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Harrison George

Harrison George put up a really impressive performance to win a Class 3 one-mile handicap at Pontefract on Tuesday. Fast away and settled nicely just behind the leaders in the early stages, Paul Hanagan eased him out in order to get a clear run as they rounded the home turn, gave him a little squeeze and he came right away from his field, pushed out all the way to the line. It was perhaps surprising that his rider did push him out, given that this was a handicap and that the handicapper was certain to be watching, but it is a steep old climb from the two-furlong pole to the winning line at Pontefract, and Hanagan obviously just wanted to make certain.

This was just Harrison George’s second attempt at a mile. A really consistent handicap sprinter last term, he seemed to improve when stepped up to seven furlongs and winning a Class 3 handicap at Ayr, and he stayed on well to finish fifth in Light From Mars’s Class 2 seven-furlong contest at York in October. His first attempt at a mile was in the Lincoln last month, when he ran well enough given that he was drawn on what proved to be the wrong side, finishing ninth overall, and he was at least deserving of another try over a mile. This could be his optimum distance now, and he could get even further, given how well he stayed Pontefract’s stiff mile here. He was rated 95 going into this race, and the handicapper is certain to give him a fair whack. Trainer Richard Fahey may elect to run him quickly now under a penalty before his new handicap rating takes hold, in which case he will be of interest. Looking further ahead, he should be good enough to go up in grade now to conditions races or even to listed class.

13th April 2010