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Galopin Des Champs Stunning on Chase Debut




Galopin Des Champs looked a potential superstar when annihilating his rivals on his chasing debut in the Ballymaloe Relish Beginners Chase at Leopardstown.

The Willie Mullins-trained five-year-old looked a natural as he put in a superb round of jumping in the hands of Paul Townend over the two-mile-five-furlong trip.

The 4/7 favourite did not give his supporters an anxious moment after quickly building up an eight-length lead.

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Galopin Des Champs, who was a winner over hurdles at the Cheltenham and Punchestown Festivals in the spring, extended his advantage to 22 lengths at the line without seeing another rival. Ain’t That A Shame was second with Floueur another 16 lengths away in third place.

Mullins said: “He was very impressive. I thought he was good but I didn’t think he was that good – that was just something else.

“He was so effortless over all his fences. Paul said he was fantastic early on and at a few that he met short, he just danced in front of his fences and took them at his stride.

“He did everything right and galloped away through the line and beyond it. He looks a very, very exciting horse for the future, especially going over a trip.

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“He’s five going six, so he’s very young. All options are open for him.”

Image: Galopin Des Champs made an impressive start over fences

When asked if he could come back for the Dublin Racing Festival, he added: “I’d imagine we might do that, but we’ll take one step at a time.”

Galopin Des Champs was trimmed to 5/2 from 4/1 for the Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase at Cheltenham with Paddy Power.

The facile victory completed a double for Mullins and Townend after Klassical Dream’s victory in the Christmas Hurdle.

Mullins, who also struck with Concertista at Limerick, made it an across-the-card four-timer when Redemption Day coasted home on his debut under his son, Patrick, in the Midland Legal Solicitors INH Flat Race.

Image: Klassical Dream went from the front and was never passed at Leopardstown in the Christmas Hurdle

The 8/11 favourite cruised into the lead a furlong out to win by four and a half lengths from Music Drive without being asked a serious question.

“He’s a lovey young horse, by Blue Bresil. I bought him out of Pat Doyle’s nursery and from the time we started to work him, he showed us that he could be good bumper material,” said Mullins.

“Today I think he’s even better than what he showed me at home. I’m very happy with him. We’ll probably be looking at coming back here for the Festival and certainly looking at the big bumper.

“It’s been a really nice day. Klassical was great, Galopin Des Champs was something else and the bumper horse was very nice.”

Redemption Day was slashed to 8/1 from 25/1 for the Weatherbys Champion Bumper at Cheltenham.

Doyle enjoys shock first winner

Howyabud foiled the odds-on Horantzau D’Airy to spring a 25/1 surprise on his debut over the smaller obstacles in the Savills Maiden Hurdle.

Second in two bumpers and a point-to-point, the four-year-old gelding made virtually all the running over two and a half miles in the hands of 5lb claimer Jack Foley to give Ellen Doyle her first winner as a trainer.

“That’s our first track winner so we’re very happy,” said County Wexford-based Doyle.

“He had good bumper form and ran in a very good point-to-point in Monksgrange last time. We thought a lot of him coming here and were very happy with him.

Image: Howyabud and Jack Foley jump the last to win the Savills Maiden Hurdle at Leopardstown

“He was progressing along nicely and then Paul’s horse made a slight mistake, after that we were expecting him to do the job.

“I got the licence in March and have had seven or eight runners. I’m thrilled for the owner as Charlie (Carter) has been with us a long time and I’m happy to see him getting his win today.

“We’ll see what way he comes out of the race, go from there and see what the owner wants to do.”

Panda Boy (16/1) came with a late run to spoil a gamble on Winter Fog in the Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle.

Image: Panda Boy wins at Leopardstown under JJ Slevin

The lightly-raced five-year-old, trained by Martin Brassil and ridden by JJ Slevin, asserted from the re-inserted final flight to beat Winter Fog by three and a quarter lengths. Futurum Regem was a length away in third place.

Slevin said: “It was a good effort, he travelled well and jumped well. He’s a good, tough, game horse and he’s won well.

“His form was decent and I was hoping he’d run well but I wasn’t sure. I was hoping he was capable of being in the first five or six, but he stuck at it well and he was a good winner on the day.

“Over that trip he has a little bit of class and a bit of cruise about him, and that’s a good sign. Whatever he does over hurdles will be a bonus because he’s going to be a right chaser.”

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Man City Women Sign Midfielder Blakstad From Rosenborg




Manchester City have signed midfielder Julie Blakstad from Rosenborg for an undisclosed fee on Women’s Super League Deadline Day.

