The atmosphere at Cheltenham on Saturday was saddened by the loss of Lady Lloyd Webber’s talented and much-loved Bacchanal, who paid the ultimate price when breaking a leg at the eighth fence in the Pillar Property Chase.

As she was comforted by friends, Lady Lloyd Webber bravely put together an epitaph for the horse that had became part of the family.

With an arm round her tearful young son, she said: “We have had Bacchanal since he was a yearling and he has always summered in our paddocks at home.

“This is devastating for all of us. He has given us so much fun and been part of the family. Most important of all, he has been a great friend to us all.”

Bacchanal won the 2000 Stayers’ Hurdle at the Festival as well as Newbury’s AON Chase and finished third in two King George V1 Chases.

He was a classy performer who will leave a void, not only at the Lloyd Webber’s home but also at the yard of Nicky Henderson, who lost another stable star Get Real at Ascot last month.

The sad demise ofthe 3-1 favourite cast a cloud over what should have been a celebration of the sport at the home of National Hunt’s last meeting before racing returns there in March for the Holy Grail.