Derby

Charles Hills backs Model Pupil to pass Doncaster's opening Flat exam

The start of a new turf season on the Flat should be a cheerful rite of spring, but Town Moor today is as likely to prove white as green. It is almost as though winter is raging against the coming of the light. With snow forecast this morning, and more overnight, inspections have duly been scheduled for both days of the meeting.

Winteringham Fields, 1 Silver Street, Winteringham, Lincolnshire

Approaching from the east, the first thing you see in the Lincolnshire village of Winteringham, an isolated straggle of houses on the fringe of the Humber, is a sign that baldly declares 'FERRETS'. It is an unlikely milieu for an upmarket 'restaurant with rooms'. Yet there it is at the heart of the village: a slate-topped, two-storey structure, possibly a former Georgian inn, with pantiled extensions. The facilities include a helipad, but our spirits failed to soar on entering Winteringham Fields. Booked in for Friday lunch (three courses £39.95, four courses £45), my wife and I found ourselves deposited in a small, unpopulated lounge. Our refusal to take a drink before the meal was greeted with an expression of surprise ("Oh!") as if apéritifs were pretty much compulsory.

Samba hints at Blackburn exit

Blackburn defender Christopher Samba has cast doubt over his future at Ewood Park by claiming he would leap at the chance to leave if a "good opportunity" arose.

Carlton drifts after injury scare

It was almost as though he wanted to prove that any and all ranks of society can discover a common derangement in their fascination for racehorses. Carlton House, hot favourite to give the Queen her first success in the Investec Derby at Epsom on Saturday, was yesterday subject of the type of 11th-hour scare that seems de rigueur in this sort of situation. There remains every prospect that he will take his chance – and show his form – but he has certainly emphasised that even a monarch must accept the frailties latent in the breed's own majesty.

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Cecil battles butterflies but fluent Frankel flies in his final

Facing a press conference later in the morning, Henry Cecil played down Frankel's work yesterday as "his final quiet piece" before the first Classic of the season on Saturday. Those who witnessed the young champion's latest detonation, however, would testify that "quiet" was just about the last word to describe the way Frankel once again scalded his lead horse, exploding several lengths clear. His trainer did admit that he has been delighted with Frankel's progress, since resurfacing at Newbury 11 days ago. "I'd be very surprised if he's not a better horse now than he was then," he said. "But we've still four days to go, haven't we?"