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Sunday, 16 December, 2018

Paul George: 305-1 Lingfield double makes it a dream start for rookie trainer

Paul George with his first winner Princess Way (Rhiain Ingram)
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Paul George's first week as a trainer ended in spectacular fashion with a 305-1 double at Lingfield on Saturday evening.

The former international showjumper took over from his mother Karen and already has 30 horses in his yard near Tiverton in Devon.

His first three runners were unfancied longshots who made little impression, but it was a different story at Lingfield as Princess Way made all in Saturday's apprentice handicap while 33-1 newcomer Knightshayes bolted up in the juvenile median auction, both under Rhiain Ingram.

While Princess Way, who races in the colours of his mother, appears to be a low-grade handicapper with limited scope for improvement, Knightshayes looked useful.

George said: "I've been telling the owners [Henacre Racing Club] that Knightshayes is a classy filly, but as a small yard starting out – and taking on the Hannon, Beckett and Prescott stables – nobody really listens to you.

"She works the house down and she'd been to Lingfield for a barrier trial with Gary Witheford, which was a big help. To be honest though, it was Princess Way who I was really confident about, as she had been so consistent and had an excuse last time."

Race replays and results

Ingram was a vital component in the double and George added: "I met Rhiain last year and she makes the effort to come down to ride out, even though she's based in Newmarket. She's a charming girl who rides very well and never panics."

George could have as many as nine runners in week two of his fledgling career, including Essgee Nics in the bumper at Newton Abbot on Monday. He also has another ten two-year-olds to run, including a Dawn Approach filly he is particularly excited about.

He said: "Essgee Nics has been to Wolverhampton for a racecourse gallop, where he went very well. He's a nice horse, he's fit and working very well. I don't know how much luck a person can have in their first week, but I'd like to think he'll go very close."

He added: "I couldn't have dreamed of a better start but I aimed to hit the ground running and I've been really lucky, with a lot of nice people involved with quarter shares and that sort of thing who can hopefully help me build – I'm pretty ambitious."

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I couldn't have dreamed of a better start but I aimed to hit the ground running and I've been really lucky
E.W. Terms
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