William Buick to have pick of Godolphin Slipper rides

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William Buick.

Buick, 28, will be active in Australia this weekend, the following Saturday in the Slipper at Rosehill, then jet to Dubai for World Cup on March 25.

Buick, who guided Jungle Cat to victory in the Nad Al Sheba Turf Sprint at Meydan on Saturday night, will be accompanied by fellow Englishman James Doyle who has been out of action as he recovers from injuries suffered in a race fall at Randwick on February 13.

Doyle, 28, who suffered a fractured hand and a knee injury in last month’s fall, is expected to be out of the saddle for the rest of March with a return planned on the first day of The Championships at Randwick on April 1.

Godolphin trainer John O’Shea welcomed the opportunity to have Buick’s services.

“One of the great things about the Godolphin team is that we can call on jockeys who have such wide international experience,” O’Shea said.

“We’ve seen that both William and James are world class jockeys, they’ve come here before and fitted in straight away. James showed that when he joined us last year and William has ridden winners for the stable in Australia on a couple of previous visits. He’s always been able to make any adjustments without difficulty.

A regular visitor to recent Australian racing carnivals, Buick won the G2 Skyline Stakes at Rosehill on Souchez in February last year and the G3 Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Flemington last Spring on Francis Of Assisi for Godolphin trainer Charlie Appleby.

Buick also has Golden Slipper experience, having ridden the Godolphin filly Ottoman into ninth place on his first visit in 2015, when he also won the G2 Pago Pago Stakes on Tarquin.

“It is one of the great privileges that goes with the job I have at Godolphin, ” he says. Godolphin is an international stable, with runners in many of the best races worldwide. It is an honour to be asked to go to Australia to ride for His Highness Sheikh Mohammed, especially in a race such as the Golden Slipper. I feel sorry for James (Doyle), who is still recovering from his fall. But I will be doing my best to ride winners while I am there. I am relying entirely on John O’Shea to pick the horses I ride, and where I will ride them,” he added.

Buick’s likely rides over the next two weekends in Sydney include either Veranillo or Trekking in the Golden Slipper, Hauraki in the G1 George Ryder Stakes and Hartnell in the G1 Ranvet Stakes.

“It is such an important day for us and we have some really good Group 1 chances. It is good to have the confidence that we have with William on them,” trainer John O’Shea said.

Buick will also ride in barrier trials at Randwick this Thursday and at Kembla Grange on Friday.

Doyle joined the stable of Godolphin’s head Australian trainer John O’Shea last November and has since ridden 16 winners at a winning strike-rate of more than 21 per cent, the best in Sydney.

“It’s a big disappointment not be riding at the Golden Slipper meeting, but the stable has several good prospects later in the Autumn which I am aiming to be back for,” Doyle said. “Unfortunately the knee injury flared up and I’ll be seeing a specialist in Sydney after I get back this week. I am aiming for a return to racing in the lead up to Day 1 of The Championships.”

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UAEJJF add new Para-Jiu-Jitsu event

Denzil Pinto 27/02/2017
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Positive step: UAEJJF officials

Disabled athletes will now have a chance to test themselves at the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship after three new categories were added to this year’s showpiece competition.

For the first time in their nine-year history, the Para-Jiu-Jitsu event will see more than 100 players vie for glory across various divisions during the April 10-23 championship at the IPIC Arena.

Competitions for Armed Forces and Masters 3 and 4, aimed for athletes aged 35 and over, have also been added on the programme.

It’s part of the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation’s (UAEJJF) pledge in the UAE’s 2017 ‘Year of Giving’ and their chief executive believes this is another positive step in promoting the sport.

“As this year is the ‘Year of Giving in the UAE’, we are supporting that initiative,” said Fahad Ali Al Shamsi. “The Para-Jiu-Jitsu competition is for differently abled athletes and will see more than 100 players not just from the UAE but other countries like Canada, Brazil and America competing; and this will open a new window for them to win medals.

“Last year we had two Brazilians competing in the championship but this year we have a Open category across various divisions which is only for them. This and the other two events, is a way for more people to participate in our sport.”

They will be among a record 7,500 from more than 100 nations that are expected to travel to the capital for the 13-day competition which will have a total prize fund of Dh3million across the festival, juniors, legends and adults categories.

It will be the biggest turnout since it started in 2009 and Al Shamsi insists that will only enhance the quality of matches on the mat. “Last year we had 6,000 competitors and the level of the competition will be very high this year,” he said.

He added: “Since its inception, the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship has gone from strength to strength and is gaining prestige on the world stage. This year we will see even more participants than ever take to the mats of the IPIC Arena across the two weeks of competition, which is a testament to the competition’s growth.

“For example, since 2013 the number of athlete’s competing in the Championship has grown on average 32 per cent year-on-year with a fantastic overall growth of 596 per cent. Specifically, in the UAE we now have over 250 UAE players competing, which equates to annual growth of 44 per cent.

“We are proud to play a part in motivating aspiring Jiu-Jitsu players at local and international levels and we are committed to developing the sport across the Emirates.”

Meanwhile, UAE’s national coach Rodrigo Lima revealed the team will undergo training camps.

“The team is now more established and more experienced and there are new faces that are coming through,” he said.

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