It’s not that unusual for a horse to be retired following an injury. We hear about horses retiring as a result of illness rather less often, but that is what has happened with popular sprinter Borderlescott.
Trainer Robin Bastiman explained that concerns arose after Borderlescott raced in a Listed race at Dundalk last month. He said, “He’s almost 11 now and I was just a little worried with the way he ran last time in Ireland. He wasn’t too clever and his heart was beating ten to the dozen.”
Bastiman and owners took their time before making a decision on what to do, and decided in the last week or so that would be to close the door on another season of racing next year. It was, as much as anything, because Borderlescott has always given everything in his races, and they were concerned that his could do himself serious damage through over exertion.
He said, “He has to win – has to get up – and I don’t want something to happen to him on the track because of that.”
After winning 14 of his 66 races, all of them over either five or six furlongs, and including three Group races, Borderlescott clearly had nothing to prove, and at a human age equivalent of 34, he’s hardly likely to achieve much more, especially as sprint racing on the whole favours younger horses.
Bastiman clearly had plenty of memories, and for him, along with owners James Edgar and William Donaldson, retirement means they won’t be tarnished by a heart attack on the racecourse.
Bastiman looked back on the highlights of a career which started at his home track of York back in June 2004. He said, "It's time now. He'll be 11 next year and there's all these young sprinters coming along. They lose their pace eventually and he's had to run against the best all the time with his rating. The highlight was when he won the Nunthorpe (2009) at York on home ground. The first time he won it (2008) was at Newmarket as York was abandoned. With him being a Yorkshire horse, that was the day. There have been plenty of good days - when he won the Stewards' Cup (2006) and he just got beaten a short head the following year. He's simply been a great horse. With most Group 1s, they are won by colts and you never see them again, they end up being stallions and he's a gelding."