Is Huawei ready to throw in the towel on the US market?

It’s hard to break a country where the government sees you as a security threat

Huawei is the third largest phone manufacturer on the planet, but that position on the podium might be as good as it gets. While the Chinese giant has had huge success in Asia and some breakthrough in Europe, the USA has been a tough nut to crack – and now it’s become a virtually impossible one.
The writing was on the wall back in February, when the FBI highlighted Huawei and ZTE as national security risks, and AT&T backed out of a deal to sell Huawei phones on its network. On Tuesday, the Federal Communications Commission voted 5-0 to ban federal funds from being spent with companies that are deemed a threat to national security, making an uphill struggle look even more ert_main_wide_image/public/2018/04/huawei_leaving_american_market.jpg?itok=ZoKynstT” alt=””/>

As if that weren’t evidence enough of admitting defeat, the New York Times also reports of comments made by deputy chairman Eric Xu, who told Huawei’s annual analyst meeting: “Some things cannot change their course according to our wishes. With some things, when you let them go, you actually feel more at ease.”
At the end of 2017, Huawei had around 10% of the global smartphone market share, behind Samsung (18.4%) and Apple (19.2%). Accepting that 325 million Americans will never own a Huawei handset is a bitter pill to swallow, but with a globe half-full perspective, that does leave some 7.3 billion others who could one day be persuaded – especially if they continue to make handsets as brilliant as the P20 Pro.

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Billingham Hadley Small Pro Review

Mac users, the all-in-one photo editor Luminar 2018 is out now and available for just $69£64 for new users, with big discounts for upgrading users. We rated Luminar as “Highly Recommended“. Visit the Luminar web site to try it for free.
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Windows users, the all-in-one photo editor Luminar 2018 is out now and available for just $69£64 for new users, with big discounts for upgrading users. We rated Luminar as “Highly Recommended“. Visit the Luminar web site to try it for free.
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The latest in Billingham’s Hadley camera bag range is the Hadley Small Pro. Designed for smaller cameras, such as compact system cameras, rangefinders and mid-sized DSLRs, the bag is available in six different colour combinations.
Made in England at Billingham’s factory in the West Midlands, UK, the bag is crafted from rugged, weather-resistant materials including durable canvas and comes with a five year manufacturer’s warranty.
At the time of writing, the Hadley Small Pro retails for around £200.
Ease of Use

The Hadley Small Pro has a classic and stylish look, with six different colour combinations to suit your own personal preferences. We have been supplied with the Sage FibreNyte/Chocolate Leather combination for the purposes of this review, which is deep green colour with brown leather detailing.
Depending on the colour variation you go for, the bag will either be made from colour-fast FibreNyte material, or durable canvas. Both of these are hard-wearing textiles which are bonded to Stormblock material – two layers of fabric fused with butyl rubber for a high level of weather resistance. The composition of the materials means that Stormblock never requires “reproofing” and remains water-resistant for its lifetime.

On the top of the bag is stiff, padded handle which is reinforced with leather on the underside to make it comfortable to hold and secure. The handle feels extremely solid and secure, with the leather detailing on either side of the handles giving an attractive look.
At the back of the bag you’ll find a small pocket which is secured with a water-repellant zip. This is ideal for smaller items, such as memory cards or filters, a mobile phone, or if you’re using it as a holiday / travel bag you could use it for your passport and travel documents. A new addition to the bag is a strap which allows you to slot the bag over the handle of your suitcase, for easy transportation around train stations, airports and the likes. As the strap is very close to the rear pocket, it’s important to make sure you’re actually putting your items into the pocket and not slipping it through the strap and onto the floor.

On the front of the bag are two small pockets, which again are useful for smaller items, including memory cards and similar accessories. You could even fit smaller, pancake type lenses for mirrorless cameras in these pockets, too. The pockets are secured with brass studs which require some effort to open – this helps to make the pockets feel secure from potential pickpockets as you’re walking around with the bag, especially as the bag’s top flap goes over the top of the pockets. Underneath the right-hand pocket flap, you’ll see a label with the unique serial number of your bag.
The top flap itself is secured by sliding brass fixings into leather straps, which can then be pulled upwards to “lock” into place. Although designed to be opened with one hand, these again can be quite tricky to open quickly when on the move – the leather is likely to soften with age though and become more malleable and quicker to open. If you need regular, repeated access to your camera gear, it’s worth leaving them in the “unlocked” position – just be careful if you’re walking with your camera bag in a busy location. The famous Billingham logo is also found on the top flap, embossed into leather.

