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Cowthorpe trainer Robin Bastiman talks about Borderlescott
HE’LL come fast and he’ll come late. He’ll hit more than 40mph on that desperate dash to the line.
And when the flash of colour blurs by, Robin Bastiman is hoping it’s Borderlescott at the head of the field.
The Cowthorpe trainer has had good horses before.
But not like this.
Not like the big bay gelding who has won 11 races, taken Group 1 honours, and earned the best part of £500,000 in prize money.
When Borderlescott swooped to win the rearranged Nunthorpe Stakes at Newmarket 12 months ago, there was delight for Bastiman but also a tiny tinge of regret.
Regret because it wasn’t at York.
Borderlescott’s target all year long has been Knavesmire’s Nunthorpe on August 21. He’s had five runs this season – all with York’s Group 1 sprint in mind.
The stable star is in great nick, Bastiman believes. “He’s right,” he said.
“Put it this way, providing he gets a decent draw at York there will be no excuses. He only comes to himself this time of year. That’s his time.
“He’s 10-1 and that’s not a bad each-way bet is it? He’ll be thereabouts. I am sure he will. I am looking forward to it and just hope everything goes right with him.
“This is the race. As far as I know, he’s as well as ever. So we go for this.”
Kingsgate Native handed out a lesson in the Audi Stakes at Glorious Goodwood on July 30, showing the form which brought him a Nunthorpe triumph as a two-year-old in 2007.
But, although Borderlescott finished fourth, Bastiman was far from downhearted.
“I think the draw was against him,” he added. “It was also a bit loose on top and I don’t think he really likes that. I wouldn’t be too disappointed with him.
“If he’d been drawn one to seven at Goodwood he would definitely have been second.”
Borderlescott is expected to re-oppose Kingsgate Native on Knavesmire, while the favourite could be Jeremy Noseda’s talented filly Fleeting Spirit – the flying four-year-old who scorched to victory in the Group 1 Darley July Cup at Newmarket last month.
Bastiman, however, knows exactly what will be required.
“I would have liked Overdose, the Hungarian sprinter, to be running because at least I would know there would be a strong gallop,” he added. “That’s what he wants – something to focus on.
“Otherwise, he’s in the firing line and we know he idles when he’s in front. He takes two or three runs. It doesn’t matter how much work you put into him, you can’t get him any fitter.
“The horse has to be held up. You have to give him a bit of cover. You can’t go from start to finish in a five furlong race from the front. You’ve got to have a breather somewhere.
“He wants to be upsides Fleeting Spirit, watching what she’s doing. She’s a bit quirky, a good filly, but she might have an off-day. And the more runners the better.”
It may also be that the gelding loves York.
After finishing sixth in a maiden on his first start on Knavesmire, Borderlescott has raced twice more at York and has won both, including the Coral Sprint.
With 42 race starts – and the Nunthorpe his 43rd – Bastiman’s charge has been running at the top level for more than five years.
And his future could well depend on what happens over the equine equivalent of the 100-metre sprint in a couple of weeks’ time.
“He’ll be another year older,” Bastiman said. “We’ll have to weigh up his performance in the Nunthorpe. He would be running against the same horses again so I might just take him to France and Ireland – smaller fish than the Group 1s.
“The Prix de l’Abbaye at Longchamp will be on his agenda. It all depends on what happens in the Nunthorpe.”