Champion trainer Paul Nicholls brought a trio of horses to the 2013 Grand National, of which the Alex Ferguson owned Harry The Viking was one. At eight years old, it was unlikely that he was the main hope for a Nicholls back-to-back win but he was a decent horse if not one whose recent form wasn’t looking so good.
By that I mean that his previous four race results had been dismal with a year-on-year comparison. In 2011 he won everything he entered and even finished second to Teaforthree at Cheltenham in 2012 but fast forward one season and he could barely finish a race!
His last four runs resulted in him being pulled up twice and finishing 9th and 10th respectively at Newbury and then at the Cheltenham Festival in the Fulke Kim Muir Chase on March 14th 2013. Following that the second stage of scratchings were announced and the withdrawal of 16 horses left the door open for him to nab 38th place on the starting list of forty Grand National Runners.
On the more positive side of things, he had never run in a race less than 3m so for all intents and purposes he was the typical and classic chaser who can run for days which should have stood him in good stead on April 6th. Add to that the fact that he liked the going Good or Gd-Sft and any kind of previous return to form could realistically have seen him do okay on the day.
But it was not to be and jockey Ryan Mahon could only manage to get him to fence 25 before pulling him up. But he was only 8 at the time of the race and another year’s worth of experience and he could very well contend for the 2014 National if he gets an entry.