Borderlescott winning the Nunthorpe at York: popular star retired aged tenPICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
Dual Nunthorpe hero Borderlescott retired
ONE of racing's longest-serving and most popular sprinters bowed out on Wednesday as trainer Robin Bastiman revealed Borderlescott had raced in anger for the last time.
The dual Nunthorpe winner, ten, raced in a Dundalk Listed race late last month, finishing tenth. Following the race concerns were raised about the veteran sprinter's heart, leading Bastiman and owners James Edgar and William Donaldson to call time on a distinguished 66-race career.
"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 afterwards and his heart was beating ten to the dozen," said Bastiman.
Robin Bastiman: "he has to win"PICTURE: Mark Cranham
Like connections of Kauto Star, retired last month, Bastiman said the decision to retire Borderlescott was in part to protect him from his own enthusiasm and competitive zeal.
"He has to win - has to get up - and I don't want something to happen to him on the track because of that," Bastiman said.
"We could have had a heart scan and things like that, but he's done what he's done and he's racing against all these young sprinters coming through."
Borderlescott won 14 times in an eight-year career, including back-to-back Nunthorpes in 2008 (held at Newmarket due to postponement) and then back on home turf at York in 2009, a local victory which Bastiman highlighted as the best moment of Borderlescott's career.
The sprinter also won a Stewards' Cup and King George at Goodwood and took another local prize in the Beverley Bullet this September, his first win since 2010.
Bastiman added: "No matter what he's always run as hard as he can and tried his heart out. He proved his point winning the Beverley Bullet, but the ground hasn't been in his favour and I was a bit perturbed about last time in Ireland.
"He had a will to win to win and had gears - true Group 1 horses always have gears and the ability to put races to bed."
Borderlescott will remain at Bastiman's yard near Wetherby, where he often receives fan mail and gifts from his many admirers.
"He's roughed up and out in the paddock now, happy. He's a very popular horse and he gets plenty of cards from people and things like boxes of polo mints. The crowd at Beverley loved him," said Bastiman.
"In some ways it's a sad day but he'll be staying here, as the owners have given him to my daughter Rebecca. He might go to a few shows, but we don't know yet."