TRIBUTES have poured in for one of the most celebrated trainers in British greyhound racing history.

“Gentleman” George Curtis died aged 96 in Henfield on April 17.

He reared the world-famous racer Ballyregan Bob, which broke the world record by winning 32 consecutive races.

Coral Brighton and Hove Greyhound Stadium, where George raced Ballyregan Bob, hailed him “the greatest trainer our sport has ever known”.

Derek Knight, 69, who trains greyhounds at the Hove stadium and used to work with George, said he had been “an old school” trainer.

“He was a real grafter. He learnt the trade from the bottom and became one of the country’s greatest greyhound trainers,” he said.

“He was an old school ground trainer. He started when he was very young, and even in his 80s he was still a really hard working fellow.

The Argus:

“Ballyregan Bob’s world record for consecutive wins against the best dogs in the country isn’t likely be broken again.”

Roger Large, 62, used to work at the stadium and remembers George as “a real gentleman”.

He said: “There’ll never be another greyhound racer like George Curtis.

“He’s forgotten more than most people will ever know.

“He was a legend in his own lifetime, and he was the perfect gentleman.

“Unfortunately the dog track is closed now because of coronavirus, but everyone would be talking about him there if it was open.”

Roger said George had an eye for spotting characteristics that would make a successful racing dog.

“He knew what to look for in a dog. He could tell whether it was going to be a fast starter or a slow finisher, and knew whether a dog would run better over a short distance or a long distance, and whether it would run better on the inside of the track or the outside of the track.

“What made George unique was his way of handling dogs and getting the best out of them.

“He had so much respect because he was working in the same kennel for decades doing it day in, day out.

“He was a fantastic gentleman to work with.

“You couldn’t fault him.”

Born in 1923, George continued to work with dogs well into his eighties after retiring as a trainer in 1987.

By the end of his career, George has won the Greyhound Trainer of the Year award three times – in 1983, 1984 and 1986, as well as the Trainers Championship in 1984.