The first article on Best Mate covered best Mate’s record 14 wins from 22 starts and his special second places. This is the second and final article about him that traces his fantastic career, one of the best of a National Hunt racehorse.
This article is the second of a two-part article dealing with the fantastic career of Best Mate, arguably one of the best National Hunt racehorses of all time.
You may recall that part 1 of this article ended with a look at Best Mate’s record of 14 wins from 22 starts, as well as an astonishing seven second place finishes.
The only time that Best Mate didn’t reach first or second place in a race was in its last race, and this was a sad opportunity for everyone involved in the horse race.
Tragedy for the best mate
Well, the 22nd race of his career is one that I would rather forget (along with all the horse racing lovers) as it was the race in which Best Mate unfortunately lost his life.
The only consolation is that he died doing something he loved and it showed the horse’s courage.
He was known for having a big heart, being a generous horse and always giving 100 percent. The tragedy occurred on November 1, 2005 at Exeter Racecourse during the William Hill Haldon Gold Cup race.
Jockey Paul Carberry knew part of the way around the course that the horse was not quite right and, as a precaution, pulled the horse up (withdrawn from the race). However, when he negotiated a way to get off the racetrack, Best Mate collapsed, and although vets fought as hard as possible to resuscitate him, he died moments later.
A real star
But in the end he went what he enjoyed and what he did best. It’s a sad reality that we all have to go at some point, but until the end he did what he did so well.
A measure of how much he is respected in the horse racing fraternity is the fact that he has a bronze statue of him at the Cheltenham racetrack, where his 3 consecutive wins in the Gold Cup are a feat that has never been seen in my life can happen again. He was also chosen in Cheltenham’s Elite 12 Hall of Fame, another appropriate award that this horse fully deserved for his accomplishments.
In fact, his ashes are also scattered around the winning post of the same racetrack, at the request of owner Jim Lewis. The ceremony took place on December 10, 2005, although Lewis’ wife had not tragically died two days earlier after a seven-month fight against cancer.
The Legend Lives On
And so the legend of Best Mate lives on, with its ashes and the statue that stands as majestic as at the winning post in Cheltenham.
His name is Cornish Rebel and he is straight out of the best mate form, a talented horse with a bright future ahead of us.
I have never felt so tied to a horse, nor was I shocked to hear the news of his death. But he was really a big horse and his spirit will live in his heart for a long time, even if we won’t see him gracing the racetrack again.
What just thanks me, thank you to Best Mate for sharing you with the horse racing world. It wouldn’t have been like this without you.