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.
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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Dubrovnik, the Dalmatian Coast & Montenegro
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Lisbon, Oporto and the Douro Valley
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona
Spain
Prices correct as of 30 January 2015
As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

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Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

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Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
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Bill Granger's winter salads

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George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

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Michael Calvin's Last Word

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