Sport 66-1 shot Auroras Encore, left, won the race last year

The number will have to be whittled down before the race in April

Gamilati is a 12-1 chance for the 1,000 Guineas after scoring in the UAEe quivalent at Meydan in Dubai yesterday

Gamilati hot – before a tot of Whisky?

Originally devised to keep the racing and betting industries on the move during exactly this kind of freeze, the all-weather has since evolved into a surface for all seasons. Many trainers nowadays like to start off well-bred young horses on the polytrack rather than on firm, heavy or unevenly watered turf.

After riding Dildar to win at Taunton, Ruby Walsh said: 'It was his first time and he'll improve a lot'

Nicholls takes Triumph aim with Dildar

It had seemed remarkable enough that two of the first five in the JCB Triumph Hurdle market – Minsk and Dildar – were yet to leave the ground in public. Still less accountably, however, Dildar was actually eased in the betting after duly making a winning start to his hurdling career at Taunton yesterday.

Grands Crus is unbeaten in three starts over fences this season

Grands Crus to test Gold Cup terrain on Festival trials day

On the day when British horseracing measured its resilience against recession, publishing record attendances in 2011, racegoers were given every incentive to get the turnstiles clicking again at Cheltenham on Saturday. Entries made yesterday for the Festival trials card appear to guarantee at least one new favourite for the real thing, in March, with the three horses sharing the top of the JCB Triumph Hurdle market all lined up for a dress rehearsal. Even so, no race will be more instructive than the Argento Chase, perhaps the last opportunity to prevent the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup becoming another straight duel between Kauto Star and Long Run.

Mark Grant and Lights Of Broadway clear the last at Taunton to land odds of 200-1 in yesterday’s mares’ novice hurdle

Darlan dazzles, Lights dazes

On the face of it, only one of the novice hurdle winners at Taunton yesterday could be described as breathtaking. The first, after all, was returned at 200-1; and the second, sent off at odds-on, won by only half a length. But the manner of Darlan's success was such that he stole the show even from the eye-watering starting price of Lights Of Broadway.

Captain Conan, ridden by Barry Geraghty, wins the Tolworth Hurdle at Sandown on Saturday

Mullins and Meade add to Ireland's March quest

Even in its quieter reaches, the unfolding themes of the season grow steadily more apparent. What had looked one of its least instructive weekends ultimately reiterated not only that the best novice hurdlers in Britain appear to be divided between Nicky Henderson and Philip Hobbs, but also that the Irish may have still better ones.

Coyle is on the brink, having taken just nine points from 16 games

Premier League betting preview: Evidence in Bolton's favour for Blackburn clash

The loser gets the bullet. That's how Tuesday's crunch relegation tussle between Blackburn and Bolton is being billed and like those crowds that used to gather for the guillotine, us punters can't get enough of it. What would normally be a fixture that generates little appeal outside of Lancashire is likely to get a boost in viewing figures purely because of what's riding on the game for the men in the dugout.

Betfair hires Corbett to mend fences with City

Betfair, the beleaguered betting company, yesterday made a further move to rehabilitate its battered image in the City with the appointment of Gerald Corbett, the serial non-executive director and City veteran, as deputy chairman.

The business on...Breon Corcoran, Chief Executive, Betfair

The favourite won!

Yes, which is something bookmakers won't want to hear today, the first really big Saturday of the jumps season.

Frankie Cocozza axed from X Factor

Frankie Cocozza, the party-loving X Factor hopeful, has been axed from the ITV competition.

Paul Nicholls, the trainer hopes to win the Paddy Power Gold Cup for the first time with Mon Parrain

Mon Parrain the Power play for Nicholls

Cheltenham racecourse, it was announced yesterday, is to be one of the stop-off points for the Olympic torch next May, early in its 70-day, 8,000-mile journey round Britain from Land's End to London. Before that, of course, there will be plenty to light up the Gloucestershire track that has become synonymous with jump racing's best. And with the Flat season's international finale, the Breeders' Cup, now in the form book the focus here is firmly on those who may, even at this early stage, be identified as medal hopes for next year's Festival.

Investment Column: Bunzl's shares don't reflect its strengths

Paddy Power; Cupid

World's best may look elsewhere than Ascot's Champion challenge

The £1.3m QIPCO Champion Stakes, which will be the richest race ever run in Britain when it is staged at Ascot in October, attracted 40 entries yesterday, including three of the world's leading middle-distance performers in So You Think, Nathaniel and Pour Moi. Whether they line up remains to be seen – So You Think may be in Australia by then, and Nathaniel and Pour Moi have the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe 13 days earlier as their prime autumn target.

Racing: Bandit breaks into Cheltenham Gold Cup betting

Therealbandit rewarded the faith of his followers as he shrugged off a disastrous run at Cheltenham last month to trounce his rivals at the same course yesterday and earn a 20-1 quote for the Gold Cup.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'