Completely covering the bag’s interior, the top flap does an excellent job of keeping the elements away from your gear. For added protection, when you open the bag you’ll see that there’s a second padded top flap which you’ll need to move out of the way to access your camera and lenses. The entirety of the bag’s insert is removable, meaning you can use the bag as a standard day bag or piece of luggage if you need to.
Within the insert you’ll find two removable and/or reposition able vertical dividers. These have velcro at the sides so you can place them in the exact places you need to match the size and shape of your camera and/or lenses. In addition there are two smaller dividers included which you can use for stacking lenses.

The bag is not designed with a specific system in mind, but we have been using it with a variety of different options, including the Canon EOS M50 and the Panasonic GX9. With relatively small cameras such as this, you’ll probably find that you can happily accommodate the camera plus at least three additional lenses, depending on the type of lenses you have. For larger cameras, for example entry-level DLSRs, it’s likely you’ll be able to fit a camera with a lens attached, plus one additional prime or small lens. This bag is intended more as a day-to-day carry around bag, rather than something which you can use to fit all of your gear in at once.
For carrying the bag over your shoulder, there is an adjustable, shuttle-woven polyester strap. This can be shortened and lengthened to suit your requirements – at its longest it’s also suitable to be used as a cross body strap for extra security and a more comfortable wear for long periods of time. The strap is also completely detachable if you want to use the bag either with a different strap or entirely strapless.

It may seem like quite an expensive proposition to pay £200 for a relatively small camera bag, but, considering the high-quality construction and durability of the bag, it can also be thought of as good value for money – especially with a five year manufacturer warranty to give you peace of mind.
The Hadley Small Pro may not be all that appealing to DSLR users with lots of lenses, but if you’re either somebody who has one DSLR and one other lens you like to use regularly, or a compact system camera with a range of small lenses, the Hadley Small Pro is the ideal day bag.
Street photographers and travel photographers may find it particularly appealing, especially with the cross-body strap and one-handed access to the interior pouch. Being able to adjust and remove the interior to meet your needs also makes it very user-friendly, too.

Ratings (out of 5)




Value for money

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Sony Xperia XA2 Ultra review

Sony may be embracing a new design, but that doesn’t mean it’s not selling a phone with an older design theme. The mid-range Sony Xperia XA2 Ultra costs $450, and a lot of compromises. Is it worth buying? Find out in our Sony Xperia XA2 Ultra review.
The post Sony Xperia XA2 Ultra review appeared first on Digital Trends.
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Acer Aspire 5 (2018) review: An affordable mid-range laptop with some key flaws

