Ed Dunlop has Derby dream for John Leeper after colt lands the Betway Fairway Stakes at Newmarket

John Leeper booked an emotional challenge for his trainer Ed Dunlop in next month’s Derby when overcoming his inexperience to win the Betway Fairways Stakes at Newmarket.

The William Buick-ridden winner has a special pedigree — his sire is wonder horse Frankel while his dam Snow Fairy won six Group One races for Dunlop, including the 2010 Oaks and Irish Oaks.

But even more significant for Dunlop, owner-breeder Cristina Patino has given her colt the christian names of Ed’s trainer father who won the Derby twice with Shirley Heights (1978) and Erhaab (1994). 

John Leeper booked an emotional challenge for his trainer Ed Dunlop (centre) in next month’s Derby

On Saturday, on only his third start, the colt who had opened his winning account on Newcastle’s all-weather track last month pulled far too hard off a slow early pace.

But he still dismissed Tasman Bay, a runner who could also be Derby-bound, by a length and three-quarters, shaping as though the extra two furlongs in the Derby will be made to measure.

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Dunlop said: ‘It’s named after my dad so that’s about as much pressure as you can get! William said it was a farce of a race as they trotted for however long. He was a little bit keen and inexperienced but he can only get better with more racing. I’m sure the owner will want to go to Epsom. She has had the dream to do it and as long as he’s OK that’s what we’ll do.

‘He’ll need to step forward again but he deserves to go to Epsom. This is hopefully only the start.’

With Buick in line to ride Charlie Appleby-trained Dante Stakes winner Hurricane Lane in the Derby on June 5, the mount on John Leeper is up for grabs.

Hollie Doyle was on board when he won at Newcastle, while Frankie Dettori, on board Snow Fairy when she won the 2012 Irish Champion Stakes, is also likely to be on the shortlist.

John Leeper (not pictured) overcame inexperience to win Betway Fairway Stakes at Newmarket

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Posted on Categories Sport

England’s Richard Bland has Belfry in tears after clinching fairytale victory in British Masters

Richard Bland was in tears. His mum and dad were in tears. The Englishman’s coach Tim Barter was in tears. The TV commentators, all former hard-bitten professionals, were clearly choking up as well.

The Belfry, home of Ryder Cup fairytales, came up with another belter on Saturday as Bland, aged 48 years and 101 days, finally won on the European Tour for the first time at the 478th attempt.

Not just any event, either. The Betfred British Masters, first played in 1946. Now his name is on this prestigious trophy, alongside such legends as Bobby Locke and Peter Thomson, Seve Ballesteros, Ian Woosnam, and Greg Norman. No wonder there was not a dry eye in the house. ‘I’ve done it,’ the winner gasped to Barter, before covering his face with his cap once more.

Richard Bland claimed the British Masters title after beating Guido Migliozzi in a play-off

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Bland began the day as one of 22 separated by just three shots at the top of the leaderboard. ‘If I won this event, it would be like all my Christmases coming along at once,’ he said, after leading at halfway.

Two years ago, Bland lost his playing privileges on tour but still would not quit, even at 46. He played on the Challenge Tour, the reserve circuit, and fought his way back.

After 12 holes yesterday, he had clambered on top of the pack. ‘Make the dream come true, one shot at a time, one hole at a time,’ he told himself.

Standing on the tee at the formidable 18th, it was clear he would need a birdie to fulfil his dream. His tee shot, over the vast expanse of water, cleared the hazard by no more than 3ft. His approach shot finished 25ft away. Then came the putt of a lifetime, toppling into the hole on its last breath.

The 48-year-old claimed his first European Tour victory at the 478th attempt on Saturday

He thought he had won but Italian Guido Migliozzi holed a gutsy eight-foot putt to force a play-off. Half Bland’s age, he had a massive 53-yard advantage after their tee shots on the 18th, the first extra hole, but he could not make it count. Sometimes you cannot beat providence.

After his opponent three-putted, Bland found himself with a 3ft putt to win. In 25 years as a professional, he had had three seconds, two thirds, and 26 other top 10s, and when the putt fell below ground he finally had a victory as well. He became the oldest first-time winner in European Tour history and had done so by becoming the first golfer to complete 72 holes at the storied venue with only one bogey.

‘To win just once,’ goes the song by Irish band, the Saw Doctors. ‘That would be enough.’

