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Nike will have to pay up to extend Manchester United deal

Nike will have to dig deep to extend Man United sponsorship deal

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UPDATED:

19:00 GMT, 14 November 2012

Nike face having to shell out huge sums of cash if they want to maintain their association with Manchester United.

The American sportswear giants are due to sit down with Red Devils officials in February at the start of an exclusive six-month negotiating period with United over their 303million kit supply deal.

And whilst United officials were giving little away today during a conference call to provide information on their first quarter results, it seems obvious Nike will have to come up with an enormous sum to satisfy the club’s owners, the Glazer family.

Swoosh: Manchester United's current kits are made by Nike

Swoosh: Manchester United's current kits are made by Nike

In July, United announced a staggering 357million deal with General Motors for the Chevrolet logo to be worn on their shirts for seven seasons from 2014.

That figure prompted United to buy-out the present deal with DHL for United’s training kit, which will now come to an end at the climax of this season.

'We feel we know, with some clarity, the value of our rights, and we are bullish about the abundance of opportunities available to accelerate the growth of this business,' said Woodward.

'The planning on DHL started post-GM deal. We are always monitoring the value of our rights. We can improve the amount, duration and rights-package about that deal.

'Our six-month negotiating window with them (Nike) starts in February. We look forward to sitting down with them then.'

Privately, United officials do not see the way the Nike deal is structured fits with the more commercially aggressive Glazer regime.

When the present deal was negotiated in 2002, United were a publicly floated company and preferred to take as much risk as possible away from any sponsorship tie-up.

Therefore, a profit-share arrangement was put in place which ensured United received only a proportion of the cash generated from worldwide shirt sales in exchange for a guaranteed sum.

The Glazer family have not gone down the same route. They have even stopped the policy of contracting out pre-season tour arrangements, believing they can negotiate better deals themselves.

Costly: If Nike want to extend the deal they will have to cough up

Costly: If Nike want to extend the deal they will have to cough up

As a battle is presently taking place
between Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne for two proposed matches in
Australia during 2013, the value of such an attitude is obvious.

It has also been noted Nike now pay the
French Football Federation almost 40million-a-year, without a
profit-share arrangement, for a seven-year period which began at the
start of last season.

Sponsorship certainly appears to be a lucrative revenue stream for United given they posted a 32% increase to 27.8million for the three months to September 30, 2013.

Including the General Motors contract, United did 10 sponsorship deals during that time, confirming an increase in workforce from 670 to 735 was almost exclusively connected to the marketing sector.

They now have mobile phone partnerships in 44 countries, with Woodward claiming the three-year deal with Japanese soft drinks manufacturer Kagome came as a direct result of opening an office in Hong Kong.

He added that the USA was the 'next natural place' for the club to open a regional centre given as many supporters watch United live there as do so in the United Kingdom.

Lucrative: From 2014 United will be sponsored by General Motors

Lucrative: From 2014 United will be sponsored by General Motors

It was also confirmed United received 2.5million as a result of being an Olympic Games football venue, plus 1.3million in compensation for players appearing at Euro 2012.

In addition, United used proceeds of IPO to reduce total debt by 17% to 359.7million.

This is unlikely to appease the vast numbers of anti-Glazer United supporters though.

An ‘exceptional item’ of 3.1million related to professional advisor fees in connection with the IPO, part of what is estimated to be an overall spend of 550million in interest and fees since the Glazer takeover in 2005.

Tony Bellew edges towards second world title shot by beating Miranda Edison

Bellew moves towards second world title shot by beating Miranda

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UPDATED:

22:35 GMT, 8 September 2012

Tony Bellew stopped Edison Miranda in
the ninth round to win the WBC International light-heavyweight title at
Alexandra Palace in London.

The 29-year-old from Liverpool had to
battle hard in the opening stages but his class told in the end with a
left to the body ultimately doing the damage.

On the attack: Tony Bellew (left)

On the attack: Tony Bellew (left) had the upper hand

Bellew sank to the canvas in celebration as he continued on his path towards a second world title shot.

'Bomber' edged a cagey first round with both men wary of their opponent's undoubted power.

The fight came to life in the second stanza as Miranda landed a telling right and came out on top duringthe ensuing exchanges. Bellew finished the round strongly with a left-right combination as Miranda exhibited his customary show boating tendencies.

