Could Ted Hastings really be H? Adrian Dunbar on that Line of Duty cliffhanger

Who is villain H? That’s all Line of Duty fans have been desperate to know since Matthew ‘Dot’ Cottan left us hanging with the promise that the most corrupt copper of them all is still working from the inside of the force.

Then it seemed we had our answer: ACC Hilton was caught out pulling the strings of the Baliclava Men at the end of series four, before he went on to kill himself before AC-12 could get him behind bars.

Case closed, right?

Well, then Jed Mercurio threw one of his signature curveballs, with a few strange looks from Ted Hastings and suddenly everything we knew was thrown out of the window and we can trust no one.

We last saw Hastings shutting the book on operation H, insisting that they found their guy, before series four closed with the head of AC-12 looking stressed out AF. Subsequently, for the past two years all we’ve want to know is: WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

Speaking to press including Metro.co.uk at the launch of Line of Duty series five, Adrian explained: ‘At the end of the last series there’s couple of strange looks between myself and Vicky [McClure] which would suggest there is something going on with Hargreaves, and that will be explored this series.

‘His personal life comes into focus again and he’ll find himself under scrutiny and that’s another part of the storyline that’s running alongside the gang crime stuff.’

Adrian revealed that the aforementioned exchange between Hastings and DC Kate Fleming wasn’t actually in the script at all. On the final day of filming, Jed took the actor and his co-star Vicky aside.

‘We were thinking, “What’s this? What’s this he’s doing?”’ Adrian said. ‘Talk to that guy then talk to Vicky and I just thought, “Oh my god.” He’s given himself a little spring board and didn’t tell us anything about it.

‘That was the end of the shoot practically the last thing we shot and we just thought, “You git.”

‘He knows more than he ever tells us. ‘

Metro.co.uk were fortunate enough to watch Line of Duty’s return and, honestly, it already feels like the most exciting series yet. You can read our review here.

Line of Duty returns to BBC One at 9pm on March 31.



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MORE: Line Of Duty creator Jed Mercurio ‘doesn’t know how long the show can go on for’

MORE: Line of Duty series 5 review: Jed Mercurio is taking no prisoners as AC-12 face their most dangerous villain yet

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Who Else Will Be in Jennifer Lopez's and Cardi B's Stripper Movie?

Jennifer Lopez will be starring in a new movie, Hustlers, as a stripper who teams up with others like her to get their “fair cut” from their rich Wall Street clients. The film accurately portrays the dynamics of the real world but focuses them on the club.

In the real world, men are told they are only worth the thickness of their wallet or the digits in their bank account, while women are told that they are only worth their physical beauty. The film plays on that way of thinking.

Just recently announced was that rapper Cardi B would be returning to her stripper roots for Hustler, making her the second announced actress to star in the movie. For Cardi B, this will be her feature film debut – and fans everywhere are excited to see her in action. But who else will be appearing in Hustler with J-Lo and Cardi B? Here’s what we know so far.

Lili Reinhart

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It’s official! Constance Wu and Cardi B are joining me in @HustlersMovie – coming soon to theaters! #HustlersMovie

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Joining J-Lo and Cardi B in Hustler is Lili Reinhart, who was only recently confirmed. The 22-year-old actress is best known for her role of Betty Cooper in the popular television series Riverdale. She has also appeared in The Good Neighbor, Miss Stevens, and Surviving Jack.

Keke Palmer

23-year-old Keke Palmer will also be joining the cast of Hustlers as an ex-stripper. The singer, songwriter, and actress is best known for her role in the 2006 film Akeelah and the Bee. She has also appeared in The Longshots and Joyful Noise

Julia Stiles

Julia Stiles is a 37-year-old actress who is best known for her roles in the late 1990s movie, 10 Things I Hate About You, and the early 2000’s film, Save the Last Dance. Stiles married her husband, Preston J. Cook, in 2017 and shortly after gave birth to the couple’s son, Strummer Newcomb Cook.

