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 Thursday, 19 December, 2002, 17:52 GMT
Culloty 'gutted' over Best Mate
Jim Culloty rides Best Mate to victory in the 2002 Cheltenham Gold Cup
Culloty rode Best Mate to victory in the 2002 Gold Cup
Jim Culloty has admitted his disappointment at missing the ride on favourite Best Mate in the the King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day.

His appeal against a riding ban was withdrawn on Thursday after the Jockey Club rejected his application for an adjournment.

"I'm absolutely gutted about missing the King George but unfortunately there's nothing I can do about it," said Culloty.

The Irish jockey was banned for three days after being found guilty of not riding to the line for third place on Beechwood at Doncaster.

He decided to appeal after watching a video of the Doncaster race several times.

Culloty missed out through injury when Best Mate came second in the 2001 King George.

On that occasion, champion jockey Tony McCoy took the ride and he could be asked to oblige again.

It was his birthday yesterday so it's not a nice present

Jim Lewis on Jim Culloty

Best Mate's owner Jim Lewis said: "We will make inquiries to see which jockeys are available then have a chat about it and see how we go from there.

"Tony McCoy is, of course, a possibility and is one of those obviously who will be considered."

Lewis said connections would have to check on availability and with other owners before making a decision.

Meanwhile, Andrew Thornton, one of three jockeys who received a 10-day ban for taking the wrong course at Cheltenham last Friday, has failed with his appeal.

He received the suspension from the Cheltenham stewards after taking the wrong course while racing on the cross-country track last week.

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