Turf Talk: So many near-misses in a long career for local hero Borderlescott
This week, Harrogate Advertiser horseracing correspondent Jeff Garlick’s series of articles looking back at legends of the sport focuses on a real local superstar.
Trained at Cowthorpe, near Wetherby by Robin Bastiman, Borderlescott really caught the imagination of the racing public, mainly due to the longevity of his career.
Bastiman bought ‘Scotty’ for £13,000 as a yearling at the Doncaster Sales in 2003. Little did he know that this small bay horse with a narrow white blaze would go on to run in all the top sprint races on these shores and abroad, winning two Group One events.
Borderlescott won once as a two-year-old and then he ran eight times as a three-year-old winning four handicap races.
But, it was his win in the Coral Sprint Handicap at York in October 2005 that hinted at the potential of things to come.
He was back at York as a four-year-old winning at the May meeting but the highlight of this season was his win in the highly competitive Stewards Cup at Goodwood.
Royston French was onboard in that race, as he was when beaten by a short-head in his first step up into Group Three company at Newmarket.
Getting beaten in close finishes was to be a trait that bugged Borderlescott throughout his career, he won lots of races but mere inches separated him from winning many more.
This was highlighted in his five-year-old season of 2007 when he ended up winless but finished second on six occasions, three times beaten by a short-head.
These narrow disappointments came in the Stewards Cup and then the Beverley Bullet and Wentworth Stakes, both Listed races.
The 2008 campaign was however a real breakthrough season for ‘Scotty’.
He started with a victory at Musselburgh and was well-fancied for the Group One Nunthorpe Stakes at his favourite course, York.
But, rather than being able to take on his rivals on home soil, Borderlescott had to do so at Newmarket when the race was moved due to the York track being waterlogged.
This didn’t deter our hero, however, and he came through to triumph and set a new course record in the process.
He was also very unlucky in the Prix De L’Abbaye at Longchamp that year.
There was a false start to the original race and ‘Scotty’ came third in the re-run despite having run five furlongs at full speed just a few hours earlier.
As a seven-year-old the roof nearly came off the stands at York when he won his second Nunthorpe Stakes ridden, for the first time, by Neil Callan.
Borderlescott finished that year by giving Bastiman, wife Pauline and children Harvey and Rebecca a family holiday to remember in Hong Kong.
This was courtesy of an invite to run in a mega-bucks race at Sha Tin racecourse, where he was only beaten by five lengths.
‘Scotty’ only won once in the next two years but that triumph was in the Group Two King George Stakes at Goodwood under Kieren Fallon.
In 2012 as a 10-year-old it was thought that Borderlescott’s powers were beginning to wane but I was at Beverley to see him race to glory in a memorable Beverley Bullet, ridden by Freddy Tylicki. This, sadly, was to be his last-ever win.
He was retired at the end of 2012, but was such a handful at home that he came out of retirement to race for another three years and even came second, beaten by a nose in a race named after himself at Musselburgh.
He ended his career as a 13-year-old having won 14 races from 85 starts on 25 different tracks. He came second or third a staggering times and amassed nearly £800,000 in prizemoney.
‘Scotty’ is enjoying his retirement and will spend his 18th birthday in late April turned out in a field at the yard now run by Bastiman’s daughter Rebecca.
He still rules the roost at Goosemoor Farm and occupies the same box he had throughout his racing career.
Extra Polo mints are firmly on the agenda for this true local equine superstar.