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The stellar explosion is the closest to be spotted since 1987 and will provide a 'galactic yardstick' for astronomers judging distances across the universe

Halling can do the double

The stage at Sandown is set today for the 99th running of one of the oldest all-aged championships in the calendar, named after one of the Titans of the Turf. The Eclipse Stakes brings the best of the middle- distance generations together for the first time in Britain during the season, and if today's race may lack the absolute quality of some previous renewals - notably the 1903 running, when four-year-old Ard Patrick, the previous year's Derby hero, beat his contemporary Sceptre, who had taken the other four Classics, with the three-year-old Rock Sand, who went on to complete the Triple Crown, back in third - it remains a fascinating contest.

All that glisters

Modernists prefer the simplicity of silver. Photographs by Julia Cody

In the eye of a media revolution

TTHE MONDAY INTERVIEW: MICHAEL GRADE: As takeover fever engulfs commercial TV will Michael Grade, and Channel 4, remain in the public service?

Calm Casey seeks a place in the sun

Ken Jones encounters Rough Quest's trainer who is geared up for the National

Cigar too hot for his Soul mate

RACING: A dazzling performance in Dubai wins the world's richest race, but today the attention turns to the jumps at Aintree

Cigar to blaze a trail for Sheikh's playground

RACING: The richest race ever can advertise the ability of `the world champion' and the delights of Dubai as a sporting centre

Rise in heavy drinking set to defeat targets

General Household Survey: A nation's lifestyle and habits revealed

Racing: Cigar glows in the desert

COMMENTARY

Cigar on a slow burn

CIGAR, the American-trained favourite for this week's Dubai World Cup, has his first full workout on the Nad Al Sheba racecourse tonight, just days before Wednesday evening's $4m desert showpiece. The five-year- old's trainer, Bill Mott, arrived on Friday in time to conduct his first session with the horse yesterday morning, but unseasonal weather in the Gulf put a halt to any serious action on the rain-soaked track.

first encounters sorel and sorel: When Frederic Chopin met George Sand

Illustration by Edward Sorel Text by Nancy Caldwell Sorel Next week: Charles de Gaulle met Franklin D Roosevelt

Cigar on the mend

Cigar, who is making excellent progress after bruising a foot last month, is on course for the Dubai World Cup on 27 March.

Give the man a cigar

Novelist Paul Auster has had his first taste of film production with Smoke. This `least cinematic of writers' spoke to Chris Peachment about what it takes to `visualise' a story

Cigar's heat subsides to allow training

Cigar's trainer, Bill Mott, believes that America's Horse of 1995 will be able to resume training tomorrow after bruising his off-fore foot in Florida last week.

Bailey steers Cigar to 13th consecutive victory

Cigar extended his winning sequence to 13 with a comfortable win in the Grade One Donn Handicap at Gulfstream Park, Florida, on Saturday. The topweight, making his first appearance of 1996, settled in third place behind Flying Chevron and Star Standard before rider Jerry Bailey made his move entering the turn for home.

Cigar smoulders in build up to Dubai treasure hunt

Cigar, unbeaten in 10 races last year and the hot favourite for next month's Dubai World Cup, reappears at Gulfstream Park, Florida, today.
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Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 15 May 2015
Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific