Bailey hails hugely popular Gold Cup hero as Master Oats dies
KIM Bailey's Cheltenham Gold Cup hero Master Oats died yesterday at the age of 26.
The chestnut gelding gave the Andoversford trainer and owner Paul Matthews a famous win in jump racing's blue riband event in 1995.
Ridden by Norman Williamson, Master Oats relished the heavy underfoot conditions to win by 15 lengths.
The victory came two days after Bailey, then based in Berkshire, had won the Champion Hurdle with Alderbrook.
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Master Oats, who won ten of his 21 races and more than £250,000 in prizemoney, has spent the past 14 years in retirement with Lord Leigh in Adlestrop.
Bailey said: "He was a very special horse and winning the Gold Cup showed he was incredibly tough.
"You read about some horses having a tough time in retirement, but not for him as he had the best possible time in one of the most beautiful places in the world."
Lord Leigh recalled how he had the thrill of riding Master Oats in a parade of former champions at the Cheltenham Festival two years ago.
"He was a very popular horse in the village and everyone asked about him," he said.
Lord Leigh said Master Oats appeared to have suffered a heart attack while turned out in a paddock.
He said Master Oats would be buried on Adlestrop Hill.