18+ | Commercial Content | T&Cs apply | Wagering and T&Cs apply | Play Responsibly | Advertising Disclosure
Sponsored By
My Racing Story

My Racing Story

George Kingston

George Kingston pictured with jockey Chris HayesGeorge Kingston pictured with jockey Chris Hayes
© Photo Healy Racing

I'm from just outside Drogheda in Co Louth. My parents would have gone racing when I was young and would have had plenty of friends at the races, so that's how I started going. I started riding a pony for a local man, Maxie Collins, and he would be well known in coursing and greyhounds, and as a bookie at the point-to-points. Maxie always had horses and I started riding his pony when I was a child.

I remember being in Navan one day when I was a child and I watched Tommy Carmody cantering to the start. I'd say it was a two-mile steeplechase and Tommy won it and I was hooked. I spent my summer holidays with Tommy Kinane in Tipperary when I was 12 or 13 and I did a couple of summers with Homer Scott. He had horses like The Illiad back then.

My first official job would have been in Mrs Harrington's. I'd say I was four years there. When I started in Harrington's, I started on a Monday and Jessica got her training licence on the Friday - she was a permit holder before that. Jessica, Eamonn Leigh and myself would have ridden all the work there at that time. I would have learned an awful lot from Eamonn, the actual breaking of horses and working with horses. I had a handful of winners riding, a couple of bumpers for Mrs Harrington and point-to-points. I was riding work in Harrington's and I had plenty of rides in bumpers and point-to-points, but I wasn't on the fancied ones obviously! When you ride your first winner it is always a thrill. It was a horse called Scallyrouge in a bumper in Naas (in 1993). When you rode out every morning, and rode in bumpers, it was a great buzz to get that first winner. It was a bit of an addiction then!

I spent a bit of time with John Kiely, probably one season, winter into summer with him. A brilliant man, and his brother, Paddy Kiely, would be my hero riding horses to this day. Riding work with John and Paddy Kiely was a great experience. I've never seen a better man to ride a horse than Paddy Kiely.

I did two years with Francis Flood then, an excellent trainer, and that was the last job I had. I would have been a bit older in Flood's and learned an awful lot. I was lucky that any place I went to had an excellent trainer. They were all different, but the end product was winners - they were excellent. A job well done.

I then had a couple of horses to break. The first horse I ran, Once In A While, won a point-to-point in Loughbrickland (in 1999) and I rode it myself. I started doing a few then and I always had a few. Clonmel 2006 was my first track winner with Hit The Target. She was a very cheap filly, about 1600 quid, and she won twice for me. She made all in the old Tralee in August that year.

Hero Of The Hour winning at Dundalk in JanuaryHero Of The Hour winning at Dundalk in January
© Photo Healy Racing

Ros Brin was a very, very good mare. She won two hurdles and two chases for me. She was very reliable and was owned by a local syndicate including David Hoey (Hero Of The Hour's owner) and Ciaran Matthews who is in the yard helping us every day. She was a cheap filly that turned out to be a tough nut. She won for us on Irish Champion Hurdle day in Leopardstown (in 2012) and she won on Hatton's Grace day in Fairyhouse (in 2014). We would have had a good few horses, but most of them were no good! After Ros Brin, I never had more than 12 or 14 horses.

We are riding out five or six now and have a couple to break and mares and foals. Hero Of The Hour has won three of his last four. He was definitely well handicapped through time off and injury. The way he worked, he was definitely well handicapped. Every day now is brilliant and he is running well.

I enjoy the Flat. I would always have been a jumping man and at the point-to-points, but it is so hard to get your hands on a bit of quality. I like the Flat, it is an easier job day-to-day and less injuries. We are open to more horses - horses are always welcome! Dundalk is right beside us, 25 minutes to the door. I'm situated near Monasterboice close to the beach, close to Skyrne gallops and close to the Daw gallops. We have an eight-horse walker and a three-furlong sand-gallop. There are also schooling races in Navan and Fairyhouse. I've plenty of facilities beside me.

Katie Corrigan started working with me last year and she comes from a showjumping background, but she is loving riding work and is improving every day with fast work and everything. Siobhan Rutledge, James Ryan and Jordan Kidd ride work with us.

The saying is work hard and surround yourself with good people. If you are enjoying it, and you are making a living, the horses aren't a bad way to go at all.

Latest Stories which may interest you