EASTERBY STILL IN HUNT TO FINISH LEADING TRAINER AT YORK

TIM EASTERBY is eying up a late bid to land the Charles Clinkard Top Trainer at York title for 2019.

The Habton Grange handler has sent out five winners on the Knavesmire so far this season – that puts him three behind Newmarket-based, John Gosden.

But at the racecourse’s concluding two-day fixture this Friday and Saturday (October 11-12) Easterby has made no fewer than 27 entries – albeit several horses are entered in more than one race.

And Easterby said: “Everything that gets in, runs.”

He has five entered in Saturday’s feature, the £100,000 Coral Sprint Trophy. But three of those have also been handed alternative engagements on the opening day of the meeting.

However, it does look as if Easterby will have a decent hand for the six-furlong race with Staxton and, almost certainly, Hyperfocus set to make the cut for what would be maximum 22-runner field.

Ayr Silver Cup winner, Golden Apollo, was successful over course and distance back in June 2017 and  is rated 93 so may also just get in at the bottom end of the weights. Ayr Bronze Cup winner, Music Society, and Flying Pursuit another with York form, make up the quintet but are rated in the 80s so are more likely to be seen in Friday engagements at York.

Looking at his Coral Sprint Trophy entries, Easterby said: “All are in good form. It’s a matter of what gets in and which gets the best draw.

”Staxton (rated 97) will get in alright. Both he and Golden Apollo handle soft ground. Hyperfocus (rated 94) loves soft ground if he got in.”

One horse that Easterby needn’t worry about in terms of making the cut for a race is Lampang, who is on schedule to contest the six-furlong coral.co.uk Rockingham Stakes on Saturday.

The unbeaten son of Dandy Man will move up into Listed company after running away with a novice race at Ripon on 28 September.

Easterby said: “A very good horse, he is. He runs. It’s a natural step up for him.”

And there are no concerns about the soft underfoot conditions for Lampang with Easterby adding: “He didn’t seem to mind the ground at Ripon – it was soft-ish that day.”

Fellow Yorkshire-based trainer, David O’Meara, can also harbour hopes of reining in Gosden in the race to finish as the Charles Clinkard Top Trainer at York. He has notched six winners at the track in 2019, so is just two adrift with a superior number of second place finishes, should there be a tie.

With over £400,000 in prize money on offer; Friday’s seven-race card is scheduled to start at 2pm. On Saturday the opener is at 2.05pm.

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