The Norwegian international has joined City on a two-and-a-half-year deal and will wear the No 41 shirt for the remainder of the season.

The 20-year-old, who is a versatile talent capable of playing in multiple positions, scored 17 goals in 35 appearances for Rosenborg after joining them in 2020.

Blakstad’s move to City will see her play outside of her homeland for the first time having starred for Ottestad, FL Fart and most recently Rosenborg.

She has represented Norway at Under-15, U16, U17, U19 and U23 level before being handed her debut for the senior side against Wales in October 2020.

Image: Blakstad will wear the No 41 shirt at Manchester City

Blakstad said in a club statement: “It’s amazing to be a Manchester City player and I can’t wait to get started.

“Everybody has been amazing so far, and I’m so excited to meet my team-mates. At this point in my career, it’s important to take a new step to develop myself further and I believe this is the best place for me to do that.

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“You only have to look at the club – the facilities, the staff and the players all have incredible dedication to achieve something big and I really want to be a part of that.”

City head coach Gareth Taylor added: “We’re delighted to welcome Julie to Manchester City.

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“At just 20 years old, she’s already proven what a talent she is for both club and country and she’s a player who will fit perfectly into our squad and ethos here at City.

“We’re very much looking forward to working with her over the coming years – she is an incredibly ambitious young player and we’re excited to help her develop and grow here in England.”

Follow Deadline Day with Sky Sports

The clock is ticking. Who will be on the move before the transfer window closes at 11pm on Monday January 31?

Keep up-to-date with all the latest transfer news and rumours in our dedicated Transfer Centre blog on Sky Sports’ digital platforms. You can also catch up with the ins, outs and analysis on Sky Sports News.

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Rangers Sign Man Utd Winger Diallo on Loan




Rangers have completed the signing of Amad Diallo on loan from Manchester United.

The 19-year-old winger joins the Scottish Premiership leaders until the end of the season, a year after he moved to Old Trafford.

Diallo was signed by Manchester United in a deal worth ?37.2m from Atalanta and has made nine appearances in all competitions, scoring one goal.

United believe this move will be good for his development, with Diallo understood to be a part of the Premier League club’s long-term plans.

Diallo could make his debut at Ross County, live on Sky Sports, and said: “I am delighted to join Rangers until the end of the season.

“It is fantastic for me at this stage of my career to have the opportunity to come to such a big club that is challenging on a number of fronts and will give me some excellent opportunities to test myself in many environments.

“I look forward to training with my teammates for the first-time tomorrow and to meeting the fans for the first time at Ross County on Saturday.”

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After Rangers’ win over Livingston manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst said he was hoping to be busy before deadline day

Manager, Giovanni van Bronckhorst, added: “I am really pleased to add Amad to our squad for the rest of the season.

“He is a player who I have been aware of for some time, and when the opportunity to sign him came up, we were very keen to make it happen.

“He will add a lot to our squad and provide even more competition for the players in the forward areas.”

Diallo’s arrival follows the news winger Ianis Hagi will miss the rest of the season after undergoing knee surgery in London.

Who is Amad Diallo?

Image: Diallo has made nine appearances for Manchester United and scored in the Europa League

Diallo was born in the Ivory Coast, before moving to Italy around the age of 10, joining Atalanta in 2015.

The youngster made his debut for Atalanta in 2019, becoming the youngest player – at 17 years and 109 days old – to score on his Serie A debut in their 7-1 thrashing of Udinese.

As a result, the Ivorian travelled with the Atalanta squad to Lisbon for their Champions League quarter-final defeat to Paris Saint-Germain.

The player impressed in training so much so that Papu Gomez likened him to a certain Lionel Messi.

“There are defenders in the first team that sometimes cannot stop him. To stop him in training, we have to kick him! He plays like Messi,” said Atalanta’s captain before Diallo moved to United.

Diallo was handed his Manchester United debut in a 4-0 win at Real Sociedad in the Europa League last February before going on to score his first goal for the club against AC Milan in the same competition a few weeks later.

What will Diallo bring to Rangers?

Sky Sports’ Dan Sansom:

“One of the most exciting young prospects in the game” is how Ole Gunnar Solskjaer described Diallo after signing him for Manchester United last year.

The 19-year-old may not have had much first-team experience before making the move to Old Trafford, but he quickly made a big impression.

Operating from both wings or in the No 10 role, Diallo will bring versatility and energy to Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s side.

