Talking Horses: building plans in place at second London racecourse

Homes may be built around the edges of Sandown and the money used to fund improvements for racegoers and localsWe wake to more news of proposed development at a Jockey Club racecourse in the London area. Happily, the plans to put up 300 new homes and a hotel at Sandown would not mean obliterating the track itself, which is what could happen at Kempton under plans first mooted a couple of years ago. Continue reading...



Ronnie O’Sullivan beats Mark Allen to secure seventh UK snooker crown

• Win comes 25 years after he first won the UK Championship• O’Sullivan passes Stephen Hendry’s haul of triple crown titlesRonnie O’Sullivan claimed a record-breaking seventh UK Championship title with a 10-6 victory over Mark Allen at the York Barbican on Sunday.His triumph, which came a quarter of a century after he won his first United Kingdom crown as a 17-year-old, also saw O’Sullivan nudge ahead of Stephen Hendry with 19 ‘triple crown’ titles – comprising the World and UK Championships and the Masters. Continue reading...



Hamilton would be world champion in a Mercedes or a Ferrari - Palmer column

In his latest column, former Renault driver Jolyon Palmer looks at the brilliance of five-time world champion Lewis Hamilton.



Sri Lanka v England: Pick your England team for first Test

Who do you think should be in the England side for the first Test against Sri Lanka? Choose your XI and share it with your friends.



'Rugby's like a chessboard with 120kg pieces' - how virtual reality could transform training

Painstaking research, virtual reality and holding the tackle bags in training... an insight into how a top rugby analyst operates.



Premier League: 10 talking points from the weekend’s action

Bournemouth are looking threadbare, Pep Guardiola shows the stomach for a fight and Leicester pine for Jamie VardyWith the issues piling up in terms of Arsenal’s defensive composition, it almost passed unnoticed that against Huddersfield they managed a league clean sheet – their first since September. Centre‑back concerns felt strongly under the microscope at the end of a week when Rob Holding suffered a cruciate injury, Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Shkodran Mustafi picked up simultaneous suspensions for their yellow card count, and the German skulked off with an injury in any case. Unai Emery has to find, to borrow an old Wengerism, internal solutions for Sunday’s game at Southampton. Stephan Lichtsteiner and Nacho Monreal, career full-backs, could be drafted in to a back three. Laurent Koscielny has not played for seven months and was not deemed fit enough to come on against Huddersfield. Emery will have to make do and mend. Amy Lawrence Continue reading...



England v West Indies: Tourists' Test squad unchanged for winter tour

England retain the players that finished the series win over Sri Lanka for their three-Test tour of the West Indies next month, but tweak their ODI squad.



Raheem Sterling has kicked up a storm but as ever the outrage will pass | Stan Collymore

The England forward’s Instagram post has got people, journalists especially, talking about racism but nothing will change – it never doesWith one early-morning Instagram post Raheem Sterling has got everyone talking about racism. Racism in football, racism in the media, racism in society as a whole and from certain high-up quarters the response has been to show sympathy and support for Sterling and call for change. But here’s the thing: nothing will change. It never does when it comes to racism in this country.Britain now is as it was in the 1970s, when I was growing up in Cannock, a mixed-raced child within a community that was, and remains, 99.9% white. In this post-Brexit vote environment, people again feel free to be openly racist, saying and writing the types of things that vilify certain sections of society for no other reason than the way they look. There’s a blame culture at play and, more often than not, it’s black and Asian people who get the blame. Continue reading...



Mark Cavendish training OK and thinks he is over Epstein-Barr virus

Mark Cavendish hopes his "mismanaged" illness troubles are over following a three-month break from cycling.



England keep faith with winning formula for West Indies Test series

Denly handed reprieve as Smith sticks by stars from Sri LankaStone’s World Cup chances hit after being left out of ODI squadEd Smith declined to rule out the possibility of Jofra Archer entering England’s World Cup thoughts next summer despite the fast bowler’s impending eligibility coming too late for the Test and one-day tours to the Caribbean that start a bumper 2019.A recent decision by the England and Wales Cricket Board to cut national qualification by way of residency from seven years down to three has raised the possibility of the highly rated Sussex paceman making a late play for the World Cup, not least with a view to bolstering Eoin Morgan’s options during the “death” overs. Continue reading...



Ban on TV betting ads during other live sports can be boost to racing | Greg Wood

The new whistle-to-whistle blackout on gambling adverts excludes horse racing and should work in the sport’s favourIt is not often that bookmakers give in to pressure from anti-gambling groups without being forced to, so Thursday’s news that the biggest names in online betting will soon introduce a whistle-to-whistle ban on television advertising around sporting events is a collector’s item. Ray Winstone’s loss, many will feel, is the armchair fan’s gain.The market leaders in online gambling, including Bet365, SkyBet and Paddy Power Betfair, are all signed up to the voluntary ban, from which TV coverage of horse racing will be exempt. So, too, are the firms with big retail estates, such as Ladbrokes, Coral and William Hill, who may – perhaps – have learned a lesson from their long, bitter and ultimately futile campaign to resist pressure for a cut in stakes on fixed‑odds betting terminals. Continue reading...



