‘Pretty good’ was the comment offered by ex-Aysgarthian George Holder when describing an extraordinary week over the Christmas holidays spent at racehorse trainer Lucinda Russell’s training yard. George was staying with eight times National Hunt champion jockey Peter Scudamore, the whole venture arranged by family friend Neil Doughty, 1984 Grand National Winner (on Hallo Dandy). George’s job was to gallop up to six racehorses per day.
One of his main memories seems to have been the weather. ‘In Scotland’, he remarks drily, ‘rain hurts a lot on your face. There wasn’t a day when I was warm. I had to sleep under three duvets’. Nevertheless he admits to having found the equine equivalent of being given a Ferrari to play round with ‘very enjoyable’. Not all the horses were as unruffled as their young jockey, though, ‘some spent too much time mucking around’.
George was the 2011 winner of the Horse of the Year show in the Under 14 133WHP class. He tells me that he wants to work with horses as a career, most likely as a jockey like his father before him.