Gulf Today

West Indies may never return to dominate cricket, says Ambrose

High Definition is one of 11 colts declared for the Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Dante Stakes at York on Thursday. Unbeaten in two starts as a juvenile, Aidan O’brien’s charge spent the winter months as clear favourite for the Cazoo Derby at Epsom

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Progressiv­e sprinter Final Song looks to translate some excellent Meydan form to Europe in the G2 Duke Of York Stakes at York on Wednesday.

The Saeed Bin Suroor-trained filly has thrived since being dropped to six furlongs earlier this year, most recently when finishing a half-length second to Extravagan­t Kid in the G1 Al Quoz Sprint on Dubai World Cup Night.

She scored over the same course and distance with an impressive display in the G3 Nad Al Sheba Turf Sprint Sponsored By Emirates.com on Super Saturday and was runner-up to Man Of Promise in a Listed handicap, also over six furlongs at Meydan, in February.

Frankie Detori partners the daughter of Dark Angel, who finished fourth on her European return last year in the G1 1,000 Guineas.

Suroor said: “Final Song worked nicely on Saturday and is ready to go on her first UK start this season. She showed out in Dubai that this trip really suits and I am hopeful of another good run.”

High Definition is one of 11 colts declared for the Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Dante Stakes at York on Thursday.

Unbeaten in two starts as a juvenile, Aidan O’brien’s charge spent the winter months as clear favourite for the Cazoo Derby at Epsom, according to Racing TV report.

The Galileo colt missed his intended comeback run in last Saturday’s Lingfield Derby Trial following an unsatisfac­tory blood test result, but is set to appear on the Knavesmire five days later.

O’brien has a second string to his bow in outsider Roman Empire, while Irish hopes are also carried by Jim Bolger’s Flying Visit.

The later was last seen finishing second in the Ballysax Stakes to O’brien’s Bolshoi Ballet, who is now the hot favourite for the Derby ater his latest triumph in last weekend’s Derrinstow­n Stud Derby Trial at Leopardsto­wn.

The home team is headed by the Mark Johnston-trained Gear Up, who won the Acomb Stakes at York last summer and rounded off his two-year-old campaign with Group One success in the Criterium de Saint-cloud.

John Gosden, who now trains in partnershi­p with son Thady, saddled the last horse to complete the Dante-derby double in Golden Horn.

Six years on, the Clarehaven team is represente­d by Uncle Bryn, who lost his unbeaten record when third in the Blue Riband Trial at Epsom on his seasonal debut, as well as Megallan.

Hurricane Lane (Charlie Appleby), Belloccio (David Menuisier), Pythagoras (Richard Fahey) and Royal Champion ( Roger Varian) complete the line-up.

An hour earlier Group Two honours are up for grabs in the Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Middleton Fillies’ Stakes, for which six runners are set to go to post.

O’brien’s Passion is joined in the trip across the Irish Sea by the Jessica Harrington-trained Silence Please, with Sir Michael Stoute’s Queen Power the leading British-trained contender ater finishing second in the Dahlia Stakes at Newmarket.

Cabeleta (Varian), Chamade (Ralph Becket) and Freyja (Johnston) are the other hopefuls.

CROWDS BACK AT RACECOURSE­S NEXT WEEK AS RESTRICTIO­NS EASE: Meanwhile, racecourse­s in England will be able to welcome customers through their gates from next Monday ater Prime

Minister Boris Johnson announced step three of the road map out of lockdown will proceed as planned, Racing TV reported.

The British Horseracin­g Authority responded to the Prime Minister’s confirmati­on by giving the green light for crowds to return from May 17. Racecourse­s can host up to 4,000 people or up to 50% of their capacity - whichever number is lower, the Racing TV report added.

The first meetings able to race in front of a crowd will be Redcar and Carlisle on Monday aternoon, ahead of fixtures that evening at Leicester and Windsor.

