Racing: Knight's Best Mate proves punters' friend

Best Mate is as short as 8-1 for the 2002 Cheltenham Gold Cup after a deeply impressive success in the Haldon Gold Cup at Exeter yesterday. Though he was running over little more than the minimum trip, and racing for the first time since April, Henrietta Knight's chaser made short work of three opponents, including the useful Fadalko, and will clearly be a serious challenger if he makes it to the Festival in March.

Best Mate is as short as 8-1 for the 2002 Cheltenham Gold Cup after a deeply impressive success in the Haldon Gold Cup at Exeter yesterday. Though he was running over little more than the minimum trip, and racing for the first time since April, Henrietta Knight's chaser made short work of three opponents, including the useful Fadalko, and will clearly be a serious challenger if he makes it to the Festival in March.

Bets of £3,900 to win £2,400 and £1,500 to win £1,000 three times were among those recorded for Best Mate, who started at 8-13, and there was never any danger that the money would stay in the satchels for long. Best Mate quickened into the lead at the eighth fence and was clear with four to jump, beating Desert Mountain by 20 lengths despite being eased down by Jim Culloty on the run-in. Fadalko was 15 lengths further away.

Victor Chandler cut Best Mate to 8-1 clear third-favourite for the Gold Cup, behind only First Gold, on 9-2, and the 7-1 chance Sackville, while Ladbrokes go 10-1 (from 16-1).

Knight has mentioned Best Mate in the same breath as Arkle in the past, and was enthusiastic in her praise for the chaser afterwards. "He's a bit special, a phenomenon," she said. "I don't think I'll have another horse like this in my yard in my lifetime. He's got a great attitude and simply loves it. I suppose that the next stop for him will be the First National Bank Chase at Ascot later this month, but I could well have a jockey problem that day as Edredon Bleu, who is also owned by Jim Lewis, is due to run in the Peterborough Chase at Huntingdon."

Best Mate has yet to race over further than two and a half miles under Rules, although he won a point-to-point at three miles, but will be stepped up gradually in trip with Cheltenham in mind. It is unclear, though, whether he will contest the King George VI Chase over three miles at Kempton on Boxing Day.

"I'm not particularly keen on the King George but I think the owners might want him to go there," Knight said. "I usually get my way with things like that but we'll have to wait and see."

Right To Reply was trimmed to 20-1 from 33-1 by Coral for the Royal & SunAlliance Chase after his facile success at Warwick yesterday. The seven-year-old is trained by Noel Chance, responsible for a SunAlliance winner in Looks Like Trouble and a runner-up in Mr Mulligan.

CHELTENHAM GOLD CUP: Ladbrokes: 5-1 First Gold, 7-1 Sackville 10-1 Best Mate, Looks Like Trouble, 14-1 Marlborough, 16-1 Ad Hoc, Lord Noelie, Sleeping Night, 20-1 Florida Pearl, See More Business, 25-1 Legal Right, Shotgun Willy, Monsignor, Bacchanal, Commanche Court, Paris Pike, Rince Ri, 33-1 Beau, Japhet, What's Up Boys.

ROYAL & SUNALLIANCE CHASE: Coral: 10-1 Monsignor, Colonel Braxton, 12-1 Direct Access, 14-1 Le Coudray, Mister Banjo, Bounce Back, 16-1 Barton, October Mist, Risk Accessor, Southern Star, Be My Royal, 20-1 Right To Reply, Chives, Gola Cher, It Takes Time, Katarino, 25-1 others.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Powdered colors are displayed for sale at a market ahead of the Holi festival in Bhopal, India
techHere's what you need to know about the riotous occasion
Arts and Entertainment
Larry David and Rosie Perez in ‘Fish in the Dark’
theatreReview: Had Fish in the Dark been penned by a civilian it would have barely got a reading, let alone £10m advance sales
News
Details of the self-cleaning coating were published last night in the journal Science
science
News
Approved Food sell products past their sell-by dates at discounted prices
i100
News
Life-changing: Simone de Beauvoir in 1947, two years before she wrote 'The Second Sex', credited as the starting point of second wave feminism
peopleHer seminal feminist polemic, The Second Sex, has been published in short-form to mark International Women's Day
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Assistant / Credit Controller

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are an award-winning digit...

Ashdown Group: Senior VMware Platform Engineer - VMware / SAN / Tier3 DC

£45000 - £55000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior VMware Platform En...

Recruitment Genius: Purchasing Assistant

£10000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A distributor of specialist ele...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Ledger Assistant

£17000 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A distributor of specialist ele...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable