Wolverhampton

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.

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.

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.

Sky Lantern blazes Kempton trail in Breeders' Cup prep

European trainers saddling two-year-olds at the Breeders' Cup next week have welcomed the prohibition of Lasix, in the juvenile races, as a significant levelling of the playing field. In other respects, however, the local racing environment may remain sufficiently alien to drive their inexperienced charges – almost literally – round the bend.

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Album: Beverley Knight, Soul UK (Hurricane Records)

Wolverhampton's finest revisits some favourite home-grown soul from her youth, making a strong case for her argument that this genre always gets overlooked when the media gets nostalgic about the 1980s and 1990s.