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Lifestyles - from the Sporting Life, 1989

Yorkshireman Mick Easterby is one of racing's true characters, blunt to the point of rudeness at time, but one who speaks his mind and expects everyone else to do the same.

Whether you like him or loathe him the fact is he's proved to be a shrewd all rounder, having trained top sprinters, smart stayers and good jumpers as well as landing some notable gambles.

He has trained a classic winner, Mrs McArdy, who won the 1977 1000 Guineas, a champion sprinter in Lochnager and a Cesarewitch winner in Boismoss. He has also handled some top jumpers, Peterhof won the Triumph Hurdle and Mr Snugfit was placed twice in the Grand National.

He is self-made, kicking off as a humble stable lad earning £1.50 a week at his uncle Walter's stable and now owns a 1,000 acre farm, 60-box yard plus his own exclusive gallops.

MWE has earned a reputation as a brilliant buyer of bloodstock, having snapped up such bargains as Workboy (cost 600 gns, later syndicated as a stallion for £260,000); Jon George (cost 4,800 gns, won five races worth £28,000 as a three year old) and more recently the Gimcrack winner Wiganthorpe (cost 2,000 gns, and sold for a reported 100,000 gns).

He took out a licence in 1961 and his best season was 1975 when he sent out 65 winners.

The Sheriff Hutton handler came up the hard way and is consequently fearless.

I remember a precocious two-year-old getting loose in the paddock at Doncaster with a broken bridle, sending trainers, owners and officials scattering and causing havoc - until Mick stepped in and caught hold of the panic-stricken animal without hesitation before bowing to the cheering spectators in typical Easterby style.

by Roy Briggs, The Sporting Life, 22/8/1989

Best Day's Racing:
When I won the Gimcrack with Wiganthorpe in 1986. Robert Sangster, who I sold a half-share to the night before the race, really got me going on pink champagne.

Worst Day:
The following day...Oh , my head!

Racing Hero:
Major Dick Hern.

Racing Ambition:
To train until I'm 100 (His secretary replies: "That keeps me in a job").

Favourite Racecourse:
Stockton. It's a pity it closed - it was a very true galloping track.

Least Favourite:
Whichever is the furthest one away from here - it's too far to go.

Main complaint about racing:
Bad jockeys. They have no brains and they get paid too much. Qualifications for a Northern jockey - poloneck jumper, pint of beer and no driving licence.

What would you do if you were chairman of the Levy Board or Steward of the Jockey Club?
First of all I wouldn't have the job of senior steward at any price. I would get the Levy Board to pay for proper watering systems on every course to achieve some decent ground instead of having so many broken down and jarred up horses. I would ensure clerks of courses did a more efficient job because, while some are very good, I'm convinced others put anything down for the official going.

Funniest moment in racing:
The day I conned Lester to ride a winner for me without giving him a present. It was a time when Piggott was chasing the championship and I strongly fancied a horse called Valarion to win a mile seller at Pontefract. He'd already been offered the choice of all the other runners in the race, so I made sure that he rode mine. I'll tell you how I did it and what he asked me for another time.

Alternative career:

Hunting, when I have time. A trainer's life is so busy there is rarely time for hobbies.

Favourite relaxation:
Being able to sit down for an hour.

Pet hates:
Having to wear false teeth. I possess four sets and still cannot get any to fit properly.

Mercedes 300D and a Suburu 1.8 4-wheel drive estate.

Favourite food:
Sirloin steak, cooked by myself.

Beer every night, keeps your bowels open.

Slippers, braces and a soft shirt collar.

Holiday or hotel:
The Turnberry near Ayr (when you can get booked in).

Mount Royale at York.

Show Me The Way To Go Home.

Haven't time to watch any.

Ken Dodd.

That woman with the big boobs, I can't think of her name.

TV Programme:
Blind Date, Tom & Jerry.

Non-racing Paper:
Yorkshire Post

Are You Superstitious?
I wasn't but I am now. I have a tumbledown farmhouse in a wood reputedly haunted by a ghost which appears in the full moon at midnight. Anyway some of the lads in the local pub had a bet that I wouldn't sleep there for a night. I took a sleeping bag and I got nestled down. I'll tell you the full story of what happened next time.

New House Farm, Sheriff Hutton, York, North Yorkshire, UK, YO60 6TN Tel: 01347 878368

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