Racing: Scott: best was yet to come

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The Independent Online
IN THE most tragic way, the events of Friday night introduced the name Alex Scott to wider attention than his accomplishments as a trainer of racehorses ever had. Once the awfulness of his death had been absorbed, those who do not follow closely the fortunes of the Turf, wanted to know, perhaps understandably, whether he was really a 'leading' trainer as described by the media. The answer, for those who had never heard of Scott is that they would have heard of him one day and probably soon.

Among the many sadnesses in reflecting on a man whose career as a trainer had not reached the end of its sixth season, is the realisation that with many fine juveniles in his string this year, Scott was poised at the door of greater achievement.

He had rich prospects of winning a first British Classic in 1995 as chief among those two-year-olds is Lammtarra, who made such an impression in winning his only start that he is already among the leading Derby hopes.

Harsh critics would say that trainers like Scott and his close colleague in the Newmarket training ranks, Alec Stewart, should have mopped up the top races from the start of their young careers, given that they have always had the benefit of patronage from the Maktoum family. Like being a rider in the stands it is a simple skill to train without having to contend with the vagaries of virus and injury that blighted Scott's progress, particularly last year.

A man who felt the job's stresses more keenly than most, Scott's career had to be suspended for several months in 1991 when he suffered a nervous illness. But that did not stop him and the triumph of Sheikh Albadou at Churchill Downs put Scott in a club of two British trainers to have sent out winners at the Breeders' Cup.

On Thursday at Newmarket he had been typically self-deprecating after Fraam had won one of the day's main events. 'The trainer shouldn't have got him beat more than twice this season,' he had said of a horse that, without Scott's skill, would not even be fit to race. He was working on a plan to take the horse to Hong Kong for a pounds 200,000 race in December when events put the value of such riches in perspective.