Mercedes Ruehl

This casting decision came as a bit of a surprise, although some assume that 71-year-old Mercedes Ruehl will be reprising a role other than ex-stripper… however, nobody really knows since the casting list does not include accompanying roles. Ruehl is best known for the 1992 film The Fisher King. She has also appeared in Big, Married to the Mob, and The Warriors.

Constance Wu

Constance Wu is best known for her starring role in the film Crazy Rich Asians and also appeared in The Feels. Currently, she portrays character Jessica Huang on the television series Fresh off the Boat.

Trace Lysette

Lysette has previously on a Maroon 5/Cardi B music video, meaning this is not the first time she’ll be working with the infamous rap lady. As an actress, Trace Lysette is best known for her roles in Transparent, Colors of Ava, and Law and Order: Special Victim’s Unit.

Vanessa Aspillaga

This actress, born 1972 in Miami, Florida, is best known for her roles in Morning Glory, Love and Other Drugs, and Law and Order. As a theater performer, Aspillaga was nominated for the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play.

Mette Towley

Mette Towley is a new actress, with Hustlers being among her first major roles. Fans can look forward to some her fresh talents alongside the rest of the star-studded cast. 

What about the men?

While most (if not all) of the leading lady roles have been cast and confirmed, the majority of male roles is still up in the air. The only confirmation is Scotty Gelt, who will play an investment banker. Fans should keep an eye out to see who will be cast in the leading male roles. 

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Refs wearing a mic could be the future for Premier League football

BY now, you will have probably seen the video clip of Jarred Gillett refereeing his final A-League game.

The Aussie, who will take charge of Championship matches next season, agreed to wear a microphone as part of an experiment.

What is clear, in just four minutes of footage, is that allowing referees to explain decisions in real time is the future of football.

He was emboldened by the technology — with the communication between his assistants and VAR officials enhancing the experience.

Gillett commanded total respect from the players of Melbourne Victory and Brisbane Roar.

It was part trial, part vanity project for the departing ref. Importantly, it showed what can be done when people are trusted to use technology to benefit the sport and the viewers.

Gillett applied the rules clearly and decisively, also striking a balance between good-natured humour with the players and taking charge of the game.

WONDER DOWN UNDER

He took time to briefly explain his decisions to players on the run, giving them a concise message to explain the critical calls.

At times it was a little bit too matey, all a bit familiar out there, but some Aussie vernacular can be excused after taking charge of 159 A-League games.

When the scoreboard flashed up a stat to say he had just given his 4,600th foul, Gillett jokingly asked: “Do I raise the bat there?”

It was certainly a decent innings.

English football, always so slow to react to innovation, should be looking very carefully at this stuff.

One of the problems in the short term is that you know someone like celebrity ref Mike Dean would be dying to get his hands on a piece of kit like this.

And could you really put up with tubby Jon Moss wheezing his way through 90 minutes of a Prem fixture, explaining decisions in your living room?

No, maybe not. Perhaps the women’s game — flush with £10million from the Barclays sponsorship deal — should take the lead with this cutting-edge technology.

They could leave men’s football in the dark ages, with fans tuning in to hear real-time conversations and explanations of decisions.

This is already well-established in NFL, with the "Mic’d Up" players feature bringing a unique take on the sport.

There is nothing to be afraid of.

Football has moved on since Harrow schoolmaster David Elleray secretly wore a microphone for a Division One clash between Millwall and Arsenal in 1989.

Former Gunners winger Perry Groves described captain Tony Adams as a “Tasmanian Devil crossed with Orville the Duck” when he went berserk over his ‘goal’ being disallowed.

Adams, along with the rest of Arsenal’s players, had forgotten he was being recorded when he called Elleray “a f***ing cheat”.

The game is played in a more sanitised environment now. The Gillett test shows footballers can act maturely and sensibly, respecting the referee’s decisions.

Given the conservative nature of English football, it will come as little surprise to discover there is no appetite at the FA or the Premier League to implement such an innovation.

Considering they cannot even get VAR right, it will take some time before they are convinced of the merits of refs wearing mics.

