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CHELTENHAM FESTIVAL ‘DEAD CERTS’ SUPPLIED BY PADDY POWER EXPERTS RUBY WALSH, TONY MULLINS, LYDIA HISLOP AND FRANK HICKEY

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CHELTENHAM FESTIVAL 'DEAD CERTS' SUPPLIED BY PADDY POWER EXPERTS RUBY WALSH, TONY MULLINS, LYDIA HISLOP AND FRANK HICKEY
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Panel discusses the tips and tricks when fluttering during the festival, with one horse tipped to “walk to the line” in Tuesday’s Champion Chase

Ahead of the Cheltenham Festival next week, Paddy Power brought together some of the sports’ biggest names to discuss their favourites and tips for each day during the Ultimate Cheltenham Preview Night.

The Paddy Power panel included:

  • Cheltenham’s most successful jockey, Ruby Walsh
  • Group one trainer, Tony Mullins
  • Journalist and broadcaster, Lydia Hislop
  • Paddy Power trader, Frank Hickey

With a full week of jam-packed racing on the cards, the racing experts gave a race-by-race breakdown of the ones to watch, including for main event, the Gold Cup.

CHELTENHAM DAY ONE TIPS:

Expect an open race for Tuesday’s Supreme Novice Hurdles. Tony Mullins, tips this to be “the most informative race for the next three of four years”

 

Tony Mullins says…

“This is a hell of a race, it’s the best Supreme Novices Hurdle that I’ve ever seen. Not just in a few years, but ever. You have Sir GerhardConstitution HillDysart DynamoJonbon and Kilcruit.”

“There’s five top class horses unexposed. It doesn’t get any better than that. I’ve never seen a bunch of horses like it.”

“This race is going to tell you a lot about the top-class horses for the next for the next few years.”

“I’d find better bets [to place money on] during the week, because this is a race [the Supreme Novices Hurdle] that’s going to benefit Paddy Power far more than the punters.”

“I’m most looking forward to the Supreme [Novices Hurdle]. If they [the horses] all turn up, it’s going to be the most informative race for the next three or four years.”

Ruby Walsh says…

Dysart Dynamo and Sir Gerhard are the two that are deadly split, they are the ones to ride, and they will be split.

“I believe whichever one goes to the Ballymore [Novices Hurdle] will win it. But whichever one runs here [at Cheltenham] might win. They Ballymore is much weaker race.”

“I think this is a cracking race, as people have already said.”

“I think if Dysart Dynamo were to run here, this race is made for him.”

Lydia Hislop says…

“For the Supreme Novice Hurdles, I’d also throw in Mighty Potter [as a potential winner]. In a strongly run race, I think he could be finishing off very strongly.”

Frank Hickey says…

Constitutional Hill had looked very good, and times are good. But on a heavy testing ground, it doesn’t always work out.”

“For me, Sir Gerhard will win. He blew me away, even with his sloppy jumping at Leopardstown. He is by far the most interesting of them all.”

“If he [Sir Gerhard] runs in the Supreme Novices Hurdle, he will win it and then Dysart Dynamo will win the Ballymore Novices Hurdle.”

Ruby Walsh predicts Stormy Island to take the Mares Hurdle after returning to Willie Mullins’ stable…

 

Ruby Walsh says…

It’s Stormy Island that will win it for me, she was very good at Fairyhouse last year.

“She was brought back to Willie Mullins’ stable this year then was great at Fairyhouse, won at Punchestown and she’s run well at the festival in the past. I do think this is the weakest Mares Hurdle she’s run in.”

CHELTENHAM DAY TWO TIPS:

Ruby Walsh and Tony Mullins both earmark Shishkin as the banker of the week at Wednesday’s Champions Chase…

Ruby Walsh says…

Shishkin will win this race.”

 

Tony Mullins says…

Shishkin will walk up to the line again [and win]. There’s no evidence to say that anything different could happen.”

Tiger Roll actually might not will be calling it a day at Cheltenham’s Cross Country…

 

Frank Hickey says…

“This race is probably the one to sweeten Tiger Roll up for the Grand National. That must be the thinking.”

 

Tony Mullins says…

“Could you imagine if Tiger Roll runs here, but not in the Grand National? I’ve seen crazy things, but that would have to be the craziest move of all time to do so.

