Endless amounts of ink (digital and otherwise) have been spilled over the past year as Nicanor, Barbaro’s brother, finally saw a racecourse. But on this side of the Atlantic, another Nicanor is drawing just as much attention – and this one’s a winner. Nicanor the elder is an eight-year-old French-bred hurdler who has won five of his 11 starts and has only once been out of the money – and that was when he fell. He came back to win three races after that spill, but he has been out of action with a tendon injury since 2006. He is poised to make a comeback this week (if the snow clears off enough to allow racing) and then holds two entries at the Cheltenham Festival in March.
I don’t know what the American Nicanor will end up doing on the race course, but I am absolutely sure that whatever it is, he will not still be doing it at the age of eight. If he manages to win a race or two, he’ll be hustled off to stud duty. If not, he’ll probably be retired for one problem or another by the time he’s four. That’s the beauty of jump racing – the stars stick around for a good long time. OK, most of them are geldings, so what else have they got to do? But it’s nice to hear the jumps trainers make comments like “he’s still a young horse” about a seven- or eight-year-old. These guys take patience to new levels – the Europeaen Nicanor didn’t even run until he was four and he’s now been off the course for nearly THREE YEARS. Now that’s faith – and deep pockets. If the snow melts enough to allow racing, it will be interesting to see what Nicanor does this weekend.