Instead, the A-League are ahead of the game.

Gillett will soon be in England, starting off in the Championship, while he studies research into children with cerebral palsy at Liverpool John Moores University.

Of course, Gillett — named A-League referee of the year five times — is well respected Down Under.

At the final whistle in his viral clip, one of the Aussie commentators confidently predicts he will soon be taking charge of top-flight English games.

And when that happens, the Premier League should let him wear his headset.

ONE WIN IS WRONG

IN 15 years of the FA’s men’s senior player of the year award, only one black footballer has ever won it.

It was Ashley Cole in 2010 — the only BAME footballer to be named the best England player.

It is a remarkable statistic, given the diverse make-up of the England team down the years.

Since the first award in 2003, when David Beckham won it, Cole remains the only non-white footballer to win it.

Given the stature of players like Sol Campbell, Ledley King, Rio Ferdinand, Dele Alli and Raheem Sterling, it does seem odd they have never come close to being honoured.

Instead the award, which is voted for by England fans, is an almost exclusive preserve of elite white England footballers.

The 2017 and 2018 award was won by Harry Kane, and few would argue after he captained his country to a World Cup semi-final.

On reflection, perhaps Ferdinand, who claimed Sterling would not be in with a shout of major honours because of his skin colour, actually had a point.

DAN'S NOT FORGOTTEN

INTERNATIONAL weeks are naturally dominated by players who are available for their country.

As England prepare for tonight’s game against the Czechs, spare a thought for Danny Welbeck as he continues his rehab after a season-ending ankle injury.

Welbeck was always a committed international, always happy to be in the England squad even when he started to slip down the pecking order.

The Arsenal forward, 28, who damaged his ankle in a Europa League tie with Sporting in November, is at the club’s Dubai training camp.

Despite his limited contribution at the World Cup, he was a big part of Gareth Southgate’s squad.

When he returns to full fitness next season, Welbeck deserves a run of good luck.

REED ALL ABOUT IT

LES REED has been remarkably quiet since replacing Dan Ashworth as FA technical director.

Reed talked himself into the role when he was fired by Southampton at a time they were hurtling out of the Premier League.

Given the FA’s refreshingly open and transparent approach, it does seem odd Reed has been seen but not heard.



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Adam Johnson 'will be shunned by ALL Football League clubs who refuse to go near paedo winger' as he's released

PAEDO footballer Adam Johnson faces being shunned by English football following his release from prison today.

Every League One and League Two side within commuting distance of his Co Durham home have reportedly confirmed they will not go near the shamed winger.


Johnson, 31, is due to leave HMP Moorland near Doncaster on Friday after serving half his six-year sentence.

His dad Dave was today seen in a black Mercedes van coming out of the prison just after midnight.

Although Johnson could not be seen, the blacked-out van was later spotted pulling into the paedo footballer's Co Durham home at around 2am.

The former Sunderland star, who groomed, kissed and touched a 15-year-old girl, may not even ever play in England again, according to one club chief exec who spoke to the Daily Mail.

It reports that he may not even have a future as far abroad as China – who have previously snapped up former Premier League stars for eye-watering sums – because of strict visa requirements.

Hebei China Fortune, managed by former Wales boss Chris Coleman, has also reportedly ruled out signing Johnson.


Leaked prison footage obtained by The Sun of the ex-Manchester City star showed how he was considering a move abroad.

He told his fellow lags: “I’ve got more chance abroad, you can’t get a second chance in England.”

But similar restrictions on players with criminal records will also hamper his chances in the US, Australia and the Middle East.

The claims come as The Sun reveals Johnson will be banned from being alone with his daughter after his prison release.

A social worker will monitor the ex-England player while he is with Ayla, four.

Johnson was jailed for six years at Bradford crown court in May 2016.

It heard he deleted 800 messages between him and his victim – who he is also banned from contacting.

Judge Jonathan Rose said he had caused the girl “severe psychological harm”.

Officials can demand Johnson surrender his phone — with a possible jail recall if he deletes anything without their knowledge.

