Best Mate

A bay gelding,  Best Mate was a three-time winner of the Cheltenhan Gold Cup. The horse was owned by Jim Lewis and trained by Henrietta Knight

He was considered and treated as one of the most loved horses in the history of horse racing in the UK, with his sudden death while racing making front page news.

Best Mate won the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 2002, 2003 and 2004 but was withdrawn from the 2005 race just eight days before the race itself having burst a blood vessel on the gallops.

Best Mate collapsed and died of a suspected heart attack after being pulled up by his jockey at Exeter Racecourse on November 1, 2005. His death was immediately headline news, with his last moments reported in newspapers all over the country.

At the Cheltenham Festival the following year, a statue of Best Mate was revealed. He was made one of the elite 12 on the Cheltenham Hall of Fame in March 2007.

There is also a bronze statue in his memory at the farm in Lockinge where he was trained.