Trainer Tim Easterby is hopeful that the improving Eclipse De Lunar can go from strength to strength in the staying division and produce another good performance in the racingtv.com Handicap over a mile and three quarters at Carlisle tomorrow (Wednesday 18th August).
The three year old caught the eye when picking up a deserved success on his first attempt over the trip at Catterick on August 3rd and the in-form Easterby, who has a strong hand on Wednesday’s card, feels that there could be more to come from the son of Sea The Moon.
The North Yorkshire-based handler said: “He’s come out of Catterick in really good order. He gets the trip really well and gets a weight allowance off the older horses here, so he should hopefully have a really good chance.
“It was a deserved win for him last time and I thought that was a good race. He beat a good horse in Fandabidozi and there should be more to come.”
The race is a qualifier for the Jockey Club Grassroots Stayers' Series Final at Nottingham next month and Eclipse De Lunar’s opponents include the Donald McCain-trained Goobinator, who was an impressive winner at York last month.
McCain is looking forward to seeing him back on track after a couple of setbacks through no fault of his own. He said: “He was supposed to go to the Sunday Series meeting that was abandoned at Haydock (Sunday 8th August) and then the ground went against him at Nottingham on Friday, so he’s ready to go. We were delighted with his run at York and hopefully he can build on that.
“He lost his confidence a bit over hurdles but we’ve always thought a bit of him and it was nice to get him back on track last time out. On the Flat we’re still learning a bit with him but he’s still a big young horse who can keep improving.”
Elsewhere on the card is the Every Race Live On Racing TV Handicap over just short of a mile, which is a qualifier for the Grassroots Middle Distance Series Final.
The nine-strong field is a strong one and includes the Harry Eustace-trained Astrogem, who has won two of her four starts so far this campaign. The daughter of Equinao, who is owned by the nation’s best-known astrologer Mystic Meg, was slightly disappointing at Newmarket last month but her trainer is hopeful that a change of tactics can get her back on track.
He said: “She seems in good form and was a little bit disappointing at Newmarket, but I think we got away with making the running when she was winning because that was a lower level and I’m not sure she really enjoyed doing that last time.
“We plan to drop her in and it will be very much about teaching her to do that properly because she has been a bit keen in her races last year when she was dropped in. She’ll be ridden to relax and hopefully she’ll come home better than she finished off last time. We’ve given her a bit of time and the ground should suit her provided there’s no late rain, so hopefully she can run well.”
Meanwhile, Tim Easterby sends out another last time out winner in the in-form Cassy O, who returned to winning ways in good style at Thirsk at the beginning of the month.
He said: “He’s in good form after his last run and steps back up to a mile here, he gets that though and should run well. He’s a big horse now and has got stronger so he should hopefully carry on improving into next year.”
Easterby is enjoying a good spell at the moment, sending out eight winners in the last fortnight, and looks to have another good chance with East Street Revue in the Racing TV Handicap over five furlongs.
The eight year old completed a double in fine style at Pontefract earlier this month and Easterby feels he will have every chance here in this qualifier for next month’s Jockey Club Grassroots Sprint Series Final. He said: “He’s got a good draw in stall four. He likes good ground, he’s in good form and she should run well off his new mark.”
Also on the card is the competitive-looking Join Racing TV Now Handicap over five furlongs and 182 yards. The 12-strong field includes three last time out winners, including the John Quinn-trained Deny Knowledge, who got back to winning ways at Newcastle last time out on August 2nd.
Quinn believes the track at Carlisle will play into the improving three year old’s hands and said: “I’m very happy with her and the six furlongs seemed to benefit her on the last day.
“She’s in good nick and I’d think that Carlisle will suit her. She should hopefully be competitive again under a small rise in the weights and it looks like it’s going to be nice ground, so we’re hoping for a good run and I hope she wins again.”
Another in-form contender is the Tim Easterby-trained Symbol Of Hope, who was a taking winner at Beverley six days ago. The son of Dandy Man had to overcome plenty of obstacles from the back to win that day and his trainer feels that there ought to be plenty more to come from him yet.
He said: “He’s come out of Beverley really well and he should have a really good chance on Wednesday. He was impressive last time out and the track and trip will suit him. I’m hopeful he can improve again.”