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Fitzgerald pays tribute to `a real fighter who never let you down'.

Byline: Jon Lees

THE 1999 Cheltenham Gold Cup was the first time Mick Fitzgerald rode See More Business, but it was the start of an incredible relationship that also numbered six other wins, including the Martell Cup, Aon Chase and King George VI Chase, writes Jon Lees.

There is no jockey better qualified to talk about the star, as Fitzgerald rode the 14-year-old when he was at his absolute prime.

"He's given me some of the best days of my racing life and the highlight for me has got to be winning the Gold Cup on him," said the rider. "It was a great performance.

"He didn't get the recognition he deserved. He's won every big race there is for staying chasers. Without a shadow of a doubt he was one of the best I've ever ridden. He was a real fighter who never let you down."

The working day will never be the same again for Georgina Bown, See More Business's groom of the past nine years.

Bown doubles as trainer Paul Nicholls' secretary and has probably mucked out for the last time following the retirement of her long-term partner.

"He is the only horse I look after and I will miss mucking him out," said Bown yesterday.

"I always knew this day would come at some stage, but he's lasted longer than most and it's good that he is retiring fit and healthy.

"Winning the Gold Cup was a pretty amazing day, but he also got a brilliant reception when won at Wincanton last year in front of all the local people."

That occasion was also remembered by Paul Barber, who owned See More Business throughout, first with John Keighley and later with Sir Robert Ogden.

Barber said: "We will always remember winning a Gold Cup, but the reception he received when winning at Wincanton last year was something that made the body tingle. He will never be forgotten."

Ogden, who bought Keighley's share after See More Business had won the Gold Cup, said: "We have many fond memories of See More Business and have taken great pleasure from the way he has captured the hearts of the racing public."

Andrew Thornton had a 100 per cent record on him and said: "I was very lucky. He was a spare ride in the [1997] King George and I was probably about fifth-choice, I think.

"It was five years before I rode him again, in the Rehearsal at Chepstow, and he definitely gave me a better feel then than in the King George.

"He was awesome at Chepstow, absolutely awesome. I don't think anything would have beaten him that day. He gave Bindaree 20lb and a seven-length beating."

See More Business has been ridden by Joe Tizzard in his last two Gold Cup challenges. The jockey told Attheraces: "He always tried his heart out and was one of the gutsiest horses I've ever ridden."

nRacegoers can say farewell to See More Business when he parades at the Wessex Racing Festival at Wincanton on February 21.

Course Race Jockey

1996

Chepstow Rising Stars Novices' Chase Tony McCoy

1997

Chepstow Rehearsal Chase Timmy Murphy

Kempton King George VI Chase Andrew Thornton

1998

Cheltenham Pillar Chase Timmy Murphy

Chepstow Rehearsal Chase Joe Tizzard

1999

Cheltenham Gold Cup Mick Fitzgerald

Wetherby Charlie Hall Chase Mick Fitzgerald

Kempton King George VI Chase Mick Fitzgerald

2000

Newbury Aon Chase Mick Fitzgerald

Aintree Martell Cup Chase Mick Fitzgerald

Wetherby Charlie Hall Chase Mick Fitzgerald

2001

Cheltenham Pillar Chase Mick Fitzgerald

2002

Chepstow Rehearsal Chase Andrew Thornton

Won 18 of 36 starts, totalling prize-money of pounds 701,722
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Jan 7, 2004
Words:601
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