Wolverhampton

Barbara Hicks: Veteran of stage and television who excelled in period

Among those actors who never starred but always shone, Barbara Hicks is guaranteed a place. She was at the Royal Court during its ascendant years, and her time at the National Theatre would reflect its own first quarter of a century, from being directed by Laurence Olivier in The Crucible (1965) – for which she had the appropriate Puritan countenance – at the Old Vic, to performing on the South Bank stage named after him, in Alan Ayckbourn's A Small Family Business (1987).

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.

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.

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.

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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My Secret Life: Denise lewis, 39, athlete

My parents were... I grew up with my mum. She was very, very organised, a bit of a disciplinarian. We were like a little team, more like big sister, little sister.

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.