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Picture: A Pint Of Bear: amazed vets with his recovery after severing a tendon Credit: Paul Dixon
Peter Scargill (Racing Post)
A horse who was “seconds” away from being put down because of a serious tendon injury capped a remarkable recovery by winning at Wolverhampton.
Co-owner Paul Dixon was thrilled when A Pint Of Bear survived, amazed when vets said they had never seen a recovery like it and incredulous when the six-year-old won a 7f handicap on Friday night at 16-1.
A Pint Of Bear had his near-hind tendon severed when he was struck into during a race at York in August 2021. Dixon, a co-owner of the then three-year-old and father of his trainer Scott Dixon, was advised by racecourse vets that euthanasia was likely due to the extent of the injury.
Explaining the discussions, Paul Dixon said: “I was there that day at York, which was fortunate as Scott couldn’t be there, and I went down to the vets and they said they’d never seen anything like it. The vets did what they could and then asked me what my preferred method of euthanasia was because the injury was so severe.
“There was blood everywhere and it was an awful sight. I don’t know what it was, but the little horse looked around at me and I just asked the vets whether there was another way and if we could save him. They said that they could try to get him on to the ambulance and that they would try to find the tendon. If they could, then they would try to staple it together, which they managed to do.”
Months of “box rest and TLC” followed for A Pint Of Bear alongside regular scans of the injured area by vets. Once the injury had healed, A Pint Of Bear was rehomed by Dixon, an ex-president of the Racehorse Owners Association (ROA), and his wife, Yvette, the former head of horse welfare for the ROA.
However, A Pint Of Bear’s retirement was rethought after Dixon received a video of the horse from the rehoming venue. Dixon said: “One day, Gemma, who has a lot of our rehomed horses, sent me a video of this horse galloping around the field at some speed and I replied saying that couldn’t possibly be Bear, but she said that it was.
“The vets went to see him and said they’d never seen a recovery like it and, if we wished, then we could bring him back into training.
“Horses will always tell you what they want to do. We’ve been involved in enough horses over the years and he wanted to do this. The fact that the vets had cleared him and said they had been so amazed by his recovery helped with our decision to put him back into training.
“Scott said that if he didn’t show the enthusiasm, or wasn’t right, then he wouldn’t be carrying on with the horse. Scott and the team took it steady to get him back, giving him all the love, care and attention he needed.”
A Pint Of Bear returned to racing last spring and was back in the winner’s enclosure for the first time since May 2021 when making all of the running to win a 7f handicap at Wolverhampton.
“He was seconds away from being euthanised and now he’s back winning, it’s incredible,” Dixon said. “All horses deserve a chance and we’ve spent tens of thousands of pounds getting him back to win a little race at Wolverhampton in January. He even did a lap of honour after the race as Elisha [Whittington] couldn’t pull him up afterwards!”
Dixon, who has previously raced the likes of Glorious Goodwood winner Docofthebay and Group 1 winner Milk It Mick, added: “We’ve been lucky enough to own a lot of good horses, to win top races here and in America, and I can tell you that we’ve never had as much joy from a win as we did from him the other day. He will have a home for life with us.”