Owned, ridden, trained by George Baker – the winner is... George Baker

 

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The Independent Online

The Four Georges obtained new distinction in the Sport of Kings this week as George Baker, a horse, won a photo-finish at Leicester on Tuesday, ridden by a George Baker, trained by another – and owned by still another.

The race consummated a plan first hatched by the colourful gambler, Harry Findlay, who approached the eponymous trainer with the idea of buying a yearling, christening him George Baker, and asking their mutual namesake to ride.

"The British Horseracing Authority initially refused the name," the trainer said yesterday. "They said it would be too confusing, but changed their minds on appeal. It has taken a long time for the ducks to line up in a row, but the horse is thriving now and I hope the story isn't over yet."

The horse improved after Baker moved to the same Hampshire stables that once housed Desert Orchid. He has now won five of his last six races, including a charity event at Goodwood, where he was ridden by a supermodel Edie Campbell.

When Findlay sold him, in October 2009, Baker the trainer bought the horse back at the sales. He was approached by the under-bidder, who asked if he might have a half-share. Baker agreed, and the gentleman introduced himself as Danny George Baker – known to all his friends as George. "Don't be ridiculous," Baker said.

Both he and his jockey namesake have increasingly been carving out a name for themselves on the Turf, but even within their own community they often cause confusion. "I once got a whip ban from the BHA," the trainer said. "And James Given [another trainer] rang me one day and asked if I was going to Yarmouth the following Tuesday. I thought he was going to ask me to lunch at the seafood restaurant, and said yes. He said: 'Good. Then can you ride one for me in the claimer?' I think it would have caused a bit of a stir if I'd allowed that one to carry on until I walked into the parade ring."

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