Newbury’s centrepiece — the three-day Hennessy Winter Festival— will finish a day earlier this year than in previous years.

For the first time ever Newbury’s three-day Hennessy Winter Festival will finish on Hennessy Gold Cup day, Saturday 29 November.

First run in 1957 the Hennessy attracts top steeplechasers with past winners including Mill House (1963), the legendary Arkle (1964/65), Burrough Hill Lad (1984) and popular greys One Man (1994) and Suny Bay (1997).

Last week Paul Nicholls announced that last year’s Hennessy winner Denman — who went on to win the 2008 Gold Cup — would not be returning to defend his title after vets discovered he had an irregular heartbeat.

Last year’s event attracted celebrities including Rod Stewart and Penny Lancaster, singer James Blunt and actor James Nesbitt.

www.newbury-racecourse.co.uk