12/29/2003 12:00AM

Best Mate regains his best form

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In the five weeks since Best Mate had finished second in the Peterborough Steeplechase at Huntingdon, his trainer, Henrietta Knight, had been wondering if the 8-year-old gelding had lost a few steps. In Sunday's three-mile Ericsson Chase at Leopardstown in Ireland she got her answer: most definitely not.

Best Mate, sent off at odds-on, took the lead on the final turn and pulled clear of the rest of the field on the final fence, winning by nine lengths over 14-1 Le Coudray, with the 2-1 second choice and defending champion Beef or Salmon third.