It was certainly enough at The Belfry. Enough to trigger a universal outpouring of emotion. The next event on the calendar is this week’s US PGA Championship at Kiawah Island, and even the season’s second major surely won’t come up with a more moving feelgood story than this.

The Englishman struggle to contain his emotions after his fairytale victory on Saturday

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Posted on Categories Sport

Halle Berry kisses boyfriend Van Hunt in bikini-clad snap after wanting to ‘slap’ online trolls:

Halle Berry isn’t letting online trolls stop her from posting romantic PDA with her latest beau.

The 54-year-old actress shared a snap of her kissing boyfriend Van Hunt, 51, while sporting revealing bikini bottoms to Instagram on Saturday.

‘We do this thing called whatever the f*** we want!,’ she captioned the intimate photo of the pair.

PDA: Halle Berry, 54, shared a snap of her kissing boyfriend Van Hunt, 51, while sporting revealing bikini bottoms to Instagram on Saturday, with the caption: ‘We do this thing called whatever the f— we want!’

The Monster’s Ball star wore the colorful pink and green-printed bottoms to showcase her sculpted legs.

She paired the item with a white t-shirt that she pulled up at the bottom to reveal a peek of her abs.

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Her stunning ombré locks hung down in styled waves that blew in the Southern California breeze.

Halle added a pair of Lolita-inspired red heart sunglasses as she planted a smooch on her love. 

Romance: The pair have been dating since September and the romance is going from strength to strength; seen here in April

Her new man: The former Bond girl has frequently posted about her relationship since they went public as a couple last year

Meanwhile, the musician stayed a bit more covered up in a white long-sleeve hoodie and green pants.

The pair have been dating since September and the romance is going from strength to strength. 

The former Bond girl has frequently posted about her relationship since they went public as a couple last year. 

Berry explained how ‘fun’ it is to share her life on Instagram in an interview with Essence earlier this week.

Sharing: Berry explained how ‘fun’ it is to share her life on Instagram in an interview with Essence earlier this week

‘I love that it’s so fun. I think that’s the part of it that I try to lean into and not to take myself seriously. To try and stay a part of what’s happening but still be age appropriate,’ she said with a laugh.

‘Not try to do the things my daughter’s doing at 13, but try to stay up with what’s happening and stay connected with my children. It’s their world and it’s what they’re growing up in. I have to know what’s happening and understand it,’ she told the publication.

She also loves that social media has provided an outlet for her ‘own voice’ after feeling like ‘the story that was perpetuated about me just wasn’t true but it was editorialized by people and it was out of my control.’

‘Now I get to control and show different sides of myself. I really love that,’ she went on.

Outlet: Berry also loves that social media has provided an outlet for her ‘own voice’ after feeling like ‘the story that was perpetuated about me just wasn’t true but it was editorialized by people and it was out of my control’

Avoiding negativity: But that doesn’t mean Instagram doesn’t have it’s downsides, as the Oscar winner points out, it is tough to avoid all the ‘negativity’: ‘I just really want to like, slap these trolls because it really is damaging to people’

But that doesn’t mean Instagram doesn’t have it’s downsides, as the Oscar winner points out, it is tough to avoid all the ‘negativity.’

‘The thing I hate, and this will never stop, I know because it’s the nature of the world, but I really hate the negativity that gets on there. I just really want to like, slap these trolls because it really is damaging to people,’ she confessed.

Halle continued: ‘It’s damaging to young people and I really wish that if you really didn’t have something [nice] to say, don’t say it. If you’ve got something so negative to say about somebody, why are you on their page?’   

She shares daughter Nahla, 13, with her ex-boyfriend Gabriel Aubrey and her son Maceo, seven, with her third ex-husband Olivier Martinez.

Worries: The X-Men performer admitted that she worries for younger people on social media who may take negative comments to heart, like her teen daughter

The X-Men performer admitted that she worries for younger people on social media who may take negative comments to heart, like her teen daughter.  

‘I see that with my daughter and it infuriates me,’ she said. ‘That’s one of the reasons I’ve kept them out of the media, to protect them, for this very reason.’

As Nahla gets older and becomes more interested in platforms like Instagram with her friends, Halle just reminds her not to get caught up on the trolls. 

‘It’s not something she should take to heart. While that’s easier said than done, I think as a mother, all I can do is reiterate that message and hope that in the quiet of her mind, she’s listening,’ she concluded.

Parenting: As Nahla gets older and becomes more interested in platforms like Instagram with her friends, Halle just reminds her not to get caught up on the trolls

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