When George Moore closes the door to his renowned racing stables on January 31, he’ll probably have a smile on his face.
It would be all too easy to become maudlin when saying goodbye to a career that has spanned almost half a century but George is a born optimist.
“I’ve had the best job in the world and this has been a very lucky yard. There’s nothing to be sad about, although it was hard telling the staff and the owners that I was going to retire. Some of the owners have been with me for over 30 years,” says the popular former jockey-turned-trainer.
A legend in Middleham, dubbed the “Newmarket of the North”, George and wife Carol have just put their training yard, Warwick Lodge, on the market and are looking forward to a well-earned rest, spending time with their children and travelling, though their roots are liklely to stay in Yorkshire.
The couple first worked with Carol’s father, the trainer Steve Nesbitt at Kingsley House, now owned by top trainer Mark Johnston. They moved to train at Warwick Lodge in 1984 and bought the property in 1993. Since then they have improved and expanded the complex, which includes a three-bedroom house and a two-bedroom staff apartment.
It also has 58 boxes, parking, two outside rings, three horse walkers, a shed with stables and, unusually for Middleham yards, it has three paddocks. There is also easy access to the gallops used by the Middleham trainers at a cost of about £60 per month per horse.
During their time at the yard, George, who looks after the horses, and Carol, who oversees all the administration, have had more than 930 winners. They include Regal Reform, who won at Royal Ascot, and High Flying, who won the prestigious Northumberland Plate in 1993. George won the “Pitmen’s Derby” again in 2006 with Toldo. It meant a great deal as his late father-in-law hailed from the North East and had always wanted to win that race.
Estate agent Tim Gower, of Robin Jessop’s admits the complex holds potential for a housing development but adds: “It is superbly set up and ideal for another young trainer to step into the shoes of George Moore. The yard has been meticulously maintained and this is a truly rare opportunity as racing yards rarely come on to the open market in Middleham.”
George, meanwhile, is preparing for his final race and is hoping to go out on a high. His last runner will be Wolf Shield at Doncaster on January 29. “It would be good if it wins, especially for the owners who have been so loyal to me,” he says.
Contact Robin Jessop, tel: 01969 622800, www.robinjessop.co.uk