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Last Updated: Friday, 10 November 2006, 15:24 GMT
Deaths mar Spot's Cheltenham win
Spot Thedifference (left) is a cross-country course specialist
Spot Thedifference is a specialist in the Cross Country Chase
Veteran Spot Thedifference defied advancing years to win the Sporting Index Cross Country Chase for the third year running at Cheltenham.

The 13-year-old, a 5-1 chance trained by Enda Bolger, stayed on well to finish ahead of Star Performance.

But the victory was overshadowed by the death of stablemate Buailtes and Fadas, who collapsed after finishing third.

Earlier, Grade Two novices' hurdle runner-up War General died after coming second to Moon Over Miami.

The deaths come eight months after the racecourse was criticised for its safety record following nine equine fatalities at the four-day Cheltenham Festival.

Officials had watered the course heavily before Friday's card, the first day of its three-day November meeting, in an effort to ensure the ground was not riding too fast.

Irish trainer Bolger was landing the three mile, seven furlong feature race for the third consecutive year with Spot Thedifference, who has now won five times over course and distance.

The winner, ridden by JT McNamara, was a length clear of Star Performer, with the Nina Carberry-ridden Buailtes and Fadas another five lengths back in third.

Buailtes and Fadas collapsed shortly after crossing the finishing line.

A similar fate befell the Tom Taaffe-trained War General, who had led on the run-in of the novices' hurdle, but was overtaken in the closing stages by 16-1 shot Moon Over Miami.

Favourite Cuan Na Grai trailed in a distant and eased-down sixth.

Moon Over Miami, ridden by Noel Fehily and trained by Charlie Mann, was introduced at a general price of 40-1 by bookmakers for the Supreme Novices' Hurdle at the Festival in March.

Meanwhile, Standin Obligation was cut from 20-1 to 10s for the Royal & SunAlliance Chase after the David Pipe-trained seven-year-old made virtually all to triumph in the novices' chase.

The Beards Jewellers Cup was won by champion jockey Tony McCoy aboard 5-2 market leader Rubberdubber.



SEE ALSO
Safety call on Cheltenham deaths
24 Jul 06 |  Horse Racing
Chase win for Spot Thedifference
11 Nov 05 |  Horse Racing


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