The Paul Scholes of the racetrack?

Borderlescott - back in training

Borderlescott - back in training

A couple of years ago when Sir Alex Ferguson persuaded Paul Scholes to come out of retirement and bolster the Manchester United midfield, some people thought it an idea borne of desperation. It turned out to be a sound decision. Whether trainer Robin Bastiman’s decision to follow suit with his veteran sprinter Borderslescott bears fruit we’ll learn over the next couple of months.

Borderlescott was put out to grass last November following concerns about the strength of his heart, but after a winter of R+R the 11 year old sprinter is bouncing again, and Bastiman says the horse looks to be enjoying training every bit as much as he has done in the past. Now he plans not simply to try and add to a record of 14 wins from 66 races, but to aim for a third success in York’s Group 1 Nunthorpe Stakes. If he pulls that off in August, I think he will go into the books as the oldest Group 1 winner.

Bastiman said of the horse that provided him with his breakthrough with back-to-back successes in the Nunthorpe in 2008 and 2009, “He’s in training again for the sake of the horse. He’s still got it as far as I’m concerned. Whether he has still got it at top level, I don’t know, but we are going to run him again and see how he goes.”

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What is absolutely clear is that Borderlescott doesn’t have to go racing to earn his keep. Bastiman bought him for 13,000 guineas as a yearling, and he’s brought in £622,000 in prize money. That included the Beverley Bullet last September, a Listed race, so he wasn’t too far off the top then.

The idea of bringing him back was first floated last month, but was dependent on a gallop and a satisfactory heart scan. Those things completed, Bastiman set out his programme for Borderlescott yesterday. He said, “He’s going to run at York first in the City Wall Stakes and then we’ll make a decision. He usually needs a run or two but if I can get two runs into him then there’s the Nunthorpe if he’s all right. He had a penalty up to last month but now he’s back on a level playing field. He’s really happy, bouncing, and he’s still got that speed. I can see it.”

Another partnership that is being reunited is that of owner Charles Wentworth, and last year’s German 2,000 Guineas winner Caspar Netscher. Now a four year old, Caspar Netscher went to stud in Ireland at the end of last season, but proved something of a flop. Although he covered 54 mares, only three of them have come in foal.

As a result, the insurers put him up for auction, and in a sealed competition, Wentworth bought him back. There’s a change of stable this season, with Caspar Netscher now in the care of David Simcock rather than Alan McCabe. Simcock, whilst not setting any immediate objectives for his new charge, described him as “ a great addition to the team.” He says the colt’s early progress has been routine. "He's done about five weeks' trotting and been very straightforward to deal with, but he hasn't done anything quick. I'm not going to put a date on when we hope to get him back on track, or what we might aim him for. His temperament is excellent and I don't see any need to consider gelding him.”

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