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Octogenarian Easterby back in the saddle as rider shortage strikes

Mick Easterby pictured heading out onto the gallops on Hoof It
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Veteran racehorse trainer Mick Easterby, 86, is doing his bit to show that age is just a number as he has started riding work at his North Yorkshire yard.

Like many in racing, the octogenarian has been affected by a stable staff shortage, and in a bid to make up for the shortfall has been pitching in during morning exercise.

Easterby may be getting his hands dirty, but he is still very much the boss and has insisted on partnering stable star Hoof It, who at ten years old could also be described as a veteran.

Jockey Joanna Mason, a granddaughter of Easterby, is a regular work-rider at the yard and says the sight of the trainer tearing up the gallops has caused a stir.

"You'd think at 86 Granddad would be taking it easy but he seems to be loving riding work," Mason said.

"It's the talk of the yard. One thing's for sure, you don't want to be the rider who gets overtaken. Poor Shane Marriott [work-rider] was passed on the bridle and hasn't heard the end of it since.

"Granddad has been saying he gets such a good tune out of them he should try taking out a jockeys' licence!"

You'd think at 86 Granddad would be taking it easy but he seems to be loving riding work

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Michael Easterby