Jon George was another superb sprinter we trained here at Sheriff Hutton.
Foaled in 1974, he was a grey colt by Comedy Star out of Romany. His two year old career began with two unplaced runs before winning the October Maiden Stakes at Doncaster in 1976 at odds of 20-1 ridden by Eddie Hide. He finished his two year old career with the form figures 0014.
Jon George slowly ran himself into form in 1977. He started off with three unplaced runs before finishing runner up three times in a row.
Jon George's owner was seriously ill at the time. He wanted to see his horse run as often as he could, so we ran the horse every week, aiming at the television races. This worked out well as the horse was difficult to train at home and so a good way to keep him fit was simply to race him.
His first three year old win came at Redcar in June when he won the Vaux Breweries Commemoration of the Royal Jubilee Sprint Handicap, ridden by Cliff Parkes. He followed up at Ascot, where he defied a 10 pound penalty to win the Tote Sprint Trophy Handicap ridden by Willie Carson.
In September 1977 Jon George won the Portland Handicap at Doncaster. Ridden by Willie Carson he beat Epsom Imp by a neck. However, Jon George's finest hour came at Ayr on 23rd September 1977 when he won the Ayr Gold Cup. This time Bruce Raymond was the rider, and the horse carried an eight pound penalty for his Doncaster win. A 22/1 chance, Jon George beat Future Forest with a well-timed run from off the pace, going away from the field at the end in what turned out to be a comprehensive victory.
We decided not to run Jon George at York and instead aimed him at Newmarket. Bruce Raymond rode him again and he made it three in a row by winning the Highflyer Handicap, before being roughed off for the season. He'd won five times from 17 starts in 1977 and deserved a break.
Jon George didn't make the frame in his first eight starts of 1978, and he headed to the Ayr Gold Cup out of form, where he ran no sort of race and after failing to sparkle at York the decision was taken to retire him.