Tim Easterby sets sights on Charles Clinkard Top Trainer honour at York Racecourse
He already has a career-best 130 winners to his name in 2021 and 11 of those victories have come on the Knavesmire – his favourite racecourse.
The proud Yorkshireman, who recently celebrated his 60th birthday, is two clear of his nearest rival Andrew Balding who, in turn, is leading the race to become Britain’s top trainer this year.
However Easterby, who was previously York’s most successful trainer in 1999, is taking nothing for granted. “I’ve been in front going to the last couple of days quite a lot of times and got beat. So you’ve never won ‘til you’ve won it,” he said.
He is certainly giving it his best shot with 13 runners declared for tomorrow and a stack of horses entered for Saturday’s card.
With a chuckle, Easterby explained: “Well, everybody wants to run at York and they’re all soft-ground horses.”
One horse who may or may not be in action at York this week is Copper Knight. The seven-year-old is entered in Saturday’s Coral Sprint Trophy, the £100,000 highlight, but could yet go to Musselburgh the same afternoon.
However, what is certain is that Copper Knight will be celebrated on tomorrow’s card when a race is staged in his name.
The gelding that runs for the Denham family as Ventura Racing & Partners has recorded six wins from 16 starts on the Knavesmire, hence the ‘Copper Knight – Winning Most Horse at York Handicap’. This will be staged at 4.20pm and will include Music Society and Showalong from Easterby’s string.
Assessing his stable stalwart, Easterby said: “He’s very game, very consistent, tries very hard, doesn’t take a lot of work. He gets turned out every day and we don’t over-work him – we run him quite a lot. Basically, we don’t do anything complicated with him.”
Copper Knight gave Easterby one of three winners at the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival when he took the the Sky Bet and Symphony Group Handicap – the meeting’s curtain-raiser.
The following day Cruyff Turn scored in the Clipper Logistics Heritage Handicap.
But the highlight of the meeting for the Easterby stable was the dominant length-and-a-quarter victory of Winter Power in the Group One Wootton Bassett Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes under Silvestre de Sousa.
That dazzling performance justified the pre-race confidence that the trainer had in his flying filly. “Winning a Nunthorpe‘s wonderful. Everything was right, so it was great,” Easterby reflected.
Winter Power has triumphed three times at York in a year that has seen Easterby enjoy his best-ever season since taking on the training licence from his father Peter in 1996.
He said: “We’ve had a good season. They’ve run a lot of times. We’ve expected a lot of the horses but they’ve run right up to it – it has been great.”
The race to land the Living North Top Jockey crown at York will also conclude on Saturday. So far, Tom Marquand has eight winners for the year and holds the lead by two from Easterby’s stable jockey David Allan.