FORMER Scottish trainer and jockey Swannie Haldane has died after a long illness. He was 73 and passed away in a Kelso nursing home where he had been since suffering a stroke last year.
Born and bred in the Borders, Haldane served his apprenticeship with Stewart Wight and then moved on to Ken Oliver. In all, he rode about 100 winners in 12 years as a jump jockey before hanging up his saddle in 1972 shortly after Slaves Dream finished a two-length second to Quick Reply in the Scottish Grand National.
Oliver’s widow, Rhona, said: “We are all very sad to hear about Swannie as he was such a character – nothing went on around here that he didn’t know about! He rode some good winners for us including Pappageno’s Cottage, who broke the course record at Cheltenham one New Year’s Day in the Fred Withington Chase and they were also a close third in the 1967 Scottish National.
“On another occasion I remember we got Pat Taaffe over to ride Happy Arthur at Haydock and they were brought down at the first. Swannie took over the very next day and they went on to win – he dined out on that story for ages!
“We used to say he broke his leg for fun but he had very brittle bones and drank gallons of milk. Everybody liked Swannie and he will be sorely missed.”
Haldane’s training career started in 1981 and the best horses he trained were Border Knight, What A Fiddler and Highlandman, who was runner-up in the 1997 Fox Hunter Chase at Aintree.
He trained 29 winners over jumps, seven on the Flat plus several more in point-to-points and his final winner under Rules was Camp Hill, ridden by Jim Crowley at Carlisle in March 2004. His last runner under Rules was at Perth in May 2009 with Billsgrey, who is now trained by Willie Amos.
Meanwhile, top Scots-owned sprinter Borderlescott has been retired after a glittering career that yielded 14 victories and nearly £776,000 in prize money from his 66 races. Trainer Robin Bastiman decided his run at Dundalk last month would bring the curtain down on the ten-year-old’s racecourse appearances after consulting with owners James Edgar and William Donaldson.
The Yorkshire handler said: “He was telling us in his own way after the race in Ireland that he’d had enough and his owners have given him to my daughter, Rebecca, so he will always remain part of the yard.
Borderlescott won the Group 1 Nunthorpe Stakes in 2008 and 2009 and other highlights included the 2006 Stewards’ Cup, the same year that he was a close second to Fonthill Road in the Ayr Gold Cup.