Boom the groom – Grade 1 girl Georgie Benson reflects on Christmas at Elliott's
Just as Aidan O’Brien is never slow to mention the hard work of the lads back at home after many big-race triumphs, Gordon Elliott can often be heard singing the praises of his hard-working staff.
As is the case in many yards in Ireland, Elliott’s race day staff is predominantly made up by women and it was 18-year-old Georgie Benson who enjoyed the most luck over the Christmas period, leading up Apple’s Jade and Mick Jazz to Grade 1 successes.
Camilla Sharples, who is part of the fabric at Cullentra House, led up the stable’s other Grade 1 winner, Shattered Love.
“We’re all a big team and everybody is delighted for each other after such a good Christmas,” Benson said.
“I was delighted to see my horses go and win a Grade 1 but I was also thrilled to see Shattered Love go and win for Camilla as well. It’s a great place to work and we’re lucky that we have so many talented horses.”
They don’t come much more talented than Apple’s Jade, a seven-time Grade 1 winner who Benson has the pleasure of working with on a daily basis.
But the young groom reveals that for all the five-year-old’s class, she has an attitude to match, and Benson offers an insight into what the Gigginstown-owned star is like off the track.
She said: “Apple’s Jade can be feisty in the stable and can be bit grumpy at times. Lisa O’Neill rides her every day and I bring her to the races but she always just wants to get on with things and she goes about her business well. She’s just a tough little cookie.”
On Mick Jazz, winner of the Ryanair Hurdle and Benson’s second Grade 1 winner of the week, she added: “He’s quite the opposite in that he’s a gentleman of a horse. We expected a big run from him but we thought he’d have his work cut out in beating Faugheen but it didn't work out that way.
“He’s a proper gent and he’s had a few problems in the past, which he’s over now, and he deserved a big win so we were all delighted for him.”
Including those three Grade 1 wins, Elliott sent out 11 winners across the four days of festive racing at Limerick, Leopardstown and Down Royal. Surely that causes for celebration?
“We haven’t done too much celebrating yet as we’ve got Punchestown on Sunday and we’re busy racing over the next few days but we are all over the moon and it makes coming into work a pleasure," said Benson. "We’ll find time for a celebration quite soon I’m sure.”
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