Legend (Best Mate)
by Susan Crawford
Paper Size: 26 x 22 ins / 66 x 56 cm
Image Size: 21 x 18 ins / 55 x 46 cm
Edition Info: A Limited Edition Gouttelette Reproduction of 1500 numbered copies, supplied with a certificate signed by the artist
Best Mate captured public imagination and won the affection of the nation. This magnificent racer combined the skill of an athlete with the bravery of a street-fighter. Three times Cheltenham Gold Cup winner, Best Mate was one of the greatest steeplechasers of all time and became a racing legend in his own lifetime. Best Mate was born on 25 January 1995 in Ireland. Owned by Jim Lewis and trained by Henrietta Knight, Best Mate’s 22-race career included 14 wins and amassed a total prize fund of £1,022,436. He is the first horse to have won three Cheltenham Gold cups since Arkle 38 years ago, winning them in 2002, 2003 and 2004 with jockey Jim Culloty. Described as ‘a bit of a show off’ by owner Lewis, this beautiful horse never finished out of the first two in all of his races. Always popular, a crowd of over 6,000 would come to see him at his Oxfordshire stable’s open day. He even received ‘Good Luck’ cards before his return to the track. Tragically, Best Mate died by the final fence on Exeter race course, whilst competing in the William Hill Haldon Gold Cup on 1st November 2005. In a moving ceremony on 10th December 2005, Best Mate’s ashes were buried beside the winning post at Cheltenham Racecourse.
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