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Day at the races

If we were Romans, we'd arm the horses with metal spikes and get them to wrestle with some Christians. But, alas, modern English gentlefolk go in for more pedestrian fare.

This Boxing Day, as ever, is a big date on the horse racing diary, offering a sporting alternative to watching Live and Let Die for the 100th time, with champagne, braying and unbridled spending on the cards.

Wincanton racecourse in Somerset offers admission from pound;8 on the day rising to pound;22 for the posh seats. You can treat yourself to some panoramic views and fine nosh in one of the restaurants from pound;60 a head.

Kempton Park in Surrey hosts the Stan James Kings George VI Steeplechase, previously graced by such fine racehorses as Desert Orchid, Best Mate and Kicking Kick.

Wolverhampton offers not only horses running in a circle but entertainment courtesy of Chester Riggon, the "soul and Motown sensation", who's apparently big in those parts.

Towcester and Wetherby are hosting meets and Huntingdon in Cambridgeshire flogs tickets for pound;15 upwards, with the added option of forking out pound;62 for a carvery meal in a wet marquee.

ARTYFACT: the blood in the famous shower scene in hitchcock's Psycho is made of hershey's chocolate syrup.

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