No targets but big team will be aiming to build on success of best-ever season
The lowdown on the wealth of talent at Habton Grange
Tim Easterby is not the sort to blow his own trumpet, which is just as well as many a trainer would have deafened the neighbours if they’d had a year like he did in 2018.
Not only did he send out 100 winners for the first time since taking over the licence from his legendary father Peter, who is still on hand and going strong, but he smashed his personal best tally by 20, ending up on 118, and also earned more than £1.5 milllion in prize-money for the first time.
“We had a good year,” he admits in his characteristically understated way. “We had some nice horses, they kept healthy and there was a lot of racing.”
Success has not been achieved by throwing money around, not in this part of the world.
“We have a big team of not expensive horses,” Easterby says. “We have to try to buy a nice horse by a funny stallion or out of a funny mare, or maybe it has a little quirk.”
Of course, having such a good 2018 raises expectations for 2019 but Easterby does not fret about whether the yard will match last season’s feats and says: “I’m not worried – it will or it won’t.
“I don’t do targets, I just try to get the horses fit and well and try to find the right races for them.”
Yard Habton Grange
Where Malton, North Yorkshire
Started training 1996
Finest hour Winning the St Leger with Bollin Eric in 2002 was perhaps the pick among many Group 1 triumphs
Horses in yard 140
Strike-rate last season 11%
Total prize-money 2018 £1,525,376
Members of staff 45
Assistant trainers William Easterby, Keith Stone, Rory Bevan, Peter Easterby
Head grooms Martin Hale, Seamus Tompkin, Willie Hardy, Michael Mayvin (travelling), Dave Dutton (travelling)
Jockeys David Allan, Rachel Richardson, Duran Fentiman, Daniel Redmond (apprentice), Robert Dodsworth (apprentice)
WINNERS IN BRITAIN
PROFIT/LOSS TO £1 STAKE
Six-year-old gelding by Dubawi (sire) – Beach Bunny (dam)
Owner: Ryedale Partners No1
Form figures: 350-133
Racing Post Rating 102
Official rating 96
He’s been an absolute revelation and has definitely improved again. He ran another blinder at Chester last week but he maybe doesn’t quicken the same on heavy ground as he does on good. He could go for the John Smith’s Cup.
6g Oasis Dream – Vallee Des Reves
Reality Partnerships III
RPR 95 OR 85
He shapes like a nice horse, he was unlucky a couple of times last year and he ran a right race from a bad draw at Chester last week. He’ll go for a good 7f or a mile handicap.
6g Assertive – Opopmil
RPR 95 OR 83
A tough horse who loves Chester. It’s amazing how he’s just come good. He doesn’t get a stiff six furlongs but he’s fine over five or an easy six. He goes on any ground.
12g Dubawi – Golden Nun
J Ball & Partner
RPR 110 OR 90
He’s 12 but he’s absolutely bouncing, he’s an unbelievable horse. He likes Chester and ran another good race there last week when losing a front shoe may not have helped him. He’ll go where we can find soft ground.
5g Sir Prancealot – Mystic Dream
Ventura Racing (Copper) & Partner
RPR 106 OR 100
They were going a notch too quick when he was second at Chester, he couldn’t get a breather. He’ll go for the Dash at Epsom. He’s really quick but gets 5f well. He likes a bit of juice in the ground and won the Gosforth Park Cup on the all-weather at Newcastle last year.
Eeh Bah Gum
4g Dandy Man – Moonline Dancer
RPR 94 OR 88
He likes fast ground and a flat track and has come back in good form. He was a little bit free from a bad draw first time but he ran well and runs in Friday’s 5f handicap at York, where he won over course and distance last August.
4f Excelebration – Al Janadeirya
Times Of Wigan
RPR 90 OR 86
She had a seedy toe on her foot last year and we couldn’t get a shoe on her, but she’s fine now. She came out of her run at Doncaster well and will go for 6f and 7f fillies’ handicaps.
