Magical comeback for horse which faced death

George Gorman (17) and Merry Vic,  pictured at Fontwell Park on Sunday, where they finished close second to HM The Queen's horse ''Picture Jeannie Knight

George Gorman (17) and Merry Vic, pictured at Fontwell Park on Sunday, where they finished close second to HM The Queen's horse ''Picture Jeannie Knight

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A HORSE which was on the point of being put down two years ago has made a magical comeback.

The point to point horse called Merry Vic - along with 17-year-old rider George Gorman - made their first outing after a 686-day absence at Fontwell Park on Sunday - and were only narrowly beaten by one of the Queen’s horses.

Merry Vic broke down badly two years ago with leg problems but on Sunday he got to within half a length of beating the royal runner in the Foxhunter Trial race at the local track.

Merry Vic was a multiple winner in point to points, when ridden by George’s father, Marcus, until his breakdown two years ago.

George’s mother Carolyn who trained Merry Vic at Copsale, near Horsham, faced the prospect of him having to be put down, but has nursed him patiently back to health.

Sunday’s event was the 10-year-old’s first run after winning plenty of races at point to point level and the family was delighted with his outstanding performance after his 686 day absence.

George, who is a student at Collyers College, Horsham, wants to be a jockey once he has finished his A levels. He already has some good point to point wins to his credit this season and was disappointed not to win the race in such a close finish.

He recalled: “I remember going over to Ireland when I was 12, when we first got him.

“He broke down really badly after his previous run.

“It was fantastic to ride him today. They went off a bit quick so I dropped him out. He didn’t quite have enough left in the tank to jump the last two fluently but he was all heart up the run-in. He always tries his best.”

Carolyn said: “George has already won several times in point to points with another of my horses, She Is A Cracker, who is seven.

“She is out of the same dam as Triumph Hurdle contender, Baby Mix, who won so well on Saturday. I’m seriously thinking of taking out my permit again to run them both on the racetrack in novice chases, rather than hunter chases.

“It will depend on how Merry Vic comes out of his race today. He needs good ground or slightly on the soft side, and I almost didn’t run him today. I’d like to think he will be out again in a couple of months. Three miles is his ideal trip - today’s race was a quarter of a mile beyond that.”