Sport

Former Wolverhampton Wanderers and England goalkeeper Bert Williams has died, aged 93.

Tai Woffinden goes into today’s British Grand Prix riding high

Speedway: World hopeful Tai Woffinden on an upward slide

Tai Woffinden may be only 22 but he goes into the British Speedway Grand Prix at the Millennium Stadium today with huge expectation riding on his shoulders.

Liber Nauticus is 7-2 for the Oaks despite a laboured win at York

Nauticus finds it far from plain sailing in Investec Oaks trial

If this was supposed to be the preliminary sketch for an Epsom masterpiece, then for now Liber Nauticus remains closer to an oil tanker than a dashing ocean clipper. Nonetheless she finds herself disputing favouritism for the Investec Oaks, bookmakers having taken an indulgent view of the heavy weather she made of her trial here.

Trainer Marco Botti could make a Group One breakthrough

Dark horses that can light up the Flat

As the new season gathers pace next week with a series of Classic trials, Chris McGrath picks 10 to watch

Marco Botti: Moved stables in Newmarket and hopes to end up at the Breeders’ Cup this year

Botti backs Planteur to make flying Flat start by conquering the World

Having anticipated last week for so long, some Cheltenham diehards will be appalled to discover that a new Flat season opens at Doncaster on Friday. Others, however, will recognise that so rich a banquet can only really be followed by a total change of taste – even if Town Moor is set to provide conditions better suited to steeplechasing.

Arnaud offers a cup chance

It is rather like preparing for a bout with one Klitschko brother by sparring with the other. Certainly, the Paddy Power Imperial Cup at Sandown tomorrow represents a genuine aperitif to Cheltenham – not just for the winner, who will receive a £75,000 bonus if following up at the Festival, but also for punters, who get an alarming foretaste of the handicaps they must solve next week.

British police officer dies on France ski break

A police officer has died on a skiing holiday with colleagues in France.

Woman denies murder bid on baby dumped at bottom of rubbish chute

A woman has denied attempting to murder a baby who was found at the bottom of a rubbish chute outside a block of flats.

Two police officers hospitalised after patrol car crash

Two police officers have been taken to hospital after their patrol car overturned as they responded to a 999 call reporting disorder outside a pub.

Sam Waley-Cohen riding Long Run at Newbury in February

Long Run ready to battle for Star billing

This could prove one of those occasions when there is no point complicating matters. Long Run, beaten only by the record-breaking Kauto Star in three Boxing Day starts over the course, is much the most likely winner of the William Hill King George VI Chase at Kempton tomorrow. And while the retirement of Kauto Star, who won the race for a fifth time last year, suggests the time is ripe for a changing of the guard, it is surely premature to make too much of the anomaly that Long Run – in approaching only his eighth birthday – increasingly represents the old order.

Simonsig, ridden by Barry Geraghty, clears the last to win the Noel Novices Chase at Ascot yesterday

If anyone can conjure a staying Prospect to fill the Big Buck's void, Nicholls can

It never seemed terribly likely that his spree might be brought to an end by a superior horse, at least so long as connections declined to risk him over shorter distances.

Thief drops till cash haul as he flees hotel

A thief who snatched hundreds of pounds from a hotel's reception dropped most of his haul as he was chased from the building.

Chieftain and Boyfromnowhere set to shine between Rock and a muddy place

Champion hurdler can make winning return on his first official start for rookie trainer Fry

Kim Bailey: The trainer regards Harry Topper as ‘the best I’ve had since Master Oats

Harry looks destined for top of the chasing class

For those dispirited by the way so many big jump races are nowadays carved up between the same few stables, here was a look back to the future. Lest we forget, Kim Bailey himself once won the Gold Cup and Champion Hurdle at the same Festival, with Master Oats and Alderbrook respectively in 1995, and until this year he remained unique among current trainers in having also won a Grand National. Even in his pomp, however, he never pretended to invulnerability – and the engaging human qualities that leavened his undoubted hunger have been sadly missed from the elite scene for more than a decade.

Go Native

Go Native: Hurdler dies after breaking leg on gallops

It is no trite ambition, seeing such good horses venture onto such awful ground, to ask only that the likes of Long Run and Finian’s Rainbow complete their comebacks tomorrow in one piece.

Forpadydeplasterer (left) has built up an extremely solid body of work

Grand Crus may finish up Plastered

Anticipation of this meeting is largely rooted in hindsight. Year after year it proves a major crossroads, especially in the career of a young horse, on the road back to the Festival.

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There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
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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

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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
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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

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Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

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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
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A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

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Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

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