Cheltenham Gold Cup hero Bobs Worth dies at 17

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Bobs Worth, the 2013 Cheltenham Gold Cup hero and a three-time festival winner, has died at the age of 17 following a freak accident.

Trained by Nicky Henderson for owners The Not Afraid Partnership, Bobs Worth defeated Sir Des Champs and former Gold Cup hero and stablemate Long Run when landing the big race.

That seven-length success capped a remarkable hat-trick of Cheltenham Festival wins for Bobs Worth, who landed the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle in 2011 before returning a year later with a narrow victory in the RSA Chase.

Bobs Worth was also victorious in the Hennessy Gold Cup in 2012 under Barry Geraghty, while his final Grade 1 success came when an impressive winner of the 2013 Lexus Chase at Leopardstown. He also beat his popular Henderson-trained stablemate Simonsig in a 2m4f hurdle at Aintree in November 2015.

“You can call a lot of things legends, but Bobs Worth was one of them. He was a fellow we’ll never forget, we had some fantastic times,” Henderson said.

“Every time he came up that Cheltenham hill he just put his head down and fought and fought. He was unique – a role model of a racehorse in that he was uncomplicated, so honest and would die for you.

“You could set your watch by him. He got out of bed, got on with his job and rarely missed a day or had a problem. He wouldn’t tell you he was as good as he was – unless he was hiding it from me – and he wasn’t naturally brilliant, but he just tried ten times harder than any other horse.

“He put his heart and soul into it and what he lacked in ability, which in a funny way he did lack, he made up for with this enormous will to win, which was almost unique. He was always there for you on the day.”

He signed off his racing career with another stellar effort at the festival when third in the 2016 Stayers’ Hurdle behind Thistlecrack before he was retired to Hillwood Stud in Wiltshire, which is managed by Charlie and Tracy Vigors.

“We had some fantastic days and he was having the happiest retirement a horse could wish for with Charlie and Tracy and their two boys, who adored him,” Henderson added. “Little Harry Vigors rode him every day before school, after school and probably during school at times!

“It’s tragic for them. He spent his summer holidays there when he was in training and retired there, having the most wonderful time, which has sadly been cut short. He was only 17, so could have had many more years of that.”

With Bobs Worth having been a staple of Seven Barrows during an illustrious period that also included Sprinter Sacre, Finian’s Rainbow and Riverside Theatre, Henderson praised his ability to consistently perform at his best at the big meeting in March.

“He won at the Cheltenham Festival in three consecutive years in three different races. That takes some doing,” Henderson said. “He belonged to the most fantastic team of friends, led by Kimbo [Malcolm Kimmins], who is a legend and one of my greatest mates. That made it extra special, he was in hands of people who appreciated him enormously.

“John Jarvis, Caro Wells, David Nash and Nick Deacon were also involved, but Kimbo led them with huge enthusiasm and made it the fun it was, we enjoyed every moment of it.

“It’s a sad day, but there are lots of happy memories of a wonderful horse, particularly his Gold Cup, which is an extremely special race to win.”

Bobs Worth won 11 of his 22 races, including four successes at the top level, and earned £726,163 in prize-money during his illustrious racing career.

A statement from Hillwood Stud said: “It is with great sadness that we have to announce that Bobs Worth has suffered a freak accident in the field and has passed away.

“He was more than a horse to us, part of the family and will leave a huge void in our lives. Rest in peace our friend and thank you for the amazing memories.”

Courtesy of Racing Post