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Trainer Rebecca Bastiman dies aged 40 following long battle with illness

Rebecca Bastiman, seen here with Borderlescott, has died at the age of 40
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Trainer Rebecca Bastiman has died at the age of 40 following a long-term illness.

Bastiman, the daughter of Robin, who trained the remarkable Borderlescott to two Nunthorpe Stakes victories, saddled more than 100 winners after taking over the reins from her father in 2015, and also rode three winners as an amateur jockey.

The trainer's Facebook page confirmed in a statement that she had passed away peacefully, hailing her as a "special, beautiful person" and a "dedicated trainer and hard worker".

The statement said: "It comes with extreme sadness and heartache that sadly Rebecca Bastiman has peacefully passed away after a long illness. Being a trainer was her dream, her life, her everything. She put 110 per cent into the love and care of her four-legged friends.

"Rebecca was a dedicated trainer and a hard worker. She was first on the yard and last to leave, she mucked out and rode out and loved the challenge of problem horses and sweetening them up.

"Rebecca will leave a hole in many people's hearts, but her legacy will go on and never be forgotten. The world has lost a special, beautiful person but the heavens have gained an angel."

'She lived for the sport'

Bastiman enjoyed a career-best year in 2018, when she trained 27 winners and accumulated £247,336 in prize-money. Last year she had 12 winners from 178 runners.

Bastiman and her father will be forever associated with the rags-to-riches story of Borderlescott, from his rise through the handicaps off a modest rating of 64 to dual top-level glory and becoming one of Flat racing's most popular performers.

Her best horse in her own right was Hayadh, a five-time winner for the trainer who she also owned and who landed the Thirsk Hunt Cup in 2019.

Hayadh's last victory for Bastiman came at Musselburgh in September, while that track was also her happiest hunting ground, providing 22 winners.

Hayadh (white cap): was Rebecca Bastiman's stable star and won the 2019 Thirsk Hunt Cup

She trained Highlight Reel for the Grange Park Racing Club, the six-year-old winning at 50-1 at Redcar in October, and their syndicate manager Alan Crombie hailed Bastiman as someone "who lived for the sport."

He said: "She was a lovely young woman. I know she's been poorly for a long time. This will be devastating for her family, they idolised her.

"She was one of those trainers who could get an old horse, a cast-off from another trainer, turn them around and make them successful. Hayadh would be a good example; he won the Thirsk Hunt Cup for her and numerous good races.

"She changed the regime around after taking over from her father and, in the short time she trained, she had over 100 winners. She was such a talented girl, very hard-working and she lived for the sport.

"We spent many a day at the races enjoying her company. I hope she gets the acknowledgement she deserves."

The world has lost a special, beautiful person but the heavens have gained an angel

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