The winger will also have to hand over his bank card details in case he accesses paid-for porn sites.

A source said: “Johnson will be treated like any other convicted sex offender. He’s a free man, but it comes at a heavy price.”

His licence conditions kick in this morning as soon as he leaves HMP Moorland near Doncaster, and will last until his full jail term ends in 2022.

He must wait 15 years before he can apply to come off the sex offenders register.

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Woman 'won Miss Hitler beauty competition in bid to attract new members to Neo-Nazi group National Action'

A NEO-Nazi terror suspect entered a "Miss Hitler" beauty contest in a bid to attract new members to a far-right extremist group, a court heard.

Alice Cutter, 22, is believed to have won the competition organised by National Action after taking on the nickname Buchenwald Princess in a nod to a Nazi death camp.

Cutter is standing trial at Birmingham Crown Court with her partner Mark Jones, who is accused of posing for a photograph while giving a Nazi salute in Buchenwald's execution room.

Jones, 24, and Cutter, both from Mulhalls Mill, Sowerby Bridge, near Halifax, deny being members of National Action between December 2016 and September 2017.

Prosecutor Barnaby Jameson QC said Jones visited Buchenwald in Germany in 2016.

The jury were shown a picture featuring two men standing in the camp's execution room holding a National Action flag.

Mr Jameson said: "Buchenwald was a Nazi concentration camp that stood out, even by the standards of Nazi concentration camps, for its depravity.

"Like Auschwitz, Buchenwald is a permanent museum to honour the victims and remind the world of the horrors perpetrated in the name of Nazism."

This was, no doubt, a publicity stunt to raise the group's profile and attract more members."One of those who entered and, I think, in fact, won the competition, was Alice Cutter.

He said Cutter entered the National Action-organised beauty contest in June 2016 – days after the Labour MP Jo Cox was murdered by Nazi-obsessed murderer Thomas Mair.

It is understood on 24 June 2016, National Action launched a beauty contest titled Miss Hitler 2016.

'A PUBLICITY STUNT'

Mr Jameson said: "This was, no doubt, a publicity stunt to raise the group's profile and attract more members.

"One of those who entered and, I think, in fact, won the competition, was Alice Cutter.

"She entered the competition as Buchenwald Princess and she set out her mission statement in a detailed interview.

"The beauty contest was anything but funny. The name Buchenwald Princess was, perhaps, you may think, no coincidence given that Jones had visited the execution room at Buchenwald the previous month."

Mr Jameson said the defendants were seeking to spread terror from "an ideology so warped, so extreme and so twisted, its continued existence will be shocking to many of you, if not all".

He added: "It is the terror of pathological racial prejudice.

"This case is about a fellowship of hate. A hate so fanatical and a fellowship so defiant that the accused would sooner break the law than break their bonds of hate."

 

The jury was shown a picture alleged to show Cutter wearing a National Action mask, which was posted online.

Garry Jack and Connor Scothern are also accused of being apart of the organisation.

The court alleges all four defendants flouted a ban classing National Action as a terrorist group which came into force on December 16, 2016.





 

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Could this scheme be a game-changing direction in sustainable fashion?

As Australians become more aware of and vocal about the impact of discarded textiles on the environment, it is hoped a new scheme will "disrupt" the cycle of clothing waste.

The recently-created Australian Circular Textile Association will launch a national "clothing take-back scheme" to try to boost the sustainability of fashion.

Australian Circular Textile Association, founder, Camille Reed.

The association's founder, Camille Reed, a textile fashion designer-turned entrepreneur, says Australians are the second largest consumer of textiles, per capita, in the world.

We buy approximately 27 kilograms of new clothing and textiles a year each, generating an "unmanageable" excess of waste product.

Under the take-back scheme, consumers will be able to drop off old garments at participating stores or charity collection points; the clothing will be dispatched to a "recycle, reprocess and redistribution" process, in which recyclable materials will be extracted.

