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Cheltenham News 15th - 18th March 2005

Cheltenham 2005

Cheltenham 2005 / news/

Mate gets home in thriller
Best MateBest Mate pipped Seebald in a thrilling finish to the William Hill Chase at Exeter.

The nine-year-old, sent off the 4-7 favourite, had to fight much harder race than expected on his first run since winning the Cheltenham Gold Cup for the third successive year last March.

Seebald stuck with Best Mate, ridden for the first time by Timmy Murphy, over the last two fences and only went down by a short head.

Sir Rembrandt, runner-up in last season's Gold Cup, set the pace with Best Mate settled nicely in second place, with Seebald third and Frenchman's Creek held up last of the four runners.

The order remained unchanged until after the ninth fence, an open ditch, at which Sir Rembrandt, who continually carried himself out to the left, made a mistake.

Murphy took this error as a signal to send Best Mate into the lead, but Tom Scudamore on Seebald seemed unmoved.

Although Sir Rembrandt was a spent force some way out, Best Mate could not shake off Martin Pipe's runner.

There was little to choose between the pair at the second-last and Murphy had to call on all Best Mate's reserves to hold the nine-year-old in a desperately close finish.

Trainer Henrietta Knight said: "I watched the race from some bushes, so I can't really tell you how I felt the race went.

" But we didn't want to do too much on his first run of the season and it sounds like it was a typical Timmy Murphy ride."

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