Best Mate joined racing's greats today when he clung on to win
an exciting Cheltenham Gold Cup for the third successive year.
Henrietta Knight's brilliant nine-year-old emulated the feat of
the legendary Arkle - but he had to dig very deep to hold off Sir
Rembrandt and Harbour Pilot. Best Mate, trained by Henrietta Knight
and ridden by Jim Culloty, hit the front approaching the final
fence and held on up the hill
to justify odds of 8-11.
Gift holds off the challenge of two-time winner Baracouda to
win the Bonusprint Stayers' Hurdle. Paul
Nicholls regained the lead in the trainers' championship with
a 599-1 treble on the final day of the Cheltenham Festival. Made
In Japan (20-1) landed the JCB Triumph Hurdle in gritty
fashion on the final day of the Cheltenham Festival.
Entries for all 20 races at the 2004 National Hunt Festival have
now been revealed following the publication of the horses engaged
in the National Hunt Chase Challenge Cup, Weatherbys Champion Bumper,
Christie's Foxhunter Chase and Cathcart Chase Challenge Cup.
For three extraordinary
days in the middle of March the National Hunt racing community from
all around the world converges on the elegant spa town of Cheltenham.
The twenty races are the most hotly contested of the entire racing
calendar with more than £2 million in prize money and £20
million in bets riding on these Championships.
Following two victories at last year’s (2003) National Hunt
Festival, the record-breaking Martin Pipe is just 10 victories
behind the late Fulke Walwyn in the list of most successful trainers
at jump racing’s biggest event.
Tony McCoy, with 14 wins to date, is the most successful current
jockey at the National Hunt Festival. Since partnering Kibreet
to success in the 1996 Grand Annual Chase, the record-breaking
rider has gone on to land a further 13 successes, with his two
greatest triumphs coming in 1997 when he partnered Mr Mulligan
to land the Tote Cheltenham Gold Cup and took the Smurfit Champion
Hurdle aboard Make A Stand.