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About: TimVaughanRacing

Recent Posts by TimVaughanRacing

Looking forward to the spring…

We have had very few runners this month, with just 11 over jumps so far this month (in contrast to 40 in 2013 and 49 in 2012) due to the continued heavy ground.
With a large number of race meetings being abandoned, we have gone very easy on the majority of our string in recent weeks, with a view to having them fresh for the last three months of the season.
There is further rain forecast, so it is hard to be confident that we will be unleashing too many before mid-February, but I am delighted with how they are looking at home and, when we do have some better ground on offer, I am looking forward to running several nice young prospects. As I have said to all our owners, this season is about undertaking a transition to develop our own young horses rather than predominantly dealing with older handicappers, which I am confident will pay dividends in the longer term.
Sadly, I will be attending a funeral today for Robert Thomas.  I trained Up The Boreen and Mick’s Prospect to win numerous point to points for Robert, who was an exceptionally supportive and loyal owner and friend.  In my days as a chartered surveyor, I also worked with both Robert and his son Andrew of Herbert R Thomas. My condolences go to Robert’s widow Enid, Andrew, his wife Lynne and all the family.
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Scottish Grand National winner Beshabar retired

Scottish Grand National winner Beshabar, who we were preparing for a tilt at the Cheltenham Foxhunters, has unfortunately met with a minor setback that will stop him running at the Festival in March.
Beshabar is now 12 years old and injury problems have prevented him running since his fifth in the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury two years ago.  In conjunction with his owners we have therefore made the decision to retire him with immediate effect.
In itself, his latest problem is not insurmountable, but he has been such a great servant and we feel the time is probably right to bring his racing career to a close.
Beshabar produced a breathtaking round of jumping on his way to Scottish Grand National glory
His win in the Scottish Grand National was a fantastic day for all concerned and saw Beshabar at his brilliant best, jumping his rivals into submission under Richard Johnson.  He also went very close when runner-up in the National Hunt Chase at the Cheltenham Festival that same season, only giving best after the last.
Following his Hennessy run, he was installed as joint-favourite for the Grand National and my regret with him, one that I am sure is shared by many a National Hunt enthusiast, is that he was unable to line up in our greatest race, as I have never seen a horse more suited to an extreme test of stamina and jumping.  Beshabar has been a favourite with us for several years, a real character to train and around the yard, to whom myself and all at Pant Wilkin owe plenty.  We will shortly decide on how he will spend his retirement, which we will do very carefully as he thoroughly deserves a long and happy one.   
Beshabar would no doubt be a star in anyone’s yard and therefore, I am exceptionally grateful to Harry and Mrs Findlay who put faith in me and sent him to our yard originally; Middleham Park Racing and later Diamond Racing who have had a more recent connection with him.

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JP McManus acquires exciting Fayette County

I am delighted to confirm that JP McManus has just purchased the promising novice hurdler Fayette County, who will remain in training with us at Pant Wilkin Stables.
A bumper winner for his previous connections in Ireland, Fayette County ran a fine race on his debut for the yard, being a close 2nd to the Jonjo O’Neill/JP McManus horse Milan Bound on his hurdling debut in October, his only run so far this term.  The form of that race has been well franked, with the 1st and 3rd both winning easily next time out.
Fayette County will have a relatively light campaign this term in novice hurdles, with his next outing likely to be early next month.  He looks the type to improve significantly once sent chasing and he is a very exciting novice chase prospect who we think can take high order over fences in the seasons to come.
I am very grateful to Mr McManus for his support and it is great to have his famous emerald green and orange colours represented by another horse in the yard.
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A quiet start to 2014!

Firstly,
I would like to take this opportunity to wish all our owners and readers of our
blog a Happy New Year and the best of luck with your racing interests in 2014.

We are set for a relatively quiet month at Pant Wilkin, with the recent poor
weather and, in particular, the very testing ground that is prevalent
throughout the country, leading to us running very few at present.

As far as our large group of exciting unraced store horses is concerned, we
have gone very quietly with them in the last fortnight and, though several are
nearing their racecourse debuts, I won’t be running them on bottomless ground
and we will wait as long as is necessary to get some decent ground to start
them off on.  They look a tremendous bunch and, on what they have shown so
far at home, there should be plenty to look forward to in the months ahead.

Myself and Abbi attended the funeral today for Royston Smith, a wonderful owner
of ours, who very sadly passed away shortly before Christmas.

Royston owned horses back in the 1950’s but, having started numerous businesses
in the following decades, his passion for horse racing took a back seat until
he returned to ownership in the past couple of years.

We had plenty of success together, with Hawkhill winning six times, including a
Listed hurdle win at Kempton Park in 2011 and a valuable handicap success at
Sandown Park last November.  He also enjoyed success with Dovils Date and,
more recently, with dual winner Safferano, but he was a fantastic supporter of
ours and of his horses, regardless of how they fared on the racecourse.

Our sincere condolences go to his son Martyn, daughter Lynne and to his partner
Jean, who always enjoyed accompanying Royston on his visits to the yard. 
He will be sorely missed by us all. 

