he has tons of stamina. He’ll run in the Neptune, and he’s got a great chance.” Wylie came within inches of winning the Gold Cup 12 months ago with On His Own and while his form this year has not set the chasing scene alight, he will have another crack at the feature. The Willie Mullins-trained six-year-old has only run twice over hurdles, winning at Cork both times, with his most recent outing coming over three miles. Wylie did, however, admit his lack of jumping experience is playing on his mind a little. Owner Graham Wylie has described Black Hercules as “a monster” ahead of his run in the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival. Press Association
By Ian RansomMELBOURNE,(REUTERS)-Lewis Hamilton took pole for Mercedes at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix on Saturday but Sebastian Vettel raised hope of a Ferrari renaissance by grabbing a spot on the front row.Hamilton’s flying lap of one minute 22.188 seconds set a new record at Albert Park but was only 0.268 seconds in front of German Vettel, offering the tantalising prospect of a competitive championship after three years of domination by the Silver Arrows.Vettel left Hamilton’s new team mate Valtteri Bottas frustrated in the second row, the meat in a Ferrari sandwich next to fourth fastest Kimi Raikkonen.On a cloudy day with the merest hint of rain, 32-year-old Hamilton grabbed his 62nd pole in Formula One, holding firm as Vettel and Bottas pushed hard late in the session.After it wrapped up, the Briton rolled around the lakeside track with his index finger raised, 10 years after his brilliant debut at the same circuit when he qualified fourth for McLaren and finished third in the race.“It has been a fantastic weekend so far,” Hamilton told reporters.“I am really proud of my team, the guys have worked so hard to make the car what it is today.“Valtteri has done a great job and it is great for Mercedes. It is close between us all and it will be a tight race.”After Hamilton dominated Friday practice, Vettel topped the timesheets in the final session on Saturday but rued a mistake in his fastest qualifying lap.”I lost it a bit in turn one… Anyway, great job,” Vettel said on his team radio.It was still encouraging enough for him to declare that the ‘scuderia’ could contend in Sunday’s race, having shown impressive pace and reliability during winter testing.Red Bull’s Max Verstappen qualified fifth but it was a forgettable day for his team mate Daniel Ricciardo, whose hopes of becoming the race’s first home winner spun out early in Q3.He took a spin at turn 14, ended up in the gravel and will start 10th on the grid.“I’m alright, sorry guys,” he said on the team radio before his car was towed off the track.With McLaren plagued by power unit and reliability problems during winter testing, it was something of a surprise that twice champion Fernando Alonso survived the cut to Q2 and will start 13th on the grid.His rookie team mate Stoffel Vandoorne will start 18th for the Honda-powered team.Canadian teenager Lance Stroll has had a memorable, if drama-filled, debut for Williams and the 18-year-old was 19th fastest in Q1.He will start last on the grid, however, due to a five-place penalty for needing a new gearbox following a crash during practice earlier on Saturday.Antonio Giovinazzi, a late replacement for Pascal Wehrlein after the German pulled out with fitness concerns, will start 16th for Sauber after an impressive debut in qualifying, one behind team mate Marcus Ericsson.
The Syracuse softball team that is off to its best start in program history was humbled this weekend, getting swept in a three-game set by South Florida. The Orange (24-8, 3-3 Big East) scored just four runs in the three games combined, losing 3-1, 7-3 and 4-0.In the first game Saturday, USF pitcher Lindsey Richardson slowed down the SU bats early, keeping them off the scoreboard for the first two innings. That gave her offense time to score three runs in the bottom of the first, and the Syracuse offense never mustered a comeback. The offensive power outage and sloppy defense set a tone for the entire weekend for Syracuse.The Bulls (22-15, 4-0) jumped out to a 7-0 lead in the second game, scoring through big blasts and errors on SU’s part. Syracuse’s offense came alive late in the game, scoring three runs, but the Orange left the bases loaded in the seventh inning.Syracuse’s bats were silenced by USF pitcher Sara Nevins in Sunday’s finale, as Jenna Caira’s double in the seventh inning was the only hit SU could muster. The Orange’s shoddy defense continued Sunday, as SU made five errors in the first inning. This let the Bulls take a 4-0 lead. South Florida didn’t score again, but it didn’t matter with Nevins on the mound.After going into the weekend at the top of the Big East with a 3-0 record, SU dropped seven spots to eighth with the sweep.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textTennisThe Syracuse women’s tennis team (14-6, 6-1 Big East) split its pair of matches this weekend, losing 1-6 to No. 49 William & Mary on Saturday before rebounding to defeat Old Dominion 6-1 on Sunday. Saturday’s loss was the Orange’s third loss against a ranked opponent this season. SU has yet to defeat a ranked team this season.Aleah Marrow was the only player to pick up a victory against William & Mary. Marrow won in straight sets 6-2, 6-3 at the No. 6 singles position. Emily Harman and Simone Kalhorn each forced three sets but eventually lost their matches.Maddie Kobelt and Harman lost their first match as the No. 32 ranked doubles team, losing in a tiebreaker 8-7 (5). The loss to 40th-ranked Anik Cepeda and Hope Johnson snapped the No. 1 SU doubles pair’s 10-game winning streak.Harman and Kobelt responded with an 8-3 victory against the Monarchs on Sunday. Kobelt won her team-best 29th overall match, defeating Diana Ivanova 7-6, 7-6 at the No. 2 singles position.No. 4 singles player Christina Tan won her match in convincing fashion, defeating Margarita Belyakova 6-1, 6-2. Kalhorn and Marrow each won their matches in straight sets at the No. 5 and 6 singles positions, respectively. Marrow was the only player to win each of her singles matches during the weekend road trip.— Compiled by The Daily Orange Sports staff Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on April 3, 2011 at 12:00 pm