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  Tuesday, 11 February, 2003, 23:42 GMT
Best Mate claims Gold Cup glory
Best Mate leads Commanche Court over the last fence at the Cheltenham Gold Cup
Best Mate jumped the last ahead of Commanche Court
Best Mate won the Tote Cheltenham Gold Cup as Looks Like Trouble's bid for a second successive victory ended in failure.

Looks Like Trouble, the 5-1 favourite, led the race all the way to the fourth fence from home but faded badly as Best Mate produced an uncatchable final burst.

Commanche Court finished second and 1999 Gold Cup winner See More Business came in third.

I made a couple of mistakes but he always came back on because he's got the engine

Best Mate jockey Jim Culloty
It was an emotional moment for Best Mate's trainer Henrietta Knight, who watched jockey Jim Culloty ride a near-flawless race to take the honours.

"I've always said he was the perfect racehorse and I knew he would stay three miles," said Knight.

"It was a super ride. Jim always had him in the right place."

Looks Like Trouble was aiming to become the first horse to win chasing's blue riband event twice in a row since L'Escargot achieved the feat in 1970-71.

Hopes were high as he cruised round the first circuit of the course with See More Business for company and Lord Noelie and Florida Pearl just behind.

But 7-1 third favourite Best Mate - a runner-up in the King George VI on Boxing Day - and 25-1 chance Commanche Court hit the front coming to the last.

Best Mate was tackling the three-and-a-quarter-mile distance for the first time but the seven-year-old stayed on up the hill to give Culloty his first Gold Cup triumph.

"I made a couple of mistakes but he always came back on because he's got the engine," said Culloty.

"He was always cruising. I got squeezed about a bit but I wasn't panicking."

Looks Like Trouble was pulled up near the end and jockey Richard Johnson dismounted.

And champion jockey Tony McCoy's misery continued as he pulled up on Shooting Light halfway into the race while tailed off in last place.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC racing correspondent Cornelius Lysaght
"Best Mate is now king of steeplechasing's castle"
Winning jockey Jim Culloty
"He's an absolute machine"
Winning owner Jim Lewis
"Everybody wants to win a Gold Cup"
Commanche Court's trainer Ted Walsh
"We were an honourable second"
Cheltenham stages its big jump race meeting from 12-14 March

Results and odds

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Official site
See also:

14 Mar 02 | Cheltenham Festival
11 Feb 03 | Cheltenham Festival
15 Mar 02 | Cheltenham Festival
Links to more Cheltenham Festival stories are at the foot of the page.


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Links to more Cheltenham Festival stories

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