Ruby Walsh pays tribute to ‘horse of a lifetime’ Kauto Star

Kauto Star and Ruby Walsh on their way to winning the 2009 Cheltenham Gold Cup

Kauto Star and Ruby Walsh on their way to winning the 2009 Cheltenham Gold Cup

Ruby Walsh remembered Kauto Star as a “true heavyweight” following the death of the chaser he steered to 17 of his 19 victories in Britain and Ireland, including two Cheltenham Gold Cups and five King Georges.

The rider believes he should go down as one of the greatest National Hunt horses of all time, but that comparisons with Arkle are unfair.

"He had some hard races and took some heavy falls and kept coming back," Walsh said.

"He was a true heavyweight and it was a pleasure to be associated with him.

"I am too young to remember Arkle, and it is very unfair to compare horses from different eras.

"To me in his era he was the best. He had the longevity and he won the most races and it is some feat to turn up and win any race five times, let alone a Grade One King George."

Walsh's association with the French import did have its blips, remounting after a fall in a three-runner race at Exeter in 2005, during which the 2-11 favourite suffered an injury, and was also in the saddle when he fell in both the 2006 Champion Chase and the 2010 Gold Cup.

But it is another race that Walsh will remember less fondly, a nose defeat to Our Vic at Aintree in 2008.

He told Racing UK: "If I was to ride one race on him again it would the Betfair Bowl at Aintree.

"I went too soon on him that day, but that can't be changed. I loved riding him and enjoyed every day I rode him.

"He was lucky to get up when he fell in the Champion Chase and he was very lucky to get up in the Gold Cup. There were low points, but there were great points that he got up.

"I can't say I overly enjoyed having to ride him out at Ditcheat. He was quite spooky and took his chances schooling but on the racecourse he was dead straightforward. You could drop him in, make the running on him. He had everything."

He added in his Paddy Power blog: "Kauto Star was a superstar and it's a real shame that his life off the track has been cut short.

"He was a wonderful horse to ride and he gave me some of the best days I'll ever have as a jockey.

"He was without a doubt the best chaser I've ever ridden – a horse in a lifetime. I'll never ride one as good as him again. How could you? Just look at his record.

"Kauto, very simply, was one of the greatest jump horses in history."

Conor McGregor has made a bold prediction for his fight with Aldo

Conor McGregor is in typically confident mood

Conor McGregor is in typically confident mood

While doing a round of press for ESPN yesterday, Conor McGregor made a confident prediction for how his title fight with Jose Aldo will go.

Speaking to ESPN, McGregor said: “I always make accurate predictions. I have predicted many contests. I have my entire career. I predict the future. For me, I have already predicted this contest. At four minutes of the first round he will be KO’ed. I feel that the power matched with the precision, he will not be able to take it. Four minutes he will be done.”

Asked where the confidence came from, McGregor said: 

“I’m in a business where you must be confident. If you have any doubts they will come back and play against you. So I am supremely confident as well as I am confident in my work ethic. My approach to the game, my non-stop effort to get better as a martial artist. I don’t feel that anyone else in the game is doing what I’m doing and moving the way I am moving.

“It just comes from years and years of practice on the mat. I have had many fights inside the octagon, outside the octagon, in rings, on mats. I am an experienced veteran in the fight game. Through that and through a believe team and my ability I have just gained a bulletproof confidence that I cannot be stopped.”

Of course, we still don't know if the title fight will definitely go ahead, as the Brazilian champ has a rib injury that is serious, but perhaps not serious enough to rule him out of the fight. 

If Aldo does pull out, meaning Chad Mendes steps in for an interim title bout, Notorious isn't too bothered, as he said on Saturday: "There should be no reason to pull out of this contest. But if he does, that's on him and I cannot force another individual to step in there. If I ask myself truly, would I like to step in there and face me, I'd probably go running, too. If it's little mini Mendes, we'll smoke him, too."


RTE loses the rights to the Olympics

The Olympics will be shown on Eurosport from 2018

The Olympics will be shown on Eurosport from 2018

Eurosport will the new host broadcaster of the Olympics following a €1.3billion deal announced today.

