First runner for former Mick Easterby head lad Gary Sanderson
Gary Sanderson, a former head lad to Mick Easterby, will have his first runner when Keen's Token jumps off in the Betfred TV Maiden Hurdle (7.05) at Uttoxeter on Tuesday.
Sanderson had been running a stud from his Lilling Hall Farm base just outside York, but now with his licence in place he will be able to offer the full cycle, from broodmare to foal, to yearling and then racecourse.
"My farm is next to Mick Easterby's. After I left him I went to Newsells Park Stud in Newmarket for a bit and then this came up for lease," he said.
"It was derelict but I thought I could make something of it, so I bit the bullet and took it on. It's taken some building up. I've been here six years now and it's transformed.
"Keen's Token will be my first runner. It's exciting. His owner hasn't been very well for the last couple of years but he's a lot better now and wanted to run some of his old horses again, so we thought we'd get him back in training.
"He's an old horse and he's been off the track since he was seven, and he's 11 now. He's fit and well. Charlie Poste schooled him the other week and we're keeping our fingers crossed."
Sanderson's uncle, Gordon Ward, got him into the sport – "he rode 26 winners for Keith Piggott, Lester's father, before the war and he used to take me down the gallops" – and he is ready for the new challenge.
He said: "I've got nine racehorses in with room for 15, and we'll combine jumps and Flat. This is my main focus now, we're developing it as we go along.
"We stood Tha'ir last year but unfortunately he wasn't fertile enough, so he's gone to Mick Appleby's. We'll stand another stallion next year. We've got everything. We've got boarding mares, foals, yearlings, and now we've got racehorses."