Veteran trainer Harry Parsard says tomorrow’s inaugural running of the Supreme Ventures Diamond Mile at Caymanas Park with a record purse of $13.5 million is a shot in the arm for the horse racing industry. Parsard, who is enjoying a marvellous season, having won the St Leger with 35-1 outsider SUPERLUMINAL in July, along with a number of grade- one trophy races with UPPA TUNE and POTCHEEN, said the race could not have come at a better time, especially with all accompanying races on the card offering no less than $1 million in purse money. “This is unprecedented in the history of local racing, and the response from stakeholders to each of the races has been tremendous. The industry needs another race day such as this on the annual calendar, and whichever entity gets the track through divestment, if it becomes a reality in 2016, should seriously considered having two such racedays,” added Parsard, who will saddle three of the 16 starters in the Diamond Mile. The trio will be led by his crack imported horse, UPPA TUNE, outgoing champion sprinter POTCHEEN and PETE’SWILDONE. All three will be vying for the winner’s share of $6.5 million, a record allocation, as well as $2.1 million for second or $1.25 for third. In fact, purse money will be paid on the first 10 past the post. “My horses will definitely earn, but considering the distance, UPPA TUNE, with champion jockey Dane Nelson, would appear to have the best chance. But the others should still give good account of themselves,” he reasoned. “Uppa Tune missed the recent Coca Cola Invitational Mile as the conditions of weight allotment were not kind to him, but the good thing is that he will report nicely refreshed for this race and his strong pace and proven class could make a difference in this star-studded field,” added the trainer. Parsard, however, has one regret. This has to do with the fact that his vastly improved 3-y-o filly, LONG RUNNING TRAIN, did not have sufficient earnings at this stage to make the top 16. LONG RUNNING TRAIN was among the 10 reserves named in the 26 entries, but it was highly unlikely that she would make the cut with purse money going to the top 10. Parsard said while he is thankful to the sponsors Supreme Ventures Limited and the Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Commission in joining hands for this historic race day, he is proposing a change for next year. “I think the format should be changed to an invitational race rather than one based on lifetime earnings as now obtains. This would ensure that horses such as LONG RUNNING TRAIN and another progressive three-year-old colt, POKER STAR, would get in ahead of some of the older horses with built-in earnings over the years due to age,” he concluded.
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (CMC): All-rounder Andre Russell grabbed three wickets to help fire Islamabad United into the final of the Pakistan Super League, with a 50-run victory over Darren Sammy’s Peshawar Zalmi’s in yesterday’s last semi-final. United posted 176 for three off 20 overs after being sent in at the Dubai International Stadium and then restricted Zalmi to 126 all out of 18 overs to book their spot in the championship game against Quetta Gladiators tomorrow. Seamer Russell picked up three for 37 from his four overs, including the wicket of captain Shahid Afridi, who smashed a 17-ball 38 with two fours and four sixes. Left-arm spinner Imran Khalid was the best bowler with four for 20, while opener Kamran Akmal stroked the top score of 45 from 32 deliveries. Sammy made nine from eight balls with two fours before he was fifth out at 80 for five in the 13th over. Earlier, opener Sharjeel Khan smashed 117 off 62 deliveries to propel United’s innings. He put on 108 for the first wicket with Barbados and West Indies right-hander, Dwayne Smith, who made a painstaking 19 off 37 balls. On Saturday, in contrast, Smith hit an unbeaten 50 from 48 deliveries to help United post a nine-wicket victory over Karachi Kings.
Barry Silkman believes whoever signs Ravel Morrison would be making the deal of the century.The former Manchester United midfielder has fallen out of favour at Upton Park and is expected to leave during the January transfer window.And Silkman told talkSPORT the 21-year-old would be good enough to get into Arsenal’s team on ability, but admitted it will be the player’s last chance to prove what he can do after a string of off-field issues.Speaking to Kick-Off, Silkman said: “Wherever he goes is his last chance. Ravel could get into Arsenal’s team tomorrow. His ability is unbelievable, he is fantastic.“Whoever gets Ravel now will get the best deal that’s been done this century in football.”Morrison has been linked with a move to Serie A giants Lazio this week, while Premier League clubs Queens Park Rangers and Aston Villa have also been linked for the midfielder.“Personally, if I was a Premier League manager, I would now be desperate to take him until the end of the season,” added Silkman.“This is the biggest no brainer. There is no gamble.”