Racehorses are reaching faster and faster speeds, scientists have found, overturning research which suggested they had reached their galloping limit.
A team from the University of Exeter studied a total of 616,084 races run by more than 70,000 horses, with a broader focus on sprint races.
Previous research, which suggested speeds had reached a plateau, had largely concentrated on a small number of middle- to long-distance races.
It is not yet known whether the faster pace is down to breeding, better training, better jockeys, or a combination of these.
Researcher Dr Patrick Sharman said:
A year ago a racehorse trainer feared she would lose one of her horses after he suffered a life-threatening injury during a race at Wincanton.
But the horse, called Monkerty Tunkerty, has battled back to health and winning ways, triumphing in the Somerset National last month.
Newton Abbot Racecourse has commissioned a bronze sculpture of jockey AP McCoy to recognise his achievements and contribution to the sport.
The sculpture will be unveiled before the start of the first race today and will go on show in the weighing room at the racecourse.
The bronze sculpture was created by William Newton, a sculptor based in Wincanton. The unveiling will mark the end of the 2014 racing season at Newton Abbot Racecourse.
Horse racing is hugely popular here in the West Country with race courses in Wincanton, Newton Abbot and Exeter. Many of the top National Hunt trainers are based in the region. But now our local courses are backing the rise of a new competition - Arabian racing.
Horses from the Middle East are best known for their quirky, unpredictable nature and Taunton recently hosted the opening Arabian fixture of the season. Chris Spittles reports on the increasing popularity of the sport.
Here's one report celebrating the success of Somerset-based racing legend, Kauto Star after his Boxing Day win last year.
The RSPCA has said that due to the excessive use of the whip the result should not stand and Neptune Collonges should be stripped of the win. Gavin Grant, chief executive of the RSPCA said that the race contained too many risks for the horses:
Our sports correspondent Matthias Kurth reports on some of the contenders in tomorrow's Grand National. Among the favourites is Giles Cross, trained in North Devon by Victor Dartnell.