Light passes Trial test

first_img Given a break since his efforts at Royal Ascot, last year’s Doncaster St Leger winner was shouldering 10st against a useful field, but in the end just needed to be kept up to his work to win by Joseph O’Brien after hitting the front a furlong out. The front-running Shu Lewis missed out for second by a short head as Royal Diamond finished off the race very well, but Leading Light (2-5 favourite) was never in danger once he got to the front and won by a length and a quarter. The Montjeu colt took his career record to eight wins from 10 starts, having been beaten only on his two-year-old debut and in the Arc. O’Brien snr said: “I’m delighted with that. He’s had a good break since Ascot. We let him down well after that and it’s nice to get him started back. “He came here two weeks ago for a canter to wake him up a bit. He should come on nicely from that as he’s giving a good blow. “The (Irish) Leger falls lovely in the second half of the season for him. I don’t know where he’ll go after that but the main thing is the lads would like him back for Ascot next year. “He ran in the Arc last year, but was back a long way. They’ll decide where he goes.” Aidan O’Brien’s Gold Cup hero Leading Light made the perfect return to action in the Palmerstown House Estate Irish St Leger Trial Stakes at the Curragh.center_img Press Associationlast_img read more

For Kendrick-Holmes, season is countdown to deployment

first_img Comments With less than three minutes to play, the Maritime Privateers needed to make a stand. Their opponents had elected to go for it on fourth down. It was the season’s first game, and the score was 15-12. The Maritime defense gathered near head coach Clayton Kendrick-Holmes, the man set to give up his job on the sidelines for active duty in Afghanistan three months from then. ‘Let’s win this for coach,’ one player yelled. ‘No, win this for yourselves,’ Kendrick-Holmes yelled back. The defense trotted back on the field, leaving Kendrick-Holmes to watch what came next.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text To Kendrick-Holmes, this season tastes bittersweet so far. It represents a great start (3-0) for the program, for the football team that aims to win a conference championship this year. But it represents a countdown to his deployment to Afghanistan, leaving his team, his family and program behind. When the football season ends, Kendrick-Holmes, a Navy lieutenant commander, will leave for Afghanistan. He does not know how long it’ll last or when he will return. The secret to success, both on the field and at home, Kendrick-Holmes said, is keeping things day-to-day and aiming to keep the attention on the current task and off of his pending deployment. ‘It’s not a point of emphasis,’ he said. ‘The guys understand that I’m going away at the end, so the guys are making the most of this season.’ In that first game on Sept. 2 against Massachusetts Maritime, the Privateers’ defense stood tall on that fourth-down play in the game’s final minutes. It stuffed the opponent’s running back at the line, and Massachusetts Maritime turned the ball over on downs. U.S. Navy Capt. Jim Driscoll called the game from the press box — just as he usually does. He’s the team’s announcer, the voice of the Privateers. But he’s also a close friend to Kendrick-Holmes, too, and the ROTC commander at Maritime. No announcement went out over the air during the first game about Kendrick-Holmes’ departure at the end of the season. Driscoll and Kendrick-Holmes had talked, but an announcement would have shifted the focus off the football team’s success, Driscoll said. ‘I believe that the coaching staff has done a great job of keeping this potential upheaval to a minimum,’ Driscoll said. ‘They’re not thinking about next year. They’re thinking about this year.’ Kendrick-Holmes learned about his deployment a few months before the season began. Sitting in his office on a July day, his phone rang. The voice on the other end informed him he’d been tagged for mobilization. Details would follow on the particulars — the where and the when, the voice told him. He hung up the phone and told his wife a few hours later. Tough news with two young sons, he said. One of his sons found out he would lose his father for some time when he got home from a Christian summer camp. ‘There’s always the possibility of being mobilized,’ Kendrick-Holmes said. ‘You kind of always have a plan of things that will have to be done. You just hope you never have to execute it.’ The day after the phone call, he received his location — Afghanistan — and his departure date — some time after this football season in December. He has begun to work and make sure he could leave things complete at home. Bills paid. Household appliances fixed. Mike Stroud, his next door neighbor, friend, linebackers coach at Maritime and a retired Marine lieutenant colonel, stopped by to see Kendrick-Holmes and his son one summer night on the porch after the news broke. Stroud gave Kendrick-Holmes’ son a deal: Come see me anytime if you need anything while your dad’s away. Just to give him someone to talk to. Stroud, himself, served overseas several times and knows matters at home need closure before shipping out. ‘You need to be able to know that your house is set,’ Stroud said. ‘It’s a dangerous job over there. You can’t have your mind over here.’ Stroud has helped Kendrick-Holmes prepare for his departure at Maritime, too. The two men talk about what the team needs and what the school needs. Things like which duties of the head coach’s job would go to which assistant coach. ‘When coach told us he was leaving,’ Stroud said, ‘there was a little bit of shock. It was a ‘How can we make it work?’ thing.’ At the end of this season, Kendrick-Holmes will announce an interim head coach. For now, the talk is about how to get better. About how the special team needs to play smarter in this week’s game against Husson. Anything to avoid the ever-present, hulking elephant in the room: The team will need to learn as much as it can, as fast as it can, from Kendrick-Holmes before his deployment. Said Kendrick-Holmes: ‘It’s something that’s on the horizon, but we want to win a championship, and that’s our goal.’ Colgate at Syracuse Prediction: Syracuse 34, Colgate 10 In the renewal of a classic rivalry, Syracuse rolls over Colgate. Even Colgate head football coach Dick Biddle told The Associated Press it would be a stretch imagining his team winning. No. 1 Alabama at No. 10 Arkansas Prediction: Alabama 27, Arkansas 20 In this week’s best matchup, Arkansas welcomes the nation’s No. 1 at home, in hopes of an upset. Not so fast. Arkansas barely nudged by Georgia last week in a game the Bulldogs took down to the wire. Look for Alabama to win in a tight game. No. 12 South Carolina at No. 17 Auburn Prediction: Auburn 17, South Carolina 10 Fresh off dispatching another worthy opponent last week, look for Auburn to triumph here, too. Auburn has really proven its mettle so far this season and will have no trouble knocking off Steve Spurrier’s Gamecocks. No. 22 West Virginia at No. 15 LSU Prediction: LSU 42, West Virginia 34 Louisiana State will prevail in this game, but the Mountaineers will give LSU a run for its money. No. 19 Miami (Fla.) at Pittsburgh Prediction: Miami 20, Pittsburgh 17 Miami has been anything but perfect this season. But Pittsburgh doesn’t have enough to knock the Canes, even with a home game on national television. [email protected] Published on September 22, 2010 at 12:00 pmcenter_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more