Carl Evans talks to George Stanners, who has taken an exciting new role at the stud
When it came to transfers in the bloodstock market during 2021 few were more surprising than Yorton’s signing of George Stanners.
Ebullient Stanners appeared to be a Goffs UK man to the core, an auctioneer who would tattoo the word ‘Doncaster’ on his buttock if it resulted in an extra bid for a vendor. Yet in November news broke that he was leaving his beloved Scotland and heading to North Wales to work for Yorton. It took some believing, until you remembered Dave Futter’s record on innovative thinking and his ability to make things happen.
In a press release to mark the change Stanners stressed his gratitude to all at Goffs UK, especially group chief executive Henry Beeby and his late father Harry who had given him a job as a 16-year-old school leaver. Henry Beeby recognised that talent must stretch its wings, excellent relations with Yorton remained unbroken, and Stanners will continue to step onto the Doncaster and Kildare podiums with his auctioneer’s gavel when available. From birth Stanners was destined to make a career with livestock of some breed. He says: “I grew up in the Scottish borders on a big farm owned by the Hamilton family. Billy Hamilton, who had bred and trained the outstanding chaser Earls Brig, was head of the farm and my mother Julie was married to his son Neil. My father, Michael Stanners, who was a sheep and cattle auctioneer, had married Sue Bramall, who at one time or another has trained racehorses in Britain, Ireland and France.
“It was on a trip to Saint-Cloud with Sue to buy jumping-bred two-year-old and yearling stores that my interest in bloodstock sales began. I sat in the ring, watching the horses and the selling process and thought ‘I fancy some of that’.
“I cannot remember watching my father selling, and the auction mart where he worked in Hawick is now a Morrisons supermarket, yet they say he was an outstanding livestock auctioneer. He didn’t push me into this industry, but I had no interest in going to university so applied for a job with Goffs UK, which at the time was called Doncaster Bloodstock Sales. “Within a couple of years I was given my first auctioneering opportunity. It was at the Spring Sale in Doncaster and I had five horses to sell for Ian Williams, who looked as petrified as I felt. I had auctioned at a few charity events with Henry Beeby, but selling racehorses at Doncaster was a much bigger challenge. Embarrassingly I was so enthusiastic I almost shouted at Tessa Greatrex to make another bid on a horse – I think she’s forgiven me.”Stanners went on to sell six-figure jumping horses at Doncaster and other Goffs UK venues, and seven-figure Flat horses at Goffs’ sales complex in Ireland. Of his move to Yorton and his position as bloodstock manager, he says: “I was very happy working for Goffs, but I was also aware that I was in my mid-30s and had been there for 17 years. It was a case of staying put and accepting it would be my workplace in my 50s and perhaps 60s, or accepting an exciting job offer from Yorton.”
It seems Stanners has been given an open brief, a front-of-house role he will share with Futter and which has been created through expansion at Yorton. Futter, his partner Birte Bauer and sons Lester and Riley all have clearly identified positions, but Stanners can seek out new opportunities when not required to be on hand at the stud.
He says: “The role involves working in a sector of the bloodstock and racing industries with which I am familiar, and will include meeting people I have known for many years, while also looking at new markets and widening the Yorton client base. It is always a pleasure to visit stud farms to view young stock.”
To tie in with Stanners’ appointment a new company, Tridynion Ltd, has been set up by James and Jean Potter, the Futters and Stanners, to source young horses from around Europe with a view to reselling them privately or at the Yorton Sale, or to put into training under the Yorton Racing banner. Horses who have been bred at the stud, or bought as foals and yearlings and raised there, have done well as pinhooks or on the racecourse, and the more good results that roll in the more trainers, bloodstock agents and owners will be setting their satnavs for a visit to Yorton.
For now Stanners, his wife Laura and their spaniel Charlie are preparing for a future some way from the Scottish Borders, yet in one of Britain’s loveliest rural enclaves. For further insight on Yorton’s newest recruit, here is some diverse information:
Sun tan, swim trunks, destination … Greek island of Rhodes I’ll drive a long way for: Seafood pasta Headphones on, tune in: Eclectic, but anything by Coldplay Moment to savour: Selling Un Temps Pour Tout for my stepmother, Sue Bramall, for £450,000 in 2013 Relaxation means: Watching rugby union