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Seebald finally gets it spot-on.

Byline: Rodney Masters

After peppering the bullseye for most of the season, Seebald gained his reward on the closing day of the campaign, though throughout most of the race it seemed certain the chaser shared by Steve McManaman and Robbie Fowler would come off second best once again.

Seebald had finished runner-up half a dozen times since his previous win 15 months before, and he looked set for the same slot as market rival Cenkos dominated the Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Celebration Chase from the front.

When Ruby Walsh took a peep under his right arm after the Pond fence and saw Tony McCoy pushing and shoving and making little headway on Seebald, he must have thought that Cenkos had the prize in the bag for the second consecutive year.

However, Seebald was responding to McCoy's encouragement and, getting 4lb from the leader, cut him down on the climb to the line.

McCoy said: "I knew I had to keep my horse within four or five lengths

because Cenkos wouldn't be stopping. It was a very good performance by Seebald because he didn't like the ground, and he was probably just going over the top for the season, yet he kept on battling. All credit to him because he's such a fighter.

McCoy added: "He has run some smashing races in defeat, and he was upsides with every chance when falling two out in the Queen Mother Champion Chase. He deserved this so much."

Fowler and McManaman were absent, but McCoy was debriefed by them in the winner's enclosure, via

a mobile phone.

Seebald is a 12-1 chance with William Hill for the 2004 Queen Mother Champion Chase, though the owner's spokesman, Graham Bradley, said yesterday that no firm plan was yet in place for next season for a gelding who showed against Native Upmanship at Aintree that he stays two and a half miles.

Paul Nicholls was more than happy with Cenkos. He said: "He has run another great race on a course he loves. The 4lb he had to give the winner made all the difference."

2004 Champion Chase

William Hill: 3 Moscow Flyer, 4 Azertyuiop, 10 Le Roi Miguel, 12 Seebald, Tiutchev, 14 Cenkos, Flagship Uberalles, Impek, Kadarann, 20 bar.

Celebration Chase

1 Seebald 11-8

2 Cenkos 5-4f

3 Wahiba Sands 33-1

Owner: The Macca & Growler

Partnership

Trainer: Martin Pipe

Jockey: Tony McCoy

Distances: 1 l, 9l

CAPTION(S):

Graham Bradley leads in Tony McCoy and Seebald EDWARD WHITAKER
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Apr 28, 2003
Words:413
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