Thursday 22 March 2018

Heskin lands role with George stable

Adrian Heskin: Making move to England. Photo: Cody Glenn/Sportsfile
Adrian Heskin: Making move to England. Photo: Cody Glenn/Sportsfile

Johnny Ward

Adrian Heskin has been appointed stable rider for Tom George.

Heskin has been a sparingly-used freelance rider in recent months, his role as retained jockey for Barry Connell severed by that owner in April. He joins a yard that enjoyed 225 British winners last season and 288 two campaigns previously.

"This is happening at a good point in my career," said Heskin, who reacted to his axing by Connell in a mature manner.

"Tom George's yard is well known for getting horses ready and right for big days. It's very exciting - and I suppose a pleasant surprise. I am going over after the Listowel festival."

Heskin has no ride in today's Kerry National but has enjoyed 161 mounts in Ireland this term, a respectable figure given the loss of the Connell post, which went to Denis O'Regan.

George, whose yard is based in Slad, Gloucestershire, told his website: "At 24, this talented rider has experience under his belt, ambition and we both greatly look forward to working with the horses here. Paddy Brennan and I have had some big days together over the past seasons and I very much hope to be able to give him more winning rides in the future."

Read more: Blue is the colour for National expert Mouse in Kerry

Barry Geraghty, injured since a fall off the George-trained Cernunnos in mid-July, is closing in on his return. "I'm aiming at the end of the month," said JP McManus' jockey.

Connell, meanwhile, is looking forward to getting Edelpour - purchased just over a year ago at the Goffs Champions Sale for €450,000 - to the track. He said: "I imagine he'll be out some time after Christmas and you'd have to be hopeful about him given his Flat form for Dermot Weld."

Yesterday's publication of the 2017 fixture list confirmed that the Curragh will race from May 13 to September 10 as the course gets redeveloped. Four of the Curragh's regular meetings will go to Naas and another to Navan.

It is estimated that Flat races will increase by 16 to 1102, with jumps' races declining by 15 to 1412. This reflects the improvement in Flat average field sizes and a small drop in the jumps average.

Horse Racing Ireland CEO Brian Kavanagh stated: "An important change is the reintroduction of blank days on the two All-Ireland Sundays in September.

"Combined with a Sunday where there will now be no Flat racing in July and the existing blank Sunday before the Galway festival, this will give stable staff some welcome breaks."

Wicklow Brave, shock winner of the Irish Leger on Sunday and now favourite for the Melbourne Cup, has been given 55kg (8st 9lb) in the weights for the Flemington race on November 1. Bondi Beach, expected to be Aidan O'Brien's main runner, has the same weight of 55kg.

Irish Independent

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