“We have the next potential Red Rum. Can you imagine having the only horse [Tiger Roll] for 40 years, who could potentially win a treble Grand National not running because he has a lighter weight? It’s very funny [to think about].”

CHELTENHAM DAY THREE TIPS:

Mares Novice Hurdle splits the opinions of all four experts…

Lydia Hislop says…

“At his very best, Klassical Dream is the best horse in the Paddy Power Stayers Hurdle and he’s going to either completely blow out or run really well. He’s at a reasonable price at 4/1. If he turns up and runs a good race, he wins but there is a possibility he completely blows out.”

MARES NOVICE HURDLE – THE EXPERTS HAVE THEIR SAY…

Ruby Walsh predicts… Champ

Tony Mullins predicts… Paisley Park

Frank Hickey predicts… Sporting John

Lydia Hislop predicts… Klassical Dream

CHELTENHAM DAY FOUR TIPS:

Ruby Walsh and Tony Mullins earmark last year’s Gold Cup runner-up to win this time around…

 

Frank Hickey says…

“I don’t think A Plus Tard will turn it around. I’ve never been a fan of him to be honest and he wasn’t good enough last year.”

Lydia Hislop says…

“I don’t see why I just can’t have Protektorat. He’ll make mistakes in the early stages and he won’t be able to hold his position.”

“I like Galvin at 6/1, not so much at 7/2. In the back of my mind, I’m worried about the toll that the Gold Cup takes on horses that are coming back.”

Tony Mullins says…

“I’m going for A Plus Tard for all the reasons that Frank says he can’t win. I thought he was brilliant in Haydock, he was beaten at Shorthill by the joint favourite, he was very unlucky last year. Everything points to A Plus Tard.”

“Frank is a very good analyst but everything he says about why A Plus Tard will get beaten, is why I think he will win! One of us will be wrong.”

Ruby Walsh says…

“I agree with Tony, I’d ride A Plus Tard. Galvin had a brilliant run at Christmas and A Plus Tard was in the wrong place the whole time and it’s very easy to turn that result around.”

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Aviatrix finds new home in Brazil with Casa de Apostas

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 Aviatrix, the award-winning crash game, continues to expand its following in Brazil, this time by partnering with one of the country’s most respected operators, Casa de Apostas.

Casa de Apostas was one of the first online betting platforms in Brazil. It was the first to sponsor major clubs in the country and today it is the only one in its segment to name two World Cup Arenas: Casa de Apostas Arena Fonte Nova – Salvador / BA; and Casa de Apostas Arena das Dunas – Natal / RN. And now it offers its players access to Aviatrix.

The innovative crash game is not only hugely popular in Brazil, but also has a strong track record appealing to players worldwide.

Gabriela Novello, Head of Business Development LATAM at Aviatrix, said: “Casa de Apostas is an operator whose serious trajectory in the national market we have been following closely. We are confident that with Aviatrix’s partnership, we can deliver significant value to Betting House players through one of the most popular online casino games of the moment.”

Hans Schleier, COO at Casa de Apostas, added: “We want the best for our players, and that means adding the most exciting new games on the market. Aviatrix absolutely fits into that category. The game is already growing rapidly in Brazil and our players have been requesting it. It’s been a pleasure working with the Aviatrix team to bring this world-class title to our platform.”

Aviatrix works tirelessly to deliver the very best experience to players across Brazil. This included the recent launch of a new game splash screen to celebrate the São João festival.

 

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eSports

First-ever Olympic Esports Games to take place in 2025; massive opportunity for Indian esports

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Following the IOC’s partnership with the NOC of Saudi Arabia to host the inaugural Olympic Esports Games, India’s growing esports sector has an opportunity to prove its mettle on the international stage and flourish

In a historic move, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has announced that the inaugural Olympic Esports Games will take place in Saudi Arabia in 2025. This decision follows the recent proposal by the IOC’s Executive Board and will be presented at the IOC Session ahead of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

The IOC has entered a 12-year partnership with the National Olympic Committee (NOC) of Saudi Arabia to host the Olympic Esports Games. As per the official announcement, HRH Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al Faisal, Minister of Sport and President of the Saudi Arabian Olympic and Paralympic Committee remarked, “The world is invited to join us in 2025 and celebrate this moment together.”

