Koepka title hands McIlroy victory

Rory McIlroy has won the Race to Dubai for the second time in three years

Rory McIlroy has won the Race to Dubai for the second time in three years

American Brooks Koepka claimed his first European Tour title in the Turkish Airlines Open on Sunday, a result which ensured Rory McIlroy won the Race to Dubai for the second time in three years.

Koepka carded a flawless closing 65 at the Montgomerie Maxx Royal to finish 17 under par, one shot ahead of Ian Poulter who missed a birdie putt from six feet on the 18th to force a play-off.

Marcel Siem, Jamie Donaldson or Sergio Garcia had needed to win in Turkey and at next week's DP World Tour Championship to have a chance of overtaking McIlroy on the money list.

And although Siem started the final round just one shot off the lead, the BMW Masters winner could only card a closing 71 to finish joint eighth, with Donaldson 19th and Garcia 25th.

Koepka, who won three times on the Challenge Tour last year to gain instant promotion to the European Tour, carded four birdies on the front nine and holed from 40 feet for another on the 10th, before a brilliant approach to the 13th set up an eagle from just eight feet.

That gave him a two-shot lead and although Poulter halved his deficit with his fifth birdie of the day on the same hole, the Ryder Cup star was unable to find another on the last despite a superb long greenside bunker shot.

Training great Dessie Hughes dies

Dessie Hughes, pictured here with jockey Bryan Cooper, has been described as a true gentleman

Dessie Hughes, pictured here with jockey Bryan Cooper, has been described as a true gentleman

Training great Dessie Hughes has died, aged 71.

He enjoyed huge success not only in the training ranks but also as a jockey, riding Monksfield to win the Champion Hurdle in 1979 and also saddling Hardy Eustace to victory in the Cheltenham Festival highlight in 2004 and 2005.

Hughes, who had been battling illness, is survived by his wife Eileen, son and three-time champion Flat jockey Richard and daughter Sandra.

Brian Kavanagh, chief executive of Horse Racing Ireland, tweeted: "RIP Dessie Hughes. A great trainer, great jockey and an absolute gentleman. Sympathies to Eileen, Richard and Sandra."

Conor O'Dwyer, who rode Hardy Eustace in both his Champion Hurdle triumphs, said: "There's gentlemen and then there was Dessie Hughes.

"I've ridden for many good people during my career, but Dessie really stood out as a proper gentleman.

"We had some brilliant times together, some of the best times of my career. No one ever had a bad word to say about Dessie, and Dessie never had a bad word to say about anyone.

"He'd had some hard times, but he'd come through and seemed to be enjoying the best of his career. It's a sad day for everyone and for racing."

Eddie O'Leary, racing manager for leading owners Gigginstown House Stud, who had horses with Hughes, said: "He was a fantastic trainer and a lovely man. He was a true gent.

"He will be sorely and deeply missed by all in racing.

"Thunder Of Roses will not run at Punchestown today as a mark of respect to the man."

Another of Hughes's patrons was Barry Connell, who sent him the exciting novice chaser The Tullow Tank at the start of this season and also owned top hurdler Our Conor.

He said: "The first thing to say about Dessie is that he was an absolute gentleman.

"He had a fantastic career in racing. As a jockey he rode the winner of a Gold Cup and a Champion Hurdle.

"As a trainer, he trained the Champion Hurdle winner twice. He was a man who was very loyal to his staff and respected them a lot.

"He was very much an old school trainer, who was very hands on and took great pride in his horses and his staff.

"He also took great pride in his family, particularly Richard. It was marvellous he was able to see him be champion jockey.

"I think one of his best attributes was his ability to train. When he got a good horse he was able to keep him sound year after year and the horses always ran to their highest level of form.

"He'll be sadly missed."

Paul Hensey, general manager at the Curragh racecourse, said: "He was a gentleman through and through.

"He was a great trainer, a great rider and he was on our Curragh trainers liaison committee for some time. It was always a great pleasure to deal with him and to work for.

