Racing in mourning as iconic owner and huge Aston Villa fan Jim Lewis dies aged 88 | The Sun

RACING is in mourning after the sad news legendary owner Jim Lewis has died aged 88.

Lewis was best known for being the owner of three-time Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Best Mate.

The Henrietta Knight-trained chaser was an absolute superstar of the sport and won more than £1million on the racecourse.

He also owned fellow Cheltenham Festival sensation Edredon Bleu, who won the Champion Chase with AP McCoy in the saddle in 2000.

Lewis' widow Jennifer told the BBC that he died on Sunday due to kidney failure.

Lewis' racing colours were modelled on Aston Villa's 1957 FA Cup-winning strip.

He and his entourage wore Villa scarves at the races and Lewis was a lifelong fan of the Midlands club

Remembering Lewis and his impact, ITV pundit Luke Harvey said: "In the context of the sport he didn't have many horses.

Most read in Horse Racing


I have proof punters don't have faith in BHA – let's put the record straight


Cheltenham Festival punter can win £1,000 without horse running thanks to £20 bet


Trainer humiliated after placing £2,000 bet on his horse for Cheltenham Festival


Bash the bookies with these three longshots including a monster 33-1 pick


William Hill: Bet £10 Get £40 in free bets CLAIM HERE

Betfair: Bet £10 Get £30CLAIM HERE

Paddy Power: Bet £20 and get it back as Cash if it LosesCLAIM HERE

Sky Bet: Bet £10 on Racing and get £30 in free betsCLAIM HERE

Coral: Bet £5 Get £20CLAIM HERE

William Hill: 18+. Play Safe. When you sign-up via Mobile using promo code P40 and place a bet of £10/€10 or more we will give you 4x £10/€10 free bets credited after settlement of first qualifying bet, free bets will expire 30 days after the qualifying bet is placed, payment method/player/country restrictions apply. Virtual markets excluded. #ad

Betfair – Place a min £10 bet on the Sportsbook on odds of min 1/2 (1.5), get £30 in Free Bets. Rewards valid for 30 days. SMS verification required. Only deposits via cards will qualify. T&Cs apply. Please Gamble Responsibly 18+

Paddy Power: New customers only. Place your FIRST bet on any market at odds of min 2.0 (EVS) and if it loses we will refund your stake in CASH. Max refund for this offer is £20. Only deposits made using cards will qualify for this promotion. T&Cs apply. 18+

Sky Bet: New customers only. First single & e/w bet only odds of 1/1 or greater. 3 x £10 bet tokens. Free bet stakes not included in returns. Free bets only redeemable on horse racing. Free bets are non withdrawable. No free bet expiry. Eligibility restrictions and further t&cs apply.

Coral: Eligible UK+IRE players. Paypal & some deposit & bet types excl. Min first £5 bet within 14 days of account reg at min odds 1/2 = 4x £5 free bets. Free bets valid for 7 days, stake not returned. No cash-out, restrictions & T&Cs apply. 18+ T&Cs Apply.

"But to have two superstars like Best Mate and Edredon Bleu was absolutely extraordinary.

"I was working for 5Live when Best Mate won his third Gold Cup and I don't think I've ever heard cheering like it.

"Jim was a very personable man and really easy to get on with – they all came back to my pub after that Gold Cup win.

"We had a quiet night after his third Gold Cup, shall we say…

"He's a man we'll all very much miss."

One punter saddened by Lewis' passing said: "Jim provided me with childhood memories that I will always cherish.

"A wonderful true gentleman who will be sorely missed."

While another wrote: "A sad day. He will be missed."

Lewis made his money running the SilentNight bed companybefore setting up his own furniture import business.

Success in that sphere meant he could invest in racehorses – but no one could have predicted Best Mate.

He became the first horse since Arkle 40 years before to complete the Gold Cup treble – winning racing's most prestigious jumps contest for a third time in 2004.

The horse was ridden by Irish jockey Jim Culloty – the uncle of Flat riding sensation Oisin Murphy.

Best Mate's ashes were laid at Cheltenham's winning post after he died of a suspected heart attack at Exeter in 2005.

Read More on The Sun

Savvy parents scramble to nab Disney toy kitchens reduced from £55 to just £7

iPhone users issued urgent warning as thieves use ‘reset’ trick

Lewis and his pals used to sing 'Best Mate' to the tune of Amazing Grace before his races.

The late owner said of his prized asset: "He was a great racehorse – there can have been very few in the world like him."

Source: Read Full Article