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30 January 2001.

Imperial Ballet-En Retard

Owner-Stef Stefanou.

George The Best is an Irish bred sprinter, by Imperial Ballet, a son of Sadler's Wells, who was a sire of precocious two year old's, out of En Retard, a 92 rated mare, trained by Paddy Prendergast.

George The Best was indeed at his best as a two year old, making a very promising debut at Hamilton Park, finishing second over five furlongs, under Tony Culhane, in May 2003.Two weeks later at Redcar he finished fifth, but was only beaten two lengths in a slightly better race, before filling the same position in June at Catterick. He got off the mark on his forth attempt at Pontefract, and followed up under a penalty at Hamilton in July, on his first attempt over six furlongs, which earned him a career high BHA rating of 86. He made his handicap debut at Thirsk in August, over five furlongs, but there was obviously something amiss, as he hung left throughout, and trailed in a very sorry last of the eight.On his next start in September he took his chance in the £200000 St Ledger Yearling Sales race, finishing 20th of the 22 runners, beaten 14 lengths.

George The Best found life tough as a three year old, he was not showing the same zip as he did as a juvenile, and probably found his handicap mark too stiff. He ran 10 times in 2004, with his best effort coming at Ayr, on soft ground in October, from a reduced mark of 62, over five furlongs, he was beaten two and a half lengths, with Paul Hanagan on board. In 2005 he ran a further nine times, needing his reappearance at Ripon in April, before once again getting back in the winners enclosure, on his next start at Hamilton in May, with Tony Culhane once more back in the saddle.His other efforts that season, including his all weather debut at Wolverhampton in May, were all disappointing, and he finished the season, with an official rating of only 50.

He had his busiest season as a five year old in 2006, racing a further 15 times. On his fourth race that season, it was a trip back up to Hamilton which did the trick, as he powered home by three and a half lengths to win the fourth race of his career, and he was back there again on September 25th, to win at 7/1, on what was the date of Micky's 45th birthday. He won for the sixth and final time in his career just two weeks later at Ayr on heavy ground, beating a field of 22 under Paul Hanagan.

He made a further nine appearances during 2007, placing on three occasions, and was only just touched off by a neck in November at Nottingham, on good to firm ground.He was now proving more difficult to keep sound, and during 2008 and 2009, raced just a further six times, bowing out at Hamilton on August 24th, 2009, with Frederick Tylicki in the saddle.

To keep up to date with all the latest happenings at Oakwood Stables, Sharp Hill, and Curlew, click on 'NEWS' at www.mickyhammondracing.

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We send one to York, where the going at the time of writing is described as good, good to soft in places, and then in the evening we have two at Market Rasen, where the ground is also good, good to so


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