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Racing: What a bad Jair day for loser Best Mate.

Byline: LARRY LYNX

JAIR DU COCHET lowered Best Mate's colours in spectacular fashion in the Peterborough Chase at Huntingdon yesterday.

Galloping on in great style in the rain-softened ground, the French raider romped home for an easy victory from Best Mate.

The pair will meet again in the King George chase at Kempton on Boxing Day with William Hill making Best Mate 7-4 favourite followed by Jair Du Cochet at 5-2.

Best Mate is now 6-4, from 5-4, to win his third consecutive Cheltenham Gold Cup in March while the French raider has been put in at 10-1.

Jim Culloty, who rode Best Mate, said: "The ground was sloppy and my fellow could not produce his usual fluent jumping."

With a two-and-a-half mile race staged at a stop-start pace, Best Mate was certainly not his usual fluent self but there's no denying the winner is a very smart performer.

Winning trainer Guillaume Macaire - the first man ever to have 200 winners in a year in France - said: "I'm really looking forward to a re-match at Kempton."

With Jair Du Cochet only a six-year-old, there is room for much improvement and the Boxing Day race will be a treat for punters.

At Ascot, Kingscliff entered the Gold Cup picture with a superb victory in the Coral Handicap Chase.

Full praise must go to his rider Andrew Thornton - who rode without reins for most of the three-mile trip.

After jumping just a couple of fences, Kingscliff's reins snapped and Thornton was left to hold on to the horse's neck strap.

Displaying brilliant horsemanship, Thornton was aided by his horse's honest temperament.

They were soon in front and galloped on to score by 17 lengths from Horus.

Kingscliff, unbeaten in six races including three point-to-points and two hunter chases, looks a really exciting prospect... and is now 16-1 for the Gold Cup.

CAPTION(S):

HUNTED DOWN: Jim Culloty and Best Mate were second best at Huntingdon yesterday
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The People (London, England)
Date:Nov 23, 2003
Words:324
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