Lunchtime Sports Update

Irish trained horses are the favourites for two of the three Grade One races at Cheltenham today.

‘Samcro’ is odds on to win the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle, and hand trainer Gordon Elliot his first victory at this year’s festival.

The Pat Kelly trained ‘Presenting Percy’ is heavily backed for the R-S-A Novices’ Chase.


Willie Mullins will saddle the two main challengers to favourite ‘Altior’ in the feature, the Queen Mother Champion Chase.

Dave Keena has more details……….

Leo Powell of The Irish Field newspaper is not that confident that Kerry jockey Jack Kennedy and Samcro will get the day off to a winning start for Ireland……..

The going at Cheltenham is Soft-heavy in places.

Elsewhere, Southwell is Standard with a 1.20 start

Huntingdon is Soft-good to soft in places and off at 1.45

Wolverhampton is Standard, with the opener at 5.45

SOCCER

Chelsea face a huge task to make the Champions League quarter-finals tonight.

They go to Barcelona with the tie level at 1-all.

Boss Antonio Conte says he knows what they’re up against – and says one of their opponents reminds him of an Italian footballing legend……………..

Also this evening, Bayern Munich will look to confirm their place in the quarter finals.

The Germans bring a 5-nil advantage into the second leg of their tie with Besiktas in Istanbul.

Both games kick off at 7.45.

Middlesbrough striker Patrick Bamford is said to be considering declaring for the Republic of Ireland.

The former Chelsea forward has scored 9 goals in 17 starts for the Championship promotion hopefuls this season, including a hat trick against Leeds.

Bamford played for the Irish Under 18s, before switching to England, but reports claim he is willing to put on the green shirt again, if called up by Martin O’Neill.

Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher has been suspended for the rest of the season.

The former Liverpool and England defender was filmed spitting at a family through his car window following the Reds defeat to Manchester United on Saturday.

His employers say they will decide if he is ready to return to his role in the summer.

RUGBY

Johnny Sexton appears to leaving no stone unturned in his quest to help Ireland win the Grand Slam by beating England at Twickenham this weekend.

Officially the Irish squad have the day off, but Sexton is said to have requested a personal session at the Aviva Stadium, to work on his kicking.

The Lions out half has missed six off his 22 shots on goal in this year’s Six Nations.

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