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Matt Chapman is back and has his say on controversial owners Phoenix Thoroughbreds

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matt chapman is back and has his say on controversial owners phoenix thoroughbreds scaled

DEEPLY troubled owner Phoenix Thoroughbreds has given British racing the boot.

But the big question every racing nation must ask themselves is this – why has the sport across the globe not told Phoenix Thoroughbreds to do one?

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Credit: PA:Press Association

It appears Phoenix has ditched the UK – widely considered the best racing country on the planet and the place where the major owners want to win – after an investigation led by the Racing Post raised serious concerns over the funding of the organisation.

The group’s founder, Amer Abdulaziz Salman, was last year alleged in a New York court to be a key money launderer for the fake cryptocurrency OneCoin.

His name popped up after Konstantin Ignatov, a convicted fraudster and former OneCoin leader, alleged under oath that Abdulaziz played a major role in laundering funds for a scam that duped $4 billion from victims who believed they were investing in a digital currency similar to Bitcoin, but was in fact a sophisticated Ponzi scheme.

Ponzi schemes are fraudulent investing scams promising high rates of return with little risk to investors. They generate returns for early investors by acquiring new investors. This is similar to a pyramid scheme in that both are based on using new investors’ funds to pay the earlier backers.

Abdulaziz, via Phoenix Thoroughbreds, categorically denied the allegations. But he won’t answer questions over the matter.

Phoenix Thoroughbreds have owned horses in so many partnerships in the UK that it’s hard to keep up with all the different guises.

But in recent times their big name horses have included Commonwealth Cup and Prix Maurice de Gheest hero Advertise, Belmont Stakes runner-up Gronkowski and 2018 Queen Mary victor Signora Cabello.

Trainers they have been using around the globe number Doug O’Neill, Steve Asmussen, Ed Vaughan, Karl Burke, John Quinn, Peter Chapple-Hyam, Joseph O’Brien, Jerry Hollendorfer, Mike Stidham, Jamie Osborne, Mike Maker, Todd Pletcher, Peter Miller, Anthony Freedman, Gai Waterhouse and Kenny McPeek.

There are significant names in there, although the now retired Jeremy Noseda, Martyn Meade and US legend Bob Baffert have severed ties with the organisation.

The mission statement for Phoenix says: “Phoenix Thoroughbreds has been a massive project and was in the pipeline for about four years before we were actually able to launch.

“We have massive ambition, we do not deny that; we want to compete with the very best at the very top, both in terms of racing and breeding.

“That is all part of our vision; to breed top-class horses to race for our investors and trade as necessary to secure a profit, as well as a lot of fun along the way!” Leaving the UK won’t allow you to do that!

What is shocking is the BHA and other racing authorities around the world don’t seem bothered in the slightest.

A BHA spokesperson said: “The BHA has carried out inquiries over the past few months. Allegations of criminality are properly investigated by law enforcement organisations, which the BHA would always support where it can.

“Our focus is on making the best use of our regulatory role to protect participants and the reputation of the sport.”

Are you kidding me?

Surely if the BHA thought an owner was funding having a horse in training by being, let’s say for argument’s sake, a drug dealer they would step in and ask the person concerned to prove they are a fit and proper person to pursue ownership?

Apparently not.

Becoming a racehorse owner is incredibly easy and as far as I can see there are very limited checks made by the BHA.

Initially there appears to be an electronic identity confirmation and credit search undertaken on all applicants. Provided you pass those, the BHA website says any application will be “considered by the BHA”.

But there is no suggestion of why or how you might be turned down.

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The Phoenix case is a simple one.

There is enough worrying information out there to at least ask the backers to explain themselves and answer the questions we all want answered. If they do not respond then refuse to accept entries for their horses.

And it’s not just the BHA.

Every racing nation in the world should be making a stand here.

Phoenix may have done nothing wrong at all. It may have nothing to do with OneCoin or Ponzi schemes.

But the evidence is stacked high against them in this case. Certainly high enough for Phoenix Thoroughbreds to leave the UK racing scene in a rush when chased for assurances.

Ask yourself this. Why do most people run when approached for details of anything in life?

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Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta offers a blunt assessment on why Mesut Ozil’s exile continued

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arsenal boss mikel arteta offers a blunt assessment on why mesut ozils exile continued

Mikel Arteta suggested his Arsenal side is evolving without Mesut Ozil as the club’s highest-paid player again missed out on the squad for Wednesday’s Carabao Cup win at Leicester.

The Gunners made seven changes at the King Power Stadium as a Christian Fuchs own goal and late Eddie Nketiah tap-in sealed a 2-0 victory for the visitors.

Despite those alterations there was still no room in the matchday squad for either Ozil or Matteo Guendouzi, who have yet to kick a ball this season.