Bellew attempted to lead with the jab in the third and forth rounds but Miranda landed the more conclusive blows with the home fighter relying on late flurries to catch the judges' attention.

Miranda's game plan appeared obvious as the Colombian threw his right with increased abundance in search of the knockout punch. Bellew improved in the middle rounds as his left hand slipped into gear.

Powerful: Edison Miranda

Powerful: Edison Miranda made a strong start (right)

And the home fighter began to stamp his authority on the bout in the eighth, seemingly finally having worked out his tricky, if slightly crude opponent.

The ninth session was delayed as Miranda's corner took an age to wipe the wet canvas but once underway, Bellew continued to have the upper hand. After several sustained attacks, Miranda fell to a well-placed left which was followed by a straight right. Despite rising before 10, the referee waved the fight off.

On the undercard, Erick Ochieng stopped Ryan Toms in the fifth round to retain his English light-middleweight title. The 25-year-old was tested in the opening stages but delivered the goods when it mattered, first with a left hook to the body which floored the Northolt man before a similar shot with his right completed the job.

Lee Purdy dominated Argentina's Gumersindo Carrasco to lift the IBF International welterweight title. The Colchester man had his opponent down in the first and continued to look for the stoppage. Carrasco was down twice in the fourth and although he beat the count on both occasions, the referee soon called a halt to proceedings.

There were also early wins for Ryan Taylor, Wadi Camacho, John Ryder and Kal Yafai while Martin Ward took the decision on his pro debut.

London 2012 Olympics: Brazil 3 Belarus 1

Brazil 3 Belarus 1: Neymar and Oscar turn on the style to sink spirited Belarusians

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UPDATED:

17:37 GMT, 29 July 2012

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LIVE RESULTS |
EVENT SCHEDULE |
MEDALS TABLE

As Brazil came from behind to beat Belarus 3-1, Chelsea new boy Oscar showed his potential by bagging a late goal. But it was compatriot Neymar who stole the show – proving he is the finished article.

This week Barcelona made it clear they want Neymar to join them after the Olympics and it is easy to see why.

His dazzling skills wowed all 66,212 spectators at Old Trafford throughout this Group C match, with the crowning glory coming in the 65th minute when the 20-year-old bent a peach of a set-piece over the wall and past the sprawling Aleksandr Gutor.

The dynamic duo: Neymar (right) and Chelsea's Oscar lit up Old Trafford as Brazil beat Belarus

The dynamic duo: Neymar (right) and Chelsea's Oscar lit up Old Trafford as Brazil beat Belarus

Brazil have now qualified for the last eight with one match to spare, but they were given a stern test by Belarus, who opened the scoring through Renan Bardini Bressan.

Neymar crossed for Alexandre Pato to equalise and also set up Oscar for Brazil's third after his brilliant effort had put them ahead.

After the drab 1-1 draw between Egypt and New Zealand that preceded this game, the flamboyant crowd inside Old Trafford were looking for some top-class entertainment from Brazil and they got it in abundance early on.

Not a bad start: Chelsea's new signing, Oscar, capped a solid performance with a neat finish

Not a bad start: Chelsea's new signing, Oscar, capped a solid performance with a neat finish

A class above: Neymar stole the show at Old Trafford with a beauty of a freekick

A class above: Neymar stole the show at Old Trafford with a beauty of a freekick

The Selecao started confidently, with Rafael, Hulk and Pato sending over teasing crosses, but the carnival atmosphere was punctured after seven minutes when Belarus scored.

Aleksei Kozlov of Torpedo Zhodzin raced down the right flank and found Bardini Bressan at the back post where the midfielder directed a downward header past Neto.

Brazil soon had their equaliser. Neymar came in from the left flank and curled a wonderful cross to the back post where the AC Milan man out-jumped his marker to head past Gutor.

Brazil dominated possession, but Belarus still looked dangerous. Bardini Bressan went close with a fierce drive and Neto had to frantically back-pedal to tip over the midfielder's free-kick shortly afterwards.

Come here lads: Thiago Silva hugs the two star men as he congratulates them

Come here lads: Thiago Silva hugs the two star men as he congratulates them

Not a bad lineup: Alexandre Pato also got in on the act as Brazil dismantled their opposition

Not a bad lineup: Alexandre Pato also got in on the act as Brazil dismantled their opposition

After the break Gutor pulled off an athletic save to palm away a drive from Marcelo and Sergi Politevich threw himself in front of Oscar just before the new Chelsea man could pull the trigger.

