Thomas
Hunter at the Crikey sports desk writes:

The
Diva wins again.
Since her third successive
Melbourne Cup win last year, Makybe Diva has been munching grass on a stud farm
outside Geelong while her owners assess potential suitors. But such is her
greatness, that rather leisurely lifestyle was no impediment to the great mare
yesterday being named the Australian Racehorse of the Year for the second year running.
She was also named Champion Stayer, Middle Distance, and Most Popular Racehorse
in the nation. Trainer Lee Freedman was typically circumspect when commenting
on the achievement, careful, as always, not to say that she is a better horse
than Phar Lap, with the gentle suggestion that she had well and truly earned
her place alongside Australian racing’s all-time greats. Freedman,
with eight group one wins, was the leading trainer, while Glen Boss, Makybe
Diva’s rider, grabbed his third successive jockey’s title.

Lenton’s
world record heads to Germany.
The
all-smiling wonder girl of Australian swimming, Libby Lenton, had her women’s 100m freestyle world
record overtaken last night by German
Britta Steffen, who set a new world record of 53.30 seconds, bettering Lenton’s
mark by 0.12 seconds. Racing in Budapest at the European Swimming
Championships, Steffen had been in great form leading into the event, after
swimming the fastest leg of all time (52.46 seconds) in the 400 metre women’s
relay just days earlier. “I told myself to be as fast as in the relay. I
started fast, had a quick turn and then just fought until the end,” she said
after finishing more than a second ahead of second place getter Marleen
Veldhuis of Holland.

Webber to Renault? It’s been a dismal year at Williams, with Mark Webber
earning a solitary podium finish and the celebrated manufacturer no closer to
sorting out the reliability issues plaguing its cars. Webber’s negotiations
with Williams have finally been abandoned with an announcement yesterday that
he will not be driving for Williams next year. Team mate Nico Rosberg will
stay, but Webber’s position will be taken by Williams test driver Alex Wurz.
Rumours that Williams baulked at Webber’s salary demands only partially explain
the news, with Webber making no secret of his frustration with his
under-performing car. A move to the team-of-the-moment Renault appears a
possibility: Webber is managed by team Flavio Briatore, the Renault managing
director. While it’s a tantalising thought for Webber, there are still some
larger pieces of the puzzle to fall into place before he strikes any such deal.
Chief among them are the future of Michael Schumacher, who may retire if he
wins the championship this season, opening up a seat with Ferrari, and the
future of Kimi Raikkonen, who is Webber’s chief competitor for the seat with
Renault.

Peter Fray

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