The Festive period over Christmas and the New Year is time for celebration. While the majority of the population will happily be tucking into turkey, Christmas pudding and other such seasonal delights, the life of a busy All-Weather jockey is very different and most definitely not a gluttonous one.
There is no racing on either Christmas Eve or Christmas Day and Monday, December 23 is also a racing-free day in 2013.
At six foot, George Baker is one of the tallest jockeys in the weighing room and with a riding weight of nine stone, the Festive season is not a time for the 31-year-old to indulge.
Baker said: I get some time off over Christmas. Being a Flat jockey, it is a bit quieter for us at this time of year than for the Jump jockeys. I will have three days off and I will take a total break during that time.
I dont actually find it too difficult with all the food and drink everywhere at Christmas, you just have to be sensible. In the lead-up to Christmas, I still have to watch my weight as I may well be riding the next day.
It just nice to have some time off to relax though. I will take a total break from everything during the three days I have off and I wont even be riding out during that time.
After the three-day break, the All-Weather season recommences with a seven-race card at Wolverhampton on Boxing Day, Thursday, December 26.
Baker added: If I can get rides on Boxing Day, its great but its not the end of the world if I dont.
Again, it would be very different if I was a Jump jockey at this time of year. I would think that for the last 10 Boxing Days, I have probably had about half of them off. You like to keep busy, but dont always want to go racing just for one ride.
The past 12 months have been very fruitful for Baker. For the third time in his career he has ridden over 100 winners, which included a first Group One success in the British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes at Ascot in October aboard Seal Of Approval.
He concluded: Prize money-wise, it has been fantastic and all round it has been a very enjoyable year. As of January 1, 2014, it is back to zero though! Fingers crossed next year will be as good.
For further information please contact:
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Kempton Park Racecourse
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NOTES TO EDITORS:
1. Arena Racing Company (ARC) owns three of the four All-Weather tracks in Britain at Lingfield Park, Southwell and Wolverhampton and has injected more than £2 million extra into prize money during the new All-Weather Championships which run from October to April and include Kempton Park. The All-Weather Championships climax in the richest All-Weather card in Europe which will be held at Lingfield Park on Good Friday (April 18, 2014) when £1 million in prize money will be available. The Championships consist of six different categories, with races for Three-Year-Olds, Fillies & Mares, Marathon, Sprint, Mile and Middle Distance. There are 59 upgraded races during the www.awchampionships.co.uk
2. The All-Weather Championships Finals Day is ranked in the top 10 Flat total prize fund racedays, and its positioning on Good Friday is expected to see a significant increase in Levy yields.
3. The All-Weather Championships are supported by partners Ladbrokes, bookmakers.co.uk, Coral and 32Red.com, plus media partner At The Races.
4. Arena Racing Company is the largest racecourse operator in the UK, hosting nearly 40% of the fixture list. Fifteen racecourses make up the group including Bath, Brighton, Chepstow, Doncaster, Fontwell Park, Great Yarmouth, Lingfield Park, Newcastle, Royal Windsor, Sedgefield, Southwell, Uttoxeter, Wolverhampton and Worcester. The Group also manages Ffos Las in West Wales.