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Willie Mullins led the tributes to Florida Pearl after news that the outstanding chaser had been put down because of illness at the age of 20.
The trainer had many great days with the gelding, among them the victory by three-quarters of a length over triple Cheltenham Gold Cup hero Best Mate in the King George VI Chase at Kempton Park in 2001, when Adrian Maguire was in the saddle.
"He was the best chaser we've ever had. He was a huge horse in my career and he gave myself and the O'Learys some fantastic days," said Mullins, whose charge also landed the Champion Bumper at Prestbury Park as well as the Royal & Sunalliance Chase and four Irish Hennessys.
"In winning a King George and four Irish Hennessys, as well as two wins at the Cheltenham Festival, his record speaks for itself. He enjoyed a fabulous retirement at the Irish National Stud and I'd like to thank them for the way they looked after him."
Former jockey Maguire added: "He hasn't been well for a while, but it's still sad news. He had it all - he had size, he stayed well, he jumped brilliantly, and he also had speed.
"He was my last big-race winner in the same year I broke my neck, and as you get older you appreciate those great days even more. It was certainly one of my greatest days in the saddle - he was just a fantastic racehorse.
"He was also great for Ireland. He had such a great following and generated amazing interest whenever he ran. He'll be badly missed."