Bardini Bressan's cross-shot almost slipped past Neto at the back post during a rare Belarus attack, and the Europeans were looking good value for a draw until Neymar's moment of brilliance.

Stanislav Dragun tripped the Santos forward 20 yards out and Neymar took the free-kick himself, curling his shot over the wall and into the far corner.

Neymar was desperate for a second but was denied by a forceful challenge after beating three Belarus defenders to break in to the box.

Another moment of Neymar brilliance sealed the win in injury time. The forward drifted in from the left flank and skipped past two defenders before backheeling in to Oscar's path and he made no mistake from close range.

Medal contenders Brazil look likely to get a place on the podium

Medal contenders Brazil look likely to get a place on the podium

Brazil have won five World Cups, but have never claimed gold at the Olympics.

Neymar was cautious when asked about his team's chances of going all the way at London 2012, but was happy with their performance on Sunday.

'It was a perfect game, not for me, but for the whole team,' he said.

'I scored and made two assists so for me it was perfect, but I don't know if we can win the competition.

'It is a difficult tournament with so many good teams in it, but we will try our best to win it.'

Sea of stars: Brazil's squad boasts players from some of the world's top teams including Real Madrid, Chelsea, Porto, Santos and Milan

Sea of stars: Brazil's squad boasts players from some of the world's top teams including Real Madrid, Chelsea, Porto, Santos and Milan

Brazil head coach Mano Menezes was reluctant to single out Neymar for praise but was still happy to see his team come from behind to win.

'I was happy with all the players' performances,' he said. 'The most important thing was that we won and that we qualified from this group with one match to spare.

'The (CBF) president Jose Maris Marin has already received a call from the ex-president Lula congratulating the team on qualifying.

'Our supporters are also happy and we have taken an important step in these Olympics today.'

Joey Barton hopes Fleetwood training will help him fall back in love with football

'Desperate' Barton hopes Fleetwood training will help him fall back in love with football

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UPDATED:

17:29 GMT, 24 July 2012

Fantasy football 2012

Joey Barton admits he has fallen out of love with football and hopes that his stint training with Fleetwood Town will reignite his passion for the game.

Barton, left at home while the rest of the QPR squad are in Asia, has confirmed he will join the League Two side to train for a week.

The 29-year-old was omitted by Hoops boss Mark Hughes from the pre-season tour because of a 12-match ban he picked up at the end of last season.

Down in the dumps: Joey Barton says he is feeling disenchanted with the game

Down in the dumps: Joey Barton says he is feeling disenchanted with the game

And Barton admits he is carrying scars from the shocking incident at the Etihad Stadium that saw him attack several members of Manchester City's team after being sent off.

Barton said on his personal website: 'I have become a little disenchanted with the game in the last 6 months after what I have put myself through and I desperately want to fall back in love with the game.

'I feel that training in the lower leagues will give me a reality check and maybe help me become a better person, a little more humility will serve me well.

'The lower leagues is where the hunger for the game is at its greatest, at least where players are concerned.

'I want to re-ignite that passion for the game, something that I ordinarily have an abundance of.

'No monetary b*******. No media b******* (though apparently there still is!). No prima donnas. Just pure, old school, mortgage/livelihoods on the line, b****-out football.

'It’ll help me appreciate all that the Premier league offers me now and in the future.

'What else can I do Work hard, fall back in love with the game and keep my fingers crossed that I can once again earn my place in a QPR shirt.'

Barton's ban at the start of the 2012-13 season was awarded after a series of unsavory incidents during his side's final day defeat against Manchester City.

He clashed with Sergio Aguero and aimed a headbutt at Vincent Kompany after being sent off during QPR's thrilling 3-2 loss, which handed the title to their opponents but also saw them survive.

Shocking: Barton will serve a 12-match ban after his behaviour at the Etihad

Shocking: Barton will serve a 12-match ban after his behaviour at the Etihad

The player was stripped of his captaincy and hit with a massive six-week fine for the incidents.

Barton added that he respects his manager's decision and revealed that a loan move to either the Championship or the Continent could be on the cards.

He said: 'The simple fact is that on top of my much deserved punishment by the FA and then of course QPR, I’ve also been omitted from the senior QPR squad that are now out in Asia, which is of course even more gutting than the original punishment.

