Boylesports News
Racing News

HKBC Buy Share In Rakti

Get free daily horse racing tips from the experts from Free Racing Tips

horse racing tipster


Best Mate dies at Exeter

Best Mate's much-anticipated racecourse return ended in tragedy as he suffered a suspected fatal heart attack in the William Hill Haldon Gold Cup at Exeter.

Paul Carberry tracked the leader Ashley Brook for the first half of the race on Henrietta Knight's triple Cheltenham Gold Cup winner but he started to nudge the horse on as the leaders moved clear.

The jockey began to ease him in the home straight, eventually pulling him up, and screens were swiftly erected around him.

Knight's husband and assistant Terry Biddlecombe said: "Paul is a good jockey and he knew something was wrong. The only consolation is it was pretty instantaneous and he wouldn't have felt any pain."

Best Mate had been forced to miss an attempt at a fourth consecutive Gold Cup when he burst a blood vessel in his final workout before the big race.

He had not raced in public since finishing second in Ireland last Christmas, but connections had reported all had been well with the 10-year-old in his preparations for his reappearance.

Knight said: "I have ridden a horse before who suffered a heart attack while I was on board and I have to say this looks reminiscent of that. The legs go, they wobble and then they go down.

"I was actually on the track where he came down and I was the first one there. I knew immediately he had died.

"As I saw him go down I knew I was seeing a dead horse and I just wanted it to be over as quickly as possible."

She continued: "I am very proud of him - he looked an absolute picture today on a course he loved. He was a joy to work with and a privilege to train.

"Obviously I am very sorry for the jockey and for Mr and Mrs Lewis (owners), who are distraught.

"It is probably harder for a lot of people watching the race than it is for Terry and I, as we are more used to this sort of thing happening.

"He was a very, very popular horse with a tremendous following and now there is a big vacuum.

"Even this morning he was getting good luck cards in the post - but I suppose we have all got to go one day and at least he didn't do anything terrible like fall or break a leg.

"We will all miss him very much."

The news of Best Mate's death was announced to racegoers over the public address system.

Exeter assistant general manager Vicki Robinson said: "It is with great regret that I have to tell you Best Mate has raced his last race at Exeter today.

"Very sadly he died during the race - we offer our deepest condolences to Jim and Valerie Lewis, who have been fantastic supporters here, and to Henrietta and Terry too."

Edward Gillespie, managing director of Cheltenham racecourse where Best Mate enjoyed so much success, said: "We are all very shocked here and saddened for everyone in jumps racing.

"Mostly for Henrietta, Terry, Jim and Valerie, who were closest to him, but somehow it is different because Best Mate attracted so many people to pay attention to the sport who would otherwise not even look at the racing pages.

"He had the most impact on the sport of any horse in the last 40 years, there can be no question of that.

"We don't lose many really high-profile horses in such a way, I suppose One Man of the jumpers would be the first I can remember, but Best Mate was higher profile.

"I feel so sorry for everyone, we waited 40 years for one like him and he was great."

Exeter clerk of the course Barry Johnson confirmed a heart problem had been the cause of death.

He said: "The veterinary surgeon who attended the horse has confirmed it was definitely a cardiac problem - there was nothing they could do for him."

Lewis said: "He was a great racehorse - there can have been very few in the world like him.

"He helped us raise thousands of pounds for charity and he made a lot of difference to many people's lives.

"What a pleasure he was to own and how much he meant to me. I will never forget him."

Lewis revealed Best Mate will be buried at Exeter.

He added: "This is where it all began with him.

"He won his first chase here and was never beaten here before today. It seems like the right place.

"This has been a terrible day but I am still very, very proud of him and there won't be many who did what he did."

The Grade Two contest went to the Philip Hobbs-trained Monkerhostin (10-1), who romped away under Richard Johnson to a comfortable four-length success over Kauto Star.

tumpline internet home | associations | bloodstock agents | bookmakers | information | horses | jockeys | links | overseas | portals | racecourses | race horse trainers | sales | studs | syndicates | submit site email
© • 91 Tribune Drive • Carlisle • CA3 0LE