Eurosport has committed to broadcasting only 200 hours of summer Olympics and 100 hours of winter Games on free-to-air television and says in many territories it will sub-license these back to a terrestrial broadcaster.

RTE, or one of the other domestic free-to-air channels here, will have to bid to get the sub-licence rights to the Winter and Summer games from 2018.

"While RTÉ is disappointed at this announcement, it is too early to say definitively that RTÉ won’t broadcast the Olympics in 2020 and 2024. It should be noted that rights to Rio 2016 were bought by RTÉ through a third party agency when the EBU failed in its bid for those games and that Discovery Channel have said today that they will ‘sub-license a portion of the rights in many markets across Europe’" read a statement sent to

"Under the Broadcasting Act 2009, The Summer Olympics are listed as a Designated Major Event which must be shown free-to-air in this territory.

"RTÉ will make every effort to secure the rights for the Summer Olympic Games in 2020 and 2024 so that Irish viewers can watch home-produced, relevant coverage of Irish athletes competing both in Tokyo in 2020 and at the 2024 Summer games – something that all countries would lose in the event of pan-European coverage.

"RTÉ remains optimistic that a solution can be found and in the meantime we look forward to bringing Irish viewers comprehensive free-to-air coverage of next summer’s Olympic games in Rio."

Announcing the new TV deal, International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach said: "This is a significant agreement for Discovery and the IOC, and we are excited to have Eurosport, the pan-European home of Olympic sports, as a partner.

"This agreement ensures comprehensive coverage of the Olympic Games across Europe, including the guarantee to provide extensive free-to-air television coverage in all territories.

"The revenue generated from this long-term partnership will be redistributed by the IOC across the Olympic movement to support the development of sport around the world."

RTE holds the rights to the 2016 Games in Rio but where, and how much, coverage we can watch in the future is now uncertain.

The BBC have rights up to 2020, so Irish viewers with access to their channels will be able to watch the 2020 Games with them.

Jack Hobbs the one to beat in Irish Derby

William Buick aboard Jack Hobbs

William Buick aboard Jack Hobbs

Aidan O’Brien declared the track at the Curragh in “beautiful condition” as he prepares to take on Investec Derby runner-up Jack Hobbs with a four-pronged attack on the 150th Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby this evening.

Qualify, a shock 50-1 winner of the Oaks at Epsom, is part of the O'Brien team as he chases an astonishing 12th success in the showpiece mile-and-a-half event.

The number one hope on jockey bookings appears to be French Derby runner-up Highland Reel, with Ryan Moore riding on the crest of a wave following his astonishing week at Royal Ascot.

Colm O'Donoghue keeps the ride on Qualify, while Epsom Derby fourth and sixth, Giovanni Canaletto and Kilimanjaro, are partnered by Joseph O'Brien and Seamie Heffernan respectively.

O'Brien, who has won eight of the last nine runnings, said on Friday evening: "I walked the full mile and a half of the Derby track and it is in beautiful condition. They have done a good job.

"All four horses are in good form, and it will be interesting to see how Highland Reel gets on stepping up in distance. I think he'll get the trip.

"The race at Epsom probably came a bit too quick for Giovanni Canaletto, while Kilimanjaro has come forward well and I think a small field will suit him better.

"Qualify is the interesting one. Colm gave her a lovely ride in the Oaks, and the last furlong she came home very strong. The Curragh will suit her."

The unbeaten Radanpour takes a big step up in class after winning each of his three starts this season, completing the hat-trick in Leopardstown's King George V Cup at Listed level three weeks ago.

His trainer Dermot Weld said: "He's a lovely genuine horse and will run a good race. However, we would like to have seen a lot more rain and the ground is drying out all the time. He handles soft ground very well."

John Gosden expects the demands of the Curragh to bring out the best in Jack Hobbs, although he would like sufficient ease in the ground for his runner, who is the 4-5 favourite with William Hill.

Six months to the day since making a winning debut in a Saturday night maiden under the Wolverhampton floodlights, the imposing son of Halling will be the hot favourite to provide the Newmarket trainer with a first victory in Ireland's premier Classic.

