Edredon Bleu, winner of the Queen Mother Champion Chase and King George VI Chase, has died at the age of 26.
Trained by Henrietta Knight and owned by Jim Lewis, the French-bred gelding came out on top in an unforgettable renewal of the two-mile championship at Cheltenham in 2000, when he defeated Direct Route by a short head.
Edredon Bleu showed his versatility – as well as his undoubted ability – when lifting Kempton’s Boxing Day showpiece over three miles in 2003.
He was retired in 2005 after a 10-year career and spent his leisurely days with former jockey Graham Thorner at Letcombe Regis, near Wantage.
“I’m sad in a way, but delighted in another that he had such a great life,” Lewis, whose triple Cheltenham Gold Cup hero Best Mate was racing at the same time, told Press Association Sport.
“He was well looked after with loving care by Graham Thorner and his entire family and he had a wonderful retirement.
“Without question he was the most spectacular jumper you’d ever see at Cheltenham. He holds the record for the fastest two-mile chase there and he goes to his maker with glory.
“He gave us a lot of thrills and some wonderful times.”
Edredon Bleu won 25 races, including the 2003 Clonmel Oil Chase, successive Haldon Gold Cups in 2002 and 2003 and the Peterborough Chase four years in a row from 1998-2001, amassing a total of £731,000 in prize money.