Mikel Arteta suggested his Arsenal side is evolving without Mesut Ozil as he missed out again

Mikel Arteta suggested his Arsenal side is evolving without Mesut Ozil as he missed out again

Mikel Arteta suggested his Arsenal side is evolving without Mesut Ozil as he missed out again

Ozil has not been involved since Project Restart having previously started every game

Ozil has not been involved since Project Restart having previously started every game

Ozil has not been involved since Project Restart having previously started every game

Ozil has not been involved at all since Project Restart having previously started every Premier League game under Arteta before lockdown.

Asked why the World Cup winner had fallen out of favour, Arteta replied: ‘The team is evolving, you can see the level they are achieving.

‘This is where we are at the moment. We want to evolve more and play better and compete better.

‘We need to keep maintaining that.

‘I’m really happy with the performance here, how difficult they’re making things for the coaching staff to select the squad.

Arteta said: 'The team is evolving, you can see the level they are achieving' as Ozil missed out

Arteta said: 'The team is evolving, you can see the level they are achieving' as Ozil missed out

Arteta said: ‘The team is evolving, you can see the level they are achieving’ as Ozil missed out

‘We are picking the players that we believe are the best for each game. You can see we keep training, it’s what we’re trying to do.

‘You can see that the players we are changing, we are using, it’s very difficult every week not for Mesut but for some other players as well to make the squad. Every week we try to pick the right players.

‘Of course I understand and I respect your questions but I have to try to do my job as fair as possible. I try to select the players that are, in my opinion, in better condition.’

Arsenal will face either Lincoln or Liverpool in round four and, if Jurgen Klopp’s Reds win on Thursday, it means two quick trips to Anfield for Arteta and his players.

The Premier League game on Monday night has been moved forwards to an 8pm kick-off to fall in line with new Covid guidelines for pub closing times.

‘You can imagine, probably the toughest place to go in Europe or the world. That’s the fixtures, we have to go there,’ Arteta added on the prospect of two away games against the champions.

‘Let’s go first on Monday, let’s prepare well and see how it goes.’

Arsenal will face either Lincoln or Liverpool in round four after 2-0 victory over Leicester

Arsenal will face either Lincoln or Liverpool in round four after 2-0 victory over Leicester

Arsenal will face either Lincoln or Liverpool in round four after 2-0 victory over Leicester

While Arteta shuffled his pack, Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers played with an entire new deck as the Foxes side showed 11 alterations from Sunday’s win over Burnley.

‘I think if we are going to lose a game, I would lose in that way in terms of the players showed good energy in the game,’ Rodgers said following the defeat.

‘There were moments of quality in it and even though there were lots of players playing their first minutes of the season the cohesion in the team was very good.

‘I’m obviously disappointed with the goals, that was the only criticism – it was two scruffy goals that we lost to.’

Wilfred Ndidi was not involved for Leicester and Rodgers revealed after the match that the Nigeria international may be sidelined for up to 12 weeks with an abductor injury suffered against Burnley.

‘We are just waiting to hear more on that, but he could be anything between six and 12 weeks,’ he said.

‘It is an abductor injury – it may have come off the bone which could be a nasty injury, so we will wait to see if needs an operation – it does then it will be 12 weeks.’

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Everton fans fume over two more Jordan Pickford errors in their Carabao Cup win over Fleetwood

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everton fans fume over two more jordan pickford errors in their carabao cup win over fleetwood

Jordan Pickford was back in the spotlight after making two high-profile errors in Everton‘s Carabao Cup victory over Fleetwood.  

The goalkeeper was at fault for both the hosts’ goals, first dithering over a clearance which was eventually charged down for Mark Duffy to make it 2-1 and then changing his mind over a cross and failing to keep out Callum Camps’ overhead kick straight at him for 3-2.

Goals from Bernard and Michael Keane spared the shot-stopper’s blushes but Everton fans aired their frustrations on Twitter, with some fans calling for Carlo Ancelotti to find a new No1. 

Jordan Pickford made two errors in Everton's Carabao Cup win over Fleetwood on Wednesday

Jordan Pickford made two errors in Everton's Carabao Cup win over Fleetwood on Wednesday

Jordan Pickford made two errors in Everton’s Carabao Cup win over Fleetwood on Wednesday

Some fans called for Carlo Ancelotti to find a new No 1 after the shot-stopper's mistakes

Some fans called for Carlo Ancelotti to find a new No 1 after the shot-stopper's mistakes

Some fans called for Carlo Ancelotti to find a new No 1 after the shot-stopper’s mistakes

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33547222 8766049 Some fans called for Carlo Ancelotti to find a new No1 after the a 101 1600900146887

 

One supporter wrote: ‘Jordan Pickford is going to cost Everton so many goals this season. Ancelotti needs to replace him ASAP.’

Another added: ‘Don’t think we’ll be able to bring in a top keeper this window but next summer we NEED a new top class GK Jordan Pickford man.’

But Ancelotti refused to blame the England international for the first goal, instead claiming the goalkeeper had been put in a difficult position by his team-mates. 

