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A week after Best Mate’s tragic death, his owner Jim Lewis has chosen to lay the horse’s ashes at Cheltenham, the scene of his three victories in the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

Lewis originally hoped to have Best Mate buried beside the racetrack rails at Exeter Racecourse, where the 10-year old died from a suspected heart attack on his seasonal comeback in last week’s William Hill Haldon Gold Cup. But red tape and Devon County Council scuppered these plans and the chaser was cremated instead.

Since then Lewis has been torn between Cheltenham and Exeter as the resting place for Best Mate’s ashes. It emerged yesterday that he has settled on Cheltenham, the scene of the gelding’s biggest victories, but a plaque will be laid at Exeter, near the place where the triple Gold Cup champion died.

“Obviously it was not an easy decision to make as there are very good reasons he should be at Exeter and very good reasons he ought to go to Cheltenham,” Lewis told the Racing Post.

“Once this weekend’s meeting is out of the way, we will decide how and where we want to do it. I am sure it will be a fitting place for a triple Gold Cup champion.”

Lewis and his family have been overwhelmed by the public’s reaction towards Best Mate’s death, receiving over 300 condolence cards.

  • Read Jim Culloty’s memories of riding Best Mate in this week’s Horse & Hound (10 November, 05)