Ginger

Cinders And Ashes rekindles McCain hopes of hurdling title

For the second year running, Donald McCain's lorry took the Champion Hurdle runner-up back to his Cheshire stables – but it also contained a horse that might redress matters next time round. For while Cinders And Ashes had to be driven out to win the William Hill Supreme Novices' Hurdle by barely a length, with four horses breathing down his neck, McCain has no doubt of his calibre. "If you watch, Jason [Maguire] was taking a pull because he was getting there too soon," he said. "I told Jason to ride him with balls, and that's what he did."

Take root: Fresh ginger is perfect for creating healthy, refreshing

A lot of people are put off by the thought of ginger – maybe it's the powdered stuff that gives it a bad reputation. But fresh root ginger is quite another story and I always keep a piece in my fridge – it comes in useful for all sorts of things, from making a healing and refreshing tea to creating a fragrant Asian broth. Occasionally, you also see the fresh pink ginger in Asian supermarkets – this is very young ginger, before the skin forms, which is very tender and not too overpowering. This is the stuff that often gets pickled for serving with sushi and sashimi. Then there is crystallised ginger and preserved ginger in syrup, which have their uses in puddings and sweets.

McCain raises National defence

It rather comes under the heading "well, he would say that, wouldn't he?" But Donald McCain, the trainer of last year's Grand National winner Ballabriggs, is nonetheless robust and convincing in his defence of the Aintree marathon. And, like Mandy Rice-Davies, he most certainly speaks from experience.

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