George Baker is definitely a trainer on the up. The former racing journalist learned the art of his second career as assistant to Paul Webber, and though he’s yet to become a prolific trainer of winners, there are plenty around who would be pleased with his total of 20 this flat season.
The latest evidence of his progress shows the level of his ambition. After spending four years at Whitsbury Manor Stables, Baker is shortly to move his whole operation to the Manton estate, where Brian Meehan is already well established. The two will operate entirely independently of each other.
Speaking about the move yesterday, Baker said, “As a team we are very excited to be moving to one of the finest training yards in the country. Manton is steeped in racing history and it is a privilege to be joining the roll call of trainers who have been so successful there. I have enjoyed my time at Whitsbury and now look forward to the next step in my career”
Baker takes over the Barton yard. Guy Sangster and his brother Ben run the estate, which their late father Robert bought and developed more than 20 years ago. He said, “We have room for 200 horses here, so it was easy to arrange things for the Barton yard, the newest part of the Estate, furthest from the main offices, to be rented as a single entity. We have 500 acres of grass gallops here, as well as Polytrack and 2 Woodchip gallops. We are delighted that George Baker and his team have decided to rent the Barton yard at Manton. We wish him every success and I look forward to working with him and welcoming his owners to the Estate.”
Brian Meehan welcomed the move for his colleagues and rival, explaining that he was unable to use the full extent of facilities on the estate. He said, “It is a big place and offers a lot in terms of facilities for a trainer. There is capacity for 200 horses and I do not have the numbers to fill them all, so it makes sense fore there to be a second trainer.”
There is quite a roll call of top trainers who have worked at Manton in previous years. Michael Dickinson, Peter Chapple-Hyam, Barry Hills and John Gosden all set high standards and achieved considerable success there. Brian Meehan is doing the same. I’m certain George Baker will rise to the challenge.