|By Susan Crawford. Image size 24'' x 16'' (60 x 40 cms).
In one of her most striking paintings, Susan Crawford depicts the only four horses ever to record three consecutive victories in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, Britains most prestigious chase.
On the far right of the picture stands Cottage Rake, who sealed his place in racing history with three successive wins between 1948 and 1950.
In the foreground, second from the right, stands Best Mate. This celebrated gelding won the Gold Cup in 2002, 2003 and 2004, finishing in the first two places in all 21 races that he completed, and never falling at a single fence or hurdle.
The handsome bay gelding standing third from the right is Arkle, considered by many to have been the greatest racehorse in history. Arkle won three consecutive Gold Cups between 1964 and 1966, as well as the 1965 King George VI Chase and a number of important handicap chases. In all, he recorded 27 wins in his 35 races, on his way to achieving a Timeform score of 212 the highest score ever awarded to any horse.
Even Arkle, however, could not match the fearsome Cheltenham record of the mighty Golden Miller. Trained by the eccentric Dorothy Paget, this thoroughbred racehorse won the Gold Cup five times between 1932 and 1936, setting a record that is unlikely ever to be matched. In 1934 he became the only horse ever to win both the Gold Cup and the Grand National, setting a new course record at Aintree in the process. Appropriately, however, the main focus of this remarkable painting falls upon the prize in pursuit of which these fine horses made their names: the Cheltenham Gold Cup itself.