‘I think the first goal it was not any individual mistakes, we passed the ball back to Jordan and it was a really difficult ball,’ said the Everton boss.

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33547220 8766049 image a 104 1600900191922

‘We could have behaved differently, so we didn’t do that well. Of course you have to improve there.

‘You want to build up from the back but when there is not risk. If it is risky it is not good, we can concede a goal like we did tonight and it is a good lesson for the future.

‘I didn’t speak to him (Pickford). I have to speak with the players that were involved when we were building up. He was not the only one, Jordan.’

But some fans were less forgiving than the Italian, with one tweeting: ‘If Jordan Pickford was a fisherman he still wouldn’t catch anything.’

Another on-looker wrote: ‘Everton seem to have brought in some very good players this transfer market, pity Jordan Pickford will undo all their good work.’

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33547226 8766049 image a 100 1600900139722

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33547230 8766049 image a 106 1600900267798

Carlo Ancelotti refused to blame the England international for the goals Everton conceded

Carlo Ancelotti refused to blame the England international for the goals Everton conceded

Carlo Ancelotti refused to blame the England international for the goals Everton conceded

A brace from Richarlison and goals from Alex Iwobi, Bernard and Michael Keane set up a fourth-round tie with West Ham and Fleetwood boss Joey Barton highlighted the gulf in class between the Premier League outfit and his League One side.

‘We had a 18-year-old, a 19-year-old and a 21-year-old at centre-back. We never had any ball but we knew that would be the case,’ he said.

‘We then gave them a goal and they got the second goal. We adjusted at half-time, brought Duffy on and then we got a gift by closing the keeper down.

‘Then we shoot ourselves in the foot by conceding in a few minutes and then we got back into it again – but they have the quality to pick you off on the counter.

Pickford was unable to keep out Callum Camps' overhead kick despite it being straight at him

Pickford was unable to keep out Callum Camps' overhead kick despite it being straight at him

Pickford was unable to keep out Callum Camps’ overhead kick despite it being straight at him

‘I am pleased we made it into a cup tie because at half-time it looked like being a long 45 minutes.’ 

On Everton fielding a strong side, Barton added: ‘I am delighted with that because it shows Everton are taking the competition seriously.

‘It pays us enormous respect that they turned up and played in the correct manner, especially when you look at the gulf in class at both clubs. 5-2 probably flatters them at the end but they were way above us tonight.’

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Frank Lampard on the cusp of completing swoop for Edouard Mendy from Rennes

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frank lampard on the cusp of completing swoop for edouard mendy from rennes

Frank Lampard believes the club’s £22million move for Rennes’ goalkeeper Edouard Mendy is on the verge of completion.

The Chelsea boss has been trying to bring in a new shot-stopper all summer and looks to finally have his man. 

If Mendy arrives in time he could be set to make his debut in this weekend’s trip to West Brom, with Kepa Arrizabalaga facing the drop after a difficult start to the season. 

Chelsea's move for goalkeeper Edouard Mendy from Rennes is on the verge of completion

Chelsea's move for goalkeeper Edouard Mendy from Rennes is on the verge of completion

Chelsea’s move for goalkeeper Edouard Mendy from Rennes is on the verge of completion 

Frank Lampard believes the shot-stopper's medical is done ahead of a £22million transfer

Frank Lampard believes the shot-stopper's medical is done ahead of a £22million transfer

Frank Lampard believes the shot-stopper’s medical is done ahead of a £22million transfer

‘With Mendy, the medical, I think it’s done, but I want to be a bit careful and don’t want to give absolute confirmation until I see him, possibly over the next 24 hours,’ said Lampard. 

‘But it seems like it’s on the verge of being done.’

Current No1 Arrizabalaga has struggled in the opening games of the season. The ‘keeper let a weak shot squeeze past him in the first match against Brighton and was under-fire against Liverpool at Stamford Bridge. 

Current No1 Kepa Arrizabalaga could face being dropped for this weekend's trip to West Brom

Current No1 Kepa Arrizabalaga could face being dropped for this weekend's trip to West Brom

Current No1 Kepa Arrizabalaga could face being dropped for this weekend’s trip to West Brom

The Spaniard was at fault for the Reds’ second goal after his uncertainty on the ball allowed Sadio Mane to intercept his clearance before finishing into the net.

Chelsea beat Championships side Barnsley 6-0 to progress to the fourth-round of the Carabao Cup on Wednesday night, with new signing Kai Havertz scoring a hat-trick.

Tammy Abraham, Ross Barkley and Olivier Giroud also got on the scoresheet while Willy Caballero kept a clean sheet in his first start of the season.

New signings Thiago Silva and Ben Chilwell made their debuts at Stamford Bridge. 

Silva played 61 minutes before he was substituted for Kurt Zouma while Chilwell replaced Havertz for the final 25 minutes and grabbed an assist by setting up Giroud.  

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