'Absolutely amazing' Harry The Viking retired after 50th start
Harry The Viking, a Cheltenham Festival runner-up for Sir Alex Ferguson who went on to become a dual National winner for Sandy Thomson, was hailed "an absolute star" at the end of his long and varied career.
The 15-year-old ran his final race when finishing sixth in the Edinburgh National at Musselburgh on Saturday, nearly ten years after his debut in a point-to-point at Larkhill in March 2010.
He won at Larkhill the following year and was bought to join Paul Nicholls. Racing for a partnership that included Ferguson, he scored four times and finished second in the National Hunt Chase at Cheltenham in 2012.
Harry The Viking was then sold for £14,000 at Doncaster in 2014 and joined Sandy Thomson, for whom he has earned over £120,000 in the last six seasons.
"Paul Nicholls came up to me and said 'Are you going to go pointing with him?'" Thomson recalled on Sunday. "He's been a bit better than that!
"Jim Beaumont was looking for a Grand National horse, he always has that dream, and he's never paid a penny for any horse he's had in this yard, they've all seemed to pay their way!"
Harry The Viking, pulled up in the Aintree showpiece in 2013 when with Nicholls, never made it to the Grand National for Thomson but took the Borders National under Rachael McDonald at Kelso in 2016 and 2018. He also finished second in the Grand National Trial at Haydock and fourth in the Eider Chase at Newcastle.
"He has been an absolutely amazing horse, nearly winning a Grand National Trial and being placed in big staying chases at Haydock," Thomson said.
"His second Borders National will be a memory that will always be with me, it was the most amazing performance by the old horse when he got back up to beat Calett Mad. He's been an absolute star for us."
Reflecting on Harry The Viking's 50th and final appearance, Thomson said: "He ran a tremendous race then they quickened away from him and that was it.
"I was thrilled with him as my fear and trepidation was that he would go a circuit and think 'oh bugger this' and that was the last thing I wanted. Rachael's going to have him and he'll never be very far away."
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