Reg Hollinshead might well be Britain's oldest licensed racehorse trainer at 86 but he still has a passion for racing that belies his years. Having landed one of the biggest successes of his long and distinguished career with Tominator in last month's Northumberland Plate, the Midlands-based handler has now set his sights on another huge prize when his Newcastle hero bids to follow up in the Totesport Ebor Handicap at York next month, writes Elliot Slater.
Tominator catapulted his octogenarian handler back into the limelight when staying-on bravely to land the £92,000 first prize in Europe's premier two-mile handicap at the Gosforth Park circuit, giving young rider Paul Pickard his biggest success of to date. Having previously won only three times from 22 career starts the 25/1 success came as a surprise to most punters but not to Hollinshead who was confident the horse would improve for the step up in trip. Fans will now be wondering if he can impress at the Betfair York Ebor meeting.
Dropped back to 14 furlongs to contest the listed John Smith's Silver Cup Handicap over the Ebor course and distance earlier this month, Tominator found himself unsuited by the pedestrian early pace and although he stayed on when the pace quickened to finish just over six-lengths behind the Queen's Tactician, the race failed to play to the stamina strengths of the four-year-old son of Generous. Anyone looking at the York Ebor betting should bear this in mind.
Hollinshead expects it to be a very different story in the Ebor itself with a guaranteed 20-runner field and plenty of pace likely to bring to play to the strengths of his charge. If he is able to settle in behind the pace and be produced with a late effort as he was at Newcastle, then hopes are high that the grey 20/1 shot could follow in the hoof prints of the great Sergeant Cecil who did the double back in 2005.