'Wonderful' horse famed for one of the greatest Cheltenham Festival races ever dies aged 31 | The Sun

Rith Dubh, who was given 'one of the greatest rides' by the late JT McNamara, has died age 31.

Winning his first three starts for Christy Roche in Ireland, he moved across the Irish Sea to Jonjo O'Neill's yard in 2001.

Aimed at the 2002 National Hunt Chase, he arrived at the Festival winning just one of his nine starts for O'Neill.

Rith Rubh was a quirky customer and his jockey was unable to use the whip, which made McNamara's winning ride all the more remarkable.

McNamara nursed him into the race before getting into a titanic duel with Timbera and a young Davy Russell.

The pair got the better of the argument by a head and the race remains one of the greatest in Cheltenham history.

To underline his talent, the pair pulled 13 lengths clear of the remainder.

Frank Berry, racing manager for owner JP McManus, told Racing Post: "Rith Dubh passed away during the week. He was a great age at 31 and had a long and happy retirement.

"He was a wonderful horse and the day JT won on him at Cheltenham was one of the greatest rides you would ever see.

"It was one of the best I've seen anyway. He could never hit the front too soon and JT timed it to perfection that day.

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"It was one of those races you will never forget. It was Dessie Hughes's Timbera with Davy Russell and JT on Rith Dubh and they pulled clear up the straight.

"JT waited and waited and coaxed him home. It was a brilliant ride and he was a wonderful horse."

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