Best Mate, who captured his third Cheltenham Gold Cup in March, was today announced as the British Horseracing Board’s 2004 Jump Horse Of The Year.
The Horse Of The Year Award was the climax of the first BHB Jump Racing Awards, held at a ceremony in central London attended by an invited audience of some 140.
The accolade, presented by BHB Chairman Peter Savill, was one of 12 to mark equine and human achievement in British Jump Racing over the 2003/04 season. As well as an engraved trophy for Best Mate, BHB presented a specially designed and branded Horse Of The Year rug. Best Mate also captured the prize for Champion Three-Mile Chaser.
The equine Awards were based on and coincided with the publication of the Anglo-Irish Classifications. Each Award was won by the highest-rated horse in the respective Classifications category, provided that the horse was either trained in Britain or, if trained abroad, achieved the category-topping rating on a British racecourse. Britain’s champion owner, trainer, jockey and conditional jockey were also recognised.
BHB Chairman Peter Savill said today: “The launch of BHB’s Flat Awards earlier this year was universally welcomed and provided much deserved official recognition of British Racing’s champions in 2003. I am in no doubt that the Jump Awards will have exactly the same impact.
“Jumping is at the heart of British Racing and its promotion and development is one of BHB’s key responsibilities. There could not be a more fitting Horse Of The Year than Best Mate, whose achievement of winning three Cheltenham Gold Cups in a row has for so long seemed out of reach of any horse in modern times.
“He has shown everything that makes the sport great – fast and fluent jumping, talent and courage, as demonstrated at Cheltenham in March when he had really had to fight to win. He is without doubt the horse who has done more than any other to raise Jumping’s profile in recent years.”