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  • Writer's pictureJohn Curtis


THURSDAY: September 7, 2023: IT’S been a week to savour for Hawkesbury trainer Claire Lever.

Her victory at home today with lightly-raced three-year-old Big Boy George was her second in four days, following Seaside Sandy’s Queanbeyan breakthrough last Monday.

As well as the double, Lever was also thrilled to see Jett Newman, daughter of former successful jockey Mitch Newman, gain one of two Hawkesbury Race Club sponsorships for the inaugural RacingNSW and Equestrian Australia $1m Equimillion for retired NSW thoroughbreds over the October long weekend at the Sydney International Equestrian Centre.

She will compete as a junior in the show jumping division.

“Jett rides work for me and is going to be very successful when she becomes apprenticed,” Lever said. “She is a very good young rider.”

Lever is no less excited about Big Boy George’s future.

Having only his third career start, the Showtime three-year-old won Hawkesbury’s second $60,000 Super Maiden, relegating the Ciaron Maher/David Eustace stablemates to the minor placings.

Given a perfect run by Brett Prebble, Big Boy George ($8.50) easily took the Angels Florist/Windsor Gas Conversions Handicap (1300m).

He stretched out strongly over the closing stages to defeat There There ($3.60) and $1.85 favorite Broadcaster.

Big Boy George was the cheapest Magic Millions yearling purchase of the trio. He fetched $70,000 in January last year at the Gold Coast whereas Broadcaster cost $625,000 at the same sale, and There There was a $350,000 buy a year earlier.

“Part-owner George Rassos was with me when I bought Big Boy George,” Lever said.

“When we bought him home, the horse kept eating and eating.

“George likes his food as we all do, and said one day ‘they call me Big Boy George’, so that’s how the horse got his name.”

Lever said she didn’t push Big Boy George as a two-year-old, who raced only once and made nice ground as a $31 outsider to finish third to Infatuation and The Little Pumper in a 2YO Handicap (1200m) at Royal Randwick on New Year’s Eve.

“He put his hand up to race and ran very well, but I didn’t start him again even though I trialled him twice at Rosehill and Hawkesbury in February.

“We made the decision to geld him and it has paid off.”

Big Boy George resumed at home on August 19 and wasn’t beaten far when fifth in a 1300m Maiden Plate.

“He lacked race fitness that day, but subsequently tightened up nicely and worked very well on the course proper last Saturday morning,” Lever said.

“Considering the progress he had made between the two runs, I was confident he would be hard to beat today.”

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