Sport Bobbing along: Bobs Worth and Barry Geraghty take the Lexus with ease

Gold Cup champion trounces Irish challengers to become clear favourite to retain Festival crown

No surprises as Master and Commander sail in

Defending a crown generally brings more pressure than challenging for one, so both relief and pleasure washed round Haydock's winner's circle yesterday after the Cheltenham Gold Cup winner, Imperial Commander, opened his season with an authoritative success in the Betfair Chase. The nine-year-old, ridden by Paddy Brennan, took control of the three-mile contest after the first circuit and, though tiring on the testing ground in the closing stages, held Tidal Bay's late flourish by a length and a quarter.

George aims to spike Commander's guns

Tom George, trainer of the Betfair Chase third favourite Nacarat, is relishing the dashing grey's return to the top level in Saturday's Grade One feature at Haydock. The nine-year-old warmed up for his meeting with Cheltenham Gold Cup hero Imperial Commander with a convincing victory at Wetherby last month and has, apparently, been sparkling at home since.

Star turns down Newbury while Murtagh fires up old partnership

Two of the Turf's biggest names went back to basics yesterday. First connections of Kauto Star rejected a hazardous experiment in his historic bid for a fifth consecutive success in the William Hill King George VI Chase, deciding to keep him fresh for Kempton on Boxing Day rather than take in the Hennessy Gold Cup en route. And then Johnny Murtagh, who had announced his departure from Ballydoyle a week previously, cast that decision in a fresh light by accepting a contract to ride the 120 horses trained for the Aga Khan in Ireland.

The City Diary: Antonio's smooth warning on risk

Much talk of how Antonio Horta-Osorio, the dishy Portuguese set to take charge of Lloyds Banking Group, might change the bank's culture once he's mounted the black horse.

Paul Roy

An item in Chris McGrath's column, 'Vested interests of sport's rulers will turn turf into wasteland' (30 October 2010), commented on Paul Roy's position as chairman of the British Horseracing Authority, a member of the Horseracing Betting Levy Board and a partner of NewSmith Asset Management LLP, in the context of his company's investment in the recent flotation of Betfair. The article may have been taken to suggest that Mr Roy was guilty of providing insider knowledge in relation to the investment in Betfair. We now accept that any such suggestion was without foundation. We apologise to Mr Roy for this suggestion.

The City Diary: No ribbons for Bentley's Maypole

Maypole Group, the Aim-listed hotelier, was forced into administration last week after "Clydesdale Bank, bankers to the company and its subsidiaries, demanded repayment of its loans".

Business Diary: A Guinness overflows...

Daphne Guinness, the brewery heiress, now lives in a rather swanky apartment on New York's Fifth Avenue, where she has a bit of a legal problem, the New York Post reports. Her neighbours, Karim and Tina Samii, who own the $12m (£7.7m) flat downstairs, are suing her for repeatedly flooding their place with overflowing bath water. The couple claim it's happened four times in the past two years.

Seville sets out his Classic stall for investors in the long term

Identifying the best wager to become available on the Turf over recent days is very much a matter of disposition. To the more jaundiced eye, for instance, the bet of the season was also the most flagrant one – made, when Betfair shares were floated on the Stock Exchange on Friday, by fund managers working under the British Horseracing Authority chairman. To the sort of romantics who backed the evergreen Monet's Garden at Aintree on Saturday, no doubt, a more edifying investment now would be Cue Card, who made a dynamic hurdling debut at the same track yesterday and is now generally 6-1 favourite for the Supreme Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham in March. To patriots, in turn, maybe confirmation that Workforce will contest the Breeders' Cup Turf makes 13-8 too good to resist. To those simply attempting a clinical judgement of value, however, the most fertile prospect to emerge from the weekend is a horse who instead appeared to have his limitations exposed.

Mitsui eyes stake in mining giant

Metalloinvest, run by Arsenal FC's billionaire shareholder Alisher Usmanov, is in talks to sell a stake in the mining giant to Japan's Mitsui ahead of a London listing next year.

Betfair makes market debut as punters say flotation is a winner

Betfair stormed on to the Stock Exchange yesterday, finishing the first day of conditional dealings up, with the shares ahead by 250p at £15.50. The stock made its debut at £13.00.

Twiston-Davies switches strategy for Commander

Trainer maps out direct line of march back to Festival for the Gold Cup winner with one aim in mind

City punters put their money on Betfair

Shares in Betfair, the world's largest online betting exchange, are set to be priced at close to £14 when they debut on the stock market this week – valuing the company at nearly £1.5bn.

Dom Joly: Would you Adam and Eve it? I get a butchers as the lads plan a bit of a barney

'I don't have any Doc Martens but I do have some boots that are like, for hiking and stuff... will those do?'

Betfair considers offshore move

Betfair, the soon to be floated betting exchange, has drawn up plans to move its business offshore.

The City Diary: The Prince and the oil

Another week, another meeting between BG Group (British Gas in old money) and Prince Andrew, our special representative for international trade and investment. The company has a rather cosy relationship with the Duke of York, having met him three times in five weeks early this year.

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