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Tributes flood in for star mare Like-A-Butterfly who has died

Last Updated: 07/02/13 4:26pm

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Like-A-Butterfly: Great servant to the McManus team

Like-A-Butterfly: Great servant to the McManus team

Sky Bet

Christy Roche has described Like-A-Butterfly as "a bit special" after the multiple Grade One-winning mare died following a severe bout of colic.

A winner of 12 of her 17 career starts, the JP McManus-owned Like-A-Butterfly was one of the most popular Irish-trained horses in recent memory.

A winner at Grade One level in the bumper sphere, Roche's mare was unbeaten in her first five starts over obstacles, raising the roof when justifying favouritism in the 2002 Supreme Novices' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.

A year later she claimed the Irish Champion Hurdle at Leopardstown and although she disappointed in the Champion Hurdle itself that March, she went on to win three times from five appearances over fences, including the Powers Gold Cup at Fairyhouse.

She signed off her racing career with a win in the Mildmay Novices' Chase at the 2005 Grand National meeting at Aintree.

Roche said: "I've never trained one better than her. She was a bit special. I can't think of another mare who has won a Grade One bumper, a Grade One over hurdles and a Grade One chase. She was a great servant.

"We had some great days with her. Winning the Irish Champion Hurdle was special and of course winning in Cheltenham - that's what you dream about."

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