A bargain buy at Doncaster Sales for Scottish Borders trainer Sandy Thomson and his wife Quona, the horse won nine races over hurdles and larger obstacles.
And, after suffering a career-threatening injury, Seeyouatmidnight made a stirring comeback last year, culminating with a heartwarming win in the Unibet Veterans’ Handicap Chase at Sandown on January 2 under Ryan Mania.
However connections have now decided that the Sandown success is, in fact, a fitting way for the 13-year-old chaser to bow out.
Not only has the horse been integral to the riding career of Mania, the 2013 Grand National-winning jockey, but he has helped Thomson to attract class horses like former Cheltenham winner Yorkhill, a winner of Newcastle’s Rehearsal Chase, and Dingo Dollar who was an agonising second in the Coral Scottish Grand National at Ayr on Sunday.
“Where would we be without him?” Thomson told The Yorkshire Post after confirming the retirement decision following much discussion with his wife who owns the horse. “Would we have 50 horses? Would we have the Yorkhills, Dingo Dollars and the others?
“He is what our business is built on.
“If we didn’t have him, I would probably still be farming 400 acres and having 20 horses.”
Seeyouatmidnight first put down a marker when winning a novice hurdle at Hexham in December 2013 at odds of 66-1, beating, amongst others, the highly-regarded Regal Encore for JP McManus.
Subsequent successes included the 2014 Rendlesham Hurdle at Haydock; the 2016 Dipper Novices’ Chases at Cheltenham when he outjumped Blaklion and then comeback wins at, first, Carlisle, in March last year after a 686-day absence form the track and, most recently, at Sandown when he rolled back the years under Mania and galloped all the way to the line.
Though Thomson says they were all special days, it was the final win that stands out. “I think Sandown because I know what it took to get him there,” added the trainer. “To me it was hugely satisfying to win at Sandown after being told by leading vets that there was no chance the horse would stand training due to his tendon. It was hugely satisfying.”
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