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My Racing Story

My Racing Story

Georgie Benson

Georgie Benson holding Apples Jade (middle) one of 3 Grade1 winners for Gordon Elliott at Fairyhouse last DecemberGeorgie Benson holding Apples Jade (middle) one of 3 Grade1 winners for Gordon Elliott at Fairyhouse last December
© Photo Healy Racing

It was great to see Apple’s Jade return to her best form when winning the Lismullen so well last Sunday. It was what we are used to seeing, her wanting her own way and taking control. She was really good, is definitely back to her old self and we were really happy with her.

Keith Donoghue rides her every day at home and Shane McCann rode her in a piece of work last week and they were all very happy with her so we were hoping for her to run to what she usually does anyway.

I’m always nervous watching her run. When you see what happened to Identity Thief, it makes you think that anything can happen.

There wasn’t as much pressure on I don’t think, for some reason. I didn’t feel as much as I usually do but I always get nervous when one of my horses is running. You just want to see them come back safe and sound.

She can be hard work sometimes, a bit hot-headed. She likes getting her own way but it’s amazing to be able to look after a horse like her. She tests you at times but how could you complain?

You can see that part of her character when she’s racing. You could see it at Leopardstown last year when she won the three-mile Christmas Hurdle, she just loves to fight. She’s such a tough little mare. Her personality is like that at home. She’s strong-headed. She rides at the front of the string every day. That’s just her character.

I was so lucky when she arrived from Willie Mullins’s, I was asked if I’d like to look after her and it was a privilege that I got to take her on.

It’s strange when you look back on last year. She was in season every time she lost. It’s not that she disgraced herself. She was still in the first three at Cheltenham and Punchestown but it was frustrating in that you knew she was better than what she was showing then but she just kept coming in and out of season.

Hopefully now we’re back to ourselves this year and she will get to show her best and improve from the Lismullen, which was a really good run first time out.

I ride out at home in the mornings, look after my horses and go racing when I’m needed. I also have Farclas and Cracking Smart. I used to look after Cause Of Causes until he retired. I’ve been very lucky to have a winner every year at the Cheltenham Festival between Cause Of Causes, Apple’s Jade and Farclas. Hopefully we’ll get another next year!

Cracking Smart is back riding out now after missing most of last year with an injury. I don’t know what racing plans will be but he looks really well and is going well. And Farclas is going well too. He had a great season last year after winning the Triumph Hurdle. As for where and when they’ll turn up at the track, I’ll leave that to Gordon!

I’m from about a half an hour from the yard. I’ve always been involved in horses with my aunty and my cousins, who own a riding school. My cousin brought me into Gordon’s one morning, about five years ago now. I’m only 19 so I was still in school back then.

I was asked if I wanted to go part-time, and I was delighted. I was in every weekend and whenever I was off. When I finished school I went full-time. I didn’t know what I wanted to do for the future and I still don’t but I’m still here anyway.

I went to Australia last summer for three months and I definitely want to travel a bit more but I’m just going with the flow at the moment. But the great thing with horses is that you can work anywhere around the world with them and I did that in Australia. Once you have experience with horses, you can do anything with that.

I really enjoy riding out at home but that’s a long way away from race-riding. I don’t know if I’ll ever do that but we’ll see.

Cullentra House is a great place to work and Gordon is a really nice man to work for. He looks after his staff well and he’s been very good to me. You want to do well for him. The yard is very easy to work in. Everyone knows what they’re doing and the place runs smoothly..

Sometimes maybe you forget about what you have around you because you’re so busy, you don’t think about it. Until you talk to someone else and they say ‘It must be amazing’ and it is. Someone says ‘It must be unbelievable to work with Apple’s Jade’ and I am really lucky to be able to say that I’ve looked after such good horses.

As for Apple’s Jade, she came out of the race really well. Again, I won’t be making the plans but the Hatton’s Grace has been mentioned as possibly the next race. She’s in top form at the moment and hopefully she’ll stay like that for the rest of the year.

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