Press Association Clarcam made the most of a serious mistake from hot favourite Vautour to grab Grade One glory in the Racing Post Novice Chase at Leopardstown. Vautour made a shuddering error that left him with his nose on the turf before being picked up by Townend, and Bryan Cooper sensibly took the initiative, sensing an upset was on the cards. Clarcam quickly opened up a break on the chasing pack and was clear rounding the home turn before winging the final fence to seal his wide-margin victory. Vautour, unable to recover from his mishap, dead-heated for second with Ted Veale. RaceBets cut Clarcam to 14-1 from 25-1 for the Arkle Trophy at Cheltenham in March. Winning trainer Gordon Elliott said: “It’s great for Bryan as this is the horse he broke his leg on at Cheltenham. I know Vautour made mistakes but my horse didn’t just win a length or two – he destroyed them. “We’ll look at coming back here for the (Irish) Arkle and see what happens then.” Elliott went on to complete a double as 13-2 shot Space Cadet landed the bumper under Jamie Codd. Fiscal Focus caused a major upset in the Knight Frank Juvenile Hurdle as he put the odds-on Kalkir in his place at odds of 33-1. Kalkir was unsurprisingly a warm order as the 4-7 favourite for the Grade Two, having made a smooth start to his jumping career in a Grade Three at Fairyhouse last month, propelling him towards the top of the Triumph Hurdle market. Vautour was a stunning winner of the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at last season’s Cheltenham Festival and looked every inch a top-class chasing prospect when comfortably seeing off Clarcam on his debut over fences at Navan last month, so it was no surprise to see him sent off the 1-4 favourite to confirm his superiority. Clarcam (8-1), who had since opened his own chasing account, took the field along down the back straight, with Vautour shadowing him in the hands of Paul Townend – until the pivotal moment came five fences from home. The Mullins runner moved well for much of the journey, but Fiscal Focus was travelling even better as he led rounding the home turn under Mikey Fogarty and he skipped over the last to win by two lengths, with Kalkir unable to make an impression. The winner was making his jumping bow for Des McDonogh, having previously been trained by Jim Bolger on the Flat. McDonogh’s legendary hurdler Monksfield was actually beaten in the same race early in his brilliant career and the trainer hopes his latest winner could earn himself a trip to the Cheltenham Festival. The handler said: “It’s been a long time since Monksfield ran in this race. He probably had too much Christmas pudding and didn’t run too well. “I’ve not been to Cheltenham since 1987 and said I wouldn’t go back unless I had a runner. I’ll have to sit down and talk with Jim (Bolger) before we decide what to do. I’ve known Jim for many, many years. He’s a great friend and he’s been very good to me. “I haven’t seen the likes of Monksfield around us for a long time. I’d love to go back to Cheltenham. He jumped great for his first run over hurdles and has beaten one of the favourites for the Triumph Hurdle. I’m still in a bit of shock! “Good horses are easy to train and he’s come from a very good academy. He loves soft ground. He was prepared so well for me to take over and they did get Annie Power out of there, so they know how to do it. We’ve a lovely horse (Theophilus) tomorrow, too.” Alvisio Ville made a stunning Irish debut for the Mullins team in the Bewleys Hotel Maiden Hurdle. Third on his only previous start in a French bumper, the JP McManus-owned four-year-old was sent off a heavily supported 1-2 favourite for the opening contest of the four-day Christmas Festival. Never too far off the pace in the hands of Paul Townend, Alvisio Ville was still hard on the bridle rounding the home turn, while the majority of his rivals toiled. Townend gave his mount his head on the run to the final flight and he soon asserted, pinging the last to seal a most impressive five-and-a-half-length success. With the champion trainer at Kempton, his son Patrick said: “He showed there what he’s showing at home. He’s 17.2 hands and has a huge stride. As they were going faster he jumped better and we think he’s very, very good.” RaceBets quote Alvisio Ville at 14-1 for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, having gone 25-1 immediately after the race.
