Tag Archive for: Tim Vaughan

Eva’s Oskar ruled out for rest of season

Eva’s Oskar will miss out on another crack at the Grand National in 2024 after a setback ruled him out for the rest of the season.

Tim Vaughan’s nine-year-old was a winner at Cheltenham this time 12 months ago and snuck into the National line-up at Aintree in the spring where he was relishing the jumping test before unseating jockey Alan Johns with nine fences to go.

He was badly hampered when parting ways with his rider and that promising display had his handler eyeing up another tilt at the Merseyside showpiece with the grey.

However, after a respectable comeback run at Chepstow in October, Vaughan has now conceded defeat for the season after discovering a minor niggle that will require time to heal.

“He’s had a niggle and a bit of heat in a leg, so he’s off for this season and hopefully will come back this time next season I suppose,” said Vaughan.

“If we kept pressing on it could cause further damage, so we decided to pull up stumps for this season, get him right and he can come back in the summer to come again.

“We caught it early so I don’t think there will be any lasting damage and his health is the main thing for us. He has been a yard flagbearer for a few seasons now and it is obviously frustrating, but it is part of training racehorses.

“It’s a shame it is him, but we are where we are and the main thing is he’s bright and alert and happy and it is something we can resolve with a bit of time, so we will do what’s best for him really.”

He went on: “The plan was to run again at Cheltenham and then aim for the National again really.

“That was very much on the agenda and I thought he ran a blinder in it last year, he was just a bit unfortunate. He took to the fences really well so it’s frustrating.”

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Vaughan eager for National return with Eva’s Oskar

Tim Vaughan is keen for Eva’s Oskar to have another crack at the Randox Grand National after Alan Johns was unseated when going well in the big race at Aintree.

The nine-year-old carried 10st 2lb and was going well when the partnership came to grief when hampered by Delta Work, who had similarly unseated at the 21st fence in the four-and-a-quarter-mile showpiece.

Vaughan is now keen to return to Aintree with Sally and Richard Prince’s gelding after the bold showing.

He said: “It was sickening really that he was off a low weight, we know he stays, we had him in the form of his life.

“I thought Alan had done a tremendous job to navigate his way to that point and done all the donkey work, then we get brought down or hampered by one of the favourites in the race – of all the horses in all the world, having come to Cheltenham here and won here twice (over the cross country course), you wouldn’t have thought would fall.

“It is just an unfortunate set of circumstances.”

The Vale of Glamorgan handler will now ponder options which include the Grand Sefton at Aintree, though he is keen to protect his official mark of 141.

Vaughan added: “Would you have finished in the first eight or 10? I thought it was a no-brainer he would have, because staying is his strength and off that weight and on that ground.

“What I do know is he took the fences brilliantly well and whether we aim now for the Sefton in December or try to keep him especially for the National, I don’t know yet – we’ll have to speak to the owners.

“But we are thrilled with him. I thoroughly enjoyed it. It is nice to be back on the right tracks with the right horses and in the thick of it.

“He still looks a progressive horse. Make no mistake about it – I will try to protect his mark. That’s my job.

“Hopefully we will have another crack in it. We have a few others in the background that might blossom.”

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Our Power and Eva’s Oskar all set to be Welsh wonders at Aintree

Our Power and Eva’s Oskar will carry the hopes of Wales when they bid to end a wait of 118 years for victory in the Randox Grand National.

There has been a single Welsh-trained winner of the race in its history, with Kirkland taking the prize under Frank Mason in 1905 after two years of near misses.

The likes of Evan Williams, Peter Bowen, Christian Williams and Rebecca Curtis have flown the flag in recent years, with the Curtis-trained Teaforthree finishing third in 2013. The Welsh contingent this year includes Bowen’s Francky Du Berlais, Sam Thomas’ Our Power and the Tim Vaughan-trained Eva’s Oskar.

Former top jockey Thomas – who won the Gold Cup aboard Denman in 2008 – trains in Lisvane, South Glamorgan, and is heavily supported by Dai Walters and the Potter family – who own the horse under the Walters Plant Hire & Potter Group banner.

