Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Cochet Can Join the Roll of Honour

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Cochet Can Join the Roll of Honour

Article excerpt

Byline: By Doug Moscrop

The French-trained Jair du Cochet, the jumper that money can't buy, can add his name to the roll of honour of steeplechasing giants that have won the Pertemps King George VI Chase.

Today's Kempton showpiece has a strong Gallic flavour with the 2000 winner First Gold also in the line-up and likely to be a major player now that Best Mate has been re-routed to Ireland for Sunday's Ericcson Chase.

But Guillaume Macaire's younger challenger is preferred.

He has taken over at the head of the betting after Best Mate's defection and deserves to be favourite on what he has achieved already this season.

A smart novice last term, he passed his stiffest task to date with flying colours when claiming the notable scalp of Best Mate in the Tote Peteborough Chase at Huntingdon last month.

While he had a fitness advantage over the dual Cheltenham Gold Cup hero and was receiving a healthy 5lb, he made no mistake and another bold showing is on the cards.

Graham Wylie has made a spectacular start as an owner but his audacious attempt to purchase Jair du Cochet got no further than booking a jet for France before word filtered through that the horse was not for sale - at any price.

On the advice of his trainer, Howard Johnson, Wylie then turned his attention to Valley Henry and, in a private deal, bought last season's Gold Cup fourth for a sum thought to be around pounds 300,000 to add to some experience to the team he has assembled at Johnson's Crook yard.

It's unlikely that Valley Henry will provide his new connections with the one that counts at Cheltenham in March because of his suspect stamina, but there are more races to be won with him.

He was a bit disappointing when only third to Jair Du Cochet at Huntingdon and may not get his revenge at the revised weights, even though a faster surface will suit him. …

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