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TIM Easterby will be aiming to extend his advantage in the race to finish as York’s ‘Top Trainer’ for the 2021 season when he brings a smart team to next week’s Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival.

Easterby last took the title in 1999, but has had several near-misses over the years since then.

The current campaign has yielded seven successes on the Knavesmire for his Habton Grange stables, located near Malton. Easterby will start York’s flagship meeting with a slender one-win advantage over Andrew Balding, while Richard Fahey has notched five victories to date, as all compete for the Charles Clinkard backed prize.

And he is looking forward to bringing, star sprinter Winter Power, for the Coolmore Wootton Bassett Nunthorpe Stakes – as well as contesting many other races at the four-day festival.

Easterby said: “This is our goal for every horse that we have, really. Everybody up here that owns horses in the north wants to go to York’s August meeting. It’s like the southern lads going to Goodwood or the Newmarket July meeting.”

Winter Power is on course for the £400,000 Group 1 on Friday 20 August. The Bungle Inthejungle filly has already clocked up twin Listed successes at York this year in the British Stallion Studs EBF Westow Stakes and the John Smith’s City Walls Stakes.

She is proven over the fast five furlongs of the Knavesmire and Easterby confirmed: “That’s why she’s going. It’s been the aim all year. She is in great form.”

He also outlined York running plans for several other horses from his powerful string, which is already close to 90 winners for the current season.

Easterby added: “We plan to run Copper Knight on the first day, first race (Sky Bet & Symphony Group handicap). He’ll do for a starter. Cruyff Turn – (£100,000 Clipper Logistics heritage handicap, 19 August). He likes fast ground.  If Dark Jedi doesn’t get in the Ebor, he’ll run in the mile and a half race (Sky Bet handicap, 20 August).

“Another that will be entered there will be Bollin Joan in a mile and a quarter fillies’ handicap (Assured Data Protection British EBF Fillies’ handicap, 20 August)) – she’d have a good chance. And we’ve got Fishable that might run on the Saturday in the mile and a quarter race (Sky Bet handicap, 21 August). Whether they win or not, I wouldn’t know.”

As for the latest York ‘Top Trainer’ title, Easterby assessed: “I probably won’t win it because the last few meetings, those guys rattle ‘em along and we’ve run out of gas.”

But don’t for a minute think that he’ll not be keeping a very close eye on how it plays out. “We’ll keep kicking!” he declared.

The Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival runs from Wednesday 18 August until Saturday 21 August inclusive.