It has been a rapid ascent for the three-year-old, whose remarkably facile comeback victory in handicap company at Sandown marked him down as a potential star.

He subsequently found stable companion Golden Horn too hot to handle in the Dante at York and it was the same story at Epsom, but with his old rival safely tucked up in his box, Jack Hobbs looks to have an excellent opportunity to enjoy his day in the sun.

Gosden said: "He's a tall, rangy horse and he'll be having a nice break after this until the autumn as I wouldn't want to race him on through the summer. I think a galloping track like the Curragh should suit him well.

"I'm very happy with him, he worked last Saturday and I was very happy, he worked with a lead horse and Robert Havlin rode him, he was nicely clear on the bridle at the end.

"He took Epsom very well, he ate up and all of that, he's a big boy.

"We fully respect the quality of the field, which includes an Oaks winner, but it's not a race I got greatly involved with in the past, so it would be extremely nice to win."

Epsom third Storm The Stars has four and a half lengths to make up with the Gosden runner and trainer William Haggas admits it looks a tough ask.

"The horse is very well and we came to the conclusion if we didn't run he couldn't win," said Haggas.

"John's horse looked marvellous before the Derby at Epsom and ran a pretty good race, so he'll be hard to beat.

"Then you have an Oaks winner, a few more of Aidan's and an unbeaten horse of Dermot Weld's (Radanpour), so it's not going to be straightforward, but then it is an Irish Derby.

"I think they're going to have a bit of rain, but not much, and a good friend of mine who walked the course tells me it's pretty firm.

"We wouldn't mind a bit of rain, but I think the horse most inconvenienced by fast ground would be John's. That's pretty well publicised, I think.

"We're entitled to be there, so we'll give it a go and see what happens."

An eight-strong field is completed by Pat Shanahan's Carbon Dating, who was a huge price when eighth at Epsom and is likely to be three-figure odds once again.

Irish jockey in induced coma after fall in Australia

Eddie Creighton suffered the fall in Australia

Eddie Creighton suffered the fall in Australia

Eddie Creighton has been placed in an induced coma after a fall at Warrnambool racecourse in Australia on Saturday.

The jockey, who won two Pattern races when formerly based in Britain, was riding The Walrus when the horse stumbled shortly after the start, unseating Creighton in the process.

He was concious after the fall and was initially reported to have sustained a suspected broken arm and concussion, but his condition deteriorated at Warrnambool Base Hospital and he has been transferred to Melbourne for further treatment.


We’ll know for sure if McGregor v Aldo is on next week

Will we see the two face off in Las Vegas?

Will we see the two face off in Las Vegas?

The possibility of Conor McGregor fighting Jose Aldo for his UFC belt on July 11 will be confirmed once and for all next week.

MMAFighting carry quotes from Aldo's trainer Andre Pederneiras that were given at a Brazilian event yesterday.

The subject of Aldo's injury came up and the champ's trainer made it sound like his man was perhaps more seriously injured than the UFC told us last week.

"There’s medical report here and an evaluation there. I’m not a doctor to say which one is correct," Pederneiras said in Rio de Janeiro.

"I know he’s injured and this rib injury is painful. He’s using anti-inflammatory and we will wait to see if he gets better. The fight is on, and we’ll check him again next week."

"We will only have this answer next week," he continued. "He’s under treatment. He did an injection and is under a PRP (platelet-rich plasma) treatment, and is waiting to get better. They take his blood, use only the good plasma, and inject it on the injury. The fight is 15 days away. Doctors say he will get better day after day. We can’t say how he will feel 15 days from now."

One major reason why the fight may now not happen is weight. 

Pederneiras confirmed that the UFC will take him off the bill if he fails to make weight and as it stands, Aldo cannot exercise at all.

"If he can’t do any exercise to cut weight, he won’t fight at all," he said. "That doesn’t concern me at all.