The Acer Aspire 5 sits in Acer’s ‘everyday computing’ range and it’s the epitome of the no-nonsense laptop. It’s a little on the chunky side, not especially attractive to look at and, yet, it delivers the goods when it comes to performance and usability. For anyone looking for a no-thrills Windows 10 machine, could the Acer Aspire 5 be the perfect mid-priced laptop?
READ NEXT: Best laptops of 2018
Acer Aspire 5 review: Price and competition
The range starts at around £450, which gets you a HD (1366 x 768) screen, an Intel Core i3-6006U processor, 8GB of RAM and a 1TB HDD. This latest model houses an Intel Core i5-8250U processor, 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD and costs £550. Throw more cash at it and, for £700 you can have an Aspire have an Intel Core i7-8550U.
There are even more configurations, including a 17.3in model and one with a dedicated Nvidia GeForce MX150 GPU. These models can be found on Acer’s website.
As for competitors, you should consider the £600 Asus Vivobook S510UA-BR686T, which has a 15.6in screen, an Intel Core i5-8250U CPU, 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD and the £630 Dell Vostro 14, although you can’t get that with the latest generation Intel processors yet. Unlike the Acer Aspire 5, neither of these offer the option of specifying a Full HD display.
Acer Aspire 5 review: Design
The Acer Aspire is certainly a good value machine but the payback for the low price is that the design isn’t particularly luxurious. The laptop has an all-plastic, all-black chassis, textured on the lid and with brushed aluminium surrounding the keyboard.
At 2.1kg and 22mm thick it’s rather bulky and the overall build quality is underwhelming, too: the plastic panel around the keyboard has a little bounce when you type on it and the screen suffers from an alarming degree of flex.
As for ports, there are two USB 2.0 Type-A ports on the right-hand side and these sit alongside a 3.5mm headphone jack and a proprietary charging port. On the left-hand side you’ll find USB 3.0 Type-A and USB 3.1 Type-C ports, a nice inclusion at this price. Impressively, there’s also an SD card reader, an HDMI output and an Ethernet port.
Flip the laptop over and you’ll see a removable panel, which gives you access to a slot for RAM and storage upgrades via a 2.5in drive bay. There’s no fingerprint reader but, at this price, that’s to be expected.
READ NEXT: Huawei MateBook X Pro review: Huawei’s next-generation MacBook killer
Acer Aspire 5 review: Keyboard & Trackpad
The Aspire 5 is a pretty large laptop, which means there’s plenty of space on the chassis. Acer has taken advantage by squeezing in a sizeable touchpad and a number pad to the right of the keyboard.
As with all such designs, this results in a slightly off-centre typing position but Acer has at compensated for this by positioning the touchpad off-centre, too, so you’re not always brushing it with your palm accidentally.
That keyboard is pretty nice to type on as well. Its short-travel keys are well spaced and comfortable to type on and I didn’t have any problems with the touchpad either. Palm rejection worked flawlessly and the buttons didn’t feel mushy, either.
READ NEXT: Huawei MateBook X review: The first notebook from Huawei is very nearly a MacBook killer
Acer Aspire 5 review: Display
The Aspire 5’s 15.6in Full HD display is both sizeable and practical and, as highlighted above, it gives the Acer an advantage over its competitors when it comes to resolution and, therefore, sharpness. It has a matte finish, too, which keeps distracting reflections at bay.
Technically, though, it isn’t particularly impressive. Using our X-Rite i1Display Pro calibrator to test performance it reached a maximum brightness of 231cd/m2, which is poor and means you’ll struggle to read the screen outside or anywhere where sunlight might fall on the screen.
The screen’s contrast ratio of 321:1 is disappointing, and, because Asus is using a TN panel here, you’ll see colour shift whenever the screen isn’t facing you directly. This panel doesn’t display colours particularly well, either; its sRGB coverage of 52.6% is terrible and this results in flat, lifeless colours with very little zing. At least the colours it does display are reasonably accurate but that’s no compensation for such an uninspiring showing in general.
READ NEXT: Asus ZenBook 3 review: A proper Apple MacBook substitute
Acer Aspire 5 review: Performance
With a 1.6GHz quad-core Intel Core i5-8250U processor inside and 8GB of RAM, our review Aspire 5 performed admirably. It’s one of Intel’s latest, eighth-generation Coffee lake chips, which has double the cores and has slightly different clock speeds compared with last year’s Kaby Lake generation of processors. This year’s Core i5 processor also has twice the amount of “SmartCache” and faster-integrated graphics.
In our tests, the laptop performed well, achieving a score of 85 in the Expert Reviews 4K media benchmarks, which is heaps ahead of the Kaby Lake equivalent (Intel Core i5-7200U), which was typically only able to achieve scores of between 48 and 55. So, it’s well worth considering if you’ve otherwise been looking to buy a device with an older-generation chip inside, such as the Dell Vostro 14.
The Acer Aspire 5 also achieved a decent score in Geekbench 4. Its 4,106 single-core and 12,935 multi-core results are – impressively – only slightly behind those of the Asus Vivobook S510UA, which housed the seventh generation Core i7 chip.
The laptop’s Intel UHD Graphics 620 integrated GPU is no match for a discrete graphics card such as the Nvidia GeForce MX150. However, scores of 29.5fps and 60fps in the GFXBench 4 Car Chase and Manhattan benchmarks (onscreen) show it can be used for very light gaming.
The built-in 256GB SSD is fast, though. Testing with CrystalDiskMark (instead of AS SSD), I recorded sustained data transfer rates of 533MB/sec for reads and 496MB/sec for writes. The result is fast boot up times and quick file transfers to and from the internal drive.
Finally, the laptop’s battery life is also rather good. At 9hrs 46mins in the Expert Reviews battery rundown test, the Aspire 5 punches well above its weight and should last you around a day and a half under medium load. By comparison, the Asus Vivobook S510UA, which houses the Kaby Lake Core i7-7500U, manages only 5hrs 26mins. The Dell Vostro 14 5468 with an Intel Core i5-7200U on board achieves only 5hrs 51mins. It’s all very impressive stuff.
READ NEXT: HP Spectre 13 review: The ultraportable king
Acer Aspire 5 review: Verdict
The Acer Aspire 5 is a mixed bag of positives and negatives. On the one hand, it’s plain and its display sub-par; on the other, this £550 laptop delivers fast performance and excellent battery life.
With a good selection of ports, a full-sized keyboard and impressive battery life, in fact, there’s plenty to like about this mid-range laptop. It’s a shame about the poor display, but if you can put up with that or you’re planning to use it hooked up to an external monitor most of the time, the Aspire 5 is worth considering.