Jadon Sancho's stock rises higher and higher after a derby to remember | Andy Brassell

After a difficult week, the English teenager scored the winner against Schalke as Borussia Dortmund continue their chargeIt was dark when Borussia Dortmund’s bus arrived back at the club’s training ground in Brackel but it couldn’t get in. It was blocked by several hundred supporters, chanting and lighting the winter night with pyro. A couple of the players, Axel Witsel and Achraf Hakimi, got off the coach and joined them.This may already be shaping up to be a special season for Dortmund but if you wondered what this dream start – unbeaten in the Bundesliga, soaring above champions Bayern Munich having beaten them in Der Klassiker last month, through to the Champions League last 16 – was missing, then here was the answer. They had entered Saturday afternoon’s match already 19 points clear of rivals Schalke but winning the Revierderby, whenever, however, always means so much. Continue reading...



Marco Silva believes Richarlison has quality to score 20 goals a season

• Silva feels he has the man to fill Romelu Lukaku’s boots• Everton manager preparing to face his old club WatfordMarco Silva and Richarlison both face their former club Watford for the first time at Goodison Park on Monday, with the manager suggesting his striker could become the 20-goal-a-season man Everton have struggled to find since parting with Romelu Lukaku.That might be a big task if Richarlison, who cost Everton £35m to acquire from Watford, has to keep playing in wide positions rather than as a central striker, though Silva feels he has plenty of goals still to come. Continue reading...



Romelu Lukaku: bulking up for World Cup has hampered my club form

• Striker has had to lose muscle mass he put on for Belgium• ‘I wasn’t playing with enough intensity or aggression’Romelu Lukaku has revealed that he bulked up for Belgium’s World Cup campaign during the summer and admitted having to lose the added weight as it was hampering his form for Manchester United.The forward was United’s top scorer last season with 27 goals in all competitions. He has struggled this time around, however, with his goal in Saturday’s 4-1 win over Fulham only Lukaku’s second for the club since mid-September. So far this season, Lukaku has scored six in 20 United appearances, a return that caused José Mourinho to drop him for the recent games against Arsenal and Southampton. Continue reading...



Rob Cross: ‘After the world darts final it was like I’d hit rock-bottom’

The world No 2 darts player went from winning £7 in pubs to winning the PDC world championship within 18 months, but, he says, quick success ‘drained me’“Do you ever get these feelings that something’s going to happen?” Rob Cross asks with surprise in his voice. “You don’t know where they come from but you can feel that something’s going to happen. I had that feeling when I won the worlds. I had that feeling when I won the Challenge Tour. They’re like premonitions.”Cross shakes his head and smiles at the mysterious force of the past two years. His life has been transformed from being an electrician who won £7 after victory in a pub tournament, to becoming the world champion of darts 18 months later. Cross won £400,000 on 1 January 2018 when, in the PDC world championship final, he crushed his hero, Phil Taylor, at the end of his first year as a professional. Since then, Cross put on five stone in weight and was disconcerted when the lives of his wife and three children were threatened by a crank who was offended by his stunning rise. Continue reading...



David Luiz could be forced out by Chelsea’s over-30s contract policy

• Club only offers one-year contract extensions to over-30s• David Luiz can negotiate with foreign clubs from JanuaryDavid Luiz’s future at Chelsea beyond the summer has been cast into considerable doubt after the club’s hierarchy made it clear they are reluctant to change their policy of offering only one-year contract extensions to players in their 30s.The club are seeking to prolong the stays of some key personnel, not least because they are one of a number of English sides under investigation by Fifa over possible violations of rules on the signing of foreign players under the age of 18 and could be the subject of lengthy transfer embargoes if found guilty by the world governing body’s disciplinary committee. Marcos Alonso, N’Golo Kanté and César Azpilicueta have all agreed new terms recently, and are likely to be followed in the near future by Antonio Rüdiger. Continue reading...



Hatem Ben Arfa has not lost his eye for a spectacular finish

Earlier this year Hatem Ben Arfa sarcastically ‘celebrated’ a year away from first-team action. Now he is a player rebornBy Adam White and Eric Devin for Get French Football News“Joyeux anniversaire à moi,” read the caption as Hatem Ben Arfa posed, thumbs up and grinning. A small cake with a single candle sat in front of him, but celebrating he was not. The 31-year-old’s birthday had passed a month previously; instead his Instagram post back in April was born of sarcasm. “One year without a game calls for a party,” he joked. Exiled at PSG, a full year had passed since Ben Arfa had played – and scored twice – in a 4-0 win over Avranches in the Coupe de France. His career was seemingly petering out but, as this week has shown, the unpredictable Frenchman isn’t finished just yet.Football faded from view this weekend in France as bubbling civil unrest instigated by the gilets jaunes movement forced six of 10 Ligue 1 games to be postponed as the stretched police force were unable to guarantee safety at many grounds. Some, including managers of the teams left to continue as normal, questioned the decision to play at all. However, Rennes forward Ben Arfa – once of Newcastle United and Hull City – showed no sign of relinquishing his newfound verve. Continue reading...



Match of the Day: Ian Wright and Martin Keown assess Premier League title race

Match of the Day pundits Martin Keown and Ian Wright both agree that the Premier League title race is now on with Liverpool now leading Manchester City by one point.