"It's very sad for his family and everybody who has worked for him."

When Hughes drove Monksfield to victory in the 1979 Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, the partnership withstood the challenge of Sea Pigeon, ridden by Jonjo O'Neill, by three-quarters of a length.

O'Neill, a highly-successful trainer at Jackdaws Castle himself, tweeted: "So sad to hear of passing of Dessie Hughes. We had some great tussles in the past and he was a lovely man."

Roger Loughran has been part of the Hughes team for many years and rode a lot of the stable's good horses to victory including Schindlers Hunt to two Grade One triumphs, Central House, Black Apalachi and Grangeclare Lark.

He said: "It's very sad. I rode plenty of top winners in good races for him.

"One of his best attributes was his attention to detail. It was second to none.

"He ate and slept racing the whole time.

"He would get the last ounce out of every horse. He would get the best out of them and that's what made him so outstanding.

"Every day he'd been out in the yard at seven o'clock in the morning."

Bryan Cooper was the stable jockey for a while before he was appointed retained rider for Gigginstown.

He tweeted: "He was one of the greatest trainers that we've ever seen and by far the best mentor and friend anyone could ever ask for. RIP Dessie Hughes."

Leading Irish jockey Barry Geraghty rode Guitar Pete to victory in the Grade One Spring Juvenile Hurdle for Hughes at Leopardstown in February.

He tweeted: "Very sad news to hear of Dessie Hughes's passing. A legend of our sport and thorough gentleman, all our thoughts are with his family. RIP."

Rosberg closes gap on Hamilton

Nico Rosberg celebrates after beating rival Lewis Hamilton into second place at the Brazilian Grand Prix

Nico Rosberg celebrates after beating rival Lewis Hamilton into second place at the Brazilian Grand Prix

Nico Rosberg ended Lewis Hamilton’s five-race winning streak to take the chequered flag at the Brazilian Grand Prix and set up a double-points showdown in the season-ending race in Abu Dhabi.

Rosberg completed his utter dominance of the weekend at Interlagos with a vital victory to close the gap to Hamilton to 17 points, with the Briton having to settle for the runner-up spot.

Even with the controversial double-points system in place for the first time in Formula One history, Hamilton knows even if Rosberg wins again in Abu Dhabi he only needs to finish second to claim his second world title.

It was Mercedes' 11th one-two of the season, setting a new F1 record, whilst the Brackley-based team have now equalled the haul for most wins in a single campaign with 15.

It was a tremendous performance from Rosberg as he was quickest in all three practice sessions and topped the timesheet after each of the three qualifying runs, ultimately taking his 10th pole position this year.

It was, however, a mistake from Hamilton that aided Rosberg's cause as the former appeared on course to take the lead at the end of lap 28, only to take a minor spin.

Over the closing 20 laps there was consistently less than a second that separated the duo as Rosberg came under intense pressure from Hamilton, but managed to keep him at bay.

Come the flag, with Hamilton easing off on the final lap, 1.4secs was the gap between them, with Williams' Felipe Massa 41 seconds adrift in third, with McLaren's Jenson Button fourth.

It all now comes to a head at the Yas Marina circuit where Mercedes will be praying the fight is clean and their cars stay reliable, as was the case around all 71 laps at one of the sport's most-famous circuits.

Assessing his performance, Rosberg said: "I've been very happy the whole weekend, all weekend I've been feeling comfortable in the car.

"I was able to attack and control the gap to Lewis during the race, so that worked out great."

Hamilton conceded it was his mistake that cost him a sixth straight victory as he said: "It was an amazing race, I had a great time.

"But I made a big mistake in the mid-part race, but other than that the team did their usual great job and Nico drove well."

Looking ahead to Abu Dhabi, Hamilton added: "I'm going to drive pretty much the same. It's everything to play for."