Sam Thomas (left) after the victory of Our Power at Ascot
Sam Thomas (left) after the victory of Our Power at Ascot (PA)

The eight-year-old won on his seasonal debut in the London Gold Cup at Ascot and then added another valuable prize in the shape of the Coral Trophy at Kempton.

He will carry just 10st at Aintree and will be guided by an experienced pilot in Sam Twiston-Davies as he seeks to end the long wait for a second Welsh winner.

“Rules are there to be broken, it’s fantastic that we are able to represent Wales on the biggest stage,” Thomas said on a press call hosted by Great British Racing.

“I probably don’t realise the magnitude of it already, but since we’ve known we’ve got a run we’ve had so much interest from local media.

“It really is such a big thing for the country and I’m very proud that we can go there and fly the flag for Wales.

“There are some fantastic Welsh trainers in the area, I’ve grown up watching Evan Williams and Tim Vaughan training lots of good winners and to be in among some of these trainers has been a pinch yourself moment.”

Thomas’ yard is owned by Walters and the trainer is particularly motivated to repay the support he has been given by Walters throughout his training career, not least as both trainer and owner were involved in a helicopter crash in November.

He said: “We’ve loved every minute of being here at Mr Walters’ place and it’s (having a National runner) the icing on the cake for the family that have been so supportive of me, it’s lovely to try to give something back to everyone that’s been right behind through the rough times when the horses haven’t been running very well.

“Hopefully we can do them proud.”

Vaughan, based in Aberthin, will saddle the grey Eva’s Oskar – a horse who has posted two impressive Cheltenham performances this season when finishing second at the November meeting and going one better the following month.

Eva’s Oskar at Exeter
Eva’s Oskar at Exeter (David Davies/PA)

The nine-year-old carries 10st 1lb and will be ridden by a Welsh jockey in Alan Johns, making his involvement in the race a truly all-Welsh affair.

Eva’s Oskar will be cheered on by the whole yard at Aintree, with Vaughan putting on a mini bus to take his staff up to Liverpool to enjoy the big day.

“It’s lovely to have a runner in a race of this magnitude, my main girl in the yard, Lucinda, said it would be lovely if we could all go and I thought ‘what a cracking idea’,” he said.

“We’ve organised a mini bus, we’re going to get in early on Saturday morning, get them mucked out, ride out and set off at about 8am or 8.30am.

“They can have a full day to enjoy the races and the build up with us all and we’ve got some friends who are going to do evening stables for us.

“Why not? They deserve it, they work hard, it’ll be great for everyone.”

Like Thomas, Vaughan was not deterred by the lack of a Welsh winner in over 100 years and instead sees the long-standing record as more than ready for breaking.

“My theory on that is that it’s been that long that it’s about due now! Let’s hope I’m the man to change things, it won’t be for the lack of trying,” he said.

“Statistics are really against us but someone’s got to buck the trend, the likes of Peter, Evan and Rebecca have all had a close crack at it and it would be lovely to think that the trophy could come home to Wales. With the greatest respect to Sam, I hope it’s me!

“We’re all in it to win it and we’ll be trying our best.”

Vaughan’s base does not just house his racing stables as the trainer also operates several business units from outbuildings that were formerly stables.

These include a cafe and a veterinary practice among other ventures, all of whom have rallied to get behind Eva’s Oskar ahead of his journey to Aintree.

“We’ve got this WhatsApp group and I put a video of Eva’s Oskar on the gallops and of course everyone’s gripped now,” Vaughan said.

“I’ve had lots of request for tickets for National day and it’s all good, the community around us is right behind us which makes it an even more enjoyable journey.”

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Vaughan thrilled as Eva’s Oskar makes National cut

Trainer Tim Vaughan was relieved and delighted in equal measure after Eva’s Oskar was confirmed as the 40th horse in the field following the latest scratchings deadline for the Randox Grand National.

The nine-year-old, who won a competitive handicap chase at Cheltenham earlier in the season, was previously further down the order of entry for the Aintree spectacular, but is now guaranteed a starting berth after a total of 16 horses were taken out.