Ffos Las also race on Monday, but the Welsh Government is yet to announce a change to protocols meaning that meetings will continue to be held behind closed doors.

The partial liting of coronaviru­s restrictio­ns means the Cazoo Derby meeting will be run in front of paying customers next month and Royal Ascot will also have a crowd. However, with stage four of the road map not due to begin until June 21, it remains unclear whether that showpiece meeting will be able to host 10,000 crowds.

Since lockdowns began last March, spectators on racecourse­s have been restricted to pilot events at Doncaster and Warwick in September and limited crowds at a handful of meetings in December.

In a joint-statement issued by the BHA, the Racecourse Associatio­n and the Horsemen’s Group, it was also confirmed that owners will also be allowed to see their horses and meet with their trainers and jockeys in the parade ring from next week.

Richard Wayman, Chief Operating Officer of the BHA, said: “It is extremely exciting that we are finally able to welcome racegoers back to our racecourse­s.”

ANTIGUA: West Indies’ glory days of the past may never come back, said legendary former fast bowler Curtly Ambrose. He said that the West Indies may be able to be competitiv­e and climb up the Internatio­nal Cricket Council’s (ICC) rankings again but the team may never be able to dominate world cricket the way they did during his playing days, and earlier.

“When we were the best team in the world, West Indians all over the globe could walk and boast about how good we were because we were the best, so it’s going to be difficult to see those glory days again. Yes, we can be competitiv­e and climb up the ICC rankings and be a force to be reckoned with again, but those glory days, I don’t think we will see them again,” said Ambrose on the Talk Sports Live in Antigua.

Ambrose said that while he doesn’t mean any disrespect to the current generation, most younger players don’t quite know what cricket means to Carribean people living in the islands and abroad.

“Most of the youngsters we have now probably don’t quite understand what cricket means to West Indians in the West Indies and abroad because cricket is the only sport that really unites Caribbean people,” he said.

“This is no disrespect to the players we have now because we have a couple of guys who have some quality in them and can become great, but what we have to understand is that I don’t think we will ever see those great, exceptiona­l glory days again,” he said.

Ambrose took 405 Test wickets in 98 matches and 225 ODI wickets in 176 matches between 1988 and 2000. He is West Indies’ second highest wicket taker of all time in both formats, behind his famous former bowling partner Courtney Walsh.

“It’s going to be difficult to find another Viv Richards or a (Desmond) Haynes and (Gordon) Greenidge, a Brian Lara, Richie Richardson, you know, a Malcolm Marshall, Curtly Ambrose, Courtney Walsh, Michael Holding, Andy Roberts, and the list goes on and on, Clive Lloyd. It’s going to be extremely difficult to find those quality players again,” said Ambrose.

AMBROSE BACKS BUMRAH TO TAKE 400 TEST WICKETS: Meanwhile, in a conversati­on with sports presenterk­arishmakot­akandsenio­rsportsjou­rnalist Vikrant Gupta, Ambrose showered Jasprit Bumrah with praises, admiting that he’s a fan of the India pacer and that he comes across a rare breed.

“India’s got a few good fast bowlers. I’m a big fan of Jasprit Bumrah. He’s so different than any bowler I have seen. He’s so effective and I’m looking forward to him doing really well,” Ambrose said on The Curtly and Karishma Show on Youtube.

Asked by Gupta whether Bumrah can end up with 400 Test wickets, Ambrose sounded optimistic, but pointed out that remaining fit and keeping his body strong will be key to the India pacer geting there. “He is as long as he can remain healthy, fit and play long enough. He can seam the ball, swing the ball and bowl great yorkers. He’s got a lot in his arsenal. So as long as he can remain on the park for a long period of time, I’m sure he can get up there,” Ambrose explained.

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Trainer Saeed Bin Suroor says Final Song is ready to go on her first UK start this season.
↑ Trainer Saeed Bin Suroor says Final Song is ready to go on her first UK start this season.

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