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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 The shares duly raced even further ahead of a 950p indicative offer that was withdrawn in May by a major shareholder in cahoots with private equity.

Nicconi storms home to state Ascot intentions

Hours before yesterday's turbulent summer weather had any say in the matter, there were rumbles and flashes in Newmarket as Nicconi, the latest Australian sprint sensation to travel to these parts for a Royal Ascot challenge, went through his final serious workout ahead of Tuesday's King's Stand Stakes. The powerful bay five-year-old produced his trademark lightning acceleration at the end of a thundering five furlongs and put smiles on the faces of both rider Frankie Dettori and trainer David Hayes.

Hannon's Boy packs a punch

A divisional title is not usually decided so early in the piece, but at Newbury yesterday Paco Boy laid down a formidable marker in the season's first top-level contest for older milers, the Lockinge Stakes. The five-year-old, now in his full physical prime after earlier problems, scored a relatively narrow victory but in so doing oozed that ephemeral quality, class, as he demonstrated the instant, devastating acceleration invariably associated with champions.

Animal art fair showcases new work

A unique event showcasing animal artwork is set to take place this week at Fulham Palace.

Hannon's Dick Turpin snatches valuable purse

Richard Hannon carried on his remarkable harvest of valuable auction-related juvenile contests when Dick Turpin took yesterday's Tattersalls Ireland Sales Race at Fairyhouse with the minimum of fuss.

Scenic Blast wins King's Stand Stakes

Scenic Blast blew away his rivals to give Australia a fourth win in the King's Stand Stakes in five years at Royal Ascot.

J J The Jet Plane ready for take-off

South African sprinter makes British debut with Royal Ascot in his sights

Yeats weakens after shaky debut

Poor run makes favourite drift in Gold Cup betting as Alandi impresses at Navan

Ladbrokes profits fall as racing and football punters clean up

Ladbrokes posted a drop in first-half profits yesterday, as the bookmaker lost out to punters at Royal Ascot and Euro 2008 and high-spending customers moved to offshore betting operations.

Sporting results dent Ladbrokes profits

Ladbrokes today said unfavourable results from Euro 2008 and Royal Ascot reduced first half profits at its high street betting shop business.

Yeats to confound doubters with third coming

Some people have no respect. Here is Yeats, his name long carved in the pantheon of great stayers, seeking a third consecutive Gold Cup. And here we have this French upstart, Coastal Path – unbeaten in six starts, admittedly, but still with plenty to find before he can usurp the champion. Yet all the money in the build-up to their meeting today has been for the challenger.

Chris McGrath: Ascot faces awkward question of how to come to terms with modern class divide

Between Epsom last Saturday and Royal Ascot on Tuesday, this is one of those racing weekends that seems to snag silk on barbed wire. But some may yet find it apt that the favourite for the day's biggest prize should happen to be called Ancien Regime.

Sixties Icon back in fashion with Festival win

Sixties Icon tasted success for the first time since his victory in the 2006 St Leger when scooting clear to claim the Festival Stakes here yesterday.

Spencer can beat draw on Silver Pivotal

Doncaster next Saturday is going to come as an almighty culture shock for those still locked in a Cheltenham mindset, but at least they get the chance to clean up some rusty tools at Lingfield today. The climax of the all-weather season – a relative concept, it must be granted – completes another week that has reflected handsomely on Channel 4's commitment to the sport. Their crew will be as exhausted as everyone else, but that is unlikely to stop Derek Thompson treating the Bet Direct Winter Derby as a giddy new pinnacle of human experience.

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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home