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Michael Owen has got Germany in his sights once again

Michael Owen has more than once been a thorn in the German side, most notably perhaps when he scored a hat-trick in that memorable 5-1 World Cup qualification victory in Munich.

Ten years on he will be back in Germany as an English challenger for a major sporting contest, though flying his own, rather than the national, colours.

And yesterday his colt Brown Panther took what could be a significant step towards victory in the Deutches Derby in Hamburg when he was handed a favourable starting position for Sunday's 12-furlong contest.

Brown Panther, who is not only owned but was bred by Owen, has been drawn two in a field of 18, close to the inside rail and regarded as a distinct advantage on a track where the first bend comes up relatively quickly.

The upwardly-mobile son of Shirocco, trained in Cheshire by Tom Dascombe, goes to the fray off the back of a wide-margin Royal Ascot victory and has been installed 7-2 favourite by local bookmakers.

Meanwhile, having justified John Oxx's decision to supplement her for the Irish 1,000 Guineas by running a close sixth behind Misty For Me, History Note warrants support in tonight's feature event at Fairyhouse.

The seven-race card will be the Meath venue's first Flat fixture this term, as problems with the ground meant that its previous two scheduled meetings had to be moved elsewhere.

Following a Turf Club inspection last week, the course was passed fit for racing just in time to hold its only Group race, the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Brownstown Stakes, and the official going is good, good to firm in places.

Gossamer Seed (8-1) won last night's Sligo feature, the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Handicap.

Former jockey Richard Fox died in hospital yesterday at the age of 57, having been on a life support machine since collapsing in Newmarket two months ago.

The Corkman was a highly successful lightweight at the peak of his career, with victories in top handicaps including the Lincoln, Cesarewitch and Northumberland Plate.

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