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Oscars Den maintains unbeaten record

Our sole runner at Carlisle yesterday, Oscars Den was a very short-priced favourite to follow up his recent impressive hurdling debut success at Uttoxeter and maintain his unbeaten record under rules, having won his bumper at Lingfield Park at the turn of the year.

A little keen in the early stages, he jumped the first few flights well but, in the second half of the contest, his hurdling was far less fluent and and mistakes at the third last and second last meant Richard Johnson had to get serious on him between the final two flights.  Thankfully, a good leap at the last sealed things and the pair went on to record a three-length success.
Though not nearly as impressive in victory as he had been at Uttoxeter, it was very hard work at Carlisle in the deep ground and, going forward, Richard suggested a flatter track and a sounder surface would suit.
With two novice wins under his belt, we may now look to step Oscars Den up in grade, with the Grade 2 Rossington Main novice hurdle at Haydock Park on Saturday 18th January one of a few options to consider. 
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Across the card double with Milborough and Bucking The Trend!

Bucking The Trend and Michael Byrne hit the front

We had our first three runners of the week yesterday and returned with an across-the-card chase double, courtesy of Milborough and Bucking The Trend!

Bucking The Trend made a bad mistake just as he was getting into the race on his fencing debut at Huntingdon in October, but he had been given plenty of time and done plenty of schooling at home since.

With the ground good to soft at Fontwell Park yesterday, the 2m6f trip looked a little on the short side for Bucking The Trend (pictured) and Michael Byrne was hard at work on him from halfway.  However, some accomplished jumping down the back straight got him into the race and, under an excellent ride, he hit the front after the last to win going away.

It was a very game performance and we will look for some soft ground and a step up in trip next time.

Milborough finished in midfield on his recent debut for us at Cheltenham’s November meeting and, with that first run for 10 months under his belt, we were hopeful of a good run in the novice chase at Uttoxeter yesterday.

Always to the fore under Richard Johnson, he made a couple of novicey mistakes early on but really warmed to the task and, with favourite African Gold falling three out, Milborough hit the front approaching the last and kept on very gamely to win by a neck.

The form looks quite strong, with 16 lengths back to the third, and, as he appears to relish a true test and heavy ground, I hope there is a nice staying prize in him this season.

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My Oh Mount Brown makes it three from four!

My Oh Mount Brown has improved rapidly since joining us earlier in the year and, having had excuses on his debut for us at Southwell in September, he has since won three of his four subsequent starts, the latest an impressive eight length success at Uttoxeter on Friday under Michael Byrne.

Having seen the form of his second at Wetherby franked in no uncertain style by the winner (successful off 7lbs higher next time) and the fourth home that day (won next start, up 21lbs), we were very hopeful of a big run from My Oh Mount Brown and he duly delivered, travelling well and keeping on strongly.

He has been given entries at Wincanton and Market Rasen on Thursday and could be one to bring out under a penalty.

I was quite pleased with both our runners at Newbury yesterday, with Wings Of Smoke finishing fourth in his bid to follow up a win 12 months ago in the conditional jockeys handicap chase, while Ackertac ran solidly to finish 6th in the £50,000 2m4f handicap chase.

While a stronger pace would have suited Wings Of Smoke, Ackertac looks to need further on good/good to soft ground, but Michael Byrne was pleased with him and we’ll look for something in around three to four weeks.

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Safferano wins again

Safferano has been much-improved since returning from a short summer break and, having won narrowly in a driving finish at Towcester in October, he made it two wins from his last three starts with another battling success in the 2m7f handicap hurdle at Fakenham.

Held up in the early stages, he moved up on the final circuit but looked book for second entering the straight, only for Richard Johnson to conjure up a strong, late run to get up close home.

Congratulations to his owner, Royston Smith, who has also had recent success with Hawkhill at Sandown Park earlier this month.

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Oscars Den impresses at Uttoxeter

A week on from Hawkhill’s Sandown win, our only runner this Saturday was a winner, with Oscars Den impressing on his hurdles debut at Uttoxeter.

Successful in a bumper on his debut under rules on Lingfield Park’s All-Weather in January, he did well over the summer and it was a very promising hurdling bow as, having been in third or fourth throughout, he made up his ground easily before hitting the front at the top of the straight, drawing clear to win by six lengths.

Michael Byrne, who has now matched his seasonal tally for last season and remains in pole position for the conditional jockeys title at this early stage of the season, was very complimentary about him afterwards and we think a fair bit of him.  We will most likely keep it low key for his next start, but I hope he can hold his own at a higher level in the months ahead for his owner Zorka Wentworth.

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Progressive Hidden Identity wins again

A three-time winner in mares novice hurdles last season, Hidden Identity has clearly improved again over the summer and, following a narrow success on her reappearance at Chepstow last month, she produced a career-best performance to land a valuable and competitive handicap hurdle at Huntingdon yesterday.

Held up in rear by Richard Johnson and taken wide in search of better ground, she made up her ground turning in despite a mistake at the third-last and, although she fiddled the last too, she was far enough in front and kept on well to beat the useful runner-up, the pair 16 lengths clear of the third.

She will be rated in the 130’s after this and we will look to get her some black type this season, but there aren’t many opportunities for her at Listed level before the new year so we may look to give her another go in handicap company next time.

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