TOP horse trainer Sandy Thomson says he is 'completely devastated' after his beloved Hill Sixteen suffered a fatal fall in the Grand National.
Racing supporters rallied around the well-respected trainer on Monday morning as he paid tribute to his stable star.
In the chaotic aftermath of Saturday's delayed National, Thomson hit out at the 'idiotic' protesters who stormed the Aintree track.
He claimed their actions, which included throwing ladders over the perimeter fence and tussling with police, led to Hill Sixteen becoming 'hyper' before the race.
Hill Sixteen fell for the first time in his 27-race career at the opening fence.
Thomson told BBC 5Live he went straight to the horse's side as soon as he could.
He said: "I just had a few words with him. That I was so sorry for him and thanked him for everything he did for us."
The trainer also shared a photo of jockey Ryan Mania stroking the horse before his passing on Twitter on Monday morning.
And he wrote: "Thank you so much to everyone for such a huge outpour of love and sympathy for us all having lost Hill Sixteen.
"We are all completely devastated and it will be felt on the yard for a long time.
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"He was a wonderful gorgeous horse who was so loved and cared for by everyone."
Racing fans were quick to offer their sympathies to Thomson, whose yard is based in Berwickshire, Scotland.
One said: "When Sandy said what he did on Saturday with Hill Sixteen after he’d passed I had tears in my eyes.
"It’s perfectly clear what these horses mean to everyone in the sport."
Another wrote: "What a lovely picture of him and Ryan… precious memories. Sleep tight superstar."
One message read: "Rest in peace beautiful Hill Sixteen."
While another Twitter user posted: "Absolutely awful. So sad for you all. Rest in peace lovely boy."
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