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

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

Merry Vic, trained at Copsale by Carolyn Gorman, was ridden by her son George (17) in a first outing after a 686-day absence from the track at Fontwell Park last Sunday.

They were only narrowly beaten by one of the Queen’s horses, Barbers Shop, trained by Nicky Henderson.

Both point to pointer Merry Vic, and his young rider were making their first appearance on a National Hunt race trackand got to within half a length of beating the Royal runner in the three mile two furlong race.

Merry Vic was a multiple winner in point to points, when ridden by George’s father, Marcus, but he broke down badly two years ago with leg problems. Carolyn faced the prospect of him having to be put down, but has nursed him patiently back to health.

It was the 10-year-old’s first run after winning plenty of races between the flags and the family was delighted with his outstanding performance after such a long 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 twelve, 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 sewriously 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.”