Left-footed, he is most comfortable cutting in from the right but his ability to play multiple positions in the final third is one of his standout attributes.

At just 5ft 8in, his size is no obstacle. The Ivory Coast international boasts significant strength on the ball and a low centre of gravity, as well as an impressive dribbling ability and eye for the right pass.

Diallo is raw, but his fearlessness and enthusiasm could be key as Rangers chase a second consecutive Scottish Premiership title.

Follow the January transfer window with Sky Sports

The clock is ticking. Who will be on the move before the transfer window closes on Monday January 31?

Keep up-to-date with all the latest transfer news and rumours in our dedicated Transfer Centre blog on Sky Sports’ digital platforms. You can also catch up with the ins, outs and analysis on Sky Sports News.

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Vitali Klitschko: Don’t Show Weakness, Joshua




Anthony Joshua would “show weakness” if he does not fight Oleksandr Usyk for a second time, Vitali Klitschko has warned.

Joshua triggered a clause for a rematch with Usyk after losing his IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight championships but the fight has still not been finalised.

Tyson Fury’s call-out of Dillian Whyte is a clear indication that they are likely to meet next in a WBC title fight, paving the way for Joshua and Usyk to clash.

Image: Joshua was outpointed in an IBF, WBA and WBO title fight by Usyk

Joshua had previously denied reports he would accept ?15m to step away from his contracted rematch to allow Fury and Usyk to fight.

“It is his decision,” former heavyweight champion Klitschko told Sky News.

“But my personal opinion? If Joshua sidesteps in this moment, when the boxing audience expects a rematch and wants to see Joshua vs Usyk, it would show weakness.

“Joshua, don’t do that please.

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“As fighters, we fight not just for ourselves but for the audience. The audience decides. If the audience wants the fight, it must happen.

“If Joshua sidesteps, I am not sure that the interest in Joshua would be so big in the future.”

Image: Ukraine’s Vitali Klitschko and Andriy Shevchenko celebrate with Usyk

Vitali held the WBC belt while Wladimir Klitschko was IBF, WBA and WBO champion as the brothers from Ukraine dominated the generation of heavyweights prior to Joshua and Fury.

Wladimir was eventually beaten in world title fights by both Fury and Joshua.

But now Usyk, the Klitschkos’ compatriot, has brought some of the heavyweight gold back to Ukraine.

Vitali Klitschko added: “Everyone expects the rematch between Usyk and Joshua. Usyk is so strong or did Joshua make mistakes? Who is stronger? That question interests every boxing fan. Let’s receive an answer. That’s why this fight must happen.

“Huge fight. Right now, everybody doubts if Joshua is strong enough to fight Fury.

“He can give the answer in the Usyk fight.

“If Joshua beats Usyk there will be huge interest [in Joshua vs Fury]. It will be the main fight of the past 10 years.

“Joshua is a classic boxer, Fury is unorthodox. Both are punchers, both can decide the fight at any moment.

“Both are world-class fighters and can knock each other out at any second.”

Image: Vitali watched his brother Wladimir Klitschko lose to Tyson Fury and Joshua

Asked to predict the winner if Joshua faced Fury, Klitschko said: “No expert can expect the decision in fights, especially with heavyweights where one punch can decide.

“That is why boxing is so interesting.

“Heavyweight fighters are like gladiators and have huge attention from the whole world.”

Klitschko retired a decade ago with 45 wins in 47 fights but admitted to occasionally sizing up Joshua and Fury: “I am not active anymore. But sometimes I feel that, if I were younger and in shape, these would be a good fights.

“I know the key to both fighters.”

Sky Sports Boxing schedule

Sunday January 30 in Tulsa
Robson Conceicao vs Xavier Martinez – WBC super-featherweight title eliminator
Nico Ali Walsh

Saturday February 5 in Cardiff
Chris Eubank Jr vs Liam Williams
Claressa Shields vs Ema Kozin – IBF, WBA and WBC middleweight titles

Saturday February 19 in Manchester
Amir Khan vs Kell Brook
Natasha Jonas’ world title fight
Frazer Clarke’s pro debut

Saturday February 26 in Glasgow
Josh Taylor vs Jack Catterall – undisputed super-lightweight titles
Nick Campbell vs Jay McFarlane – Scottish heavyweight title

Saturday March 5 in Fresno
Jose Ramirez vs Jose Pedraza

Sunday March 20 in New York
Edgar Berlanga vs Steve Rolls
Keyshawn Davis
Xander Zayas

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