TIM Easterby’s season to remember continued when Trustan Times defied top weight, and stamina-sapping conditions to win Haydock’s prestigious fixed brush hurdle.
This is a contest that has been won in the past two years by the David Pipe-trained greys Grands Crus and Dynaste – two horses that have then enjoyed memorable scraps with the legendary staying hurdler Big Buck’s.
Easterby’s six-year-old is 25-1 for the Ladbrokes World Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival after another impressive ride by Dougie Costello, who was in the saddle when Trustan Times prevailed at Wetherby’s Charlie Hall meeting.
Trustan Times was bought out of a point-to-point in Ireland by Easterby’s father Peter, the former champion trainer.
“That was really nice. I thought the handicapper had overdone him after Wetherby, but I was wrong and he was right,” said Easterby junior, who trains at Great Habton, near Malton.
“We ran him over fences last season and he was just getting into the bottom of one or two of them, so we decided to switch back to hurdles for a while.
“He could be a top chaser one day but we will stick to this for now.”
Meanwhile Brian Ellison’s Yesyoucan just lasted home in a pulsating finish to the Betfair Handicap Hurdle, Danny Cook’s mount just prevailing from Ruby Walsh on the heavily-backed Black Thunder, who came from a mile back to throw down the gauntlet.
Malton-based Ellison said: “That was great. I think the first two probably had the run of the race as they’ve quickened up and left the rest, but this is a nice horse.
“That’s only his fourth run for me and he’s won twice and finished second twice. I don’t think he needs the ground this testing.
“We’ll see what the handicapper does.”
ARC heroine Solemia has been retired after finishing unplaced in the Japan Cup.