Indian esports, already on the rise, stands to gain significantly from this development. Following a bronze medal win in DOTA 2 at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham and competing in five titles at the 2022 Asian Games in Hangzhou, India’s esports scene is on track for further growth.

Expressing his enthusiasm for the groundbreaking development, Akshat Rathee, Co-founder and MD of NODWIN Gaming, said, “NODWIN Gaming is thrilled that esports has earned its place in the Olympics with its own standalone event, akin to the Summer, Winter, and Paralympics. This recognition allows countries to develop independent esports programs. Together with our partners in the GEF and the EWC, NODWIN Gaming is eager to build esports in our core growth markets, seizing this opportunity for hope and glory.”

The IOC launched its first esports pilot, the Olympic Virtual Series, in 2021 followed by the Olympic Esports Week in Singapore in June 2023. This event brought together over 130 players from around the world, competing in 10 mixed-gender categories, attracting over 500,000 unique participants and six million views, with 75% of the audience aged 13 to 34.

“The IOC’s embrace of the Olympic Esports Games honors the dedication and skill of millions of gamers worldwide. It goes beyond just competition; it elevates esports to a global platform, encouraging international collaboration and potentially ushering in a new generation of athletes. This initiative truly is a landmark moment for esports, bringing it the global recognition it has long earned. The inclusion of esports in the Olympic movement demonstrates its growing influence and cements its place in the future of sports,” commented Roby John, CEO and Co-founder at SuperGaming.

The introduction of the Olympic Esports Games is set to further enhance the credibility of esports in India, establishing it as a viable sport and career option.

“This recognition will further legitimize esports as a career option, more parents will now support their children in pursuing careers in this field, elevating the professional landscape of competitive gaming. We are proud to support the growth of esports in India, giving our players the chance to shine on this prestigious international platform,” further.

With the official announcement of the Olympic Esports Games, work will now begin on selecting the host city and venue, determining the event’s timing, selecting titles, and establishing the qualification process for players. The IOC has emphasized collaboration with International Federations already engaged in e-sports and National Olympic Committees that include esports in their activities.

While the titles for the Olympic Esports Games have not been officially announced, the potential inclusion of games across diverse platforms is expected to stimulate growth in India’s gaming industry. This could lead to a rise in PC and console gaming, diversifying India’s predominantly mobile gaming market as players aim to represent their nation at the largest international multi-sport event.

“We are absolutely elated by the announcement of the Olympic Esports Games which is being hosted in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. This marks a monumental step for the industry and all its stakeholders. The Indian esports sector is on an upward trajectory and this will further empower it. Esports being integrated under the banner of the pinnacle of sports events in the world will bring further legitimacy to this form of sport and encourage a new generation of esports talent to rise from the country. We’re excited and look forward to extending our support to the esports community of India so they make a mark at the global event!” said Vishal Parekh, COO, CyberPowerPC India.

Additionally, the IOC will establish a dedicated structure for the Olympic Esports Games, distinct from the traditional Olympic Games model, to address the unique aspects of esports financing and organization.

 

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Legendary skater and entrepreneur to keynote at SBC Summit

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Renowned professional skateboarder turned entrepreneur and iconic video game legend Tony Hawk is slated to deliver a keynote address to 25,000 attendees, at the upcoming SBC Summit.

The keynote titled: “Tony Hawk – What Keeps The Wheels Turning on a Global Brand” is scheduled to open the second core day of the event, which is taking place at the Feira Internacional de Lisboa between the 24th and 26th of September. The highly anticipated keynote will occur on the Super Stage, located in the MEO Arena.

Hawk will offer delegates an in-depth overview of his illustrious career, covering his introduction to the professional sports arena as a teenager, his landmark partnership with Activision game studios, and the founding of his iconic sporting brands. He will also share strategies for maintaining relevance through brand reinvention, providing insights into his approach to sustaining success and innovation over the years.

In anticipation of his upcoming address, Hawk expressed: “I am excited to be headlining SBC Summit in Lisbon this September. Although the worlds of skateboarding and gambling might seem very different, I believe many parallels and lessons can be very relatable to companies in this industry.

“Whether it is forming long-lasting partnerships, establishing a successful and recognisable brand or maintaining relevance in a predominantly digital world, my story can provide valuable insights for all those attending.”

