TIM EASTERBY narrowly missed out on the Scottish Grand National with Trustan Times but he saddled his first two winners of the new Flat season at Pontefract.
Don’t Tell Annie initiated the Easterby brace and looked a bright prospect for the future.
Making her debut in the Racing UK Easter Holiday Maiden Fillies’ Stakes, the daughter of Royal Applause was a well-backed 4-1 chance and came home two lengths clear of Brocklesby fifth Horsforth under David Allan.
‘‘She’s always been a real pro at home but we’ve not asked her to do anything special as she wasn’t fully wound up,’’ said Easterby.
‘‘She’s just worked very nicely at home, everything we wanted to see, we’d seen.
‘‘We’re in no rush. There are plenty of races for her but I like her a lot. She’s got everything you want to see.
She’s a star.’’ Stablemate Fast Shot also improved immeasurably from his seasonal return at Newcastle to win the £20,000 Riu Palace Meloneras Handicap under 7lb apprentice Rachel Richardson, beating Annunciation by half a length.
So often the bridesmaid in the big handicaps, the 7- 1 chance was not winning out of turn.
‘‘He’s been an unlucky horse, he likes a bit of juice in the ground and everything was right,’’ said Easterby.
‘‘Rachel is a good work rider who is progressing into a good race rider.’’ Richardson said: ‘‘He maybe needed the run at Newcastle and six furlongs is his best trip.
‘‘This is my biggest winner, I’d never even ridden in a class two before.’’ Alan McCabe’s Ansaab (5- 2 favourite) looks a shrewd purchase at £6,200 out of Kevin Prendergast’s Irish yard after winning The Full Ponte Package – New For 2014 Handicap.
Having run well in the Spring Mile when sixth at Doncaster, he held off Stellar Express by a nose for Silvestre de Sousa.
‘‘He gets further as he’d been second in an Irish heavy-ground Lincoln,’’ said McCabe.
‘‘We thought he’d be competitive off this mark over a stiff mile. He’ll go further but has the class to win over a mile. He’d had his problems and we took a punt, but it’s paying off.
‘‘He ran well in the Spring Mile so we’ll see what the handicapper does. He’s a Saturday horse, though.’’ Gemma Tutty was given a three-day ban (April 28-30) for careless riding on the unplaced Talent Scout.
De Sousa doubled up in impressive fashion on the Godolphin newcomer Active Spirit (5-1), who came from last to first in the Subscribe Online Maiden Stakes.
The Peter Reek 70th Birthday Pontefract Marathon Handicap is the longest handicap run on the calendar at nearly two miles and six furlongs.
Eventual winner New Youmzain was backed off the boards into even-money favouritism on his first run for Mick Appleby but the bookies had hope of an upset along the straight as 33-1 chance Longshadow headed him a couple of times. But New Youmzain creditably stuck on gamely for Andrew Mullen to win by a neck.
Shillito (8-1) held off Dancing Freddy by the same margin to take the concluding 80’s Night On Friday Evening 23rd May Handicap for trainer Tony Coyle and jockey PJ Mc- Donald.
Mullen was found to have used his whip above the permitted level aboard New Youmzain and was banned for nine days (April 28-30 and May 1-6).