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It was Ginger McCain, the mastermind behind Red Rum's hat-trick of victories in the world's toughest steeplechase, who ventured only seven years ago that "horses do not win Grand Nationals ridden by women".
More so than Miranda Hart, Stephen Fry and David Mitchell, Alexander Armstrong seems to be the acceptable face of posh comedy. With his comically large ears (a gift from his father), crinkly smile, affable demeanour and (crucially, perhaps) lack of smarty pants, he's the cuddly side of the upper classes in an age when, rather oppressively, toffs seem to be taking over again. Even Armstrong's overgrown Hooray Henry, 'Harry', in those adverts for Pimm's – alcopops for the privileged – is cherishable. Not that he drinks the stuff in public, he says, for fear of wags shouting, "It's Pimm's o'clock" – one of the great advertising campaigns, by the way, that helps explain some of Armstrong's wider appeal. The more you parody the posh, as the creatives at the advertising agency Mother realised, the more accessible they become to other groups.
France half-backs Francois Trinh-Duc and Morgan Parra have been dropped for the RBS 6 Nations clash against England in Paris on Sunday.
Man-for-man marking from the Six Nations match at the Stade de France in Paris
Ireland captain Paul O'Connell believes restricting the error count holds the key to dispatching France in Paris on Sunday.
Ireland have named an unchanged side for Sunday's rearranged RBS 6 Nations clash with France in Paris.
Rory McIlroy won the battle but lost the war. Having shot down Lee Westwood in yesterday's morning's World Match Play semi-final grudge match, McIlroy got held up and ambushed 2&1 in the desert by Hunter Mahan in the final.
Ireland 42 Italy 10
To British television viewers, David Kelly was the stereotypical Irishman, guaranteed perpetuity through his appearance as O'Reilly, the inept contractor hired by Basil in the Fawlty Towers episode "The Builders". After botching a job inside the hotel, he is seen taking issue with Basil's disgruntled wife. "I like a woman with spirit," he unwisely says, before Sybil batters him with an umbrella. "I've been 52 to 53 years on stage and yet Fawlty Towers, those full nine minutes, make me recognised anywhere in the world," he once said.
The Six Nations Committee will today move to snuff out a French club rebellion and reschedule Saturday's postponed international between France and Ireland for 4 March. The French Rugby League has written to the committee, pointing out that 10 of the Top 14 weekends this season already clash with international fixtures and asking for the France-Ireland game to be held over until June, when the French club season ends. Understandably, the authorities are determined to avoid that scenario and will insist on the game taking place on the spare weekend between what would have been the third and fourth round of matches.
There is some significant Cheltenham i-dotting and t-crossing due to be carried out later this week but a certain amount of punctuation was put in place yesterday ahead of the four-day, £3.3m Festival that starts four weeks today. Binocular, for instance, one of Nicky Henderson's Champion Hurdle candidates, will miss tomorrow's Morebattle Hurdle at Kelso and challenge for the title he won two years ago without further conditioning in public.
The novice chasers who did look the part last season have largely failed to do so since entering open company. Yet the one who finally made the grade, at Leopardstown yesterday, failed to get round in three of his first four steeplechases. For all that Quel Esprit did not beat a vintage field in the Hennessy Gold Cup, then, he may yet continue to confound expectations.
Swansea City confirmed yesterday that manager Brendan Rodgers has signed a new and improved contract.
Wales second-rower's suspension for tip-tackling leaves Gatland short of options in the pack for visit of Scotland
It remains to be seen whether Long Run can go to Newbury on Saturday, and Oscar Whisky may yet end up running on the all-weather at Kempton the previous day. But at least Nicky Henderson appears to have guaranteed himself one key Cheltenham Festival trial this weekend, having yesterday committed Captain Conan to a race at Leopardstown on Sunday, when the weather forecast promises at least half a banquet, after a week of very cold gruel.
Ireland 21 Wales 23