Auto gates will open at 4:40 p.m. and stadium gates at 5:10 p.m. for the 7:10 p.m. game. Pregame ceremonies will begin at 6:55 p.m. Cuban-American singer-songwriter Karina Nuvo, a two-time Grammy nominee, will sing the national anthem.Archbishop Jose H. Gomez, the Roman Catholic archbishop of Los Angeles, will also throw a first pitch in connection with the fifth annual Catholic Schools Night at Dodger Stadium.Lee Lacy, a Dodger second baseman-outfielder from 1972-78, will sign autographs in the left field pavilion plaza from 5-7 p.m.The Military Hero of the Game will be U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Felix Fernandez Jr. of Perris. Fernandez enlisted as an airman and during his 28 years of service has deployed with several thousand airmen to various locations in support of Operations Desert Storm, Desert Shield and Enduring Freedom.Fernandez is stationed at 452 Force Support Squadron March Air Reserve Base. LOS ANGELES — A special loaded hot dog will be available at Dodger Stadium throughout the Los Angeles Dodgers’ three-game series against the Miami Marlins, which begins tonight.The Cuban Dog is a quarter-pound all-beef hot dog topped with ham, pulled pork, Swiss cheese, yellow mustard and pickle chips. It will be available at the Extreme Loaded Dog concession areas on the field, loge and reserve levels.Caribbean Sticky Ribs will also be available during the series at the Think Blue BBQ in the left field pavilion plaza. The dish is pork spare ribs with pineapple barbecue sauce, ghost pepper and molasses marinade. It will be served with tropical cole slaw.Tonight is Cuba Night, with a special ticket package offered including a Cuba-Dodger-themed T-shirt. The Havana-born Oscar-nominated actor Andy Garcia will throw the ceremonial first pitch. The Dodgers’ Cuban-born all-star outfielder, Yasiel Puig, will participate in the pregame ceremonies. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error
Fire danger is on Dave Roberts’ mind as Dodgers head to San Francisco “I think my confidence was very high here,” Smith said Sunday. “I carried it over to OKC. Wasn’t going to let my play show at all being sent back down. Just kind of kept playing hard and putting together some good at-bats.“I always knew I was going to be sent back down at some point. I wasn’t going to let that bug me at all. I didn’t. Played well.”Roberts said Barnes and even Russell Martin could see action at infield spots with Smith on the roster in the next week.SHORT(STOP) TIMERIn the first 10 games after Corey Seager went to the IL, Chris Taylor has made the most of his increased playing time as the primary shortstop, going 12 for 32 (.375) with eight RBI and seven runs scored.“Yeah, I think anybody would say it’s easier to get in a groove and build on those hot streaks when you’re playing every day,” said Taylor who was not in the starting lineup Sunday. “But I know it’s part of being on this team. You’re not always going to have that luxury. We have a lot of really good players. So you’ve got to try and keep a level head whether you’re going good or bad and stay consistent.”That level head was difficult to maintain for Taylor in April when he got off to a miserable start. He was batting just .162 after an 0-for-4 day against the Giants on May 1. Since then, he has batted .288 with an .887 OPS.“Mechanically, I feel like I’ve been very consistent,” he said. “I’ve done the same things for the past couple months now – which is a change of pace from last year where I felt like every week I was doing something different. You’re going to have the ups and downs of the game. You’re not always going to be hot. But I felt pretty good for a little while now.”ALSORelated Articles Smith got the call back to Los Angeles Sunday when the Dodgers put David Freese on the Injured List. Freese has been dealing with tendinitis in his left knee, limiting his playing time recently. “As a byproduct,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said, Freese’s hamstring became a problem, landing him on the IL.Freese is expected back shortly after the 10-day IL stay, Roberts said, which would put him back on the Dodgers’ bench at the start of the next homestand.He has been a valuable part of that bench, batting .308 with a .999 OPS in a role that includes starts against left-handed pitching and pinch-hitting (9 for 21).“Fortunately we have the luxury right now of not putting him in harm’s way and making sure he’s ready for the stretch run,” Roberts said, referring to the Dodgers’ large division lead and depth as making it “a no-brainer” to give Freese some down time.Smith handled his first taste of the big leagues well, going 6 for 21 (.286) with those two home runs and acquitting himself very well defensively in six starts while Austin Barnes was on the IL. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Cody Bellinger homer gives Dodgers their first walkoff win of season LOS ANGELES – When the Dodgers sent Will Smith down two weeks ago, they sent down a catcher. When they called him back up Sunday, they called up a power hitter.In 11 games with Triple-A Oklahoma City after his demotion by the Dodgers, Smith went 12 for 41, all on extra-base hits – three doubles, three triples and six home runs in his last seven games before being recalled.“Just put good swings on the ball. I think I’ve shown pretty good power all year,” said Smith who has 14 home runs in Triple-A and hit two in six games with the Dodgers (including a walkoff for his first major-league homer on June 1).“Just made consistent contact, had good at-bats and the ball’s flying.” Dodgers hit seven home runs, sweep Colorado Rockies Dodgers’ Max Muncy trying to work his way out of slow start Left-hander Scott Alexander threw a bullpen session on the main pitcher’s mound Sunday morning, allowing the Dodgers to collect Trackman and other data on his performance. Alexander is eligible to come off the IL but with throw to hitters and go on a rehab assignment before he does. …Joc Pederson made his third consecutive start at first base Sunday and will likely see steady action there in the next week with the Dodgers expecting to face a string of right-handed starting pitchers on the upcoming road trip. “It’s not a finished product,” Roberts said of Pederson who dropped a throw, costing the Dodgers a run Saturday. “But we’re committed to it.”UP NEXTDodgers (LHP Clayton Kershaw 7-1, 2.85 ERA) at Diamondbacks (RHP Zack Greinke 8-3, 2.92 ERA), 6:40 p.m. SportsNet LA (where available), AM 570 How Dodgers pitcher Ross Stripling topped the baseball podcast empire