George Wood

GEORGE WOOD

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My 13th ‘PIGEON RACING’ jockey interview sees me speak to a young rider who first made a name for himself on 2,000 Guineas Day when winning on Channel 4 aboard KNIGHT OWL. George Wood, sponsored by Andy Turner Builders has a bright future and had plenty to say when i spoke to him this week:

4 September 2016

Date and Place of Birth

I was born on 6th January 1998

Burnham-on-Crouch in Essex

Who inspired you to get into racing and when did you first realise you wanted to be a jockey

My first influence on me with horses was from my mum. I soon had my own pony and from since I could remember I was doing pony club, hunting and evening etc. Then I got into the Shetland pony racing from there progress to the pony racing. When I was 14, I started riding out for Mr Fanshawe in my school holidays. From there I went to the British racing school for four weeks before spending the next year working full time for Mr Fanshawe and getting my licence out for him in May last year

When was your first actual race ride

I soon had my first ride on a filly called ANGEL DELIGHT at Leicester in a 7f claimer on 26 May 2015

What was your first winner and how many winners so far

My first winner was on 15 March 2016 on a gelding called HENRY SMITH for Garry Moss in an apprentice handicap at Southwell and i’ve ridden 21 winners so far

What are your strengths and weaknesses

I feel my weakness at the moment, the same as most apprentices, is my experience. I’ve only really been race riding for a year, which isn’t a lot if you compare it to someone like Jimmy Quinn who’s been riding since I was born!

But that’s just something that will come with time. I’m riding quite a bit now so all I can do is be patient with that. I feel my main strength is my fitness… I’ve never felt so fit which really helps when it comes down to a close finish. I can be as Strong as I can. Also my weight is a big advantage. I’m light so have more opportunities to ride

Who are your jockey idols you look up to or maybe base yourself on

There are many good riders out there at the moment. Obviously as everyone knows Ryan Moore is exceptional and is someone I really admire. I also love the way Jamie Spencer rides one from behind. To have the never to wait on one for as long as he sometimes does had to be admired. On a personal level, Freddy Tylicki and Tom Queally have been a great help. I’ve learnt a lot from them just at home riding work with them twice a week and I have to be grateful for their advice

Without tempting fate, have you had any injuries that have kept you out long term and have you used Oaksey House for example to recover ?

Touch wood nothing so far. So luckily I’ve never had to use them. However I’ve used the racing centre in Newmarket for the gym and that has been beneficial for me

Which would you regard as your biggest win

My biggest win would be on Knight Owl in a £50000 class 2 handicap in the first race on 2000 Guineas day at Newmarket

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Which racecourses do you like best to ride

I love riding at Newmarket Image result for newmarket

I’ve had a lot of luck there and things seem to go my way a lot of the time. Also Bath has been very good to me. I’ve ridden my only two doubles there and just seem to have luck there

Who gives you your best advice

Everyone really. I can’t really pick and choose one person. I get great advice off lots of lads in the weighing room which I have to take on board

Favourite horse – that you have ridden and would like to have ridden

My favourite horse I’ve ridden has to be KNIGHT OWL as without that winner on Guineas day I wouldn’t be where I am now. I would’ve loved to have had a sit on KAUTO STAR round Cheltenham. That must’ve been some buzz!

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What time do you get up in the morning most days and what would be your average kind of day

I would be up at 4:45 most mornings to be in the yard for 5. I would muck out two boxes before we pull out for 1st lot. Then i’d usually ride 2 or 3 lots just depending on what time I’m leaving for racing

Which stable do you work for or ride out at the moment

I’m currently attached to James Fanshawe in Newmarket

Who are your best mates in the weighing room

I get on well with a lot of them in the weighing room. It’s nice working in Newmarket as a lot of them live there so it’s good to spend time with them outside the weighing room too

What’s worst part of the job

The worst part has to be the travelling

What hobbies or sports do you like to watch or play away from racing

I love watching rugby. I played a lot when I was younger until the riding took over. But I still love watching and following it

TV Films & Music
I don’t really watch much TV unless it’s the racing… Saying that the Great British Bake off is a must watch!

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Which course would you like to ride a winner at this year (even if you’ve already ridden a win there)

I’d love to ride a winner at Ascot. Hopefully that can come

How do you like and compare the different All-weather surfaces/courses (if you’ve ridden any yet)

They’re all a bit different. Difference surfaces suit different horses but on the whole they’re pretty much the same apart from Newcastle. I’ve ridden there twice and I liked it. I really enjoyed riding over the straight mile. That was a different experience for me riding on an all weather straight mile

If you were put in charge of racing for one day what changes would you make

I don’t think I would change much. It all seems to be doing alright at the moment so I think I would leave it be

What are your ambitions for the near future

Just to keep my head down and try to ride as many winners as I can. Then just try and ride for as many people as I can. That just opens up more opportunities for me

Can you give readers a horse to follow for the rest of the season
I’ve always thought a bit of a horse called LORD GEORGE. In training with the boss he’s always shown me something. He’s in great form at home and should have a good end to the season

Big thanks to George for his time and best of luck to him for the rest of the season