An Interview with Top Trainer Tim Easterby
To the question, at what point growing up did you know you wished to be a trainer? Tim Easterby, 60, answered a simple but heartfelt, ‘Always.’
Not that this was a surprising response. Tim has as much racing blood in his ancestry as there’s black type in the pedigrees of the horses he trains. His father, Peter, from whom he took over training, was three times champion trainer and trained greats such as Sea Pigeon, Night Nurse, Little Owl and Alverton. His uncle Mick Easterby, a colourful character, has also spent a lifetime training, only recently joining up with son David. Initially, from 1978, aged seventeen, Tim worked fulltime at home for his father, whom Tim describes as a ‘great trainer’, before taking over the licence in 1996.
Tim is a very successful dual-purpose trainer, winning over a thousand races. Through the years, the best he has saddled include Classic-winner Bollic Eric and Grade 1 Flat winners Pipalong, Fayr Jag, Somnus with Winter Power winning the Nunthorpe Stakes in 2021. He had Royal Ascot winners with Snoano and Art Power. He is also a force to be reckoned with over jumps too, training Grade 1 Royal SunAlliance, winner Barton at the 1999 Cheltenham Festival and Hawk High in the 2014 Fred Winter. Barton also was victorious at three consecutive Aintree festivals, beating Best Mate in 2001. Turgeonev won a Victor Chandler Chase at Ascot in 2002.
Last year was a bumper season with the yard sending out the most Flat winners ever, 127, beating their previous best total set in 2019. Tim was also Champion Flat Trainer in Yorkshire for the second year in a row, sending out over 80 winners at Yorkshire racecourses; an accolade he has now won six times in total.
Tim trains on his father’s farm, Habton Grange near Malton in North Yorkshire. He has a wife Sarah, and children William, Emily and Thomas, and owns a labrador and a cocker spaniel.
What is your first racing memory? Going to Wetherby races as a child.
Did you ride as a child? Yes, Pony Club & hunting. Tony the pony was my first pony.
Were you a jockey? I rode over a hundred winners as an amateur.
What was the best advice you were given? Not to start training too young (M H Easterby).
Which have been your best days racing so far? National Hunt: Barton winning at Cheltenham Festival and on the Flat, Bollin Eric winning the St Leger. He was homebred at our Easthorpe Stud for the Westbrooks.
What are your favourite racehorses? In the past, Sea Pigeon and present, Winter Power.
What is your favourite racecourse? York, a wonderful place to have a winner.
Is there a horse you would have loved to train? One Man.
Is there any race you would love to train the winner of? National Hunt, the Champion Hurdle, a wonderful race to win. On the Flat, another Classic.
Is social media positive or negative? Positive.
Who do you admire in racing? M H & M W Easterby, two great mentors.
How has racing changed over the years? Some changes have been negative. Sunday racing was designed to be quality racing. Unfortunately, this is not the case, it is poor quality racing for poor prize money.
The positives are that syndicated and partnership ownership gives everybody an opportunity to become involved in racehorse ownership.
Generally, what does racing do well? TV coverage is good. The Yorkshire racetracks provide good racing surfaces.
What does racing mean to you? It has been my life since I could walk.
Favourite music: Ed Sheeran
Favourite meal: Sunday roast, cooked at home.
Favourite drink: Guinness or Champagne.
Favourite holiday destination: Barbados.
Other hobbies: Skiing, hunting, shooting, tennis.