The scheme which will commence in September with a pilot program is one of the first of its kind in the world to be implemented nationally. Conversations around its logistics will take place in this week in Melbourne, at the second Australian Circular Fashion Conference.

Charities spend around $13 million a year disposing of 60,000 tonnes of unusable donations, much of it going to waste.

Reed's "take back" program has been welcomed by sustainability groups such as the National Association of Charitable Recycling Organisations (NACRO), whose CEO, Omer Soker, says we are at a "tipping point" in terms of managing textile waste.

“Charities are very appreciative of all donations that are coming and they still want them for the money to go back into social welfare programs and the environment. But the amount of the clothing that goes to textile waste that is going into landfill is just unmanageable. It is really a shame,” he said.

According to Soker, charities alone spend around $13 million a year disposing of 60,000 tonnes of unusable donations, much of it going to waste.

Camille Reed said working with a sustainability team at her previous workplace, Forever New, helped her to understand the "grand scale" of textile waste in Australia.

She describes the Australian fashion industry as being at a pivotal “adapt or die” moment in terms of sustainability and says it needs to change its attitude to waste as it did to its attitude to exploited human labor.

“Both are part of a holistic cycle, those two issues have to marry up. The way ethics made a disruption to fashion and the industry had to step up to the mark, the environment is now that catalyst for disruption. We are at a point of inquisition, inquiry and transparency [for sustainability]."

Reed stresses that for initiatives such as the take-back scheme to be successful, consumers and brands will need to take responsibility for their habitual practices.

“It's a two sided game, no one side has more responsbility than the other. The customer has to be a little more aware and asking better questions of themselves as well as the industry … We should be past the blame and shame game," she said, and it was time producers and buyers examined their behaviour.

Omer Soker said he hoped both suppliers and buyers would opt for higher quality products that lasted longer, rather than continuing to consumed "faster landfill fashion".

“These products are built to obsolescence. So I would always advocate for quality garments even if it means that are somewhat more expensive because the value remains in the garment by giving it a second life or to the proposed take-back scheme,” Soker said.

Reed hopes increased focus on the toll of waste fashion on the environment will prompt consumers to turn more towards more durable items. Her advice to environmentally conscious followers of fashion is: “Buy something high quality and favour that piece.”

For more information on the take-back scheme visit: https://www.australiancircularfashion.com.au/

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Will there ITV's Cheat be back for a second series?

CHEAT gripped the nation during it's four night run and has now come to a dramatic close.

Viewers are now begging for more – but will there be a second season?

WARNING: Contains spoilers from series one of Cheat.

Will there be season two of ITV's Cheat?

At the moment there are no plans for a second series.

A spokeswoman for ITV said: “Cheat was conceived as a self-contained four part drama. There’s been no talk of another season as it was only ever planned as a standalone series.”

Actress Katherine also quashed the idea of a follow-up to the show, she said: “It’s never even been mentioned.

“As you’ll see on Thursday night, we don’t hold anything back. So it would be the first I’ve ever heard of it.”

Having said that, the four-part series, which aired on ITV from March 11 to March 14, left lots of un-answered questions.

Viewers have also called for another series after being gripped by the first season.

What would happen in season two of Cheat?

There is enough unanswered questions in season one of Cheat for there to be a series two.

Towards the end of the episode, Rose reveals to Leah that she didn't kill Adam in self-defence, instead she murdered him – will she get away with this confession?

The show ended with Leah and her mum going to see her dad Michael who had moved out of the house after the whole Rose incident.

But after they left Michael went for a walk in the woods, and Ben, Rose's accomplice, was seen lurking there with a knife – did he kill him?

Also, what will Rose do next in her plan for revenge?

Who would be in the cast?

Obviously the two leading ladies, Katherine Kelly and Molly Windsor, would return as Leah and Rose.

Tom Goodman-Hill who plays Adam won't be in series two as he was murdered, however he could feature in flashback scenes.

Leah's mum Angela, played by Lorraine Ashbourne, could also be in series two.

Her dad Michael, played by Peter Firth, may not be in it, depending on if Ben had killed him.