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Sony Xperia XZ2: Benchmarks tell only half the story

Benchmarks, gaming and daily use
I’ve taken three different factors into consideration in my assessment of the Xperia XZ2’s performance. First of all, I took a look at the classic benchmark tests to quantify the smartphone’s theoretical performance with a numerical value, which can be used to compare it with competitors. I used the following benchmarks:
Secondly, I evaluated the gaming performance with some demanding apps. I tried some of the latest games on the smartphone, such as Final Fantasy FV Pocket Edition, PUBG Mobile, and the lighter Hearthstone.
Last but not least, I evaluated the performance of the Xperia XZ2 in daily use. At the end of the day, the benchmark results are useless if your smartphone doesn’t function optimally when you quickly check Facebook (assuming you’re still using it).

Sony is exemplary when it comes to Android customization and timely updates. / © AndroidPIT

The CPU will run out of steam, but the GPU makes up for it
The SoC that Sony uses on the Xperia XZ2 is obviously Qualcomm’s latest and most powerful top-range chip, the Snapdragon 845. The chip in question includes an octa-core CPU (4x 2.7 GHz Kyro 385 Gold and 4x 1.7 GHz Kryo 385 Silver), 4GB of RAM and the Adreno 630 GPU: so this device is plenty fast and won’t easily get you into trouble.
Every operation that the smartphone performs is practically instantaneous (with a good internet connect) thanks to the 64GB of UFS internal memory. If you need additional space for photos and videos, the device supports microSD expansion up to 400GB.

Either two SIM cards or one SIM card and one microSD, you get to decide. / © AndroidPIT

With Sony’s optimized and extremely clean software, the Xperia XZ2 moves smoothly and quickly through apps. Whether it’s working on complex spreadsheets or you’re just enjoying social media, you’ll never encounter any kind of delays or slowdowns.

It’s difficult to find a task that is too difficult for this smartphone.

This smartphone first gives you a sense of its speed through the fast animations in Sony’s UI, as well as in the incredible work done to make the scrolling operations so smooth. Even the most high-performance top-range phones will have some delays when moving quickly through photo and video content on Instagram or Facebook. But the Sony Xperia XZ2 will let you move quickly and without any uncertainty (unlike another top-range phone I recently tried out…), offering an experience that perhaps only the iPhone and Pixels can provide.

Sony Xperia XZ2 benchmark results

Pixel 2 XL
Huawei P20 Pro
Galaxy S9 (FullHD+)
Galaxy S9+ (QHD+)
Sony Xperia XZ2

Geekbench CPUSingle core

Geekbench CPUMulticore

3D MarkSling Shot ES 3.1

3D MarkSling Shot ES 3.0

3D MarkIce Storm Unlimited ES 2.0

PassMark Memory(RAM)

PassMark Disk(Storage)

