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Sport Timmy Murphy

Tinie Tempah was one of the celebrity names at Newbury yesterday, jockeys' temper one of the talking points. An incident in which Timmy Murphy was injured after coming to blows with fellow-rider Dominic Elsworth on Friday is to be investigated by the British Horseracing Horseracing Authority, with a hearing scheduled for Thursday. The men could face charges of bringing the sport into disrepute.

Arnault waters down merger proposals

Bernard Arnault was yesterday forced to make an embarrassing climbdown just 24 hours after he launched an audacious attempt to scupper the pounds 23bn merger between Guinness and Grand Metropolitan.

UK drinks pair reject LVMH proposals

Grand Metropolitan and Guinness yesterday rejected the latest proposals from LVHM that were designed to overcome the French luxury goods group's opposition to the UK drinks groups' pounds 23bn merger, writes Andrew Yates.

Arnault airs fresh merger ideas

Guinness and Grand Metropolitan were last night studying fresh merger proposals tabled by Bernard Arnault, chairman of the French LVMH luxury goods group, at a crunch meeting over lunch in Paris yesterday.



Swedes find cognac galore

Swedish divers have found a sailing ship that was transporting a huge cargo of cognac, champagne and red wine when it was sunk by a U-boat in 1916. The Joenkoeping was found off the Finnish coast. Divers are trying to find how many the bottles are intact. Claes Bergvall, of the C Star diving exploration group, said the wine and spirits could fetch huge sums at auction. The vessel was carrying 36,000 litres of cognac, 5,000 bottles of champagne and 6,000 litres of wine. The cognac and champagne where being shipped to Russia's tsarist army.

MARKET REPORT: French swoop on GrandMet adds spirit to late trading

Bernard Arnault enlivened a deadly dull stock market. The French tycoon's tea-time swoop on Grand Metropolitan sent turnover bubbling over 1 billion shares and pushed the nation's three leading spirit groups sharply higher.

New sleaze row knocks at door of No10

Downing Street yesterday reacted angrily to an accusation that the Prime Minister was threatening to create a new "sleaze" culture at the heart of Whitehall.

Greener denies boardroom row with Arnault

Tony Greener, chairman of Guinness, was yesterday attempting to play down an apparent boardroom rift with Bernard Arnault, the head of the French LVMH luxury goods group. Mr Arnault, who until recently controlled more than a fifth of Guinness's shares, voted against the proposed merger with GrandMet at last Friday's board meeting, throwing his future at the company into doubt.

'Dear Leader' sips cognac as nation starves

Hard information about North Korea is hard to come by, but in the last few weeks one thing has become increasingly certain: after two years of floods and economic stagnation, the country is on the verge of famine. An American congressman who visited this month saw peasants living off hot water and last year's cabbage leaves.

Racing: Money heads for Coome Hill

Coome Hill was the horse to attract betting interest on the first day after publication of the Grand National weights. The Hennessy Gold Cup winner is now 14-1 co-favourite, from 16-1, with Ladbrokes for the Aintree chase, despite a warning from his trainer that his principal objective is the Gold Cup.

Dove flies home as rivals fall to earth

The Gold Cup picture remains blurred after the Agfa Diamond Limited Handicap Chase developed into a chapter of accidents here yesterday. The most notable departure was Coome Hill, the second favourite for the Gold Cup, at the second fence; he was followed by Avro Anson in front of the stands, Go Ballistic five out and Major Summit, who sadly broke his neck at the penultimate obstacle, leaving Dextra Dove to outstay his sole remaining rival Northern Hide up the hill.

Racing: Hill to be overshadowed by Summit

For at least six weeks, ever since the Siberian winds arrived to disrupt every training programme from Cornwall to Middleham, the front end of betting on the Cheltenham Gold Cup has been boringly familiar. Take a last look at it this morning, however, since the next two days could leave many bookmakers with writer's cramp, as prices are revised and then scribbled out with each turn of events.

Hill no obstacleto Man

Coome Hill is likely to duck a confrontation with One Man at Cheltenham on Saturday. His trainer, the permit-holder Walter Dennis, is concerned that a good performance from Coome Hill in the Pillar Chase will ruin his handicap mark and he is now contemplating a switch to Sandown's Agfa Diamond Chase the following weekend.

Talkin' About a Resolution

Richard Ehrlich's Beverage Report

Call kept under wraps

Ireland will have to wait to see if Imperial Call has retained his old magic as the Gold Cup winner was yesterday pulled out of Saturday's Ericsson Chase at Leopardstown.
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