Captain Redbeard, a veteran of two Grand Nationals and the Cheltenham Festival, plus numerous other pretigious race meetings, has been out for 16 months through injury.
But owner and trainer Stuart Coltherd, of the Clarilawmuir stables near Selkirk hinted there may be a route back for the Captain to general race action.
The 12-year-old chestnut gelding pulled up in a race at Newcastle at the end of November 2019 with a tendon injury, of the kind which can commonly affect racehorses, and often spells around a year on the sidelines for treatment and the recovery process.
Stuart said at the time that Captain Redbeard had given the family some excellent days and some first-class runs, so he would have no problem accepting the possibility that the horse might have to retire, should the medical experts advise it.
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However, the Captain was reported a few weeks ago to be cavorting about in the fields and enjoying himself in the winter sunshine, so a decision was put on hold to see how he fared.
Stuart said this week: “We will hopefully start riding him in the next two or three weeks and see how he’s going after that. We’ll see where he takes us and how he stands up to everything.”
While it still wasn’t quite definite that the Captain would return to major race meetings, Stuart added: “There’s always a chance, yes.”
Ridden regularly by Stuart’s son Sam, Captain Redbeard unseated his jockey at the seventh fence in the 2018 Grand National but, 12 months later, he ran an excellent race at Aintree and enjoyed the prestige of completing the course, finishing 16th.