*Not affected by changing the resolution

But let’s move on to practical and measurable results. The benchmarks we’ve set for the Sony Xperia XZ2 are interesting to say the least, and they allow us to shed light on the smartphone’s behavior in comparison to other devices, such as the Galaxy S9 or Huawei P20.
As can be seen from the results table, the Xperia XZ2 doesn’t excel in CPU tests. Yes, it true, it has higher results than the Google Pixel 2 XL and Huawei P20 Pro in the Geekbench test, but this was to be expected, as these devices utilize an SoC from last year.
The most substantial difference, however, is with the Galaxy S9 and S9+, two devices also presented at MWC that should have more or less used equivalent technology. The results of Samsung’s SoC Exynos are well above those of the XZ2, especially in single core performance, where the Korean company seems to have done a great job. Samsung’s devices also perform much better in the RAM tests.

The graphics on the Xperia XZ2 are impeccable. That’s its secret. / © AndroidPIT

But the Xperia XZ2 still runs much more smoothly and more quickly than its Korean competition. The difference could be in Samsung’s poor software optimization. 3DMark has come to our aid and shed some light on this mystery by showing how Sony’s flagship is clearly better than the competition in graphic performance.
In Ice Storm Unlimited, the Adreno 630 GPU almost doubles the results of the new Galaxy (regardless of the resolution used), which explains how the smartphone always keeps everything running smoothly without delays. Even though Sony utilizes a slightly less powerful CPU, this doesn’t lead to a bottleneck in the overall performance of the device, which is still better in almost all daily operations.
Perfect gaming
Are you familiar with the gaming experience of a living room console? The Sony Xperia XZ2 manages to provide a gaming experience on a smartphone with exactly the same lightness. On a console, unlike a PC, you can just insert a disc or download a game and use the controller to enjoy the game, without any issues with drops in performance or delays.

The Xperia XZ2 has front speakers, so you don’t have to worry about covering them up while you’re gaming. / © AndroidPIT

The Sony smartphone frees you from having to be worried about whether a particular game will work on your phone. You won’t have to lower the screen resolution or worry about delays. With the XZ2, all these concerns are things of the past. True, the screen isn’t AMOLED with super resolution and perfect colors, but Sony’s Triluminous LCD panels with FullHD resolution still provide for a great multimedia experience.
During my trip to China, I had a lot of time to spend in the company of the Sony Xperia XZ2, and I must admit that it was difficult to stop playing Final Fantasy XV Pocket Edition, since the device offers perfect performance, which lets you enjoy the game with maximum detail.
Are you looking for a smartphone that will give you the best gaming experience on PUBG? The Sony Xperia XZ2 is more than perfect for this purpose, as long as you’d rather not go a step farther and purchasing a Razer Phone, which was created for gaming and has a slightly less-powerful SoC.

Opinion by Luca Zaninello

I prefer a smartphone with a QHD screen, although this could impact performance in games.
What do you think?

What do you think of what Sony’s done with the Xperia XZ2? Are you tempted to purchase it? Let us know in the comments!

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ZTE said to be meeting with Google over US export ban – TechCrunch

Yesterday was a rough one for ZTE. A year after pleading guilty to violating sanctions with Iran and North Korea, the U.S. Department of Commerce brought the hammer down and announced a seven-year export restriction on goods sporting U.S. components.
That applies to more than a quarter of the components used in the company’s telecom equipment and mobile devices, according to estimates, including some big names like Qualcomm. The list may well also include Google licenses, a core part of the company’s Android handsets. According to a Bloomberg unnamed source, ZTE is evaluating its mobile operating system options as its lawyers meet with Google officials.
Many of the internal components can be replaced by non-U.S. companies. ZTE can likely lean more heavily on fellow Chinese manufacturers to provide more of the product’s internals, but it’s hard to see precisely where it goes from here with regard to an operating system. There’s an extremely small smattering of alternatives open to the company, but none are great. Each would essentially involve the company working to build things, including app selections, from the ground up — and likely play a much more central role in the OS’s development.
As for Google’s role in all of this, ZTE certainly isn’t make or break for Android’s fortunes. Still, it’s a pretty sizable presence. As of late last year, it commanded 12.2 percent of U.S. market share, putting it in fourth place behind Apple, Samsung and LG. It’s certainly in Google’s best interest to maintain as many prominent hardware partners as possible — though, not if it comes with the added risk of upsetting the DOC in the process.