Ben, played by Burn Gorman, could also return as Rose's accomplice in her crimes.

Where can I watch Cheat?

Cheat has now finished its four night run on ITV.

But fear not, you can watch all of the episodes now on the ITV Hub.

You better be quick though, as it is only on the player until April 15, 2019.

 

 

 

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Abbi May Be Leaving New York On ‘Broad City,’ But There’s One Upside For Ilana

Spoilers ahead for Broad City Season 5, Episode 8. Ilana is dealing with a lot of change with Jaime, Eliot, and now her dear BFF Abbi leaving New York. But she potentially has a new buddy thanks to Ilana’s roommate Yamaneika on Broad City, played by comedian Yamaneika Saunders. During the March 14 episode, Yamaneika takes Jaime’s old room in Ilana’s Gowanus apartment, and while she isn’t a substitution for Jaime and can’t replace the intimate friendship Ilana has with Abbi, she can still offer some companionship to the forlorn Ilana. The soon-to-be grad student may be losing her Broad City bestie to Boulder, Colorado, but she at least has a roomie again.

A roommate can simply be a person you cohabitate with, but this is Ilana we’re talking about. Right off the bat, she makes it known that she’s not going to adhere to typical roommate rules. She asks Yamaneika if she’ll keep her company when she showers by sitting on the toilet and talking to her, and Yamaneika agrees. This could just be due to her desperation to stop crashing on her friends’ couches as she has been doing for the last month, but she also isn’t scared away by Ilana and they share the same thoughts on the Olsen twins. (Broad City with the very aptly-timed discussion of Full House scandals.) Yamaneika, like Ilana, also isn’t always the best at being accommodating and respectful, considering she didn’t share the fact that she has two Great Danes. But Ilana nonetheless finds Yamaneika to be "very f*cking cool," so a deeper connection could be forged here — even if Ilana is not so stoked about the situation at the moment.

While Abbi leaving New York was teased in the previous Broad City episode, Ilana was blindsided (broadsided?) with this information during "Sleep No More." Her reaction is completely characteristically over-the-top — just as Abbi feared — but she’s eventually able to admit she’s proud of Abbi for following her dreams. Of course, she’s still upset, and while Yamaneika will be helping Ilana to pay the rent, it’s not like she’ll instantly become a close friend — if they become friends at all.

Knowing Ilana, she’ll most likely recruit Yamaneika to participate in her shenanigans and maybe her new roommate will help soften the blow of Abbi leaving. Ilana starting school will also be a good distraction. Plus, Yamaneika’s Great Danes (named Beyoncé and Jay Z!) will be of some comfort to Ilana — even if she was too sad in "Sleep No More" to fully appreciate their fabulous names.

As for the real Yamaneika, Saunders has posted her excitement about being on the final season of Broad City on social media. She already has a connection to Comedy Central since her stand-up comedy had been featured on the network, and she’s been on In Security and The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore. You can also check out her stand-up in the Netflix special The Degenerates. She even has a specific tie to Broad City, as she appeared in Eliot Glazer’s Haunting Renditions show in 2018. (Glazer not only plays Eliot on Broad City, but he’s Ilana Glazer’s brother IRL.) The comedy show was held at the Bell House in Brooklyn, which is located ridiculously close to where Ilana’s apartment is on the show, so Yamaneika becoming Ilana’s roommate was pretty much destiny.

With only two episodes left, Yamaneika isn’t going to get a ton of screen time. You can keep track of Saunders after Broad City by following her stand-up and through her Rantin’ and Ravin’ podcast. And while Broad City fans aren’t guaranteed to know how Yamaneika and Ilana’s relationship turns out, there’s hope for this pair to hit it off — as long as Yamaneika can handle Ilana constantly FaceTiming with Abbi in Colorado. Because though the best friends fought in "Sleep No More," their friendship will always be able to handle the distance.

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Today's Triumph Hurdle betting preview: Latest runners, riders, odds and trainer quotes for the final field

We've put together all the important info to help you find the winner of the contest.