6g Pastoral Pursuits – Choisette
Ontoawinner, M Hulin & Partner
RPR 109 OR 100
A cracking horse who likes it soft. He’s in good order but takes a while to come to himself. He ran some really good races last year, winning on his side when third in the Ayr Gold Cup. He’s high enough in the ratings now, but he’ll go for the good 6f handicaps.
5g Galileo – Rimth
RPR 92 OR 83
He came to us from John Gosden and looks very nice. He was only ninth over a mile last time but he’ll win when we step him up trip.
5g Power – Al Ihtithar
CDM Developments (North West) Ltd & Partner
RPR 85 OR 71
He’ll win a nice handicap somewhere. His trip is a mile and he wants fast ground. He won at Beverley and Carlisle last year, seems to like going right-handed and really needs a stiff track.
Give It Some Teddy
5g Bahamian Bounty – Croeso Cariad
RPR 87 OR 83
He’s one for decent mile handicaps. He just keeps improving but after his win at Redcar he hated the soft ground at Nottingham last week, he didn’t pick up at all. He gets a mile and one furlong and he likes good ground.
5g Pivotal – Elan
David Scott & Partner
RPR 104 OR 95
He struggled to get home over 7f on soft ground at Haydock but he ran a good race. He’s trained on well and will come back to 6f. I think he likes better ground.
5g Intense Focus – Jouel
Ryedale Partners No 14
RPR 104 OR 88
He’s new to us and is shaping well. I hope we’ll find a big handicap for him and I think he wants soft ground and six furlongs.
6g Lawman – Feather Boa
The Sandmoor Partnership
RPR 97 OR 90
He doesn’t come to himself early in the season but he’s in great form and ran a really good third at Haydock and has come out of that well. He’s had trouble with his knees and handles soft ground, but doesn’t like it too firm.
6m Poet’s Voice – Midnight Martini
DA West & Partner
RPR 99 OR 88
She’s an absolute superstar who has won 11 times. She likes any track and has won whenever the race is right. Five and a half furlongs may be okay for her, but six is too far. I’d love to get a bit of black type with her in a Listed race.
Since the start of 2016, Tim Easterby is 16-75 (21%, +£13.63) with his runners that started 10-1 or less in Class 4, 5 or 6 handicaps at Ripon. A further 19 finished second.
6g Makfi – Rakata
RPR 95 OR 85
We had a lot of fun with him last year and he won a nice mile race at Thirsk which he’ll probably go back for again. He likes juice in the ground and doesn’t like it too firm so it’s not been an ideal start to the year for him but he’s in good order. His best trip is a mile or a mile and one furlong. He is declared to run at Beverley on Tuesday.
7g Dark Angel – Caster Sugar
TA Scothern & Partner
RPR 98 OR 87
A true mile-and-a-half horse who ran a lovely race at Ripon last time, he didn’t get the rub of the green but ran all the way to the line. He’ll be aimed again at the Queen Mother’s Cup at York – he was second in two years ago.
7g Multiplex – Bollin Nellie
David Scott & Partner
RPR 89 OR 85
He’s in good form but must have good or softer ground and it was too quick for him first time. He’s a mile-and-half horse and he could be aimed at the Hamilton Silver Bell, which he’s won before.
7g Rail Link – Tarot Card
RPR 106 OR 97
He won a good mile-and-a-half handicap at Pontefract last summer and that could be his target again. He gets two miles round Ripon but nowhere else. He needs to have a stalls test – he reared up and got his leg stuck on top of the gate last time and they had to take him out.
8g Pivotal – Heavenly Ray
RPR 111 OR 80
He ran a good race first time back atThirsk, where he needed it a bit. He could be on the way back – he’s not won for us but he will do, over five furlongs or six with give in the ground. He’s still got ability.
5g Dark Angel – Muzdaan
Reality Partnerships XII
RPR 92 OR 88
He took a long time to settle last year, he’s quite a hot horse, but he’s been a revelation since he’s been trained at Easthorpe on the uphill gallop. He got struck into quite badly in the Thirsk Hunt Cup but he’s okay now. He won twice over seven furlongs last year and also over the fast mile at York. He goes on any ground.
