By Gordon Brown
SANDY THOMSON bids to extend his stranglehold on the£50,000 Persimmon Homes Scottish Borders National with 2016 hero Harry The Viking.
The Greenlaw handler, based just a few miles from the track, also landed the Kelso marathon in 2014 and 2015 with Neptune Equester.
Now his veteran gelding, formerly owned by Sir Alex Ferguson, flies the flag for his Lambden yard and Thomson said: “He may be nearly 14 but he doesn’t act his age and is full of beans. We fancied him for the race last year but it was lost to the weather.
“He’s part-owned these days by my wife Quona and Jim Beaumont who was involved with the 2013 Grand National winner Auroras Encore.
“‘Harry’ just loves racing and he’s really enjoying life at the moment – he also gets on fantastically well with Rachael McDonald who made most of the running on him when they won two years ago.
“Once he gets into a rhythm and jumping away in front he’s hard to peg back.”
Another Kelso regular in the line-up is 12-year-old Scotswell, trained at Jedburgh by Harriet Graham and a two-time Borders National runner-up.
Carrigdhoun, who chased Harry The Viking home two years ago flies the flag for Maurice Barnes, a Grand National winning jockey on Scottish-trained Rubstic in 1979.
Class horse in the race is Nigel. Twiston-Davies’ top-weight Callet Mad while Michael Scudamore’s Mysteree was the winner of last season’s Eider Chase at Newcastle.