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Travel special 2014: Escape the bustle of London on a rail journey to

The journey home – 'home' still being the word I instinctively use for the house I grew up in, atop of wild Welsh hillside, even if today it's where I go to escape everyday life – begins with bustle. The battle on the Tube with a case, the dash around Euston juggling handbag-paper-coffee-lunch. It's wise to stock up: the journey to Pen-y-Bont takes over four hours, via Crewe and Shrewsbury. It's very much not the route a crow would fly...

Paul Nicholls recruit Zig spoils New Year's Eve rehearsal

Various disruptions to the racing programme since Christmas have left a very brief window in which horses can get a run, while retaining time to freshen up, before the Cheltenham Festival next month. Some of the best around, either side of the Irish Sea, will be undertaking their final rehearsals at Newbury and Leopardstown on Saturday – but in the meantime novices, in particular, are being urgently pressed on to lesser stages to redress a lack of experience.

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