Paul Deegan believes star mare Midnight Soprano could take her game to another level this season ahead of her return to action in the Cork Racecourse Mallow Noblesse Stakes. The six-year-old won five races, including two Listed prizes, during a superb 2012 campaign and looks to have a fine opportunity to open her Pattern-race account in this mile-and-a-half Group Three. From what he has seen at home, Deegan thinks there are signs Midnight Soprano is in better shape than she has ever been. “It’s a good Group Three but she won’t mind the ground and gets the trip well. She’s fit and she’s well and I’m looking forward to getting her started. She has been an absolute star for us over the past few seasons, a beautiful natured mare and a pleasure to have in the yard,” said the trainer. “She has done better over the past winter than any before, and has really strengthened this time around. Hopefully it brings about another bit of improvement in her. “She won the Saval Beg on really soft ground last year but she seems to go on most types of ground. Her sister (Celtic Soprano) got a bit sharper as she got older and this mare might be the same. A mile and a half is probably her optimum trip. She takes very little work and gets naturally fit. Her last few pieces of work have been very pleasing.” The Kevin Prendergast-trained Majenta takes a significant step up in class, just a week after winning in handicap company at the Curragh. Prendergast said: “She’s run three times and won twice, and we’d like to get her some black type. Her owner Joerg Vasicek is a breeder and he got the record price of 215,000 euro at the Goffs Land Rover Sale for a three-year-old during the week. “She’s come out of the Curragh race very well. It looks a hot contest but she’s getting weight-for-age, and we’ll be hoping to get her into the placings.” A field of 10 has been declared, with Dermot Weld’s Ribblesdale heroine Princess Highway the highest rated filly in the field. There are two challengers from Britain in Ralph Beckett’s Cubanita and Testosterone from Ed Dunlop’s yard. Beckett said: “She’s in good form and I think the trip and ground should be in her favour, which is why we’re travelling over with her. She’s obviously got her work cut out to beat Dermot Weld’s filly, but she’s in great shape and we’ll give it a go.” Press Association
Ayres, a 42-year-old Zamboni driver for the AHL franchise Toronto Marlies, came on in relief with 8:41 remaining in the second period with Carolina leading 3-1.Twitter went on a frenzy reacting to the developments as the Hurricanes defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs 6-3. Ayres finished with eight saves and the win in his NHL debut.Here’s how Twitter reacted to the first EBUG since March 2018. This is the ultimate, “I hope we all have fun” outfit. #leafsforever pic.twitter.com/4VMsIoAUUy— Meghan Chayka (@MeghanChayka) February 23, 2020Showtime for Dave Ayres pic.twitter.com/LdNTMfAnDg— Pace Sagester (@PaceSagester) February 23, 2020Well done, brother 👏 https://t.co/3EmVIAlMlD— Andrei Svechnikov (@ASvechnikov_37) February 23, 2020I’m ready to make emergency goaltender and zamboni driver David Ayres an honorary North Carolina citizen after courageous @Canes win. Amazing.— Roy Cooper (@RoyCooperNC) February 23, 2020Hang that sweater in the PNC rafters. What a legend https://t.co/KqHW9LGonQ— John Isner (@JohnIsner) February 23, 2020Live shot of Don Waddell looking for a goalie. #NHLTradeDeadline #LetsGoCanes pic.twitter.com/0CmwDGeGCA— Zig Fracassi (@ZigFracassi) February 23, 2020Roberto Luongo was impressed with Ayres’ performance.Ayres has more wins in Toronto than I do smh— Strombone (@strombone1) February 23, 2020Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price might have had the quote of the night.Me: “Did you hear what happened in Toronto?”Carey Price: “I heard the zamboni driver’s going to win the Vezina.”— Аrpon Basu (@ArponBasu) February 23, 2020On the other hand, it was not a good night to be a Toronto Maple Leaf. The Toronto Maple Leafs:- Haven’t won a Stanley Cup since 1967.- Haven’t won a Playoff Series since 2004.- Lost three Game 7’s to the Boston Bruins in the last decade.- Lost to a goalie, who is a Zamboni driver.Let that sink in.#Leafs #Canes— Lukas Weese (@Weesesports) February 23, 2020 Saturday was the 40th anniversary of the Miracle on Ice — one of the most improbable sporting feats of all-time. It was perhaps fitting, then, for a bit of hockey magic to take place.The Carolina Hurricanes were forced to bring on emergency backup goalie David Ayres in Toronto after injuries to James Reimer and Petr Mrazek.