'I respect that Mark Hughes makes his own decisions of course, and fair play to him for doing what he believes is right.

'QPR want me to train with the young guys and the reserves in the meantime.

'The possibility of a loan move has been mentioned, where there’s been interest from several European clubs and a lot of Championship clubs too, as you may expect.'

Lion Na Bearnai wins the Irish Grand National

Lion Na Bearnai sees off Out Now to win the Irish Grand National

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UPDATED:

16:54 GMT, 9 April 2012

Lion Na Bearnai provided trainer Tom Gibney and jockey Andrew Thornton with the biggest success of their careers in the Ladbrokes Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse.

A surprise winner of the Ten Up Novice Chase at Navan, the 10-year-old showed stamina in abundance to see off Edward O’Grady’s Out Now after the last fence.

Gibney trains only a handful of horses near the track and Thornton is a 3lb claimer, proving that the big races can still be won by the smaller yards.

Getting to the line: Lion na Bearnai ridden by Andrew Thornton goes on to win the Ladbrokes Irish Grand National Steeplechase

Getting to the line: Lion na Bearnai ridden by Andrew Thornton goes on to win the Ladbrokes Irish Grand National Steeplechase

The winner returned at 33-1 and won by four and a half lengths. Jonjo O’Neill’s Alfie Sherrin ran another good race in third, with Paddy Pub fourth.

Arabella Boy, Deal Done and Whodoyouthink were all prominent until half a mile out when the closers began to take further interest.

Tony McCoy tried to get Groody Hill into the race but his effort was short lived, while the favourite Four Commanders was never sighted.

Leading the way: Lion na Bearnai ridden by Andrew Thornton goes on to win the Ladbrokes Irish Grand National

Leading the way: Lion na Bearnai ridden by Andrew Thornton goes on to win the Ladbrokes Irish Grand National

Silver lining: Jockey Andrew Thornton holds the trophy aloft after winning

Silver lining: Jockey Andrew Thornton holds the trophy aloft after winning

Other fancied runners like Allee Garde, Aigle D’Or, Glam Gerry and Lastoftheleaders never featured in a race where it paid not to be too far back.

Thornton took up the running early in the straight but looked a sitting duck for Out Now who was cruising under Paddy Mangan.

The pair jumped the last together but Lion Na Bearnai pulled out more for a famous win.

Gibney said: 'I only have the five horses and this is unbelievable, just brilliant.

'The last day was the real shock and we were confident coming here but we were afraid to say it.

'Andrew is a brilliant rider – much under-rated and he gave him a copybook ride, the whole thing was copybook. He is only a pony and anyone could ride him at home.'

Thornton added: 'That’s absolutely unbelievable and full credit to the horse.

'He is tough and he jumped like a stag. He is very gutsy and never put a foot wrong. I was squeezed for room at the fence in front of the stands but otherwise everything went great through the race.'

Steve Kean aiming for better than a relegation escape

Kean aiming high as Rovers keep rolling away from relegation

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UPDATED:

23:38 GMT, 20 March 2012

Blackburn manager Steve Kean believes his side have the confidence to pull themselves well clear of the relegation zone and should now be targeting the teams above them.

A 2-0 win over Sunderland at Ewood Park moved Rovers six points clear of the bottom three.

Junior Hoilett opened the scoring just before the hour with an instinctive volley after goalkeeper Simon Mignolet had only half-punched Morten Gamst Pedersen's throw-in.

Big win: Junior Hoilett sent Blackburn on their way

Big win: Junior Hoilett sent Blackburn on their way

Martin Olsson denied Nicklas Bendtner from close range and Sunderland substitute Ji Dong-won missed an open goal from four yards late on before Ayegbeni Yakubu wrapped up victory with a header four minutes from time.

Having picked up their first clean sheet of the season last time out at Wolves another shut-out meant Rovers kept consecutive clean sheets in the league for the first time since since August 2010.

It was also the first time since November 2010 – which dates back to the pre-Kean era – the club had secured back-to-back league victories.

'Not only have we got back-to-back wins but back-to-back clean sheets. We have been worked hard on that aspect,' Kean said.

'I felt when we cleared that one off the line (by Olsson) I was thinking 'give us a another clean sheet' and now we have some daylight.

'I think we can catch (teams above) and with confidence and consistency in the team, which we can feel with abundance, we can start to look up.

'There is still a lot of football to be played and we looked at this month as an opportunity to put points on the board and possibly put a little bit of gap between the teams around us.

Satisfied: Steve Kean was unsurprisingly pleased with the display

Satisfied: Steve Kean was unsurprisingly pleased with the display

'Looking now at the last 11 games we have got 17 points and to keep chipping away and keep adding points is encouraging.'

Kean does not yet know whether Saturday's match at Bolton will go ahead as the situation regarding Wanderers midfielder Fabrice Muamba, who collapsed at the weekend after suffering a cardiac arrest and remains in hospital, means nothing has yet been decided.

It would suit Blackburn from a momentum point of view to play but Kean said that was not the important issue.

'I wish the Bolton game was under other circumstances but if it is on we will go out and try to get some more points,' he added.

'But if Bolton do not feel they are prepared properly – because it has been a very disruptive week – we will respect it and rearrange it any time it fits in with their schedule.

'We know Saturday is going to be a difficult occasion and it will be very emotional, if it goes ahead, for the Bolton players but we are delighted Fabrice is making progress.'

Feed the Yak: Aiyegbeni Yakubu doubled up the lead

Feed the Yak: Aiyegbeni Yakubu doubled up the lead

Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill felt his side lacked intensity but partly blamed himself for not getting the players fired up.

However, he refused to blame the weekend's FA Cup quarter-final exertions in the 1-1 draw at Everton for their failings.

'It was disappointing, obviously. It lacked the intensity of Saturday's game and we just reached no height whatsoever,' said the Black Cats boss.

'I think we left a little behind at Goodison Park if I am completely honest and that might be a contributory factor – but it is not an excuse.

'That intensity at the end of the day comes from me so I have to look at that myself.

'First half we were sloppy in our passing and couldn't move the ball and should have done much better.

'Our best spell came just after they scored and could have equalised but overall we are disappointed.'

Merseyside derby: David Moyes ready to take Everton on great leap forward

Moyes ready to take Everton on great leap forward… starting with Liverpool

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UPDATED:

01:05 GMT, 13 March 2012

It has been a recurring, wearying theme for David Moyes during the past decade. Every time he has felt as if he has got one over Liverpool, his biggest rivals have come back with the same reply: 'Anything you can do, we can do better.'

Examples are there in abundance. In the winter transfer window of 2005, both sides needed a striker. Moyes felt he had pulled off a coup when he smashed Everton's transfer record to sign James Beattie for 6million but, days later, was left aghast when Liverpool spent 7million on Fernando Morientes.

Later that year, Moyes proclaimed that the balance of power in the city had swung after presiding over a campaign that ended with Everton, against the odds, knocking their bitter rivals out of the top four. Not that it mattered to Liverpool. Their response was to win the Champions League.

Hunger: Moyes is desperate to pass Liverpool and dominate Merseyside

Hunger: Moyes is desperate to pass Liverpool and dominate Merseyside

And so the list goes on. In 2009, Everton went close to winning the FA Cup but Liverpool went close to winning the Barclays Premier League, while in January 2011 he was forced to sit back and watch Liverpool emerge from the threat of administration to spend 57.3million on two strikers.

When you consider, then, that Moyes has yet to mastermind a derby win behind enemy lines during his tenure, it would be understandable if he was feeling slightly browbeaten ahead of the latest local squabble.

If anything, however, the opposite is true and Moyes is not alone in recognising this could be a hugely symbolic night.

While Liverpool have faltered in recent months – success in the Carling Cup should not disguise the fact that they remain way below Champions League standard – suddenly there is momentum behind Everton.

'We've been in similar situations over the years and never been able to take the leap,' said Moyes. 'We've been quite close to Liverpool numerous times but apart from the one year (2005), we've never really been able to do it. But we've got another chance to see if we can.'

A first win at Anfield since September 1999 would propel Everton above Liverpool in the standings. Evertonians who have a natural tendency to fear the worst every time they cross Stanley Park are quietly optimistic about their prospects, even if Moyes and his players err on the side of caution.

'We are not going into the game thinking about points or where we might end up,' said midfielder Leon Osman. 'This is a derby game. It's about pride, determination and everything you associate with that.

Ten of the best: Moyes marked the anniversary of taking over with a win over Tottenham

Ten of the best: Moyes marked the anniversary of taking over with a win over Tottenham

Ten of the best: Moyes marked the anniversary of taking over with a win over Tottenham

'It would be a nice time to get a win at Anfield but it is easier said than done. But we are full of confidence. We showed both sides of our game against Spurs, that we can play and we can battle. That is the attitude we will need.'