Godolphin swoop for Buick and Doyle

William Buick and James Doyle

William Buick and James Doyle

Godolphin have signalled their intent for 2015 by recruiting William Buick and James Doyle to ride as joint-number one jockeys.

Buick will be first jockey to Charlie Appleby and Doyle will be retained as first choice for Saeed bin Suroor.

Buick leaves his long-standing position as stable jockey to John Gosden, while Doyle moves at the end of his deal as retained rider to owner Khalid Abdullah, for whom he has shone on Kingman and Noble Mission this season.

In a move announced on the Godolphin website, the new contracts will not come into effect until both jockeys have fulfilled their current riding arrangements, completing all contractual obligations to their present employers.

The jockeys will interlink with each yard and form crossover cover when commitments allow. They will ride Godolphin horses in the UK trained by Gosden and other trainers.

Horses that have raced for Gosden in the colours of Princess Haya of Jordan will now be in the royal blue of Godolphin "as an extension of the global branding of the organisation".

Both jockeys will also ride horses for Godolphin that are stabled in Ireland, France, America, Australia and Japan when required.

Their first contractual role to Godolphin will be to ride for their respective yards throughout the Dubai Carnival in 2015.

Mickael Barzalona will continue to ride for Godolphin in France, but Silvestre de Sousa – who started the year winning the Dubai World Cup on the Bin Suroor-trained African Story – has not had his contract renewed.

Buick's association with Gosden started in the perfect way when Dar Re Mi won the Dubai Sheema Classic in 2010.

The pair have perhaps been most famed for their partnership with star filly The Fugue and Nathaniel, winner of the King George in 2011 and the Coral-Eclipse the following year.

The Fugue won three Group Ones under Buick, also finishing an unlucky third in the Oaks and twice going close to glory at the Breeders' Cup, while she was second in Hong Kong.

Buick and Gosden also teamed up for two St Legers at Doncaster with Arctic Cosmos (2010) and Masked Marvel (2011).

Other top-level victories came their way through the likes of Great Heavens, Debussy, Izzi Top, Elusive Kate, Winsili and Sultanina.

Buick said: "I have been very fortunate to have been employed by John Gosden since I completed my apprenticeship and without his faith and wise counsel I would not be in the position that I am in today to take what is, in my opinion, the most coveted position in world racing.

"John has shown me great loyalty and given me access to Classic winners and success on a world stage. No jockey has had a better mentor. Now I am looking forward to sharing the Godolphin riding arrangements with my very good friend James.

"Both of us have had to make hard decisions but no one has made a commitment to world racing like Sheikh Mohammed and it is an honour for both of us to be invited to be a part of his team."

Doyle finished second in the 2000 Guineas on Kingman, who ruled supreme afterwards before missing his intended swansong on British Champions Day following a throat infection.

Doyle still played a leading role at Ascot, however, getting Lady Cecil's Noble Mission home in the Champion Stakes for an emotionally-charged success.

He said: "I have had a wonderful season riding for Juddmonte and Prince Khalid during which I was fortunate to ride the best horse of my career so far in Kingman.

"Noble Mission was another great racehorse produced by Juddmonte that helped bring my career forward.

"I shall always be eternally grateful for that one-year contract which leaves me with great memories. Now I look forward to sharing riding duties with William at Godolphin and continue to achieve great things in the world of horse racing."

John Ferguson, Sheikh Mohammed's bloodstock advisor said: "Sheikh Mohammed has always respected both William and James and when their availability was confirmed at the end of this season he was keen to secure their services for the future.

"I think this is yet another clear indication of Godolphin's continued pursuit of excellence in both horses and humans."

Appleby said: "I honestly could not be happier because I will now be able to use two of the best jockeys in the world. William has global experience at the highest level and worked very closely with me this season. We have already had group one success with Charming Thought in the Middle Park and having James to call on as well is a massive bonus."

Bin Suroor added: "This is a great arrangement. I have already had success with both James and William. James has ridden Group horses for me this year and has proved himself on a world stage and I will also have access to William which is terrific."