Greenlaw horse dies after brave finish in final race

Neptune Equestor winning the Scottish Borders National for Greenlaw trainer Sandy Thomson.
Neptune Equestor winning the Scottish Borders National for Greenlaw trainer Sandy Thomson.

The first meeting of 2016 at Kelso was touched with tragedy last week with the death of a Berwickshire horse.

Following the penultimate race of the day, Neptune Equester, a veteran National Hunt racer trained outside Greenlaw by Sandy Thomson, died after finishing runner-up.

The thirteen-year-old, two-time Borders National winner, was being walked back in to the paddock by his owner Thomson when he collapsed and died.

Thomson said, following the tragedy: “It all happened so very quickly, I was just walking him in and then the next second, he was gone.

“We had had him for two years and he was just a star.

“It was amazing to see him during the race, because we all thought that he should have been absolutely outclassed.

“But he was there, and he went to the front, and you could hear a sigh among the crowd as the other horse finally passed him.

“Because of what he’s done at Kelso, and with his Borders National wins, he was very popular, and he touched a lot of peoples’ hearts.”

Kelso Racecourse paid tribute to Neptune Equester on their Twitter account, saying: “Such sad news about Neptune Equester. He will always be a Kelso Races favourite. RIP.”

That sentiment was echoed by racing journalist Alan Kellly, who also tweeted his condolences.

“The death of Neptune Equester @KelsoRacecourse may not make the front page of the @RacingPost but the 13-year-old epitomizes NH [National Hunt] racing,” he wrote.

Neptune Equester won his second Borders National title on the Kelso course in December last year.

Just three of the eight starters completed that testing four-mile challenge, with Neptune Equester finishing 16 lengths clear of his nearest rival.

Victorious jockey Derek Fox laded his ride that day, saying: “We knew that he would stay.

“He is absolutely relentless, and has a great heart.”