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Last Updated:  Sunday, 16 February, 2003, 15:38 GMT
Have Your Say on Horse Racing
Send in your turf talk, tips and racing debate.

Best Mate completed an historic double as he cruised to his second Cheltenham Gold Cup in a row.

It's the first double since L'Escargot triumphed in 1970 and 1971 and Best Mate made it a consumate win.

What did you make of the race, and did the right horse win?

Have Your Say using the form on the right-hand side of the page.

Disgraceful attitude by English racing TV pundits and TV coverage towards the brilliant display of the French horse Baracouda in the Stayers' Hurdle. Second year running, race of the meeting, what a fuss we would have made about Limestone Lad....but the silence has been deafening about a French horse! Shame on you so called lovers of the sport.
David Grey, England

Best Mate's race was little short of perfection
Jacky, England

Does anybody else think the winning jockey's Cheltenham salute as they pass the post is getting beyond the bounds of sensibility and safety? Barry Geraghty nearly lost the County Hurdle by celebrating too soon, and horses still galloping at racing pace surely need better balance and control from the saddle at that moment of triumph and exhaustion?
Derry Brabbs, North Yorkshire

I really enjoyed the Cheltenham festival and only have one complaint. It's just not on long enough! The three days fly past and it's over too quickly. Surely, it's time for the festival to be increased to at least four days, PLEASE.
Brian Cowan, UK

Too often in recent years the Gold Cup has been won by a fluke - Cool Dawn and Mr Mulligan were certainly not worthy of the title "champion chaser". The Gold Cup this year was a joy to watch, and for once we can be sure that it is the true champion chaser who won.

My one disappointment of the race was that Chives, my Grand National fancy, was given rather a hard race, and with just three weeks to recover, I think he may have left his Aintree chances behind.
Lee Pascoe, London

Best Mate's race was little short of perfection, galloping and jumping in balance and harmony. Not only winning by a mile, but deserving a full set of sixes for technical merit and artistic impression. How lucky I am to have seen him and to have patted Arkle!
Jacky, England

Well done Best Mate, you repaid my faith. By a mile the best horse in the race, and a great ride given by Jim Culloty. Same again next year!
Chris, Yorkshire, England

What an appalling ride Jacques Ricou gave Jair Du Cochet in the Royal and Sun Alliance Chase! He was never even asked to quicken, until after the final fence, by which time One Knight had already set sail for home. The horse never stood a chance, under a ride like that!
Sam, England

Anyone out there know what has happened to the jockey Rupert Wakely? He seems to have been out of racing for quite a while now.
Chris Marshall, England

Some of us have to work and are unable to watch TV at home or stand around in bookmakers shops. I sat through every news programme on every channel this evening in the hope of seeing, at least, Moscow Flyer winning the Queen Mother. There was plenty of padding out with trivial items of local news, but of the greatest race meeting in the world ? Not a single word - I am disgusted !
Stewart Frazier, England

The opening race on day one, Back in Front, has been given the go ahead by my reliable sources and will be backed off the boards before race time.
James Smith, Ireland

I have heard from a very reliable source that Kicking king will win the opener in the style of a good horse....GET ON.
Eugene, Northern Ireland

I saw Foreman win at Kempton and he has a great chance in the Sun Alliance Hurdle. Also running that day was Dempsey who finished third in the bumper. At about 20/1 he is a stand out each way punt.

I like Fondmort in the Mildmay of Flete and Spirit Leader in the County Hurdle. Golden Cross looks to be a top class juvenile but that still may not stop him winning the Triumph Hurdle.

The biggest puzzle to me though is why Galileo is being backed down to a single figure price when he hasn't run for a year. He won in great style at the festival last year. But he cant beat Baracouda and Limestone Lad can he. Or can he?

With Best Mate, Azertyioup, Keen Leader, Rhinestone Cowboy, and my nap of the meeting, Moscow Flyer, all on the menu this year's festival promises to be one of the best in recent years. Enjoy.
Gary McKenzie, England

Commanche Court each way in the gold Cup and Jair du Cochet are my two best bets
Tom, Ireland

Interesting fact: In the last 11 Cheltenham Gold Cups (excluding 1991), 13 of the 33 horses placed have been priced at 20-1 or longer. Notable examples are Norton's Coin (100-1), Royal Athlete and Go Ballistic (both 66-1). So....which long shot(s) will be placed this year?
Mike, Canada

Rhinestone Cowboy to be turned over by the Rooster Booster. 6/1 in places. Get on!!
Roger Sweetapple, UK

Best Mate has run several times at Cheltenham, Beef or Salmon has not. BM has always come in the top two, Beef has had a few dodgy races. BM runs consistently all year, Beef runs best between Oct and January, has never gone this far, and appears not to do well in big fields.

BM is nailed on for this race, Beef is not a true challenger, and something else will take second place.
Chris, Yorkshire, UK

For the Champion Hurdle, Rooster Booster has really impressed me this year. Richard Johnson rides her like a dream and when he gives her the push with two to go, she goes like a rocket. A great bet at 10s.
Simon W, England

If Beef or Salmon loses - I'll eat my hat - house is remortgaged on this horse.
Andy, UK

If you're looking at Cheltenham form surely you'd be mad to overlook Rooster Booster in the Champion. One bad prep run, which he won, and he's nearly doubled in price. Get on.
Alan, London

It's a shame about David's Lad but the rules are the rules and they shouldn't change them just because the period of the ban happens to cover the Grand National.
Tony Peters, Newbury

Ireland have a really strong team heading over this year. I haven't been of this opinion in the past but this could be a wonderful year for the green, white and gold. It's a pity this festival will be without the services of Istabraq.

Moscow Flyer is a certainty for the Champion Chase. Watch for an Irish outsider in the supreme novice hurdle and an Irish winner of the Coral Cup.
Jason Burke, Ireland

Did Haydock Park charge 14 for admission to the Newton/Tattersalls stands on Saturday? I always go into the Newton stand, usually 7, so if I had attended I would have had to pay 14? Admission prices in this country are far too high as compared with anywhere in the world. Aintree have a minimum charge of 12 to any of their meetings.
John Finnigan, UK

With the build up to Aintree, might it be worth mentioning to the jolly punters, that their enjoyment of a days racing could soon be cut short, if hunting is banned. I am never ceased to be amazed by the ignorance of people who are not even aware of the link between hunting and National Hunt Racing!
Charlotte Bateman, UK

Keen Leader appears a certainty for the Royal & Sun Alliance chase after his last two convincing wins, but the forgotten horse in this race is It Takes Time. A real stayer who finished third in a very good renewal of the stayers' hurdle last year. He was beaten only by inexperience on his chasing debut behind Sir Rembrandt.

He since beat a small but select field with authority, and has been deliberately given a light campaign. As somewhat of a Cheltenham specialist, the hill was play to his strengths, and Keen Leader's record of two falls from two attempts around the course has to be a worry for his supporters.

Another good bet to pick out now is Moscow Flyer in the Queen Mother - he has always convinced as a class act and also because most of his opponents are old stars on the downgrade.

Baracouda will win the stayers' hurdle again, and an interesting outsider for the Triumph is Tramantano, who looked very good on his debut and hasn't been suited by the way the race has unfolded on his subsequent two starts. I can imagine him keeping on very strongly up that hill.
Lee Pascoe, UK

The thing that most infuriates me about Cheltenham is the way trainers state all season that a horse is being aimed at a particular race and then you find out that it gets entered in another race without proper reason.

An example is Iris's Gift. The trainer is quoted all year saying the plan is the Royal and Sun Alliance Novice Hurdle and then only in the last couple of days he says it will either be the Stayers Hurdle or the Pertemps Hurdle.

Why? The horse is still a novice and surely has a good chance against other novices?

Personally I am still hopeful for a big race from Cenkos, provided the going is no worse than the soft side of good.
Gordon Hogg, UK

Don't overlook Rooster Booster in the Champion Hurdle. He loves the Cheltenham track and is capable of pulling off surprises! In any case, it's about time we had a grey once again in the winner's enclosure.
Victoria Wright, UK

Does anyone know how many horses have won the Arkle and gone on to win the Champion the following year?
Neil Ellis, England

Thank goodness that in about four weeks time Cheltenham will be behind us. The dominance it exerts over the National Hunt programme is not healthy for the overall good of the sport.

Far from extending it the racing authorities should be looking at ways to prevent it becoming even more the only event that matters. Some very average horse only has to win a race at Stratford on Avon in August and it's talked about as a possible festival winner!
Cyril Parsons, England

According to the Sporting Life, no horse over 11 stone has won the Grand National since 1983 and in the last 10 years only three have placed.

Why would anyone bet on a horse with 11+ stone in weight with those odds?
Dave Hodgson, Canada

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