EDMONTON, Ontario (CMC):Jamaican Dane Nelson and Barbadian Quincy Welch kept up their early season form by riding braces on the eight-race card at Northlands Park here Saturday.Nelson won race one with favourite Centrefire and also captured the day’s final race with another odds-on bet, Seek the Noblest.Welch, meanwhile, found success in race four with favourite Awe C’mon Sweetie and followed up with 2-1 chance Midnite Poppa in race seven.Nelson leads the jockeys’ standings with eight wins with Welch, a six-time former Northlands champion, one behind on seven.Four-time defending champion, Barbadian Rico Walcott, won just once in five outings on the programme and sits third on four win.VICTORY BY LENGTHSNelson opened his account over six furlongs when he steered four-year-old chestnut gelding Centrefire to victory by 11/4 lengths over the three-year-old and upwards who have never won two races.And though he had to wait until the last race of the day to find the winners’ enclosure again, he held his nerve well to carry four-year-old colt Seek the Noblest to a 51/2 lengths trouncing of the three-year-olds over six furlongs.He duelled through the opening quarter with Welch and 10-1 bet Wild Tactics before drawing off in the stretch to win handily.Welch, a Northlands champion in 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2008, made all the running with three-year-old filly Awe C’mon Sweetie in race four, romping to a 51/2 length win over the three-year-old and upwards maiden fillies and mares over six furlongs.In race seven, over the same distance, he stalked from second with the six-year-old bay Midnite Poppa before reeling in pace-setter Red Red Rose at the top of the stretch and storming to the finish by 41/2 lengths to commandingly dispose of the three-year-old and upwards.
England’s 15-game unbeaten run came to an end on Friday as Spain ran out 2-0 winners in an international friendly in Alicante.After a goalless first half, the hosts opened the scoring with less than 20 minutes remaining, a stunning overhead strike on the turn from Mario Gaspar beating Hart who had rarely been tested beforehand.Their lead was doubled 12 minutes later as Arsenal playmaker Santi Cazorla’s low well-crafted effort beat the Manchester City goalkeeper, after a poor clearance, to bring Roy Hodgson’s side back to earth after easing through qualifying for Euro 2016.Hodgson kept to his word and named an experimental England line-up for the glamour friendly against the European champions.With Wayne Rooney rested and in-form Jamie Vardy sidelined, Harry Kane led the line and was supported by Ross Barkley, Adam Lallana and Raheem Sterling.Hart captained the side in Alicante, where Chelsea’s Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas started for the hosts.Unsurprisingly, the hosts dominated the early possession, and large amounts of the first half, but England looked defensively sturdy and dangerous on the break.Good moves saw the visitors twice go close – first Sterling blasted a shot over before Barkley dragged an effort wide.Hodgson’s side were often their worst enemy as they played their way into trouble with sloppy play.Sterling’s poor ball in the England half led to a Spanish break, with Phil Jones making a decisive block after striker Costa was found in space.The following corner saw Barcelona star Sergio Busquets volley wide, inches past the post.England’s left-hand side was a promising aspect of the match as Ryan Bertrand got forward well and linked up with Man City man Sterling.Southampton left-back Bertrand put a superb low cross along the six-yard box and Kane could not quite get to the ball to convert.Shortly after the half-hour mark, England passed a significant milestone as they went 400 minutes without conceding.Costa found space on the left-side of the 18-yard box before curling an effort past the post, but Hart had little to do in the first period.Barkley’s solo effort resulted in a good chance for the hosts before Fabian Delph strode into space ahead of the break before drilling a low 20-yard effort into the arms of Porto goalkeeper Iker Casillas, making his 165th appearance for his country.The hosts took the lead to end England’s run of not conceding and what a deserving goal it was. With 72 minutes on the clock, a floated ball to the right-hand side found Mario, who on the spin, struck the ball on the overhead kick, across goal and into the top corner.Spurs duo Eric Dier and Kane combined well when the former’s ball over the top found the striker, who controlled brilliantly before losing his balance and striking wide.The win was confirmed when Cazorla stroked the ball past Hart from the edge of the box. The England goalkeeper was incensed, as he claimed offside, but the goal stood.Rooney struck the bar late on, but England were beaten by the European holders. 1 Mario Gaspar