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Thrills and spills of the Perth Festival

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It is the venue where Peter Niven and Chris Grant chose to hang up their saddles and yesterday another northern icon Brian Harding said an emotional farewell to the jumps scene in the shadow of Scone Palace.

In front of a packed Perth winners' enclosure the Irishman's weighing room colleagues provided a guard of honour before he was presented with a horse bronze and a framed montage of some his biggest wins within the initials BH.

But it wasn't be a fairytale ending for the man from County Cork as his final ride Anywaythewindblows, the last words uttered on Queen's worldwide No1 hit Bohemiam Rhapsody, could only finish sixth to impressive winner Planet Nine in the Heineken UK "Closing Time" Standard Open National Hunt Flat race.

Harding, 44, who announced his retirement earlier this week, said: "The decision was made at the start of the season and you can't go on forever. Even though I feel I have been riding as well as ever it's the way I wanted to go out rather than scratching around looking for rides here and there.

"I've had an amazing career and so many memories with the likes of One Man, the Irish national win on Granit D'Estruval and this place has good to me over the years too.

"All the northern tracks are special and I've always enjoyed riding at Carlisle and Kelso where I had my first winner when I came over from Ireland 25 years ago. I've no regrets and I'm very lucky to have done this for a job for so long. I'd just like to say thanks to everyone."

Planet Nine's pilot Lorcan Murtagh was have his final ride for Rose Dobbin as he is joining Donald McCain.

Boric was game all-the-way winner of the Heineken UK Highland National for Morpeth trainer Simon Waugh and the success sealed the northern conditionals' title crown for Callum Bewley. Apart from hitting the third last the 18-1 chance was foot perfect and was led into the winners' enclosure by proud owner/breeder Sarah York.

Waugh, acclaiming the biggest win of his career, said: "He was a joy to watch jumping round like that. He loves this ground and he saw the trip out really well. It will give everyone in the yard a huge lift as we are enjoying by far our best ever season."

The Tom George/Adrian Heskin partnership got off to a flyer at Perth last year and the pair teamed up to land the opening mares' novices' hurdle with well-backed evens favourite Miss Night Owl who made all to beat Verona Opera by 13-lengths.

Heskin said: "That's the way she likes to be ridden and despite being quite a big mare she fairly bounces off good ground. I'd say she will be going chasing sooner or later. Kilbree Kid was my first ride for Tom when he won here last September."