1. Adjali – Nicky Henderson/Daryl Jacob (16-1)

Looked very promising when beating King D'Argent on his British debut and then ran well to be a neck second to Quel Destin at Chepstow.

Flopped last time, though, and needs to find a bit more to be a win contender.

2. Authorizo – Gordon Elliott/Jack Kennedy (66-1)

Won a maiden hurdle very easily on Irish debut and looked a very nice horse in the making.

Couldn't back that up last time when sent off Evs for a Grade 3 and now has a bit to prove.

3. Coeur Sublime – Gordon Elliott/Davy Russell (16-1)

Has disappointed on his last couple of starts after looking one of the brighter juvenile Irish hopes earlier in the season.

Definitely has talent having come from a decent level on the Flat, but needs to bounce back.

4. Ecco – Paul Nicholls/Harry Skelton (66-1)

Third string for Paul Nicholls needs to leave his Adonis sixth well behind him.

Likely to be other days for this one.

5. Gardens Of Babylon – Joseph O'Brien/Barry Geraghty (11-1)

Second string for the young Irish maestro looked good on debut but has since been put in his place by stablemate Sir Erec.

Definitely capable of running a big race in first-time cheekpieces.

6. Hannon – John C McConnell/David Noonan (25-1)

Beaten by a decent sort last time out and definitely has ability.

Unlikely to be good enough for first prize, however.

John McConnell on Hannon

"We're still 50-50 about running. We're hoping it's going to dry some.

"He's never gone on ground as soft as it is there now. If good to soft comes back into it by Friday, which is a possibility, then we will probably have a go.

"It's competitive, and the favourite will be hard to beat, but we hope we have an each-way chance.

"He's in great form. We'd like to run, but we're not going to empty him on soft ground."

7. Nelson River – Tony Carroll/Harry Bannister (100-1)

Definitely shown ability since being switched to hurdles, with wins at Bangor and then here.

Would have had more of a shout in the handicaps though, and is best watched now.

8. Pentland Hills – Nicky Henderson/Nico de Boinville (14-1)

Interesting contender for Nicky Henderson, having thrashed a reasonable field at Plumpton on debut.

Will enjoy the drying ground and remains to be seen where his limitations lie.

9. Pic D'Orhy – Paul Nicholls/Sam Twiston-Davies (10-1)

First start for connections after coming from France and the trainer has a very good record with this type.

Wears a first-time tongue-tie and could be anything – has been the subject of good reports at home.

10. Quel Destin – Paul Nicholls/Harry Cobden (8-1)

Been a revelation this season with five straight wins, with his Grade 1 over Christmas and his Victor Ludorum win last time marking him out as a top juvenile.

Definitely has form claims and his tough attitude will stand him in good stead here.

Paul Nicholls on Quel Destin

"He just got beat first time out at Chepstow for us.

"He was a bit green that day and inexperienced in regards to hurdling and British racing. He won a Grade One at Chepstow over Christmas. He has won a couple of Grade Twos, one at Cheltenham.

"He came back at Haydock the other day and won the Victor Ludorum. I was surprised how well he won, because he was big and well and I thought he need the run.

"He is a proper tough four-year-old – what you want in the Triumph. He can make the running if they go no gallop. He can be nice and handy."

11. Runrized – Willie Mullins/David Mullins (100-1)

Unusual for a Willie Mullins contender to be 100-1, but he does appear to have plenty to do.

Could only manage fourth on debut and needs a lot more.

12. Sir Erec – Joseph O'Brien/Mark Walsh (11-10)

Hot favourite for this has looked extremely smart in two starts, winning very easily in top company last time out.

Hard to find a flaw and could well provide his trainer with a second Festival winner.

Joseph O'Brien on Sir Erec

"Obviously he has taken to hurdling well.

"He ran a nice race first time and improved a good bit to his second run. He'll have to improve again, but we're hopeful he's capable of doing so.

"Maybe the (Triumph) field might not be as big as it used to be, but all the good ones will still be there. It's going to be a competitive race – and by far his biggest test so far – and he'll probably have to run a career-best to win it.

