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Raising the bar for the humble 'local'

The winner Oscar Whisky rises with Wonderful Charm at the last in the novice chase at Cheltenham yesterday

International Hurdle: The New One mature enough to turn tables on hurdling’s old guard

The New One, part of a new wave of top-class young hurdlers threatening to swamp the reigning champion, Hurricane Fly, at the Cheltenham Festival next March, will have his credentials properly examined by a high-class yardstick, Zarkandar, in today’s International Hurdle.

Deals of the week - European city breaks, Christmas in the Cotswolds, New Year in New York

Under £200... European city breaks by train

Cresta has a range of deals on January city breaks to Europe. Examples include Paris, where three nights at the Hotel Jardins de Montmartre from 13 January is £175pp; or Bruges, where the Ibis Brugge Centrum from 17 January is £169pp. Both include breakfast and Eurostar. crestaholidays.co.uk

Squeal deal: foodie escapism is the theme of new BBC1 show ‘Nigel and Adam’s Farm Kitchen’

Nigel and Adam's Farm Kitchen: TV review - A townie and a son of the soil grow into a winning double-act down on the farm

The BBC has recently started parking their tanks on Channel 4's front lawn – or rather on Channel 4's building lot and raised vegetable bed. First, The House That 100K Built took aim at Grand Designs, with its more affordable version of Kevin McCloud's construction-site TV classic.

Rocky road: the resort of Banff

Deals of the week

Under £200... Cheap seats to Europe

Eurostar's usual lowest fare of £69 return to Paris, Lille, Brussels or Disneyland Paris falls to £54 for the first few weeks of 2014, for travel in a group of two, three or four. Sales open tomorrow and run until 2 December. Prices are for travel between 6 January and 12 February. eurostar.com

Farewell Twitter. Hello sanity and crossbows

I think it was Ash Atalla, producer of The Office, who said that there was no quicker way to a nervous breakdown than to have a comedy show on television in the age of Twitter. The first show of the new series of Fool Britannia went out last night and the one thing I didn't do was follow the live commentary online. That way only madness lies.

My next book: a dog in a bag, and me. Can’t fail

Slowly, and almost indiscernibly, the taboos of my youth are being shed. The other day I caught myself thinking about attaching some sort of strap to my reading glasses.

Deals of the week - Isle of Wight, West Sussex, Malaysia

Less than £200... Take off for the Isle of Wight over the coming months. WightLink is offering a selection of deals that include a two-night break on 4 October for £118pp, with ferry and accommodation at Gotten Manor, where guests are treated to a hearty farmhouse breakfast. Wightlink.co.uk

The Most Rev Justin Welby declined the invitation from the animal charity as he has

Archbishop of Canterbury turns down RSPCA patronage role

The Archbishop of Canterbury has turned down an invitation to be a patron of the RSPCA.

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby turns down RSPCA role

The Archbishop of Canterbury has turned down an invitation to be a patron of the RSPCA.

Boat Race passes without incident after Royal Marine Commandos patrol Thames route and police monitor Twitter in attempt to stop 'copycat' protests

Organisers were anxious to avoid a repeat of last year when the race was disrupted by a protester

A bedroom at Thirty Two

B&B and Beyond: Thirty Two, Cheltenham

This stylish residence is the perfect base for a day at the races or a ramble in the Cotswolds, says James Litston

Jonjo O’Neill has had at least one winner at the last seven Festivals

Taquin Du Seuil takes the puzzle out of Festival for Jonjo O'Neill

The glamour of a "plot" horse has so rubbed off on the Cheltenham Festival handicaps that trainers nowadays need all the artistry of old merely to guarantee a run. Of no fewer than 195 entries for the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys' Hurdle, for instance, even some rated within 5lb of the weights ceiling are not yet certain to make the final cut of 24 runners.

Donald McCain: Musselburgh has met the trainer’s request for a race to suit Overturn

Musselburgh trials lure star turn

Musselburgh trials day does not quite have the same ring to it as Cheltenham trials day, but racing is nevertheless most grateful to the enterprise shown at the Scottish racecourse and those at other venues responsible for keeping the jumping show properly on the road over the next few days.

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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 20 February 2015
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn