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Last Updated: Thursday, 13 March, 2003, 15:31 GMT
Thursday at Cheltenham
Best Mate's jockey Jim Culloty receives his trophy from the Queen
Best Mate's jockey Jim Culloty receives his trophy from the Queen
Best Mate romped to victory in the Tote Cheltenham Gold Cup to become the first horse to retain the title for 32 years.

The feat had not been achieved since L'Escargot triumphed in 1970 and 1971.

Truckers Tavern, a 33-1 shot, came in second, with 40-1 chance Harbour Pilot third.

The expected challenge from Irish novice Beef or Salmon failed to materialise as he fell at the third fence.

In the following race, the Foxhunter Chase, Richard Young steered the favourite Kingscliff to victory with Bright Approach in second and Last Option third.

Palarshan then gave Henry Daly his second winner of the meeting as he hung on to beat Risk Accessor in the Grand Annual.

Tony McCoy's Festival came to an end when he was taken to hospital with a broken collarbone after falling on Golden Alpha midway through the race.

In the penultimate race of the day, the Cathcart Challenge Cup Chase, Richard Johnson joined Barry Geraghty on four winners after he guided La Landiere home.

But Geraghty clinched the Daily Telegraph Leading Rider award when he recorded his fifth victory, winning the final race of the meeting on Spirit Leader.

Earlier, Baracouda retained his Bonusprint Stayers Hurdle title, beating Irish's Gift in a thrilling finish.

Irish favourite Limestone Lad finished third, much to the disappointment of the large Celtic contingent.

And Geraghty rode his fourth winner of the Festival as 20-1 chance Spectroscope edged out Tony McCoy on Well Chief in the JCB Triumph Hurdle.

1745 Vincent O'Brien County Handicap Hurdle

1 Spirit Leader B J Geraghty 10-1
2 Balapour M F Mooney 25-1
3 Through The Rye G Lee 66-1
4 Non So M A Fitzgerald 10-1

Geraghty clinches the Daily Telegraph Leading Rider award with his fifth winner of the meeting on Spirit Leader.

Spirit Leader took the lead at the last flight and gamely held Balapour by a neck with 66-1 shot Through The Rye a head away in third.

1710 Cathcart Challenge Cup Chase

1 La Landiere R Johnson 5-4 Fav
2 Irish Hussar M A Fitzgerald 14-1
3 Macs Gildoran R Walsh 25-1
4 Le Coudray

La Landiere maintains her fantastic winning run with a resolute display under Richard Johnson.

She took some chances with her fences but produced great leaps at the last two before beating Irish Hussar by one-and-a-half lengths, with Macs Gildoran five lengths back in third.

The win means Johnson joins Geraghty at the top of the Cheltenham jockeys' table with four winners.

1635 Grand Annual Handicap Chase Challenge Cup

1 Palarshan M Bradburne 8-1
2 Risk Accessor S Durack 20-1
3 Dark'n Sharp R Johnson 13-2
4 Vol Solitaire R Walsh 7-1

Palarshan gives Henry Daly his second winner of the meeting after bravely hanging on to beat Risk Accessor by three lengths.

Dark'n Sharp repeats last year's finishing position of third with Vol Solitaire taking fourth.

1600 Foxhunter Chase Challenge Cup

1 Kingscliff Mr R Young 11-4 Fav
2 Bright Approach Miss P Gundry 20-1
3 Last Option Mrs F Needham 16-1

Kingscliff confirms his favourite status as he holds on to win after going 10 lengths clear with two jumps to go.

Bright Approach and Last Option begin to reel in the gap up the final straight, but Kingscliff is never going to be caught and wins with a couple of lengths to spare.

1515 Tote Cheltenham Gold Cup

1 Best Mate J Culloty 13-8f
2 Truckers Tavern D N Russell 33-1
3 Harbour Pilot P Carberry 40-1
4 Valley Henry B Geraghty 14-1

Best Mate produces a storming display to carry Jim Culloty to victory in the Gold Cup for the second year in a row.

The Henrietta Knight-trained chaser cruises past stable companion Chives with two flights to go and pulls away to finish 10 lengths clear of Truckers Tavern.

Paul Carberry was third on Harbour Pilot.

1435 Bonusprint Stayers' Hurdle (3m)

1 Baracouda T Doumen 9-4 Jt-f
2 Iris's Gift B J Geraghty 7-1
3 Limestone Lad P Carberry 9-4 Jt-f
4 Classified A P McCoy 8-1

Thierry Doumen steers Baracouda to victory as the French horse comes out on top in his clash with Irish hurdler Limestone Lad.

Paul Carberry keeps Limestone Lad ahead throughout but Baracouda makes his move one flight from home and holds off a strong challenge from Barry Geraghty on Iris's Gift to retain his title.

1400 JCB Triumph Hurdle (2m 1f)

1 Spectroscope B J Geraghty 20-1
2 Well Chief A P McCoy 7-1
3 Golden Cross C F Swan 11-2f
4 Lilium de Cotte B Gicquel 25-1

Barry Geraghty celebrates his fourth win of the Festival as Spectroscope hangs on to edge out Well Chief in a close finish.

The Martin Pipe-trained Old California falls while in second and is killed instantly, with 11-2 favourite Golden Cross well beaten in third.






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