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Outlook Over to a business that works, in the form of Betfair. It looks like a winner. The gambling company jumped to the head of the field by trouncing the City's profit forecasts and handed out sugar lumps to the shareholders in its stable with a chunky dividend hike. The shares duly raced even further ahead of a 950p indicative offer that was withdrawn in May by a major shareholder in cahoots with private equity.

Compass serves up 16% profit surge

COMPASS, the contract catering group, continued its impressive run yesterday with a 16 per cent increase in full-year profits to pounds 159m and bullish predictions that it is well placed to withstand a downturn.

Losses force Queen's trainer to quit

HORSE RACING may call itself the sport of kings, but it seems that even the support of the monarch is no longer a guarantee of success. Lord Huntingdon, who has prepared horses for the Queen for the past 21 years, announced yesterday that he is to give up training at the end of the season, because he cannot make it pay.

Racing: Jackpot builds up

A JACKPOT pool of pounds 500,000 is in prospect at Kempton today after punters found Saturday's results at Newbury too difficult.

Racing: Andreyev ready for a speedy return

Simon Holt of Channel 4 Racing analyses today's Stanley Leisure Sprint Cup

Racing: Sainte Marine looks the each-way saver

THERE IS no shortage of quantity at the better end of sprinting at present, with 17 horses lining up for today's Nunthorpe Stakes at York just a few weeks after the same number contested the July Cup at Newmarket. The matter of their quality, however, is still under debate, and there could be no better place to settle the argument than at the Knavesmire.

Racing: Ground-breaking win for Frontier

Simon Holt of Channel 4 Racing analyses today's Northumberland Plate

Racing: Treble lifts Stoute's Knight-life

QUITE a lot has happened to Walter Swinburn since his last Royal Ascot in 1995. After a fall at Sha Tin in early 1996, he did not so much flirt with death as cancel the wedding when the invitations were already in the post. Twelve months ago, he was in the middle of a "sabbatical" to overcome weight problems which many assumed to be permanent.

Racing: Old tries a third time

OLD ROUVEL, who has finished third and second in the last two runnings of the Queen Alexandra Stakes, is to have another tilt at Friday's Royal Ascot contest.

Friar Tuck steals Trophy

FRIAR TUCK made merry men of the bookmakers at York yesterday by running out the 33-1 winner of the day's feature race, the pounds 50,000 William Hill Trophy Handicap. The three-year-old gelding, ridden by Jason Weaver, was always close to the pace and hit the front a furlong out to run out a ready length and a half winner from the strong-finishing Marton Moss with another 33-1 shot, Prix Star, third.

Blood, sweat and yearlings

Ascot is the industry's ultimate shop window with competition as fierce off the track as on it; Sue Montgomery talks to the manager of a stud for whom a crucial week beckons

Elsworth eyes a golden double

Sue Montgomery says Persian Punch can land a popular blow at the Ascot meeting

Head cases

Never mind betting on the horses, Ascot's serious money is blown beforehand - and mainly on hats. Jenny Knight looks forward to next Thursday's Ladies' Day. Photographs by Martin Salter

Racing: Royal fear for Fallon

KIEREN FALLON will sit out this weekend's racing amid doubts that the champion jockey will be fit in time for Royal Ascot.

Racing: Injured Fallon may miss Ascot

KIEREN FALLON gave up three rides at Newbury yesterday after hurting his right knee on the gallops, an injury which could threaten his participation at Royal Ascot, which begins on Tuesday.

Racing: Savill in swipe at bookies

THE WEEK between the Derby and Royal Ascot is not generally among the more interesting of the racing year, but for followers of turf politics at least, these last few days have been ones to remember. In a refreshing, rough-house fashion which owes more to the days of Lloyd George than those of Labour's spin doctors, Peter Savill has engaged his detractors among the big bookies in bitter verbal warfare, and there is little sign that the skirmishing is about to stop.
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