Which horse was Tim Easterby’s only Classic winner?
At the time of writing, Tim Easterby is enjoying his most successful season ever, with 129 winners and £1.85 million in prize money, so far, in 2021. His seasonal highlight was, undoubtedly, Winter Power, whose victory in the Nunthorpe Stakes at York was his first at Group 1 level since Somnus won the Prix de la Foret at Longchamp in October, 2004. To his credit, Easterby has saddled at least 50 winners in every season, bar the first two, since taking over the training licence at Habton Grange Stables, near Malton, North Yorkshire from his father, the legendary Miles Henry ‘Peter’ Easterby, in 1996. However, prior to 2021, he had saddled over a hundred winners in a season just twice, in 2018 and 2019.
Despite the paucity of winners at the highest level in recent years, Easterby has won a total of 10 Group 1, or Grade 1, races during his career. His sole Classic success came in the St. Leger at Doncaster in 2002, when Bollin Eric, ridden by Kevin Darley, stayed on well to beat Highest and Bandari by 1¼ lengths and 2 lengths. Owned by long-standing patrons Sir Neil and Lady Westbrook, Bollin Eric was winning for the first time in his three-year-old campaign. Neverthless, he became the first Yorkshire-based horse to win the St. Leger since Peleid in 1973. Easterby later reflected on his victory, saying, ‘It was very important for me; it’s what every trainer wants to do.’