Queen receives Gold Cup
Britain’s Queen Elizabeth had special cause for celebrations on Thursday when her horse Estimate won the Royal Ascot Gold Cup. On a day of sentimental successes and broken records, it was the first time a reigning monarch’s horse had claimed victory in the race’s 207-year history. Estimate, a four-year-old filly trained by Michael Stoute, held off a challenge by Simenon in the final furlong to win by a neck and initiate a rapturous reception for the queen in the winner’s enclosure. The queen was expected to present the winner’s trophy, but instead received it from her second son, the Duke of York. Estimate, a 7-2 favorite, won at Royal Ascot last year when landing the Queen’s Vase. The queen’s grandson Peter Phillips told Channel 4: “It’s amazing! This is her passion and her life. She’s here every year [since 1945] and she strives to have winners — to win the big one at Royal Ascot means so much to her.”
Wawrinka into semi-finals
Stanislas Wawrinka defeated fifth-seeded Jeremy Chardy 6-4, 7-6 (7/2) on Thursday to reach the semi-finals of the Topshelf Open in Rosmalen, the Netherlands. In the women’s draw, Dominika Cibulkova lost 6-4, 6-4 to Garbine Muguruza. Simona Halep defeated Lesia Tsurenko 6-3, 6-1 to set up a semi-final with Carla Suarez Navarro, who came from a set down to beat Tsvetana Pironkova 2-6, 6-4, 6-4. Xavier Malisse of Belgium edged Roberto Bautista Agut 6-4, 6-4 and was to face Nicolas Mahut after the Frenchman defeated Evgeny Donskoy 6-3, 7-6 (7/1). Kirsten Flipkens overcame a sore back to stop last year’s finalist Urszula Radwanska 6-4, 6-4. She faces Muguruza in the semi-final.
Manny Pacquiao snubbed
Juan Manuel Marquez could have fought Manny Pacquiao for a fifth time. Timothy Bradley could have had a rematch with the Filipino congressman. They both turned down chances to follow up on the biggest victories of their fighting careers. Instead, they want to face each other. Marquez and Bradley will meet in a welterweight title bout on Oct. 12 at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas after both men rejected bigger paydays against Pacquiao. The unbeaten Bradley says he will finally get the respect he deserves by trouncing Marquez.
Valverde returns to Bilbao
Athletic Bilbao have appointed Ernesto Valverde as their new coach, the Spanish La Liga club announced on Thursday. The 49-year-old Valverde replaces Marcelo Bielsa after the club opted not to renew the Argentine’s contract following a disappointing campaign in which the Basque outfit finished 12th in the league. Valverde, who took charge of Valencia in December, left the Mestalla at the end of the season having seen the club narrowly miss out to Real Sociedad for a place in next season’s Champions League. He began his coaching career at Bilbao, who he managed between 2003 and 2005, after also spending six years there as a player before moving to RCD Espanyol, who he guided to the 2007 UEFA Cup final where they lost on penalties to Sevilla.