ENGLAND captain Alastair Cook is hopeful of a brutal encounter when India and Sri Lanka meet in today’s second Champions Trophy semi-final, with his team set to play the winners in Sunday’s showpiece final at Edgbaston.
RECORD signing Andy Carroll insists he joined West Ham in a £17.5m move because he is convinced the club have a bright future.
TOTTENHAM chairman Daniel Levy has indicated incoming technical director Franco Baldini will oversee the club’s transfer and scouting policies alongside manager Andre Villas-Boas.
NEW Manchester United manager David Moyes faces a baptism of fire with his side scheduled to meet title contenders Chelsea and Manchester City, plus fierce rivals Liverpool, in the first five weeks of the season.
SUPPORTERS marched through central London to the headquarters of the Premier League yesterday in protest at ticket prices.
JOCKEY James Doyle toasted a hat-trick of wins at Royal Ascot yesterday, including a nailbiting triumph aboard Al Kazeem in the second day’s big race, the Prince of Wales’s Stakes.
BRITAIN’S Andy Murray could meet two-time Wimbledon champion Rafael Nadal as early as the quarter-finals, after the tournament seedings were released yesterday.
RUGBY UNION: Australia have named three debutants, wing Israel Folau, centre Christian Lealiifano and flanker Ben Mowen, to face the British and Irish Lions in Saturday’s first Test.
GOLF: World No1 Tiger Woods has been ruled out for four weeks with an elbow injury, but hopes to be fit for next month’s Open at Muirfield.
FOOTBALL: Scottish Premier League club Hearts have entered administration and will begin the new season with a 15-point deduction.
BILL ESDAILE PREVIEWS THE RIBBLESDALE STAKES AND NORFOLK STAKES
IT’S the turn of the juvenile speedballs in today’s opening Norfolk Stakes (2.30pm) and the red hot favourite is the Aidan O’Brien-trained Coach House.
BILL ESDAILE PREVIEWS THE ASCOT GOLD CUP AND THE TERCENTENARY STAKES
THE Ascot Gold Cup (3.45pm) is the jewel in the stayers’ crown and this afternoon’s renewal looks one of the most competitive in recent years.
JOHN Gosden and William Buick enjoyed a glorious Royal Ascot in 2012 with five winners apiece.
BILL ESDAILE PREVIEWS THE BRITANNIA HANDICAP AND THE KING GEORGE V STAKES
THE Queen might miss out on the prestigious prize of the Gold Cup today with Estimate, if my fancy Saddler’s Rock does the business, but BOLD SNIPER can provide compensation of sorts by landing the final race of the day, the King George V Stakes (
LADIES’ Day might be about the fashion and the colour of the Queen’s Hat (yellow is the 4/1 favourite) for some but I’m more concerned with winners and I think Alive Alive Oh has an outstanding chance in the Ribblesdale Stakes (3.05pm).
BRITISH and Irish Lions head coach Warren Gatland expects Australia to adopt spoiling tactics in the looming three-Test series, after the tourists were exposed at the breakdown by the Brumbies yesterday.
FOOTBALL Association boss David Bernstein has hinted at an overhaul of the England coaching set-up after Under-21 manager Stuart Pearce’s sacking was confirmed yesterday.
GODOLPHIN-OWNED Dawn Approach began rebuilding his reputation yesterday with victory at the St James’s Palace Stakes on the opening day of Royal Ascot, putting his recent defeat at the Derby firmly behind him.
FIVE-TIME champion Venus Williams has been forced to pull out of Wimbledon with a back injury, just days before the championships begin.
SOUTH Africa are the weakest of the four sides left in the Champions Trophy, so I’m confident England will progress to the final today.
ENGLAND’S all-time leading wicket-taker Sir Ian Botham has backed James Anderson to surpass his record of 383 Test dismissals, but must first prove his is king of the swingers when he goes head-to-head with South Africa’s Dale Steyn in today’s Cha
■ TENNIS: British No1 Laura Robson will play former world No1 Caroline Wozniacki in the Aegon International second round at Eastbourne, after beating Ukraine’s Yulia Beygelzimer
■ FOOTBALL: Barcelona midfielder Thiago Alcantara scored a first-half hat-trick as Spain retained the European Under-21 Championship with a 4-2 win over Italy.
