My sources are the clubs themselves, journalists, charity workers and, most importantly, the sports administrators who know best which players go the extra mile for those (very much) less fortunate than themselves.Tactically, there are a number of problems with my team. Le Seychellois (2.05) and Rigmarole (3.05), given another chance now that a breathing problem has been remedied, can make it a good day for the stable, back in form with five winners in the past few days after a (by its high standards) relatively lean spell.. Obviously, God will be picking the Heaven XI but I'm not sure who'll be coaching the opposition - some might put Sir Alan's name forward, but it is not for me to say.These 11 names have not just been pulled out of a hat; they have all, over the years, proved themselves to be the keenest workers in the community. It is Sir Alan Sugar's contention this week that they are "Scum, total scum They don't know what honesty or loyalty is. All they're interested in is themselves." This is a ludicrous generalisation: as evidence I present to you a team that one day might well represent heaven in their annual grudge match against hell.
Footballers. Pakistan fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar has pulled out of the Test series with India although he remains available for the one-day series. Shoaib needs at least a month to recover from the hamstring injury that will keep him out of the Tests.Shoaib, due to play for Worcestershire in the County Championship Second Division this season, told the India Express: "I am disappointed to say that I have pulled out of the tour of India because my hamstring injury would take another four to five weeks and I don't want to play half fit."The news is a blow to Pakistan who are already deprived of the services of Shabbir Ahmed and Umar Gul as they prepare to visit India for the first time in six years.. Neither has he scored over a trip as short as today's and he had a hard enough race in the mud at Wetherby two weeks ago.Hand Inn Hand, last year's winner when the race was run at its usual home, Ascot, has not won since and has suffered from a heart problem. He may have to give best, though, to Gold Cup-bound Pizarro (2.35).Since winning at Wincanton in November Royal Auclair (3.35) has turned in some excellent efforts in defeat and should hold the call over the highly promising Colonel Frank in terms of race-readiness.
Hedgehunter had the option of running against them but instead stays at home in Ireland to turn out at Fairyhouse, his first run in a chase since falling at the last in the National. A war of attrition in the mud looms at Haydock, where Truckers Tavern (2.25), trying a marathon trip for the first time, Baron Windrush and Forest Gunner (who shared a paddock with Iris's Gift as a foal) are the likely leading players. The danger may be Seebald, who is no longer quick enough for two miles, but ran respectably against his stablemate Well Chief last time.Elsewhere this afternoon, there are Grand National trials galore. "I thought he would stay further," he said, "but it could be that this is his distance and I've put him in the Daily Telegraph Chase as well at Cheltenham, as a precaution He's been bouncing since Leopardstown and is in good shape. Today will be his ninth start over fences and although he has won all five of the novice events in which he has competed, his ventures into senior company have met with defeat. And although O'Neill finally has his first runners of the year this afternoon - one of the first being the perhaps appropriately-named Very Optimistic at Haydock - the word on the street is that all is not yet 100 percent tickety-boo in the wards at Jackdaws Castle.Ollie Magern, favourite for the Royal & SunAlliance Chase at Cheltenham, is a novice in name only, having run in as many races as Murphy's Cardinal and Iris's Gift put together. And the distance could be a bit sharp for some of his rivals."Foremost among them, in terms of interest at any rate, is Iris's Gift.