News Mike Ashley has mellowed in recent years, so his stake in Debenhams surprised the City

The Sports Direct tycoon is well known for keeping rivals guessing. Simon Neville attempts to unravel his stakebuilding plan for Debenhams

Racing: Success lurks in the pool

LOSING MONEY to those pleasant females in Cheltenham's Tote booths is somehow more tolerable than losing it to a surly boards-bookie. But there are other reasons to prefer Tote pool betting at the Festival.

Check out with-profits, too

IT HAS been a good week for shares. Most investors have see the value of portfolios grow as the FTSE-100 index of the UK's top companies rose to record levels.

Personal Finance: Roller-coaster ride to riches

Spread betting is a high-risk gamble that lets you punt on anything from the predicted value of the euro to the number of times Gordon Brown sips a drink during his Budget speech. Get it right and you could make a fortune.

Racing: Neltegrity dies moments after win

NELTEGRITY collapsed and died when walking back in front of the stands after winning at Worcester yesterday. The nine-year-old, trained by Pam Sly, beat Handy Lass by a length and a quarter to take the Tote Handicap Hurdle.

Tote and Stanley lead race for Coral

THE TOTE and Stanley Leisure, the bookmaker, are neck-and-neck in the race for the Coral betting shops chain being sold off by the leisure group Ladbroke, having tabled rival bids of around pounds 340m each.

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: Trifecta pounds 1m offer

TOTE DIRECT has announced a special incentive for punters considering a Trifecta on Saturday's Ayr Gold Cup. The organisation is to guarantee a pounds 100,000 pool for the big race, and if it is won by just one punter, the Tote will pay an extra pounds 1m tax-free.

Racing: It's tough at the Top

TOP CEES, last year's runner-up, is facing "mission impossible" under 9st 3lb in the Tote Cesarewitch next month, according to his trainer Lynda Ramsden. The eight-year-old is on a mark 8lb higher than when he chased home Turnpole in the two-and-a-quarter mile Newmarket handicap last October.

Racing: Abreeze favourite

ABREEZE IS the 14-1 favourite with William Hill and joint favourite with Sheltering Sky with the Tote for the Ayr Gold Cup Handicap, while last year's winner Pasternak is 12-1 favourite with William Hill for the Cambridgeshire Handicap at Newmarket.

Personal finance: At last: a breed of oik that knows how to behave

A product with a funny name looks set to dominate the investment market.

Racing: Charm lures punters

A HEFTY gamble developed yesterday on an unraced filly by the name of Crystal Charm from the Manton yard of Peter Chapple-Hyam. Apparently set to make her racecourse debut in the Lowther Stakes at York next week, her price for next year's 1000 Guineas has been cut to 16-1 with William Hill and Coral and to 20-1 with the Tote.

Racing: Ascot's new audience

ASCOT'S progress towards the Millennium has gathered pace with the news that the Berkshire course has wangled four more weekend days' racing for its 1999 programme. Those in charge have sacrificed midweek meetings for two new Saturdays and two new Sundays; in other words, they wish to stage the entertainment at a time when most people can go rather than when they cannot.

Racing: Tote punters get bottom draw

A FREAK dividend stunned Tote punters who correctly forecast the first three home in a 20-runner sprint at Nottingham yesterday. The Tote Trio paid just pounds 13.40 to a pounds 1 stake, even though the odds of the first three home were 9-1, 11-2 and 6-1, writes Chris Corrigan.

WORLD CUP: SPREAD BETTING

THE COMPANIES may nick a point here and there but in the first week of the competition there was one constant - no one was piling in to back England.

Football: World Cup spread betting

AS HAS been well documented the expected blitz of cautions and sending offs has not materialised. Even though tackles are flying in occasions it seems the referees have set a standard but not, as it used to be, with cards but without them. That makes a buy on the first yellow card in Scotland's game against Norway this afternoon - IG quote 24-27 minutes - a tasty proposition.
News
peopleJonathan Ross has got a left-field suggestion to replace Clarkson
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Walker and Vin Diesel in Fast and Furious 5
film
Sport
Victoria Pendleton with her partner in her latest sporting challenge
sport
News
Andy Davidhazy at the beginning (left) and end (right) of his hike
video
Arts and Entertainment
Written protest: Julia Donaldson, author of The Gruffalo, has sent an open letter to the Culture Secretary
books
Arts and Entertainment
The teaser trailer has provoked more questions than answers
filmBut what is Bond's 'secret' that Moneypenny is talking about?
Sport
Lewis Hamilton secured his second straight pole of the season
f1Vettel beats Rosberg into third after thunderstorm delays qualifying
Latest stories from i100
Career Services

Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
3.	Provence 6 nights B&B by train from £599pp
Prices correct as of 12 March 2015
The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss