Tag Archives: jacob

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson had a winning horse at Doncaster

Ferguson's nous extends from the pitch to the racecourse with win in Doncaster

PUBLISHED:

18:39 GMT, 1 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

18:39 GMT, 1 March 2013

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson was in the winner's enclosure at Doncaster after Empire Levant made a winning start to his career over fences in the 32Red Novices' Chase.

The Paul Nicholls-trained six-year-old was a 4-5 favourite on his first
appearance since failing to complete a hurdle race at Aintree in late October and was sent straight to the lead by Daryl Jacob.

Winners enclosure: Sir Alex Ferguson (left) with Empire Lavant and jockey Daryl Jacob after their victory at Doncaster

Winners enclosure: Sir Alex Ferguson (left) with Empire Lavant and jockey Daryl Jacob after their victory at Doncaster

Largely jumping quickly and accurately, all appeared to be going well for
favourite-backers until the grey made a real mess of the fifth fence from home, bringing him right back to the rest of the field.

However, he was good and neat at the remaining four fences in the home straight and found enough for pressure to hold off the determined Speed Steed by two and a quarter lengths.

Empire Levant is owned by Ferguson and Ged Mason and carries the colours of Grand National contenders What A Friend and Harry The Viking.

Sharing a joke: Ferguson and Jacob chat after the win

Sharing a joke: Ferguson and Jacob chat after the win

Kauto Stone yet to find a jockey for King George VI Chase after Jacob suspension.

Kauto Stone yet to find a jockey for King George VI Chase after Jacob suspension

|

UPDATED:

20:35 GMT, 17 December 2012

Connections of Kauto Star’s half-brother Kauto Stone have still to decide who will partner the six-year-old in the King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day in the absence of the suspended Daryl Jacob.

Jacob was on board Kauto Stone when he landed the JNWine.com Champion Chase at Down Royal but will miss the lucrative Christmas period after picking up a 10-day ban for dropping his hands and mistaking the winning line at Wincanton on December 6.

As usual, Tony McCoy’s name has been in the frame but Charlie Liverton, racing manager to owner Robin Geffen, stated that as yet things are still up in the air and discussions are ongoing.

Jacob will miss the Christmas period after picking up a 10-day ban

Jacob will miss the Christmas period after picking up a 10-day ban

Liverton said: ‘Nothing has been finalised yet. Mr (Robin) Geffen (owner) and Paul Nicholls still need to sit down and come to a decision.

‘He's very much on target for the race, though, and has been doing everything nicely since Down Royal, touch wood.’

Meanwhile, trainer David Pipe has not ruled out the King George for Grands Crus who recently had a wind operation after disappointing when a red-hot favourite for the Paddy Power Gold Cup last month.

Pipe said: ‘He just had a routine gallop and everything is fine, I just wanted to keep everyone informed with his progress. He will be left in at the five-day stage and a decision on the King George will be made very late, as I've always said it will be.’

Grands Crus is as short as 10-1 for the King George, for which Long Run is the general 7-2 favourite.

Billy Sharp and partner expecting baby

Pregnancy joy for Sharp with striker's partner due to give birth after pain of losing Luey

PUBLISHED:

09:22 GMT, 19 November 2012

|

UPDATED:

09:39 GMT, 19 November 2012

Billy Sharp and his partner Jade are expecting a baby in four weeks' time as the striker continues to raise awareness of the condition which claimed the life of their son Luey.

Luey Jacob Sharp was born on Thursday, October 27 last year and passed away just two days later.

He had gastroschisis, a defect of the abdominal wall which causes the bowel to grow outside the baby’s body.

Good news: Billy Sharp and his partner Jade are expecting a baby

Good news: Billy Sharp and his partner Jade are expecting a baby

Last Wednesday in Doncaster Billy, on loan at Nottingham Forest from Southampton, and Jade held a
charity dinner for the LJS Foundation (www. ljsfoundation.org.uk).

It was a sell-out, with Sharps' old and
current team-mates mingling with Doncaster Rovers fans who just wanted
to support their former striker.

The evening raised more than 10,000 and Sharp told The Star: 'Jade and I are so grateful to everyone who attended and showed their support.

'We are overwhelmed that our first dinner for the charity has raised so much money and helped increase awareness of gastroschisis.

'It was a very emotional night for us and to see so many people backing the foundation was just fantastic.'

Jeremy Kyle has Wincanton winner and Zarkandar stakes Champion Hurdle claim

Jeremy Kyle has Wincanton winner and Zarkandar stakes Champion claim

|

UPDATED:

16:02 GMT, 10 November 2012

Zarkandar (100-30) fuelled his claims for the Champion Hurdle and surprised trainer Paul Nicholls when outpointing stablemate Prospect Wells in the totepool.com Elite Hurdle at Wincanton.

Fifth in last season's Champion and a faller when previously seen in action at Aintree, the diminutive Zarkandar showed with a determined display under Daryl Jacob that, in a tight situation, class will out.

Champion Hurdle prospect: Zarkandar and Daryl Jacob (right) clear the last flight with Prospect Wells

Champion Hurdle prospect: Zarkandar and Daryl Jacob (right) clear the last flight with Prospect Wells

It was a perfect start to the campaign for Jacob, who because Ruby Walsh is expected to ride Hurricane Fly throughout the season is set to be aboard Zarkandar for all his races.

Despite giving his rival 17lb, Zarkandar cruised up to join Prospect Wells still on the bridle two flights from home, and buckled down on the run-in to resist the latter's final thrust under Walsh by a neck.

It was seven lengths back to Balder Succes. Nicholls was all praise for the winner, who William Hill cut to 10-1 from 12s for the Champion.

He said: 'He's done well, real well, and I never had him looking as good as this for the whole of last season.

'For him he looks big and well, and in the last fortnight he's just suddenly picked up. Ruby thought the 17lb would swing it and I told the owners that win, lose or draw he would come on for the run.

'Zarkandar will now go for the Bula (International Hurdle at Cheltenham in December) )and we're right back where we want to be with him. The Bula is the race we've been training him for.

'Then we'll look to bring him back here for the Kingwell in the new year. Prospect Wells is a rattling good handicapper and will win a nice race.

Winning owners: Jeremy Kyle with his wife, former model Carla Germaine, were on the mark at Wincanton

Winning owners: Jeremy Kyle with his wife, former model Carla Germaine, were on the mark at Wincanton

'Today there hardly deserved to be a loser. Prospect Wells lost nothing in defeat, I always hate beating a stablemate but he will win a nice race. Both have run well and I am chuffed for both of them.'

Fairy Rath was gameness personified in making every yard of the running in the totepool Mobile Text Tote To 89660 Handicap Chase.

The Nick Gifford-trained six-year-old
ran virtually to the pound with Henry San as he turned round recent
Chepstow placings with that rival.

Denis O'Regan did not intend to lead
on the 5-1 shot, but was encouraged to do so when there was a sedate
early pace and his mount winged the first.

Fairy Rath had fought off all bar
Henry San when that rival joined him two out, and survived an awkward
jump at the last before going away again to score by a length and a
quarter.

It was a further 21 lengths back to the third, Sum Laff.

Fairy Rath is owned by talk show host Jeremy Kyle's wife, Carla.

The couple are in the Caribbean with Andy Stewart and are not believed to have seen the race.

O'Regan said: 'He was very game. He picked up again after the last and then just idled.'

Houblon Des Obeaux made all the running for Venetia Williams and Aidan Coleman in the totepool Rising Stars Novices' Chase.

In what looked on paper to be a red-hot renewal, Houblon Des Obeaux was preferred in the market by several rivals and went off at 9-1, in spite of having been impressive when scoring on his debut over fences at Worcester.

Measuring his fences with accuracy, the five-year-old benefited from the jumping deficiencies of Aegean Dawn (unseated rider second) and Court In Motion (bad mistake middle fences down back) to come home four and a half lengths clear of Poungach, who rallied to catch Court In Motion for second.

Coleman said: 'That was super. We were a bit worried that there wasn't going to be a lot of pace and he wants further, so I had to pop out and make it. He jumped for fun and will do even better over a longer trip. If he carries on along this path he could be an RSA Chase type.'

Coral gave the winner a 25-1 quote for the RSA.

Miss Milborne took the spoils in a Bet totequadpot Test Tote To 89660 Mares' Handicap Hurdle in which five of the 10-strong field were line-abreast approaching the final flight.

You could have thrown a blanket over the protagonists, but on the run-in Jamie Snowden's mare showed the best resolve to forge two lengths and three clear of Prima Porta and Tempest River under Harry Skelton.

It is the dream of the winner's part-owner Adrian Brown to land the RSA Chase at Cheltenham, as he is CEO (UK) for the same company.

Snowden observed: 'She is as tough as nails and had a good blow on her comeback at Chepstow. The trip was too short and we knew that had put her spot on for today.

'She can be the first off the bridle, as she was at Towcester, but she's a mare with plenty of guts and that counts for so much.

'All being well she'll run next in a mares' Listed race at Kempton in a fortnight.'

Kings Lad helped make it a red-letter week for Colin and Joe Tizzard when he floored 2-7 favourite Mr Mole in the Bet totescoop6 Text Tote To 89660 EBF 'National Hunt' Novices' Hurdle.

Fresh from their Haldon Gold Cup triumph with Cue Card at Exeter, the father and son trainer/jockey combo can do little wrong and Kings Lad (5-1) defied connections' belief that he would improve for the outing.

In charge after the penultimate flight, he never looked like being reeled-in and came home with a seven-length cushion over the disappointing market leader.

Owner Graham Gingell, related to Tizzard as his son married the trainer's daughter, said: 'Colin thought he would need the run so we didn't get carried away. It was his first run since May and we are over the moon.'

Gingell spotted and purchased Kings Lad at Doncaster Sales as a three-year-old. He and wife, Sylvia Musgrove, live just a mile from Wincanton.

Robert Snodgrass could not refuse Norwich

Premier League too good to refuse, says new Norwich signing Snodgrass

|

UPDATED:

09:52 GMT, 27 July 2012

Stepping up: Snodgrass is relishing the challenge

Stepping up: Snodgrass is relishing the challenge

New Norwich signing Robert Snodgrass admitted the chance to play in the Barclays Premier League was too good to pass up.

Norwich on Thursday completed the signing of the midfielder from Leeds on a three-year deal.

The 24-year-old, who joined the Canaries for an undisclosed fee, became manager Chris Hughton's third summer signing following Jacob Butterfield and Steven Whittaker.

Snodgrass told the club website, www.canaries.co.uk: 'I'm delighted to get it done and dusted and now I'm looking forward to meeting my new team-mates and starting the season.

'I firmly believe that the Premier League is the best league in the world, and when Norwich came in for me, I made the step because I believe that Norwich can kick on again.

'Sometimes this window of opportunity doesn't come about too often, and I jumped at the chance.'

Hughton added: 'He is a player I have admired for a number of years now and he's at a good age at 24, with some excellent experience from his time with Leeds.

'He's also got that international experience with Scotland and is used to playing in big matches both with his country and at Elland Road.'

Great Scot: Snodgrass has worked his way into the Scotland set-up

Great Scot: Snodgrass has worked his way into the Scotland set-up

Snodgrass made 193 appearances during his four-year spell with Leeds, scoring 41 goals.

He also has five caps for Scotland and Hughton is confident he will be a success in the Premier League.

'Robert is an excellent addition to the squad and I'm delighted to add a player of his calibre to the team,' he said.

'He had a good goal-scoring record with Leeds and obviously knows a few of the lads already with the squad well from his time at Elland Road and with Scotland.

'I'm sure, like Jacob Butterfield and Steven Whittaker, it won't take him long to settle in with the squad.'

Norwich agree fee with Barnsley for Jacob Butterfield

Norwich agree fee with Barnsley for highly-rated midfielder Butterfield

|

UPDATED:

12:12 GMT, 20 July 2012

New boy: Jacob Butterfield

New boy: Jacob Butterfield

Barnsley have come to an agreement with Norwich over a transfer fee for Jacob Butterfield, avoiding the prospect of a tribunal.

The out-of-contract midfielder, 22, signed a four-year deal with the Canaries on July 3 although a fee – required as Butterfield is under the age of 24 and had been offered fresh terms – could not be settled between the two clubs, making a tribunal almost inevitable.

Barnsley rejected an initial offer as derisory and furious manager Keith Hill accused the Barclays Premier League outfit of attempting to get their man on the cheap.

But a statement from the Tykes this morning revealed Norwich have upped their offer and common ground has been found.

'Barnsley Football Club have reached an agreement with Norwich City for the transfer fee of Jacob Butterfield,' read the statement on the npower Championship club's official website.

'The club are now happy to have accepted a vastly improved offer from Norwich, subsequently avoiding a tribunal as the midfielder is under the age of 24.'

Billy Sharp exclusive: Baby Luey was a fighter

Billy Sharp exclusive: Baby Luey was a fighter but when he began to cry, we said: 'You have to let go now'

|

UPDATED:

22:00 GMT, 13 July 2012

Match of the day has a special significance for Billy Sharp. The fact he and his Southampton team-mates will be part of the Premier League highlights programme this season is a source of immense pride, but with that joy comes waves of the deepest, most unimaginable sadness: the memory of the son who is not here to watch his dad on a Saturday night.

Luey Jacob Sharp was born on Thursday October 27 last year and passed away just two days later. Billy, 26, and his girlfriend Jade, 25, were with their son when he died, just after Luey had battled for his life through his one and only episode of Match of the Day.

‘He kept going blue and then…’ says Billy, taking a huge, rasping gasp of air. ‘I kept saying to my dad, “This is it. He’s not going to come through this time”.’ Jade takes up the story: ‘You kept saying, “Can you make it through Match of the Day” And he did. He was a real little fighter. You could tell he really didn’t want to go.

Feeling Blue: Billy Sharp and girlfriend Jade sit at their home in Southampton wearing blue bands for the Luey Jacob Sharp Foundation, as well as the t-shirt being worn by the striker

Feeling Blue: Billy Sharp and girlfriend Jade sit at their home in Southampton wearing blue bands for the Luey Jacob Sharp Foundation, as well as the t-shirt being worn by the striker

‘He never really cried but towards the
end he started to cry and his lungs had failed so he was leaking fluid,
brown fluid. We could tell then that he was in pain. We kept saying to
him, “You have to let go now”.’

‘You knew he was exhausted by the way
he took his last breath,’ says Billy. ‘It was like a grown-up’s last
breath, like he was fed up. For me it was almost a relief because I knew
he was hurting.’

Their eyes moisten but, somehow, the
tears do not fall. And the words — these incredibly difficult words, the
words no parent ever wants to speak — keep coming: quietly,
respectfully and eloquently. Sitting in the living room of their new
home in Southampton, the couple discuss how they dealt with being
confronted by a new word, gastroschisis, a defect of the abdominal wall
which causes the bowel to grow outside the baby’s body.

They talk about how and why Billy played and scored for his then-club Doncaster Rovers just three days after Luey died.

Words seem to help, you see. Talking,
saying Luey’s name — a name spelt to avoid the common mispronunciation
of Billy’s middle name,Louis — helps.

Jade said: ‘After we moved to
Southampton, as the time went on, some of the girls, the ones who were
pregnant or had kids, said they found it hard to come and talk to me
because of what we’ve gone through. They didn’t really know what to say.

‘I feel bad for people because we don’t mind talking about it. It makes me feel better to talk about it.

‘But people don’t really know what to
say. When we went on holiday people asked, “Oh, have you got kids” And
then it’s us who don’t really know what to say.’

Tribute: Sharp wore a T-shirt dedicating his goal against Middlesbrough to Luey

Tribute: Sharp wore a T-shirt dedicating his goal against Middlesbrough to Luey

‘You don’t want to tell people but then you don’t not want to tell people,’ says Billy. ‘I say, “Yes, but he passed away”.’

It is impossible not to feel moved by
this young couple’s story; by the way they were thrown, unprepared, into
a fight to ease the suffering of their first-born’s short life and how,
in their very different ways, they are coping with such a devastating
loss.

Nine months later it is still an
ongoing process: every day brings its new challenges. This October, the
anniversary of Luey’s birth and death, will bring even more.

Billy said: ‘You see little boys who
are the same age and you think, “Luey would have done that”. But you
just want to know: would he have done that What would he have been
doing’

‘We never got to know, did we…’ says Jade. ‘Every minute of every day, you wonder.’

‘Moments,’ Billy calls them. He
shudders slightly at some memories and smiles warmly at others. They
are, after all, times when Luey still feels a part of his parents’
lives. The day Southampton got promoted, thanks to a 4-0 home win over
Coventry City, was one of those ‘moments’.

‘The lads took their kids on to the
pitch,’ says Sharp. ‘That was the one bit where I thought, “He could
have been here now, in his kit”.’ Until Luey was born, Sharp says he
played every game for his mum and dad. They have never missed a match,
since he started playing in Sheffield at the age of six. But now he
plays for Luey, in a pair of boots with ‘LJS’ on the heels.

Football provided Sharp with an
outlet, a way of getting straight back into his old routine. Luey died
on Saturday night and Sharp rang his boss at Doncaster, Dean Saunders,
on Sunday morning and said: ‘Look, I’m ready to come back in and I’m
ready to play on Tuesday.’

Sharp smiles. ‘The gaffer was
brilliant,’ he says. ‘He said, “Right. That’s the best news I’ve had
since I’ve been at the club. I’ll see you Tuesday”.’

Big impact: after his switch from Doncaster, Sharp helped Southampton over the line in the promotion chase

Big impact: after his switch from Doncaster, Sharp helped Southampton over the line in the promotion chase

Doncaster played Middlesbrough that
night. Sharp was captain, the players wore black armbands and there was a
minute’s applause in Luey’s memory. Jade was there, too.

Sharp says: ‘We had a room at Martin
House hospice in Leeds where Luey was, a really cold room, where we
could go and see him. I kept going in and out and seeing him and the
more I thought about what I was doing, the more it felt right. I just
wanted to do this one thing for him.

‘Tuesday was hard because it was the
first time I’d left him, but then I knew that, because he was in Martin
House, it was just like they were babysitting him and I was coming back
after football to see him.’ Sharp puffs out his cheeks, pauses for a
few seconds, and then looks up and carries on, somehow.

He scored that evening as Doncaster
lost 3-1, a stunning volleyed effort after 14 minutes that Boro boss
Tony Mowbray called a ‘goal from heaven’. Sharp celebrated by revealing a
T-shirt saying: ‘That’s for you son.’

It had been the kit man’s idea. He
slipped the T-shirt under Sharp’s kit so none of his team-mates, only
Jade, knew about it. Seeing it lying there was the one moment Sharp
thought, ‘Can I do this’ But he did.

‘I just knew I was going to score,’ he
says. ‘The result wasn’t the right one but I’ve never scored a goal
like I did and I don’t think I ever will do. But it was just meant to
be.

‘After I scored the goal I just wanted
to go home. From a selfish point of view, I’d done what I wanted to do.
It got me back doing what I love and out of being in a horrible mood.’

Sharp keeps saying it was a ‘selfish’
way of dealing with his loss, but it doesn’t feel like that at all. It
was just his way of coping. He had the day off on Wednesday, the day of
Luey’s funeral, and then Saunders put training back on Thursday so Sharp
could be there when Luey was cremated.

In memory: In the Premier League next season, Sharp will continue to wear his son's initials on his boots

In memory: In the Premier League next season, Sharp will continue to wear his son's initials on his boots

‘We had to cremate him on the
Thursday,’ says Jade. ‘And you went training after. And that was you,
back in full-time football.’ In a 3-2 win at Ipswich Town that Saturday,
Sharp scored again.

Everyone at Portman Road started
clapping, providing another ‘unbelievable moment’ for the striker. A
Barnsley fan was accused of vile abuse in January, but Sharp prefers to
remember the support he gleaned from the game, both at Doncaster and
then when he moved to the south coast in January.

He ‘needed a change’ and Southampton came in just at the right time — professionally and, you feel, personally as well.

‘Football does get a bad side
sometimes but it brings out the good in a lot of things as well,’ Billy
says. ‘Dean Saunders could have said, “No, listen, football’s just a
game”. But he got me back into my everyday life. I tried to use it
positively; even though I was hurting inside.’

Jade, however, could not immerse
herself in the everyday workings of a football team. She was physically
weak after giving birth and having an epidural and was on maternity
leave from her job in recruitment.

She says everything was ‘just a blur’,
adding: ‘I think I slept for about two weeks.’ But Jade has little time
for ‘sitting around wallowing and feeling sorry for yourself’.

Better together: Billy and Jade have both needed the support of the other to get through the pain

Better together: Billy and Jade have both needed the support of the other to get through the pain

She has thrown her energy into the
Luey Jacob Sharp Foundation, a charity the couple have set up to raise
awareness of and fund research into gastroschisis. Very little is known
about the condition, which is why, when it was flagged up on Jade’s
12-week scan, she was sent home with a ‘leaflet with three paragraphs on
it’ and advised babies with gastroschisis have a 95 per cent survival
rate.

This is one of the most troubling
parts of Billy and Jade’s story. They were completely unprepared for
what was going to happen when their son was born six weeks early,
weighing just 4lb 1oz.

‘We knew he wasn’t going to be well when he was born but we just thought he would be unwell for three months,’ says Billy.

‘He might have to have an operation
and then he was going to be fine. But…’ He trails off. When Luey was
born his bowel, which had grown outside his body, was ‘completely
black’. He was too underdeveloped to have a transplant and the doctors
knew as soon as Jade gave birth that Luey would only be alive for a
matter of hours.

‘It was horrific the first night,’
says Jade. ‘We had been awake for 36 hours but we didn’t want to leave
Luey in intensive care. We managed to take him to the hospice in a Moses
basket with a heart monitor. If he stopped breathing for longer than
three seconds it beeped to wake us up. The worry was if we fell asleep
and he died when we were asleep that would have just been horrific.’

Billy looks up, proudly. ‘They said he wouldn’t make a few hours but…’ ‘…He did, didn’t he’ says Jade.

It is quiet for a few seconds. They are both smiling, sharing another important ‘moment’.

For more about the Luey Jacob Sharp Foundation or gastroschisis visit: ljsfoundation.org.uk/ You can also follow the LJS Foundation on Twitter: @foundationljs

Newcastle and Reading interested in Jacob Butterfield

Reading enter race to sign Newcastle's 2m target Butterfield

|

UPDATED:

21:45 GMT, 3 May 2012

Butterfield

Newcastle are hoping to fend off late interest from Reading to sign Jacob Butterfield (right) from Barnsley in a 2m deal.

The 21-year-old midfielder is seen as a player for the future.

However, Newcastle are wary of increasing interest in their own players, with Arsenal the latest club to be linked with striker Demba Ba.

Middlesbrough want Grant Leadbitter from Ipswich

Boro turn to Leadbitter after missing out on 2m Butterfield to Reading

|

UPDATED:

21:00 GMT, 1 May 2012

Middlesbrough manager Tony Mowbray is ready to turn to Ipswich midfielder Grant Leadbitter after missing out on Barnsley captain Jacob Butterfield.

The 2m-rated Butterfield looks set to join Championship champions Reading although Newcastle manager Alan Pardew is also interested in the talented 21-year-old.

In demand: Ipswich midfielder Grant Leadbitter is wanted at Middlesbrough

In demand: Ipswich midfielder Grant Leadbitter is wanted at Middlesbrough

Tidal Bay lands bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown

Tidal Bay gains deserved big-race success with bet365 Gold Cup victory

|

UPDATED:

16:30 GMT, 28 April 2012

Tidal Bay put up a mighty
weight-carrying performance to win the bet365 Gold Cup Chase on the last
day of the jumps season at Sandown.

It was yet another big-race success
for Paul Nicholls, who retained his trainers' title, and for jockey
Daryl Jacob after the two teamed up to win the John Smith's Grand
National with Neptune Collonges.

It also provided more vindication
for owner Graham Wylie, who shared his string between Nicholls and top
Irish trainer Willie Mullins when Howard Johnson was warned off.

Muddy marvellous: Tidal Bay (right) stayed on to win the bet365 Gold Cup from Roalco De Farges

Muddy marvellous: Tidal Bay (right) stayed on to win the bet365 Gold Cup from Roalco De Farges

Although Tidal Bay (9-1) won the
Arkle Trophy in 2008, he has never lived up to those expectations, but
his class shone through in the difficult ground conditions despite being
saddled with top weight.

The talented but quirky 11-year-old
was on a going day right from the start as he settled beautifully
towards the rear of the pack in the early stages.

He made stealthy progress on the final circuit to join the leaders at the third-last fence.

He jumped ahead of Roalco de Farges at the final fence and amazingly pulled away up the hill to win by 15 lengths.

Roalco de Farges (7-1) was seven lengths ahead of the third Any Currency (16-1) with Vic Venturi a gallant fourth (25-1).

Nicholls said: 'I knew he ran really well over hurdles at Aintree the other day, but he nearly got brought down on the far side.

Bay's day: Tidal Bay slogged up the Sandown hill to land the big prize

Bay's day: Tidal Bay slogged up the Sandown hill to land the big prize

'He flew up the straight and finished fourth. He might have finished second but for that and that race was a prep for this.

'When it kept on raining to slow the
ground down, it was always going to suit him. We knew they would go that
bit slower and it would give him time to get his confidence.

'If it had been quick ground, it might have rushed him and he would not have jumped well enough.

'Everything was right for him today for the first time for a long time.

'He obviously has had class over the years but it has never fitted in right.'

Jacob said: 'He was travelling well and I didn't want to get there too soon. I could afford to take my time.

Big double: Jacob and Sanctuaire tool the bet365.com Celebration Chase

Big double: Jacob and Sanctuaire tool the bet365.com Celebration Chase

'He jumped from fence to fence and winged the last two. I gave him a kick in the belly and off he went.'

Nicholls and Jacob also took the
other main jumps race on the mixed card, the bet365.com Celebration
Chase with Sanctuaire (9-2).

Another smart but unpredictable individual, the six-year-old put in a tremendous round of jumping as he made all.

Taking no prisoners, he soon opened up a massive lead while his rivals struggled to keep up.

He never looked like being caught as
he swept to victory by 17 lengths from Somersby with Dan Breen a further
length and three-quarters away in third.

Nicholls said: 'He doesn't want a lot
of racing. It's taken us two years to work out how to train him and
what he needs to be at his best. “I suspect he will run in the Tingle
Creek back here next. That would probably be the right thing to do.'

Sanctuaire was quoted at 8-1 with BetVictor for the Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham in March.

Gibb and take: Gibb River (right) and Jeremiah McGrath win the bet365 Handicap Hurdle

Gibb and take: Gibb River (right) and Jeremiah McGrath win the bet365 Handicap Hurdle

Carrying a big weight on heavy ground held no fears for Gibb River (11-1), who finally opened his account for the season in the bet365 Handicap Hurdle.

The Nicky Henderson-trained six-year-old was never far off the pace and wore down long-time leader Arab League under 5lb claimer Jeremiah McGrath to score by half a length.

Lexi's Boy put up a game performance under Jason Maguire as he made all in the bet365 Josh Gifford Juvenile Handicap Hurdle.

Trainer Donald McCain registered his 150th success of the campaign on Friday and Lexi's Boy (9-1) set up a good final day for the Cholmondeley handler, who went on to have a double at Market Rasen.