"He’s forbidden to do anything right now. If you move, the injury won’t heal, so he needs to stay to some rest. He’s used to pain but is feeling a lot of pain right now. It’s hard to fight at 100 percent. But if he can take a punch and don’t feel the pain he’s feeling right now… He broke his foot in the first round against ‘Korean Zombie’ and kept fighting. He’s used to pain. We’ll only let him fight if he’s well."

Of course, the UFC have already announced Chad Mendes as a back-up plan if Aldo is pulled from the bill at the MGM in Las Vegas but the prospect of the Brazilian being in the octagon appears to be just that little bit slimmer today.

It’s on! UFC confirm Jose Aldo is fit to fight Conor McGregor on July 11



After 36 hours where the world of Irish MMA fans was plunged into misery, the UFC have confirmed that Conor McGregor’s title bout against Jose Aldo will go ahead.

News filtered through on Tuesday night that the Brazilian champion had suffered a rib fracture, an injury that would keep him out of the octagon for a few months, scuppering McGregor's title shot.

Yesterday, Aldo's coach seemed to confirm the serious injury, making the fight even less likely to go ahead.

But all has been saved following this statement from the UFC overnight.

“In light of recent reports regarding the status of UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo, UFC has received official medical confirmation from several doctors that Aldo did not suffer a broken rib,” the statement reads. “Following a review of the scans, it has been determined that the champion suffered a bone bruise to his rib and cartilage injury during training.

“With this news, Aldo has expressed that he has every intention of facing Conor McGregor at UFC 189.”

However, the UFC also unveiled the back up plan put in place just in case the Brazilian does pull out in the next few weeks.

“While Aldo has indicated that he will compete in Las Vegas on July 11, UFC has confirmed a contingency plan. No.1 featherweight contender Chad Mendes will face McGregor for the interim UFC featherweight championship in the event Aldo cannot compete. UFC remains committed to delivering the featherweight and the welterweight championship fights at UFC 189 during UFC International Fight Week in Las Vegas.”

In short, we should get the fight we all wanted for months and even if the champ does pull out, Notorious will definitely be in action at the MGM on July 11, tremendous news for the many Irish MMA fans travelling over for the bout.

Aldo’s coach: Jose is in deep pain but he wants to fight

The much anticipated bout is in serious doubt now

The much anticipated bout is in serious doubt now

Jose Aldo’s coach has confirmed to Brazilian media that his man still wants to fight Conor McGregor on July 11, but he also confirmed the champion is in a lot of pain.

Update: 10.40:

And now the bookies are psoting odds on the fight going ahead and they are favour a no. Sadly, they are rarely wrong.

Odds via Paddy Power

Will the fight take place at UFC189 on 11th July in Las Vegas?

6/4 Yes
1/2 No

Update 7.34: 

And now we have the first word from Conor McGregor

Looks like he is still fighting on JUly 11, question is who?

Just know that it is business as usual up here at the top. See you all on July 11th.

— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) June 24, 2015

Last night the world of MMA, and especially Irish MMA, was turned upside when reports from Brazil said that the much anticipated title fight for Notorious was in doubt after the champion suffered a rib injury.

With the fight less than three weeks away, and with the bout one of the most eagerly anticipated UFC clashes of the year, the news was a hammer blow to many fans.

Overnight UFC head honcho Dana White tried to soothe fans by simply tweeting 'Relax everyone' but the news this morning only offers us a thin glimmer of hope.

Speaking to Brazilian media, Aldo's coach Andre Pederneiras confirmed his man is injured but he also confirmed he still wants to step into the octagon in Las Vegas.

"He cried. He wants this fight bad, everybody invested a lot in this," Pederneiras told Combate. "I was with him the whole afternoon. He’s heartbroken. He wants to fight anyway. Now we have to wait for the exam results. Aldo is in deep pain."

And if the injury is, as expected, confirmed as a broken or cracked rib, then the champion won't be back in action for many months.

"If the fracture is really confirmed, Aldo will have to stop training, do nothing for three or four weeks until it’s fixed, and then he would be able to do any exercise without forcing his rib," the coach said. "And then he would need a normal time to do a training camp: three months. I believe this fight wouldn’t happen before October."

