Mick Easterby is in his 80’s and still going strong. Uncle of fellow trainer Tim Easterby, the Yorkshire handler has been in the profession for several decades, and although he primarily trains flat runners, there is the occasional one or two who are sent over timber. Easterby claimed his only classic winner with Mrs McCardy all the way back in 1977 in the 1000 Guineas. With so many years training, it would be surprising if Mick Easterby had not picked up some areas of specialisation, or habits when it comes to training his horses. In this article we try to unearth those trends and behaviours to see where and when the veteran is most profitable.
2 year old debutant winners aren’t really Easterby’s forte. In the last 10 years, they are just 4/182 (2.20%) for a loss of £-63. A/E 0.91 (most of the runners start at big odds). Punters could be forgiven for thinking that because his horses aren’t wound up or fancied at the first time of asking, that they will improve on their second racecourse appearance. Wrong. Those horses that did not win on debut are a measly 1/179 (0.56%) second time out, producing a loss of £-172 and giving an A/E of 0.14. Based on odds, the trainer should have had 7 winners, so his runners represent terrible value under these conditions. His maiden to nursery switchers who have had 3 runs are just 1/35, so Easterby does not tend to prime them for their nursery debuts, obtaining low handicap marks.
Easterby has just a handful of 3 year old debutants each season, but again they are far from prolific – 1/50 in the last 10 years for a loss of £-33, giving an A/E of 0.53. His numbers for second time out 3 year olds and his thrice raced runners switching to handicap company, are also modest.
When looking at Easterby’s 3 year old runners in 3 year old + handicap company, a trend emerges:
*A/E denotes actual number of winners divided by expected number of winners. A figure over 1 represents good value, anything under 1 is poor value.
Easterby starts the season slowly with a low strike rate but is at the back end of the year where he really excels; from October-December, Easterby’s runners are 18/90 (20%) for £36.44 LSP, giving an A/E of 1.88
Conversely, when looking at his 3 year old runners in 3 year old only contests, an opposite pattern emerges:
Easterby is strong through the early months and into the summer, but as the flat season finishes and the all-weather begins, his runners have a poor record in the age confined contests. From September-December, his horses are just 1/57 (1.75%) for a loss of £-44, giving a poor A/E of 0.22
His 3 year olds do fantastically well over sprint trips in handicap company:
The strike rate of his 5/6f performers is double that of horses going further. The A/E is very positive and a healthy profit is achieved. With that being said, his 7f+ performers don’t really perform poorly (operating at 0.97 A/E – just below what they should do), it is just that they are eclipsed by the sprinters.
Mick Easterby’s older horses generally do well in handicap company in terms of the A/E they produce.
4 Year Old+ in Handicap Company
In 6 of the first 7 months of the year they outperform market expectations, with results being especially good in May. From August-October his runners are 67/864 (7.75%), for a loss of £-261.90, giving an A/E of 0.88. They then pick up again strongly in the last two months of the year as the all-weather season gets into flow.
4yo+ Non Last Time Out Winners
Easterby’s older handicappers do best when off for around 3-8 weeks. Any more time off that, and their strike rate, returns and A/E all decrease.
Class 6 is where Easterby has his highest strike rate. The races in this grade are generally uncompetitive, and both the return and A/E are very encouraging.