- Ask Steven
Double Derby delight and hat-tricks against UnitedSteven Lynch March 19, 2012
Who bred, owned and trained two Derby winners, both of which were named after villages in Norfolk? asked Brian Drew
The man who pulled off this unusual feat was the Oxfordshire-based trainer Arthur Budgett, who owned and bred many of his own horses too. His first Derby success came when Ernie Johnson piloted Blakeney to victory in 1969, and four years later Budgett triumphed again when Morston, a 25-1 outsider, came home first with Eddie Hide on board. It was Morston's second and last race - he suffered a tendon injury shortly afterwards and had to be retired. Both horses were named after villages in Norfolk (Blakeney's sire was Hethersett, which is a town in Norfolk too). Budgett, who died last year aged 95, was only the second man after William I'Anson (1857 and 1864) to own and train two Derby winners.
Has anyone ever scored a Premier League hat-trick against Manchester United? asked Dave Warren
Only two people have managed this since the Premier League was set up in 1992-93. The first was David Bentley, as Blackburn Rovers beat United 4-3 at Ewood Park in February 2006. And the second came last year, when Dirk Kuyt scored three in Liverpool's 3-1 win over their old rivals at Anfield last March. The last league hat-trick against Manchester United before Bentley's came on New Year's Day 1992, in the last season of the old First Division, when Dennis Bailey grabbed one as Queens Park Rangers upset united at Old Trafford.
Who was the longest-lived world heavyweight boxing champion? asked Leslie Broughton
This was the German fighter Max Schmeling, who won the world heavyweight title in 1930. He died in 2005, at the grand old age of 99. Schmeling claimed the crown in strange circumstances: he was on the canvas at the time! He and Jack Sharkey were fighting for the title vacated by Gene Tunney, who had retired: in the fourth round Schmeling was felled by a low blow from Sharkey, who was disqualified for the foul. Schmeling made one successful defence before losing a rematch with Sharkey, but he continued with a distinguished career which included inflicting Joe Louis's first professional defeat, in a non-title bout in 1936. Louis avenged that loss after claiming the title, defeating Schmeling in a famous fight in 1938.
Is it true that when Francesca Schiavone won the French Open in 2010 she was the first Italian to win a Grand Slam singles title? asked Kerry Nielsen
Francesca Schiavone's victory over Samantha Stosur in 2010 did indeed make her the first Italian woman to win a Grand Slam singles title. But two men had preceded Schiavone in the winners' enclosure at Roland Garros: the elegant Nicola Pietrangeli won in 1959 and 1960, then Adriano Panatta triumphed on the Paris clay in 1976, handing a rare defeat to six-times champion Bjorn Borg in the quarter-finals (Panatta also beat Borg in 1973, and was the only man to defeat him twice in Paris). Pietrangeli played 164 matches in the Davis Cup, winning 120 of them - both records which are unlikely to be beaten.
Will London be the first city to host the Olympic Games three times? asked Laurie James
It will indeed: the Games were also held in London in 1908, when they were centred on the (then) new stadium at White City in Shepherds Bush in west London, and more famously in 1948, when Wembley Stadium was the main focus of the first post-war Games. The other cities to have staged the Games twice are Athens (1896 and 2004), Paris (1900 and 1924) and Los Angeles (1932 and 1984). Athens also held the "intercalated" Games of 1906, staged to mark the tenth anniversary of the modern Olympics, but these are no longer recognised as official by the International Olympic Committee. The Winter Olympics have been held twice in St Moritz (1928 and 1948), Lake Placid (1932 and 1980) and Innsbruck (1964 and 1976).
Who is the only rugby player to score 1000 points in the Heineken Cup? asked Christopher Knatchbull
The only man with a four-figure points tally in the Heineken (European) Cup is the Irish stand-off Ronan O'Gara, who had scored 1196 points in all before the start of the current campaign. O'Gara and his Munster team-mate John Hayes are also the only men to have played more than 100 Heineken Cup matches.