Sport Big Buck's wins in 2012 at Cheltenham, where he returns on Saturday after missing last year

Big Buck’s is back. More than a year after effortlessly extending his unbeaten sequence to 18, the four-time World Hurdle winner returns to Cheltenham for the Cleeve Hurdle on trials day to great fanfare and the delight of everyone connected with the sport.

Trainer Mahmood Al Zarooni

Godolphin in 'shock' as trainer Mahmood al-Zarooni admits steroid use

The Classic-winning Godolphin trainer Mahmood al-Zarooni is to face a British Horseracing Authority disciplinary panel hearing after samples taken from 11 horses in his care in Newmarket were found to contain traces of anabolic steroids. The horses include Certify, the winter favourite for the 1,000 Guineas, who must now miss the race.

Richard Hughes and Toronado win the Craven yesterday

Toronado blows open betting for 2,000 Guineas

This really has been a blasted Heath over the past couple of days, but today the gale was rendered incarnate by a colt named Toronado. His runaway success in the last of its Classic trials crowned a pleasing revival in the significance of this meeting, Hot Snap and Garswood having won their own rehearsals impressively the previous day. But while both arguably owed something to the shelter they found from fierce gusts across the track, Toronado went gliding clear of what had become a tailwind – and blew apart the betting on the Qipco 2,000 Guineas. Though Dawn Approach remains favourite, Toronado is no better than 4-1 to beat him back here in a fortnight.

Joseph O’Brien insists all is well with Derby hope Kingsbarns

Mars in sight as O'Brien enters new Classic orbit

Seven days after investing so much nervous energy in the Grand National, the sport today contemplates as tepid a Saturday as can be found in its calendar. But respite is almost immediate, with an engrossing week of Classic trials starting in Ireland tomorrow.

A view of Coventry's Ricoh Arena

Coventry promotion hopes ended after 10 point deduction

The Sky Blues were 10th in npower League One but drop to 14th

Callum McManaman

Mark Halsey will not referee Premier League game this weekend following Callum McManaman incident

Ref failed to spot the Wigan player's challenge on Newcastle defender Massadio Haidara

J T McNamara at Cheltenham before his serious fall from Galaxy Rock

McNamara out of coma and ready for move nearer home

With the domestic sport’s downtime between the Cheltenham and Aintree festivals exacerbated by cancellations, postponements and congealingly cold weather, there was at least one piece of warming news today. It concerned the improved condition of J T McNamara, the Irish amateur who fractured two neck vertebrae in a fall at Cheltenham 12 days ago.

Brae Hill (right) won the Lincoln last year, though in dry conditions – the Town Moor track actually had to be watered

Swiftly Done can sneak wet Lincoln

To think that some of these jockeys will be riding in Dubai next weekend.

Paul Hanagan will hope to repeat his first-day success from 2010

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.

Rule The World (right) confirmed his raw class
in The Neptune Novices
Hurdle

10 Cheltenham Festival losers who caught the eye

They might have trailed behind Quevega or Sprinter Sacre but a number of horses enhanced their reputations in defeat at Cheltenham. Chris McGrath selects those to follow

Wolves keeper Carl Ikeme

Wolves goalkeeper suffers freak injury after punching tactics board

Carl Ikeme hurt himself in frustration after an uncharacteristic mistake

Marco Botti: Moved stables in Newmarket and hopes to end up at the Breeders’ Cup this year

Botti backs Planteur to make flying Flat start by conquering the World

Having anticipated last week for so long, some Cheltenham diehards will be appalled to discover that a new Flat season opens at Doncaster on Friday. Others, however, will recognise that so rich a banquet can only really be followed by a total change of taste – even if Town Moor is set to provide conditions better suited to steeplechasing.

Cheltenham Festival: Diakali can turn tables to triumph over Our Conor

A look ahead to the final day at the Cheltenham Festival

Hero police officer jailed for abusing position to have sex with vulnerable woman

A police officer who won a national award for bravery has been jailed after abusing his position to have sex with a vulnerable woman.

Harry Fry has had nine winners from just 18 runners this year

Harry Fry does it his way for Rock On encore

Assistant who prepared last year's champion hurdler defends title as successful rookie trainer

The double Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Kauto Star drew an enthusiastic crowd at Newbury for his first outing as a dressage horse

Quentin Collonges's fine dry run for Cheltenham Festival

If there was a tip for the Cheltenham Festival yesterday, it was perhaps that punters may have to rethink anything that has gone into the formbook so far. After one of the wettest winters on record racecourses have finally started to dry out, and the afternoon's richest contest promptly went to a horse who had not yet troubled a judge this season on soft, soggy ground.

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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
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Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

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From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
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Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
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We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

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The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
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Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape