Mate’s last post at Cheltenham

BEST MATE’S ashes will be laid to rest behind the winning post at Cheltenham prior to racing there on Saturday week.

There will be a brief ceremony on the course at 11am to commemorate Henrietta Knight’s star chaser, who died after collapsing at Exeter on November 1.

Best Mate, winner of the totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup in 2002, 2003 and 2004, was the first triple winner of chasing’s blue riband since the mighty Arkle in the 1960s.

In addition, he won his first race in Britain, a bumper, at Cheltenham in November, 1999, and was also successful in a novice chase at the course the following year.

Best Mate’s owner Jim Lewis is pleased the great horse will be honoured in a place that will always be in view of the race-going public.

He said: “Best Mate became the ‘people’s champion’. They loved him and he loved them.

“He will be at rest at the scene of his greatest triumphs.”

Meanwhile, Faasel is set to continue his build-up to a possible Smurfit Champion Hurdle bid with an outing at Cheltenham on Saturday week.

Nicky Richards’ four-year-old was beaten a short head by Admiral on his reappearance at Haydock Park earlier this month and is a general 14-1 shot for championship honours.

“He’ll be entered in the Bula and the Relkeel. We’ll see the entries and the ground and so forth, but all being well, he’ll definitely run in one of them,” said Richards.

“We were happy enough with the Haydock run. He’s come back well and it’s upwards and onwards now.”

Faasel sported a visor when a close second in the JCB Triumph Hurdle in March and when subsequently victorious in a Grade One event at Aintree, but did not wear one on his reappearance.

Richards added: “If we do put the headgear on, then I’m not quite sure we’d do it at Cheltenham just yet.

“He’s very genuine but I think it just makes him concentrate for about a minute longer than he does when he hasn’t got it on.”

Richards could also be represented at Cheltenham’s December meeting on the Friday by Lord Jack, set to renew rivalry with Spot Thedifference in the Sporting Index Handicap Chase.

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