Updated on 09/17/2011 1:09PM

Best Mate to start in Ericsson


Best Mate was rerouted on Monday from a Friday defense of his King George VI Chase title at Kempton Park. He will run instead in the Ericsson Chase at Leopardstown in Ireland on Sunday.

Trainer Henrietta Knight made the decision after consulting with owner Jim Lewis. They agreed that Best Mate would be better suited by the expected soft ground at Leopardstown, where the two-time Cheltenham Gold Cup winner is likely to face Beef or Salmon, recent winner of the John Durkan Memorial Punchestown Chase, as well as Florida Pearl, the horse who beat Best Mate in the King George two years ago.

Both the $282,000 King George and the $186,000 Ericsson are three-mile events with Grade 1 status. In bypassing the King George, Best Mate avoids a rematch with Jair du Cochet, his Nov. 22 conqueror in the Peterborough Chase at Huntingdon.