Press Association The 56-year-old, once touted as potential future England manager, can understand the decision, even if he is “disappointed” by the outcome. “There was a change of manager who decided he wanted to bring his own staff in, and that is always a consequence of managerial changes,” Curbishley said on Sky Sports News. “I understood it, I respected it, but I was a little bit disappointed because – when I went into Fulham – the role I had was something the club needed. “Rene had never been a manager before and I was there to advise and offer my opinion on things, as was Ray. “There are some inexperienced managers in the Premier League such as Tim Sherwood at Tottenham and Garry Monk at Swansea, so there is a role for ex-managers to be mentors. “But unfortunately it only lasted seven weeks. “The owner decided after the Liverpool game he was going to make a change. “Rene will be disappointed, as it was his first stab at management, because the two games previously against Manchester United – where we drew – and against Liverpool, when we led twice, we felt the tide was turning a little bit.” The Cottagers took the dramatic step of replacing Rene Meulensteen last week with the German coach, who also decided assistant manager Ray Wilkins and first-team technical director Curbishley would leave the club under a clean break from the old regime. Former Charlton boss Curbishley had only returned to football just before Christmas when taking up a new role at the west London club. Alan Curbishley would have liked more time to try to help Fulham stay in the Barclays Premier League, but has no doubt new manager Felix Magath believes he has “all the tools” needed to pull off a survival battle. Magath’s first match almost ended in victory at West Brom, but a late mistake from goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg saw them end up with a 1-1 draw which leaves Fulham still bottom of the table. However, the Cottagers are only four points from safety. German coach Magath has a reputation as a strict disciplinarian, but Curbishley sees no reason why the three-time Bundesliga winner should not make a successful transition to England. “He was a fantastic player, top class, been there, done that and won most things,” Curbishley added. “He did the double with Bayern Munich and is full of confidence, and believes he has the tools to make Fulham survive.” Ashkan Dejagah scored for Fulham at West Brom. The Iranian had worked with Magath at Wolfsburg, winning the Bundesliga in 2008-2009. Midfielder Dejagah believes the German will have his men fired up again for the west London derby against Chelsea at Craven Cottage next weekend. “I have known him for a long time,” Dejagah said on the club’s official website, www.fulhamfc.com. “It was a good week in training before West Brom, all the sessions were good. “We need to do the same this week and we’ll see what happens against Chelsea.”
VETERAN GELDING SOI PHET HEADS SATURDAY’S $100,000 CRYSTAL WATER STAKES AT ONE MILE ON TURF; 11-YEAR-OLD MILLIONAIRE, IDLE SINCE SEPTEMBER, WILL BE MAKING HIS 62ND CAREER START RACE IS PART OF LUCRATIVE GOLDEN STATE SERIES FOR CALIFORNIA-BRED OR SIRED HORSES ARCADIA, Calif. (April 24, 2019)–Trainer Leonard Powell says the old man in his shedrow does not like to run in the wintertime. Accordingly, 11-year-old gelding Soi Phet, idle since September 8, will make his first start of the year in Saturday’s $100,000 Crystal Water Stakes, for California-bred or sired horses three and up at one mile on turf.Named for the Three Rings Ranch homebred winner of both the 1977 Santa Anita Handicap and Hollywood Gold Cup, the Crystal Water, which is a part of the CTBA-sponsored Golden State Series, has attracted a field of seven with millionaire Soi Phet heading the field.An incredible story, Soi Phet, a California-bred son of Tiz Bud, who will be making his 62nd career start on Saturday, was claimed for $16,000 in his 16th start on May 23, 2013 at Hollywood Park. A winner of last year’s Crystal Water, Soi Phet has won 14 races, eight of them stakes, for his current connections.With Powell calling the shots, Soi Phet’s races have been spaced, with notable gaps in the winter in order to keep him fresh. With his last win coming three starts back versus state-breds in the one mile Bertrando Stakes at Los Alamitos on July 4, Soi Phet has two wins from five starts at one mile on turf, with both of those wins coming at Santa Anita.SOI PHETOwner: Benowitz Family Trust, Mathilde Powell & Paul ViskovichTrainer: Leonard PowellA foal of 2008, he’s out of the Siberian Summer mare Summer Jersey. Most recently an even sixth in the state-bred E.B. Johnston Stakes going one mile at Los Alamitos Sept. 8, Soi Phet took last year’s Crystal Water four starts back on May 20 and has two wins from 10 turf starts at Santa Anita. With regular rider Alonso Quinonez set to ride, Soi Phet will try to improve upon an overall mark of 61-15-7-6 and earnings of $1,022,864.BRANDOTHEBARTENDEROwner: Flawless Racing, Brian Flanagan & Michael JarvisTrainer: Craig DollaseA sharp third versus state-bred going 6 ½ furlongs down the hillside turf course March 31, this 6-year-old Tribal Rule gelding took a one mile turf classified allowance against Cal-bred two starts back on Dec. 31 and should be considered armed and dangerous as he’ll be reunited with Joe Talamo, who has ridden him to a pair of victories in his last four starts. With a Crystal Water best last-out Beyer Speed figure of 96, Brandothebartender, who was claimed seven starts back for $40,000, will seek his first stakes win on Saturday. With two wins from five tries at a mile on turf, “Brando” is 24-6-3-4 overall with earnings of $360,501.HARDBOOTOwner: Silver Creek StablesTrainer: Michele DollaseBased with Craig’s sister, Michele Dollase, at San Luis Rey Downs, this 4-year-old Lucky Pulpit colt has been idle since running a competitive seventh, beaten four lengths in the Grade II Mathis Brothers Mile (turf) on opening day, Dec. 26. A one mile turf maiden winner in his second start eight starts back in November, 2017 at Del Mar, his most recent win came four races back in the one mile turf Silky Sullivan Stakes for Cal-breds at Golden Gate Fields on April 29, 2018. With Victor Espinoza engaged to ride for the first time, Hardboot would appear to have a legitimate shot as both of his career wins have come at a mile on grass.THE $100,000 CRYSTAL WATER STAKES WITH JOCKEYS & WEIGHTS IN POST POSITION ORDERRace 5 of 9 Approximate post time 3 p.m. PTThe Street Fighter–Aaron Gryder–123Hardboot–Victor Espinoza–121Tule Fog–Brice Blanc–121Brandothebartender–Joe Talamo–123Soi Phet–Alonso Quinonez–121Accountability–Drayden Van Dyke–121The Hunted–Tiago Pereira–123First post time for a nine-race card on Saturday is at 1 p.m. For additional information, please visit santaanita.com or call (626) 574-RACE.