"We're very realistic in that sense, but we'd like to think he has a favourite's chance.

"He was visually very impressive the last day, and I've never hidden the regard we hold him in. He's very exciting.

"He's won his last two races on good ground and won a Listed race on heavy ground on the Flat, so he seems pretty ground-versatile."

13. Tiger Tap Tap – Willie Mullins/Ruby Walsh (9-1)

Just lost out to the favourite on debut and on that form he is a big player here for his top connections.

Couldn't produce as strong an effort last time though and will need to come up with something extra.

Patrick Mullins on Tiger Tiger Tap

"I think Tiger Tap Tap has a huge chance. His form with Sir Erec at Christmas is his true form.

"Sir Erec dominated from the front in a slowly-run race on fast ground the last day, which suited him as an ex-Flat horse.

"We hope in a fast-run race Tiger Tap Tap will be able to get close to him again."

14. French Made – Willie Mullins/Paul Townend (50-1)

Won easily on debut for this yard and certainly looks overpriced at 50-1.

Remains to be seen how good he is but done nothing wrong so far.

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Anthony Yarde vows to first beat Kovalev after WBO call for world title fight before then taking on Brit rival Joshua Buatsi

The WBO No2 ranked light-heavyweight moved to 18-0 after stopping Travis Reeves in five rounds last week – and found himself as mandatory challenger for Kovalev’s title.

WBO champ Kovalev and Yarde now have until April 12 to agree terms for the fight until it goes to purse bids.

But the Londoner told SunSport he will only focus on the challenge when it is made official – and insists the world title belt is the target, not Kovalev.

Yarde said: “As a fighter, from the beginning I’ve been fighting what’s in front of me.

“I try not to focus on anything that’s not in front of me – for example the Kovalev fight, that may never even happen.


“I’m not focussed on who the person is, it’s the world title that is in my sights, and in time I feel like I’m going to get my hands on it.

“I’m not a manager, I don’t have a manger or promoter’s license, I’ve just been beating who’s been put in front of me.

“The same thing would happen if it was Kovalev, a tune up or another world champion in front of me – I have a job to do.

“I feel like I have the beating of all the world champions, right now – and with that time will tell.”

In 2018 Yarde was offered the chance to challenge Kovalev for the WBO strap – but his management, along with trainer Tunde Ajayi, decided to decline.

On reflection the 27-year-old agreed the decision was right, as he was allowed one more year of gaining and building experience in preparation to box at world level consistently.

Yarde said: “I was offered the fight in 2018, and my team decided to turn it down – and after we had the conversation I agreed it was the right decision.

“At first I jumped at the opportunity, but they explained to me that the challenge wasn’t winning the fight, it was about boxing at world level after that.

“We know I’d win the fight, but I needed to gain that experience before fighting at world level consistently and building yourself to have the best possible career.

“But other than that it’s a trust factor for them to find the right opponent. I do my job in the background, making sure I’m in the right places, making sure my profile is being built.

“It’s a team effort, you have a team for a reason.”

Yarde finds himself in a booming 175lb with elite level champions such as Dmitry Bivol, Artur Beterbiev and Oleksandr Gvozdyk also holding world titles.

While domestically fans have wanted Yarde to face off against the likes of Callum Johnson, Hosea Burton and 2016 Olympic bronze medallist Buatsi.

But for Yarde, he is willing to wait until he has won a world title until he faces off in a huge domestic showdown with Buatsi – believing fans can sometimes be “very impatient”.

Yarde added: “It’s all about making smart business moves.

"It’s like people say me and Buatsi should have been fighting three or four fights ago, which makes absolutely no sense.

“Look at when Lawrence Okolie and Isaac Chamberlain fought, it was way too early, they both agreed it was a rubbish fight and stunk out the venue.

“They both needed more experience being on that particular stage. People are very impatient, but then they moan if the two fighters don’t deliver.

“Sometimes you have to wait till both fighters are in their prime, and moved up in level.”

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