They will also need to be brave. One criticism levelled at Moyes in derby matches at Anfield is that he has not been decisive enough. Twice in the last six years Everton have been beaten despite playing for more than an hour with an extra man.

The attitude around Goodison this time, though, is markedly different. Moyes spoke with clarity and confidence as he made clear his determination to end the season with Everton occupying a higher position in the table than Liverpool.

That has only happened once since Everton's last title win in 1987 but three points this evening would give them a fine chance of rectifying such a grim statistic.

Coming on the back of Saturday's win over Tottenham, it would also be the perfect way to mark the 10th anniversary of his appointment.

Anything you can do: Everton secured Champions League football... only for Liverpool to trump that by lifting the trophy just weeks later in Istanbul (below)

Anything you can do: Everton secured Champions League football… only for Liverpool to trump that by lifting the trophy just weeks later in Istanbul (below)

Anything you can do: Everton secured Champions League football... only for Liverpool to trump that by lifting the trophy just weeks later in Istanbul (below)

Liverpool v Everton: How the teams will line-up

'Arsenal want to finish above Tottenham, Celtic want to finish above Rangers, that is normal in any city,' said Moyes. 'But we have got a chance.

'It has been a hard year. We said at the start it was going to be tough. Six weeks ago I said that I wouldn't have watched Everton. We weren't playing well enough, weren't getting enough results in the early part of the season but we've done better.

'The players have dug in, we've hung in and kept going and not felt sorry for ourselves. We've found a way of winning but the big thing tonight is getting a good start.'

What of Liverpool Being embroiled in a battle for seventh place was not what was envisaged back in August and, whether he likes it or not, the scrutiny on Kenny Dalglish and his club will intensify should they slip up for a fourth consecutive game.

As captain Steven Gerrard issued a rallying cry yesterday, urging his team-mates to 'take responsibility' for a run in which they have collected eight points from the last 27 available, Dalglish's stance was more defensive.

'There are all sorts of incentives for both clubs – we could go five points clear of them,' said the Scot, batting away the idea that Everton might gain the initiative.

'Throughout any progression there are always going to be disappointments but I think our principles are 100 per cent correct.

'We've got to stick with them and I think we've got to believe in them and I think we do. 'Everybody is in it together. Everybody works hard together. Everybody sticks to their own job and does it as well as they possibly can. That's not changed.'

Le Beau Bai wins Welsh National

Le Beau Bai pips Giles Cross to Welsh National triumph at Chepstow

Le Beau Bai (10-1) showed stamina in abundance to collar Giles Cross in the long home straight and win the Coral Welsh National at Chepstow.

Giles Cross tried to make every post a winning one under Denis O’Regan in an attempt to go one better than 12 months previously.

The pair had it between them for the final mile and Giles Cross kicked clear turning in, but O’Regan was sending out distress signals at the second-last.

Delight: Charlie Poste guides Le Beau Bai home

Delight: Charlie Poste guides Le Beau Bai home

Charlie Poste kept urging Richard Lee’s charge along and he kept up his work to score by seven lengths.

Poste was keen not to let Giles Cross get too far in front, but O’Regan must have thought he had the race in the bag.

However, Le Beau Bai’s feather-weight proved a decisive factor in the very testing ground as he eventually ground down the long-time leader.

There was a further 15 lengths back to Cappa Bleu in third, with Bench Warrent fourth.

Neither Hennessy winner Carruthers nor 6-1 favourite Viking Blond travelled with any fluency.

Poste said: “He’s been a good servant to me. Beforehand I spoke to the owners and I picked out Giles Cross as the one I really thought was the one we had to beat.

“We rode him in similar style when he won here earlier this month. I never thought it was a foregone conclusion and he’s toughed it out really well.”

Lee said: “It”s a race I”ve always wanted to win. We didn”t run in it last year, but he was third two years ago and it all went to plan this time.

“I was worried the ground wasn”t going to be soft enough for him but Charlie got some great leaps out of him. We train on the Welsh borders to come here and win the Welsh National is fantastic. It”s a fairytale.”

Trainer Victor Dartnall said of Giles Cross: “He”s run his heart out, but he was on his own in front for a long way and I think that might have gone against him.”