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Baird, George Alexander (1861 - 1893)

George Baird
George Baird
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Breeder (B),  Owner (O),  Jockey (J)

Also Known As:  Mr Abington; Abington Baird; The Squire

Associated Places:  Bedford Lodge, Newmarket


George Baird must be the only Derby-winning owner in Turf history to be present on the proud occasion and to decline to lead in his winner. In all probability he would rather have been in the saddle, for he was a crack amateur rider who had been coached by the great Frederick Archer. Unfortunately he quickly fell foul of the Jockey Club and thereafter delighted in consorting with the riff-raff of the Turf and offending Society.

Before Baird was ten he inherited from his father and uncle a combined fortune of over £3 million. As soon as his 'warning off' had expired he acquired as many first class horses as he could, including Busybody, who shortly afterwards won the 1000 Guineas and the Oaks.

Baird could be very generous and was soon surrounded by a bevy of spongers. He established his stables at Bedford Lodge and built a boxing saloon on one side. His other enthusiasms included cockfighting, dog fighting and Lillie Langtry, former mistress of the Prince of Wales. His liaison with the latter started in 1891 and was tempestuous - he was physically violent towards her, after which he always presented her with lavish cheques and presents such as a yacht or a racehorse.

In 1893 Baird's boxing 'friends' encouraged him to travel to America for a heavyweight bout. He contracted malaria and pneumonia in a seedy hotel in New Orleans and, due to general dissipation and heavy drinking, was unable to fight off either disease. He was 32. Only the intervention of the British Consul enabled his body to be returned to England. In ten years he had squandered over £2 million, but he still left almost £1 million to his mother.

Important successes:

1000 Guineas
Busybody   1884   (O)
Merry Hampton   1887   (O)
Busybody   1884   (O)

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