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Last Updated: Thursday, 30 October, 2003, 19:18 GMT
Jim Culloty
Jim Culloty
Date of birth: 18 Dec 1973
Place of birth: Co Kerry
2002-03 wins: 57
2001-02 wins: 51
2000-01 wins: 43
1999-00 wins: 42

Culloty has hit the big time largely thanks to his association with dual Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Best Mate.

And in 2002, the amiable Irishman became the first rider in 26 years to land the Gold Cup-National double in the same year.

Culloty rode a near flawless race for Best Mate's first Gold Cup triumph.

And he was in the winner's enclosure weeks later at Aintree having picked up the plum spare ride on Bindaree after regular jockey Jamie Goldstein broke his leg.

The Killarney-born jockey moved to England as an 18-year-old after riding point-to-point in Ireland.

He continued riding point-to-point for two years under the guidance of Jackie Wing, but his future looked bleak when the stables were struck down by a virus.

But after the doubts - he never thought that he would make the grade as a jockey - and the downs, came a change in fortune.

Leading jockey Mick Fitzgerald pointed him in the direction of trainer Henrietta Knight and his chance to impress came sooner than expected when her stable's regular rider Jason Titley was injured.

In his first year riding out of the West Lockinge Farm stables in Wantage, Culloty took the amateur championship and has since built on that early success in some style.

But they say what goes around comes around, and racing is no exception to the rule.

While Culloty would be the first to admit he got lucky with the call to race Bindaree, Carl Llewellyn opting for a stronger fancy and Goldstein out injured, the fates have conspired against him in the King George.

In 2001 Culloty was out injured when Best Mate came home second in the big Christmas chase at Kempton.

And a year later, he again had to watch from the sidelines after being suspended, as Tony McCoy and Best Mate took the win.

On being reunited at Cheltenham in 2003, the pair become the first horse and jockey to claim back-to-back Gold Cups since Tommy Carberry and L'Escargot in 1971.

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