The defectors include Shark Hanlon’s joint top-weight Hewick and Gordon Elliott’s Cheltenham Gold Cup third Conflated, with both absences anticipated. Becher Chase winner Ashtown Lad has also been removed by Dan Skelton, as has the Willie Mullins-trained Franco De Port.

Vaughan said: “We definitely want to run – we’re eager beavers!

“What’s lovely is we’ve actually got in. A lad who works for me was counting them down and we were thinking we might be 41st and you’re still lingering then until the day.

“It’s quite nice as it feels like we can relax now, enjoy the process and just hope that he takes to the fences well on the day.”

Since his Cheltenham success of early December, Eva’s Oskar has finished sixth at Sandown and fourth in the Eider Chase at Newcastle.

The grey is a 100-1 shot to claim Grand National glory with William Hill, but Vaughan insists he is not just there to make up the numbers.

Trainer Tim Vaughan (right) at Cheltenham
Trainer Tim Vaughan (right) at Cheltenham (David Davies/PA)

“We’ve been planning to go there for some time and he seems in good shape. We can make a few fences at home now with the spruce on,” the Welsh trainer added.

“We didn’t want to do that until we knew where we were at. We thought today would sort the wheat from the chaff in terms of who definitely wanted to run and we’re excited to be in there.

“Of course I’m not naive enough to think we’re going there as a 10-1 chance, but as outsiders go he ticks a lot of boxes in that he’s good enough to win a £70,000 premier handicap at Cheltenham and he’s finished fourth in the Eider – we think he can do himself justice.

“It’s obviously a massive step up in class and it’s a great race with all the jazz that goes with it, but you’ve got to be in it to win it and that we are at the moment.”

Any Second Now will carry top-weight of 11st 12lb in the Grand National
Any Second Now will carry top-weight of 11st 12lb in the Grand National (Brian Lawless/PA)

A total of 57 contenders have stood their ground, with Ted Walsh’s Any Second Now – third and second in the last two renewals – out on his own at the head of the weights on 11st 12lb.

Last year’s winner Noble Yeats is just 1lb behind on 11st 11lb, as is Galvin, while ante-post favourite Corach Rambler looks set to carry 10st 5lb.

Eva’s Oskar and Recite A Prayer are the two lowest-rated horses in the field of 40 at this stage, with a mark of 142 translating to a weight of 10st 1lb.

Connections of the three horses rated 141 – Our Power, Dunboyne and Francky Du Berlais – now face an anxious wait to see if they will make the final cut for the great race on April 15.

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‘Excited’ Vaughan hoping Eva’s Oskar will make National cut

Tim Vaughan is keeping his fingers crossed Eva’s Oskar will sneak into the Randox Grand National having completed his Aintree preparation in the Eider Chase at Newcastle.

The nine-year-old has enjoyed a solid campaign in staying handicaps this term, showing plenty of guts to win at Cheltenham in December and making a bold bid from the front at Gosforth Park on Saturday until the burden of top weight began to tell in the closing stages, eventually coming home fourth.

Vaughan reports Eva’s Oskar to have bounced out of his trip to the north east and his next appearance will be on April 15 at Aintree, with the Freebooter Handicap Chase that precedes the big race itself set to provide a back-up option.

But the Cowbridge handler is hoping for some good fortune which will allow his Shirocco gelding, who is outside the top 50 in the handicap for the National, to sneak into the main event off bottom-weight.

“He’s absolutely A1, he has come out of the race nicely and we were thrilled with both him and the run,” said Vaughan.

“We’re hoping now to go straight to the Grand National and pray that we get in.

“I don’t know if we will get in and only time will tell, but what we will do is enter him in the three-mile-one chase there on the same day, so if he doesn’t get in the National we have covered off both angles. The main plan though is the National and we’re excited.

“I always thought he wanted softer ground, but in reality he seems to have improved a lot for good ground this year and that will help him see out the trip. He can travel at a bit of speed, he’ll stay and he’ll be off bottom-weight.

“I’m excited, I’m really excited to have a runner in the race and one that will go there all singing and dancing. Now we just have to hope that we get in.”

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