BILL ESDAILE PREVIEWS THE JERSEY AND DUKE OF CAMBRIDGE STAKES
THE Irish could be in for a very good start to the second day of the meeting as they have the likely favourite in the first two events.
BILL ESDAILE PREVIEWS THE PRINCE OF WALES’S STAKES AND THE QUEEN MARY STAKES
THE Queen Mary Stakes (5.00pm) looks an absolute cracker on paper with 24 of the fastest fillies in the juvenile division set to line up for a crack at this £56,710 Group Two prize, run over five furlongs.
BILL ESDAILE PREVIEWS THE ROYAL HUNT CUP AND SANDRINGHAM HANDICAP
IF you still haven’t backed a winner after five races, then the 26-runner Sandringham Handicap (5.35pm) is probably not the ideal race in which to try to get out of trouble.
US OPEN champion Justin Rose has offered sympathy to runner-up Phil Mickelson, after his maiden Major victory at Merion late on Sunday night condemned the American to a miserable 43rd birthday.
THREE weeks ago, during the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth, I caught up with Justin Rose and told him: “You’re swinging as well as anyone in the world now – it’s a Major next for you.”
ENGLAND will play South Africa in the Champions Trophy semi-final at The Oval on Wednesday, after Sri Lanka’s 20-run win over Australia at the same venue yesterday ensured Alastair Cook’s men finished top of Group A.
CHELSEA manager Jose Mourinho admits he has had to adopt a different mindset to his first spell in charge because of European financial fair play (FFP) rules.
BRITISH No2 Heather Watson made a storming start to the Aegon International at Eastbourne with a straight sets victory over world No27 Varvara Lepchenko.
WASPS wing Christian Wade is set to make his British and Irish Lions debut this morning, just 10 days after his England bow, and has been backed by Wales’ record try scorer Shane Williams to prove he is not in Australia just to make up the numbers
FORMER League Cup winners Queens Park Rangers have been drawn away to League Two minnows Exeter City in round one.
FORMULA ONE: Commentator Murray Walker is to undergo chemotherapy after being diagnosed with lymphoma. The 89-year-old said: “They’ve caught it incredibly early, it’s treatable, the doctors say my condition is mild and I’m very hopeful.”
FOOTBALL: Tahiti, ranked 138th in the world, scored a historic goal but fell to a 6-1 defeat against Nigeria in the Confederations Cup.
BILL ESDAILE PREVIEWS THE QUEEN ANNE AND THE COVENTRY STAKES
THE briefest of glances at the roll of honour for the Coventry Stakes (4.25pm) reveals a stunning list of equine stars from the last five or so years.
BILL ESDAILE PREVIEWS THE KING’S STAND AND ASCOT STAKES
THERE is no hiding place in any race run over 2m4f at Ascot and in this afternoon’s Ascot Stakes (5.00pm) you need a horse that truly stays this marathon trip.
BILL ESDAILE PREVIEWS THE ST JAMES’S PALACE AND WINDSOR CASTLE STAKES
FINDING the winner of the 27-runner Windsor Castle Stakes (5.35pm) is no easy task as triumphs by horses priced at 100/1, 33/1, 20/1 and 14/1 in four of the last six renewals prove.
WORLD No5 Justin Rose ended England’s 17-year wait for a Major winner by clinching the US Open title at Merion Golf Club last night.
Scot shakes off groin trouble to win third Aegon Champs title
WORLD No2 Andy Murray played down fears of a fresh injury scare with Wimbledon looming as he won the Aegon Championships final in three sets at Queen’s Club.
THOSE of you with few friends, not much of a life, and a propensity for rugby union, will have had a field day on Saturday.
RECORD-BREAKING Welsh wing Shane Williams insists he is fit and ready to make a surprise cameo for the British and Irish Lions tomorrow after answering Warren Gatland’s 11th hour call-up.