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Royal Ascot 2024: Rosallion rules roost for Hannon in St James’s Palace Stakes

Something had to give in the St James’s Palace Stakes here on Tuesday and it proved to be the unbeaten record of Notable Speech, the ­favourite, as Richard Hannon’s unshakeable faith in his colt Rosallion was rewarded with victory by a neck in the feature race on day one of the royal meeting.“Quite often, you call these horses something that they’re not,” Hannon said afterwards, “and quite often you are disappointed, it’s an occupational hazard. But this lad has never let me down.”Rosallion had finished a length-and-a-half behind Notable Speech in the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket and, despite a subsequent win in the Irish equivalent a few weeks later, he was sent off at 5-2 with Notable Speech heading the market at 6-4. Charlie Appleby’s horse was never a serious threat, however, and a distinct lack of running room against the far rail was a much bigger issue for Sean Levey, Rosallion’s jockey, as they passed the furlong pole

June182024
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England move under lights to take on peak-form West Indies

The daytime starts in this men’s T20 World Cup may be kinder to British newspaper deadlines and, they claim more importantly, the television audience in India. But Twenty20 cricket in the Caribbean is really all about the bacchanal after dark; those sultry, steamy evenings under lights, where the white ball flies into stands that are already pulsing to a soca beat.After four group games before sunset, England will step into the calypso tent at 8.30pm local time on Wednesday night, 1.30am back home, for their first night game of the tournament

June182024
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Boston’s brilliant technocrats micromanaged their way to the NBA title

This Celtics team, while not quite as luminously talented as peak Steph Curry Golden State, have much of their predecessors’ machine-like air of inevitabilityA blizzard of confetti across the parquet floor at TD Garden; the words “Jaylen Brown finals MVP” no longer a punchline used to taunt the Massachusetts basketball faithful but solid, unarguable reality; the Larry O’Brien trophy in the hands of Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck; and Boston confirmed, with their 18th championship, as the most successful franchise in NBA history.Were these the worst NBA finals – for neutrals, at least – in recent memory though? A 4-1 scoreline certainly suggests so, and the manner of the Mavericks’ capitulation on Monday night – gamely keeping pace for the first 10 minutes of the first quarter before Boston made the title all but secure by half-time – applied a weak punctuation mark to what had been a rousing Dallas effort in Game 4. In the end, Kyrie Irving failed to show up on the court that once sang his name, the Mavericks supporting cast reverted to mediocre type, and the velvet hands and magic buttocks (and dodgy knee, and injured chest) of Luka Dončić simply had nothing left to give against a Boston outfit that was too smooth, too strong, too powerful at both ends of the court. With this 18th title, after 16 Larry O’Brien-less years, the Celtics now move ahead of their historic rivals the Lakers in the NBA’s all-time championship tally.ScheduleBest-of-seven series

June182024
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Borthwick’s England vision taking shape as Marcus Smith gets leading role

In the past 24 hours there has been an estimated eight inches of torrential rain fall in the Tokyo region, but ­England are determined to shine brightly against Japan this Saturday. Steve Borthwick wants his team to trust their attacking instincts against Eddie Jones’s Japan and the choice of Marcus Smith at fly-half and a first start for Chandler ­Cunningham‑South in the back row reflects the proactive mood.Rather than waiting until Thursday to name his side as scheduled, the England head coach opted to push forward the announcement by 48 hours, the kind of pre-emptive curveball often thrown by Jones on occasions in the past. Arguably most striking of all, though, is Borthwick’s desire for his players to maintain the momentum they were building in the latter half of the Six Nations, with Smith handed the baton as chief playmaker.The 25-year-old Harlequin player will regard this as an opportunity that needs to be grasped, with ­Borthwick having chosen to back him rather than give a first Test start to his Northampton namesake Fin Smith

June182024
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T20 World Cup has been truly global but how many tournaments is too many? | Mark Ramprakash

This has been a truly global T20 World Cup. With 20 teams involved for the first time it’s been much more inclusive than previous editions, and it’s been great to have fixtures you would not normally see, with some creditable performances from the associate countries – even in defeat.Scotland showed a lot of power in their batting and variety in their bowling, coming so close to beating Australia after victories over Oman and Namibia and a rained-off contest with England in which they amassed an unbeaten 90-run opening stand. They leave the tournament with plenty of credit. Nepal lost to South Africa by just one run, Canada beat Ireland, a Test side, and USA have played some really convincing cricket to advance to the Super Eights

June182024
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The Breakdown | Ireland and South Africa should be mates but have rugby’s hottest rivalry

Next month’s Test double-header on South African soil will write a new chapter in an increasingly rancorous struggleNo sooner had Ireland claimed a 13-8 win over South Africa in the Rugby World Cup last year – an epic tussle in a tournament littered with all-time encounters – a thumping rendition of the Cranberries’ Zombie rang out around Stade de France. The song’s connections with the Troubles, the IRA and Ireland’s struggle for peace was lost on most South African fans that sweaty Saturday night in Paris. Their primary reaction to Ireland’s adopted anthem was rage.“What’s in your heeeeaad, in your heeeeeeeaaaaad!” It was hard for them not to feel this was meant as a jibe; that the Irish, who have never seen their players lift the sport’s most glittering trophy, who had never even seen them reach the semi-finals of a World Cup, were rubbing South African noses in their success. That their No 1-ranked team had wormed their way into the subconscious of every South African by relegating the Boks to a stepping stone on their march to glory

June182024