Born in the Golden State of California on May 12, 1968, Tony Hawk received his first skateboard, a blue fibreglass Bahne, from his brother at the age of nine. By the age of 11, Hawk began entering local skateboarding competitions, and in 1982, at just 14 years old, he officially became a professional skater. He signed with the Powell Peralta professional team and starred in the famous Bones Brigade videos, marking the beginning of his illustrious sporting career.

The subsequent 23 years, saw Hawk win 73 competitive titles, including being named the ‘National Skateboard Association (NSA) Vert Champion’ for 12 consecutive years and earning 16 “X Games” medals. Hawk further cemented himself as an innovator of the sport by inventing more than 80 unique skateboarding tricks. Among these tricks are the ollie-to-Indy, the gymnast plant, the frontside 540-rodeo flip, and the Saran wrap.

In one of skateboarding’s defining moments, Hawk executed a 900 twist (2 1/2 turns) at the 1999 X Games, a feat that had never been performed before. In 2003, Tony officially retired from competitive skating.

Away from the deck, Hawk continued to grow the sport with a variety of successful partnerships and branding deals. In 1992, Tony founded Birdhouse Skateboards (originally Birdhouse Projects) with ex-Powell Peralta professional skateboarder Per Welinder. In 1998, Hawk and his family created Hawk Clothing, a line of children’s skate apparel, and in 1999, he founded the media company 900 Films. In 2002, he established The Skatepark Project (formerly the Tony Hawk Foundation), a nonprofit skateboarding organisation that helps communities build public skate parks for youth in underserved communities.

Tony Hawk’s most successful partnership came in 1999 when he teamed up with global gaming giant Activision to release Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater. Activision went on to release 16 more video games under the ‘Tony Hawk’ name and reported a staggering $1 billion in sales, making it one of the most successful video game franchises of all timeBorn in the Golden State of California on May 12, 1968, Tony Hawk received his first skateboard, a blue fibreglass Bahne, from his brother at the age of nine. By the age of 11, Hawk began entering local skateboarding competitions, and in 1982, at just 14 years old, he officially became a professional skater. He signed with the Powell Peralta professional team and starred in the famous Bones Brigade videos, marking the beginning of his illustrious sporting career.

The subsequent 23 years, saw Hawk win 73 competitive titles, including being named the ‘National Skateboard Association (NSA) Vert Champion’ for 12 consecutive years and earning 16 “X Games” medals. Hawk further cemented himself as an innovator of the sport by inventing more than 80 unique skateboarding tricks. Among these tricks are the ollie-to-Indy, the gymnast plant, the frontside 540-rodeo flip, and the Saran wrap.

In one of skateboarding’s defining moments, Hawk executed a 900 twist (2 1/2 turns) at the 1999 X Games, a feat that had never been performed before. In 2003, Tony officially retired from competitive skating.

Away from the deck, Hawk continued to grow the sport with a variety of successful partnerships and branding deals. In 1992, Tony founded Birdhouse Skateboards (originally Birdhouse Projects) with ex-Powell Peralta professional skateboarder Per Welinder. In 1998, Hawk and his family created Hawk Clothing, a line of children’s skate apparel, and in 1999, he founded the media company 900 Films. In 2002, he established The Skatepark Project (formerly the Tony Hawk Foundation), a nonprofit skateboarding organisation that helps communities build public skate parks for youth in underserved communities.

Tony Hawk’s most successful partnership came in 1999 when he teamed up with global gaming giant Activision to release Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater. Activision went on to release 16 more video games under the ‘Tony Hawk’ name and reported a staggering $1 billion in sales, making it one of the most successful video game franchises of all time

Rasmus Sojmark, CEO & Founder of SBC added: “Tony Hawk is undoubtedly one of the most iconic athletes of the 20th century. Not only did Tony revolutionise the world of skateboarding, but through strong branding, incredible athleticism, and genre-defining video games, he brought skateboarding into mainstream pop culture.

“There are certainly many lessons to be learned from this legend, and I am extremely excited to witness Tony’s headline keynote on the Super Stage.”

Operators and affiliates can apply for free passes to the event. Operators can visit here, while affiliates are urged to click here.

The wider industry can secure their spot at the upcoming SBC Summit with a special offer granting access to all three core days of the event, including the exhibition floor, conference content, and evening networking parties, all for the discounted price of just €300.

 

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