Master Oats (right) died of a heart attack at his retirement homePICTURE: Martin Lynch (racingpost.com/photos)
Gold Cup hero Master Oats dies aged 26
MASTER OATS, the rags to riches winner of the 1995 Cheltenham Gold Cup, died on Monday aged 26.
The mud-loving stayer was responsible for completing a famous Cheltenham Festival double for trainer Kim Bailey and jockey Norman Williamson when he supplemented the pair's success with Alderbrook in the Champion Hurdle two days earlier.
Gold Cup glory for Master Oats completed an astonishing rise through the chasing ranks which began with victory in a Southwell maiden chase in April 1992.
Bailey, whose former champion died of a heart attack at his retirement home in Gloucestershire, said: "He was a complete and utter trier. He worked harder than any horse I've ever known.
"He was a very special horse and he had an excellent relationship with Norman Williamson. He loved soft ground and was lucky to have the ground he wanted in his Gold Cup, where he was awesome."
Master Oats won ten of his 21 starts under rules, his other major wins coming in the Rehearsal Chase, Coral Welsh National and Pillar Properties Chase. He was retired after finishing fifth to Lord Gyllene in the 1997 Grand National.