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Grimoire of Souls Announced, Has 4-Player Co-Op – Game Rant

When news that a new Castlevania games was being announced hit, obviously a mobile game wasn’t what most fans of the classic franchise imagined. Despite that, Castlevania: Grimoire of Souls is confirmed to be the next entry in the franchise and is launching exclusively on iOS devices to start.

Many gamers may be inclined to skip over a mobile entry in the series and maybe just rewatch the Castlevania Netflix show instead, but it actually sounds like there are some interesting plans for this one. The game was recently revealed with an official site (all in Japanese), but Gematsu has already provided some translations about the upcoming product.
Here is a translation of the description for the brand-new story that will be introduced in the game…

“A future where Count Dracula has been completely destroyed. It seemed like eternal peace came upon the world… However, a single letter delivered to Genya Arikado tried to put an end to that peaceful era.

“In order to verify the meaning of the words written in the letter—’The Grimoire has Run Wild and Count Dracula will be resurrected’—Genya Arikado heads off towards the letter’s sender…”

The introduction of new lore may be enough to get die hard Castlevania fans to check out this app, but that may not do the trick for everyone. In addition to the new story, Grimoire of Souls also plans to win mobile gamers over with some interesting multiplayer features.

“Exhilarating battles where up to four players can cooperate. Strengthen your favorite character and take on the powerful enemies that block your path forward!”

The game seems to offer global real-time four player co-op, four-versus-four competitive, and four player co-op boss rush modes. All of these multiplayer modes are a major selling point and, if they deliver on fun and challenge, could be the key to winning over gamers who may usually dismiss mobile titles.
When Grimoire of Souls releases, players will be able to enter the world as franchise characters Alucard, Simon, Charlotte, Shanoa, and Maria. In addition, there is also a new character named Lucy, who is described as a young research magician. There may be some catches as to when and how players can use each character, but those details are unclear at this point.

Once a release date and more details arrive, we’ll be sure to post an update.

Castlevania: Grimoire of Souls has been announced for iOS devices, but does not currently have a release date.
Source: Konami and Gematsu

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Your one-stop shop for the 2018 NBA Playoffs

The latest scores, analysis, and more from around the SB Nation network.
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Slot Q1: “I can’t imagine being more proud of a player as far as playing through adversity and being there for his teammates night after night after night.” — Gregg Popovich on LaMarcus Aldridge, (and maybe subtweeting Kawhi Leonard) |
Slot Q2: “F*****g sick and tired of being babied.” — Joel Embiid on Instagram after Philly’s Game 2 loss |

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Why Cue Card became the most popular horse in jumps racing | Greg Wood | Sport

When Cue Card landed the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham in March 2010, the golden seasons among staying chasers that had been dominated by Kauto Star and Denman were beginning to draw to a close.
Following on from two of National Hunt’s all-time greats was always going to be a difficult role to execute, but Cue Card did so with a flourish. He was, by some way, the most popular chaser of recent seasons, as well as being one of the most talented and durable, and the only disappointment following the news of his well-earned retirement was that Colin Tizzard’s 12-year-old would not get a chance to remove the concluding “P” from his form figures after his disappointing run in the Gold Cup at Cheltenham last month.

