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  Tuesday, 11 February, 2003, 23:42 GMT
Cheltenham Festival: Day three
BBC Sport Online brings you all the action from day three of the Cheltenham Festival, where Best Mate won the Gold Cup and Richard Johnson took the award for top jockey

Going: Good to soft.

1740 Vincent O'Brien County Handicap Hurdle (two miles one furlong)

Richard Johnson enjoyed a happy finish to the Cheltenham Festival as he won the final race on Rooster Booster.

Tony McCoy's pre-race favourite Polar Red faded into obscurity as Johnson added the Vincent O'Brien County Handicap Hurdle to his Queen Mother Champion Chase on Tuesday.

Champion jockey Richard Johnson after winning the Queen Mother Champion Chase
Champion jockey Richard Johnson

It was Johnson's second win of the festival and was enough to give him the Daily Telegraph Trophy for top jockey.

His rival Charlie Swan also won two races, but Johnson was judged best rider by virtue of claiming more third places throughout the festival.

Result 1740

1 Rooster Booster (R Johnson) 8-1
2 The Gatherer (C O'Dwyer) 12-1
3 Ben Ewar (B Fenton) 50-1
Also: Benbyas (A Dobbin) 12-1
Fav: Polar Red (A P McCoy) 2-1

1705 Cathcart Challenge Cup Chase (two miles five furlongs)

Tony McCoy finally picked up a Cheltenham winner as he rode home favourite Royal Auclair by a length and a half in the Cathcart Challenge Cup Chase.

In terms of results, McCoy has festival had been disappointing, and also touched with tragedy when Valiramix - his mount in the Champion Hurdle - was put down.

The roar of the crowd must have been music to the ears of McCoy, who never looked back and led for all two miles and five furlongs of the race.

There were some hairy moments for the champion jockey, however, especially after the last when Ruby Walsh's mount Cregg House looked like he might run him down.

But McCoy remained downbeat after the race, saying: "It is good to get off the mark for the meeting but it doesn't bring Valiramix back does it?"

Result 1705

1 Royal Auclair (A P McCoy) 2-1 Fav
2 Cregg House (R Walsh) 33-1
3 David's Lad (T J Murphy) 5-1
Also: Golden Goal (N Williamson) 7-1

1630 Grand Annual Chase Handicap (two miles)

Plucky Fadoudal Du Cochet denied Tony McCoy his first winner at the Cheltenham Festival.

David Casey won the Grand Annual Chase Handicap on Fadoudal Du Cochet
David Casey won the Grand Annual Chase Handicap

Ridden by Irish jockey David Casey, the French horse held firm over the last 100 metres to withstand a late surge from McCoy's Exit Swinger.

After Logician had made the early running, Dark'N'Sharp took the front, but Casey hit the front at just the right moment.

McCoy's mount seemed to have timed his run to perfection as he glided into second place, but Fadoudal held firm to claim the victory and hand McCoy yet another second place.

Result 1630

1 Fadoudal Du Cochet (D J Casey) 6-1
2 Exit Swinger (A McCoy) 4-1 Fav
3 Dark'n Sharp (R Johnson) 13-2
Also: 4 Logician 20-1 (F Keniry)

1555 Christie's Foxhunter Chase (three miles two furlongs)

Last Option dug deep to emerge from a quartet of horses and clinch the Christie's Foxhunter Chase.

Fiona Needham's mount was neck and neck with Gunner Welburn, Torduff Express and Joe Blake going over the last and the four produced a thrilling finish to delight the crowds.

In the end, Needham's mount finished just half a length clear of Genner Welburn, with Torduff Express and Joe Blake following close behind.

The race, also known as the 'Amateur's Gold Cup', produced a finish as good as any seen at the festival so far, and the win was a great triumph for Needham.

Result 1555

1 Last Option (F Needham) 20-1
2 Gunner Welburn (R Cope) 8-1
3 Torduff Express (P Gundry) 10-1
Also: 4 Joe Blake (L Lennon) 8-1
Fav: Horus (A Farrant) 11-4 (pulled up)

1515 Tote Cheltenham Gold Cup Chase (three miles two furlongs)

Best Mate claimed the top prize in steeplechasing as Jimmy Culloty's mount produced a stirring finish to take the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

The Henrietta Knight-trained horse trailed to pre-race favourite and 2001 winner Looks Like Trouble and another former Gold Cup winner See More Business for much of the three miles two furlongs race.

I will never forget this

Jimmy Culloty

But the seven-year-old ran down the veteran See More Business and held off the strong late challenge of Ruby Walsh's Commanche Court to take the 174,000 winners prize.

"I will never forget this," said Culloty after the race.

Looks Like Trouble seemed to have a good chance of being the first horse since L'Escargot in the early 1970s to retain the Gold Cup after leading for much of the race.

And old favourite See More Business made a mockery of the 40-1 starting price, running as good as when he won the trophy in 1999.

Jimmy Culloty rode Best Mate to victory in the Gold Cup
Jimmy Culloty celebrates Gold Cup success

Looks Like Trouble faded badly in the closing stages, although the strong finish of See More Business to get third received a rapturous reception. But this was Best Mate's day.

Tony McCoy's miserable Gold Cup continued, however, as his Martin Pipe-trained mount Shooting Light pulled up half-way round.

Result 1515

1 Best Mate (J Culloty) 7-1
2 Commanche Court (R Walsh) 25-1
3 See More Business (J Tizzard) 40-1
Also: 4 Marlborough (D Gallagher)12-1
Fav: Looks Like Trouble (R Johnson) 9-2 (13th)

1435 - Bonusprint Stayers' Hurdle (three miles)

Baracouda justified his billing as favourite producing a tremendously strong finish to hold off Bannow Bay to win the Bonusprint Stayers' Hurdle.

Thierry Doumen judged the race to perfection, allowing his French mount to drift to the back of the field, before gradually wearing down the opposition to win by half a length and deny Charlie Swan an unlikely double.

Baracouda had been odds-on favourite for many weeks before the race, but drifted out to 13-8 ahead of the off.

But Doumen's confident display, his ninth win in succession, justified the short odds as he won the closest race of the festival so far.

"He's something very special. The horse was just amazing," said Doumen.

Ruby Walsh mount Brother Joe and Timmy Murphy's Sir Talbot both fell.

Result 1435

1 Baracouda (T Doumen) 13-8 Fav
2 Bannow Bay (C F Swan) 2-1
3 It Takes Time (A P McCoy) 12-1
Also: 4 Telemoss (B Harding) 20-1

1400 - JCB Triumph Hurdle (two miles one furlong)

The JCB Triumph Hurdle lived up to its reputation for being a favourites' graveyard as unfancied Scolardy pulverised a huge field to romp to victory.

Charlie Swan rode two winners at Cheltenham
Charlie Swan romped to victory on Scolardy

Charlie Swan's 16-1 shot won by 11 lengths - just short of the Triumph Hurdle all-time record - while favourite Giocomo was unplaced after pulling up three fences from the end.

It was Swan's second triumph of the festival.

Second favourite Newhall edged out Diamond Joshua to claim second, while 100-1 long shot Balapour claimed fourth place.

After the race, a delighted Swan said: "I did not realise I was so far in front, because of the crowd and the wind, but this is great."

Result 1400

1 Scolardy (C F Swan) 16-1
2 Newhall (F J Flood) 8-1
3 Diamond Joshua (J Culloty) 33-1
Also: 4 Balapour (J P Elliott) 100-1
Fav: Giocomo 7-1 (pulled up)

Cheltenham stages its big jump race meeting from 12-14 March

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

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