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The New One favourite to upstage hurdles old guard

The obsession with its climax, for better or worse, tends to mean that the first two days of the John Smith's Grand National meeting can be unjustly overlooked. But some of the sport scheduled at Aintree before Saturday is more than a match for the championship events at Cheltenham last month – not least now that Sprinter Sacre has been diverted there to try two and a half miles on Friday.

Heresy? Perhaps. English whisky gains a footing

When Rabbie Burns wrote his poem eulogising the virtues of whisky as the “soul o’plays and pranks” worthy of “a bardie’s gratfu’ thanks”, it is less than likely that he had in mind a spirit distilled in Perfidious Albion.

The 10 Best Scotch whiskies

Whether it's a peaty Islay or a spicy Speyside, we've got the perfect wee dram for your Burns Night celebrations...

Rainbow clouds Henderson's Gold quest

To the extent that he must choose the lesser of two evils, you could say that Nicky Henderson finds himself between a rock and a hard place. Perhaps the expression is better reserved, however, for when Britain's saturated racecourses compound his dilemma by freezing over. For now, conditions are better suited to barges than thoroughbreds – much to the vexation of a trainer trying to navigate a course for perhaps the best string of jumpers in the land. "The whole thing is a complete nightmare," Henderson admitted yesterday. "It's now getting into a no-joke area, and I'm quietly going mad."

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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.