Newmarket former lad George Witt, who looked after top colt Kris, dies aged 75
Newmarket’s racing community is mourning the death of popular former lad George Witt, who died on New Year’s Eve.
George, who was 75, had been a resident at the town’s Kingfisher House care home for two years and before that lived at Childwick House, in Howard de Walden Way.
And, it was a colt who carried the colours of the the man after whom that street was named, which gave George his greatest moments in racing.
Kris, trained by Henry Cecil at Warren Place, was the dominant miler in British racing during the 1979 season. After being beaten just half a length in the 2000 Guineas, he swiftly made amends with big race victories including the St James’s Palace Stakes, the Sussex Stakes, the Waterford Crystal Mile, the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes and the Challenge Stakes. As a four-year-old he won the Lockinge Stakes retiring from racing with a record of 14 wins and two second places from 16 starts.
George’s daughter, Emma Richardson, who works for Racing Welfare, said: “He was dad’s pride and joy and certainly the best horse he looked after during his career in racing. He told me that if I had been a boy I was going to be called Kris after him.”
Hailing from Birkenhead, George had come to Newmarket when he was 15 and served his apprenticeship with trainer Sam Armstrong at his St Gatien stables.
During his career he also spent time with trainers John Winter, Ron Sheather and Dave Morris, who he had helped to get a job with Henry Cecil before the pair teamed up again when Morris began training in his own right at Hackness Villa stables in Exeter Road.
George also worked for flamboyant racehorse owner,Terry Ramsden, and Jim Ratcliffe, who ran a livery and horse transport business at Chippenham.
Widowed in 1987 when his wife, Marion, died he was eventually forced to give up his racing career when he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, a debilitating illness he bore bravely for the rest of his life, remaining positive, and still enjoying watching racing on television. George, his seven-year-old grandson, named after him, was his pride and joy.
His funeral service will be held on Thursday, January 26, at 2pm at St Mary’s Church, Newmarket.