Glamorgan-based trainer Tim Vaughan has his team in fine form less than a fortnight before the start of the Cheltenham Festival after a quiet mid-season spell. Looking ahead to the four-day jumps extravaganza, he nominates Beshabar as his leading candidate for honours amongst a handful of potential runners for the yard, writes Elliot Slater.
Vaughan has sent out six winners in the last couple of weeks demonstrating the good form of his horses, a very positive sign for a yard particularly well known for maintaining its presence amongst the winners list through late-spring, summer, and early-autumn. When asked to nominate the best chance of achieving his maiden success at the Cheltenham Festival Vaughan had absolutely no hesitation in suggesting that recent Doncaster winner Beshabar is the most likely to deliver the goods. The Cheltenham Festival betting certainly suggests the horse is in with a good chance.
Beshabar was trained last season by Paul Nicholls for Margaret Findlay, mother of legendary sports gambler Harry, before being switched to Vaughan’s care during the summer. Under Nicholls’ guidance the now nine-year-old gelding won Sandown’s Grade 3 Heroes Handicap Hurdle early last February before following up two weeks later in the valuable Betfair Handicap Hurdle at Ascot.
Not seen again until making his debut as a novice chaser for Vaughan at Cheltenham in November, Beshabar was staying-on nicely in third when brought down in the race eventually won by Wayward Prince. Given three months to recover from that unfortunate incident the son of Flemensfirth ran at Doncaster recently and stayed on well under Richard Johnson to beat Cool Mission by two lengths.
Vaughan is convinced that Beshabar is a through stayer and has confirmed he will miss the RSA Chase and will instead be targeted at the four-mile National Hunt Chase, a race restricted to amateur riders and the opening event on day two of the meeting. He is currently available at odds of up to 14/1.