Cue Card will still be at Sandown on Saturday week on the final day of the National Hunt season, when he will parade for the fans rather than line up one last time in the Oaksey Chase.
“He wasn’t working quite as well as he can and we didn’t want to take him to Sandown if we weren’t 100% happy with him,” Joe Tizzard, the trainer’s son and also Cue Card’s jockey during the first four years of his career, said on Tuesday. “We will still take him to Sandown, to celebrate a great career. He has been an incredible horse for us and now he can look forward to a new chapter in his life.”
Cue Card retires with nine Grade One wins on his record, stretching from his Bumper win at Cheltenham at odds of 40-1 to the Betfair Ascot Chase in February 2017. But it was not so much his record as the way he went about compiling it that endeared him so thoroughly to racing fans. Cue Card loved to bowl along towards the head of the field, where his usually impeccable jumping would force his opponents to match him, or risk giving up ground that could prove essential in the closing stages.
Cue Card had the bounce-back factor too, after a fallow period for much of 2014 and 2015 that followed a pelvic injury and then a wind operation. And at a time when National Hunt racing was increasingly becoming dominated by multi-millionaires with many dozens of horses, Jean Bishop and her late husband Bob, who died just days after Cue Card’s memorable defeat of Vautour in the 2015 King George VI Chase at Kempton, were a throwback to a time when winning was not everything.
Cue Card’s first win in the Betfair Chase at Haydock, in 2013, summed up his appeal. He was sent off at 9-1 to beat an outstanding field that included the previous Grade One chase winners Silviniaco Conti, Long Run and Bobs Worth, but Tizzard and Cue Card were undaunted and took the race to their rivals in familiar style. Cue Card had the race won two out, and stayed on strongly to win by nearly five lengths.
Cue Card’s last win came in that Ascot Chase, though a close second place in the same race this year offered hope that he might yet claim a Gold Cup at Cheltenham. It was not to be and he was pulled up before the 12th, but Cue Card may still receive a warmer reception than some of the winners at Sandown on Saturday week.
“I think his longevity made him stand out,” Bishop said. “Even after his fall [in 2016], he went back to win at Aintree. For a few seasons he was the highest-rated chaser in Britain. Look how hard it is for Gold Cup winners to come back the following season. He might not have won the Gold Cup, but he kept coming back.”

Cheltenham 2.05 Silver Kayf 2.40 Shantou Village 3.15 Diable De Sivola 3.50 Baden 4.25 Buckle Street 5.00 Lovely Job 5.30 Capitaine 
Kempton Park 5.45 Arthur’s Spirit 6.15 Reverberation 6.45 Bird For Life (nb) 7.15 Il Primo Sole 7.45 Barton Mills 8.15 Sayesse 8.45 Soghan 9.15 Ubla 
Newmarket 1.50 Aeolus 2.25 Snazzy Jazzy 3.00 Deauville 3.35 Altyn Orda (nap) 4.10 Hard Forest 4.45 Qazyna 5.20 Sea Of Class 5.55 Old Persian 

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ESPN wants to find the next Tony Romo with its ‘Monday Night Football’ auditions

Romo might have changed NFL broadcasting in the future for the better.
The race for networks airing NFL games to find the next Tony Romo is on, but it’s a two-way street — players seem to want to be the next Romo in the booth, too.
The New York Post reported that Brett Favre recently bombed his audition to be Jon Gruden’s Monday Night Football replacement. But they also reported that a couple of current pros also had auditions.
Those two players are All-Pro tight ends Jason Witten and Greg Olsen. Both are under contract to play next season, and it seems that they will be playing in 2018. Olsen has previous experience in the booth, after he did color commentary for the Vikings-Rams game in Week 14 (which the Vikings weren’t all too happy about). ESPN also reportedly brought in the recently retired and charismatic Joe Thomas in for an audition.
Among players who have been out of the league for a while with TV experience, Kurt Warner, Matt Hasselbeck, and Louis Riddick have all gotten consideration. The auditions have been done with Joe Tessitore in the booth, who is replacing Sean McDonough, orator of one of the most entertaining calls last season.
Warner, Hasselbeck, and Riddick all would be good options. But after Romo firmly grasped our attention last season, it seems ESPN might prefer to go with somebody that’s recently out of the game. They’re recognizable for fans of all ages, and if they’re anything like Romo, would bring not just widespread knowledge and predicting plays ahead of time, but energy to the game as well.
As much as people might have enjoyed Jon Gruden, nobody has put us in the mind of Bill Belichick like Romo did:

You weren’t going to get this kind of prediction from anybody else in broadcasting, either:

There were times where he reminded you he was human, and a fan of football like the rest of us too. Every noise uttered here was just about all of us watching this close Danny Amendola reception in the AFC Championship:

It’s these things that ESPN, and other networks like FOX and NBC could try to replicate in the future. Players like Witten and Olsen could certainly be good in the booth, but there’s a gigantic pallet of options now that we probably wouldn’t have otherwise considered in the past.
For all the trash talk that Romo took as a player, he was a breath of fresh air as a broadcaster in his first season. And he might be changing the way that networks approach who they target in the future.
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