It is believed that the UFC bosses have met with McGregor's camp to try and work out what to do if Aldo does pull out but it looks like we will have to wait until much later in the year to see him face Aldo.

Barry Geraghty named as new rider for JP McManus

Barry Geraghty won the Irish National for McManus on Shutthefrontdoor in 2014

Barry Geraghty won the Irish National for McManus on Shutthefrontdoor in 2014

Barry Geraghty has been named as number one rider to leading owner JP McManus, replacing the retired Tony McCoy.

Ever since McCoy announced his intention to retire in February, Geraghty has been favourite with the bookmakers to fill the massive void left by the 20-times champion.

Geraghty has been riding principally for Nicky Henderson since 2008 and the pair have won most of the biggest races on the calendar together, including the Gold Cup with Bobs Worth in 2013.

However, Geraghty has worn the famous green and gold silks of McManus to plenty of big-race successes himself, with More Of That, Jezki and Shutthefrontdoor's wins in the World Hurdle, Champion Hurdle and Irish Grand National the three most notable.

Speculation had been rife as to who would replace McCoy, but McManus' racing manager Frank Berry confirmed at Kilbeggan on Monday evening that a deal has now been finalised.

Berry said: "It's good to have Barry on board. Initially Mr McManus didn't do a lot about it (appointing new jockey), but it's happened in the last week.

"He's ridden big winners for us and Nicky (Henderson) will still use him when available."

With Geraghty appointed as McCoy's successor, Henderson will now be on the lookout for a replacement and Betfair make Cheltenham Gold Cup-winner Nico de Boinville the market leader at 1-2.

De Boinville is already attached to the Henderson yard.

Betfair spokesman Barry Orr said: ''Nico de Boinville has established himself as a strong player in the pecking order (at Seven Barrows) and with Richard Johnson, Sam Twiston-Davies and Tom Scudamore all content in their present positions, he appears to be in pole position to land the job''

Rosberg reigns in Austria

Nico Rosberg got the better of team-mate Lewis Hamilton at the Austrian Grand Prix

Nico Rosberg got the better of team-mate Lewis Hamilton at the Austrian Grand Prix

Nico Rosberg once again proved he is the Daddy of the Red Bull Ring after leading home Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton to win the Austrian Grand Prix.

The German, who is awaiting the birth of his first child, won here 12 months ago during a purple patch that ultimately failed to land him the championship, but he repeated the feat on Father's Day to remain in the title hunt this year.

Hamilton had qualified on pole but was well-beaten, with his hopes hit following a penalty for a small pit-lane misdemeanour, although he did easily take second ahead of the Williams of Felipe Massa.

Rosberg got the better start and eased ahead of Hamilton going into turn one and then managed to keep him at bay as the pole-sitter looked to fight back.

Any chance of battling back past Rosberg in the early stages was ended as the safety was deployed following a big accident after a coming together between the Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso's McLaren.

After the two cars had been cleared, Rosberg pulled clear following the restart as the second McLaren of Jenson Button, having already pitted for new tyres and serving a 10-second penalty, retired at the end of lap nine.

That meant both McLarens retired for the second race in succession as their ongoing issues show no sign of abating – with Alonso and Button having already been hit with 25-place grid penalties before the start.

Rosberg was maintaining a measured gap back to Hamilton in a role reversal from the Canadian Grand Prix and, after a clean pit stop on lap 34, the door was not opened for the Brit to take the lead with the undercut of pitting two laps later.

He was then hit with a five-second time penalty for crossing the line at the pit exit, meaning even passing his rival out on track would not guarantee victory.

Rosberg looked like was going to control the race but lost time after complaining of tyre vibrations five laps from the end, but he kept on and took the chequered flag to close to within 10 points of Hamilton going into the British Grand Prix in a fortnight.

"It is an awesome feeling to win again here," Rosberg said on the podium.

"The start made the race, it was a great start, I managed to defend in the first corners and then pushed this time. I was happy to see the gap open to Lewis and it worked out perfectly today."

Hamilton conceded he was beaten by the better man.

"Nico did a fantastic job today," he said. "He was quicker in the race, I had a really bad start and after that I was pushing as hard as I could."