4g Equiano – Snake’s Head
Ontoawinner 10 & Partner
RPR 106 OR 100
He did really well taking on the older horses last year. He ran a blinder first time out this season and has improved for being gelded. He’ll go for the big 6f handicaps and has handled any ground bar heavy – although that may have been because he was still weak.
Vive La Difference
5g Holy Roman Emperor – Galaxie Sud
Ryedale Partners No 5
RPR 89 OR 76
He’s returned in good form and is getting back down to a mark where he should win. He ran a good fourth at Wetherby but he wants to go to somewhere like Hamilton, where he won twice last year. He has to have give in the ground, he can’t go on firm, and a mile is his limit.
Wells Farhh Go
4c Farhh – Mowazana
SA Heley & Partner
RPR 114 OR 112
He would have run a big race in the St Leger. We had trained him for it, but unfortunately he injured himself when he ran in the Voltigeur at York. He’s back cantering and looks great. He’ll be running from mid-season onwards but he wants a bit of juice in the ground, he hasn’t got any problems but he performs better on that ground. We’ll look at 1m6f and 2m races – I don’t think he’ll be quite ready for the Gold Cup and I’m not sure whether he’d get two and a half miles, but there are good races in France and Ireland. The Irish St Leger could be a good race for him. He’ll get better with age and he could have a very good year.
g Zebedee – Benedicte
Ontoawinner 10 & Partner
RPR 83 OR 80
He’s made up into a really nice horse. I was a touch disappointed with him at Musselburgh last time but it was fast ground and a mile and it was too quick for him. I think he wants a mile and a quarter.
f Mayson – Ride The Wind
Ontoawinner 10 & Partner
RPR 71 OR 71
She’s an interesting, progressive filly. She’s tough and has improved this year although she may have found Pontefract a bit too stiff for her last time. She probably won’t get further than 6f and will be one for three-year-old fillies’ handicaps.
c Kodiac – Maleha
Joanne Boxcer & partner
RPR 72 OR –
He wasn’t ready to run as a two-year-old but he’s a gorgeous horse. He ran a lovely race to win at Thirsk then he just got nicked on the line at Nottingham after running a bit geen in front. He’s a lovely big, raw type who’ll probably get 7f. We’ll find a handicap for him now.
f Kingman – Wadaat
RPR 47 OR –
She’s a very nice, good-natured Kingman filly who found it difficult from a wide draw at Thirsk last week but still ran a good race. She was a bit green but she stayed on and I was very pleased with her. We’ll try and win a maiden with her. I hope she could get black type.
c Dick Turpin – Traditionelle
King Power Racing Co Ltd
PR 111 OR 108
He’s a bloody good horse. He was a bit disappointing first time out in France but he ran an absolute cracker at Haydock, it was only good ground – not soft – and he goes much better when it’s really soft so we were delighted with him. We’ll look at Listed/Group 3 races and we could step him up to 7f.
Among those to have run, Beverley winner Iva Go is very quick and her aim is the Super Sprint at Newbury; Knightcap is a nice, tough filly; Hurstwood got left at the stalls at Ripon and was unlucky; Holloa shaped well at the same course and could make up into a decent filly.
Of the unraced two-year-olds Lampang is a really good-looking type who looks very sharp and we have high hopes for him, while Champagne Angel shapes well and I’d be disappointed if she’s not decent. We like Phoenix Approach a lot, Vintage Times is a half-sister to Vintage Brut and is a really nice filly and Fishable is out of a dam who was a Group 1 winner and could be a proper horse.
Horse to follow
For a winner of both the National Stakes and Rockingham, there’s a case for saying Vintage Brut’s gone under the radar a bit. Current odds of 66-1 for the Commonwealth Cup are tempting if you think that, and as his trainer says, he’s a classy sprinter at his best who can handle most conditions. His impressive 6f Rockingham win proved his liking for soft ground and York, as well as his versatility regarding trip, and if it turned up testing in the Nunthorpe he would be no forlorn hope. Indeed, other than Wells Farhh Go, if there’s any horse in the yard that’s capable of landing a big prize, it’s him.