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Vaughan hopes to bow out in style at QIPCO British Champions Day

7 Oct 2020

Trainer to send out last major runner after 17 seasons at Ascot on 17th October

Few people not directly involved in the action at Longchamp last weekend can have taken more satisfaction from the results there than Ed Vaughan, who will be sending out his last major runner after 17 seasons with a trainer’s licence when Dame Malliot lines up for the Group 1 QIPCO British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes at Ascot on 17th October.

For while Dame Malliot was tucked up in her box in Newmarket, the form of her excellent third in Longchamp’s Prix Vermeille was being franked right, left and centre, with wins on the Saturday from both fifth-placed Wonderful Tonight in the Prix Royallieu and eighth-placed Valia in the Prix Chaudenay. Then on Sunday, from the winner Tarnawa, who defeated Alpine Star in the Prix de l’Opera.

If that wasn’t enough, the Vermeille runner-up Raabihah, who beat Dame Malliot just a short head, was fifth in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe itself. Put simply, the form could not be hotter.

Vaughan was following the action with interest and is well aware of how well the form is stacking up. He is encouraged by it, of course, but he has been around too long to get ahead of himself.

With a degree of understatement he said: “It’s worked out well, hasn’t it, and you know we were unlucky to be caught on the line for second by Raabihah, and look how well she ran in the Arc. Wouldn’t it be a fairytale end for me if Dame Malliot went and won at Ascot, but you know it will be a tough race for her.”

Dame Malliot gave Vaughan a career-first Group 2 win in heavy-ground at Deauville last August, and then scored at a similar level in the soft against colts in the Princess Of Wales’s Stakes at Newmarket in July, when she was a landmark first Group winner for Hollie Doyle.

“She’s not had a hard season though, with only three runs so far, and after trips to Germany and France since her Newmarket win it’s nice that she won’t have to travel this time.”

The matter of who will ride Dame Malliot has yet to be broached, but Frankie Dettori rode her in the Vermeille. He won a Derby and an Arc on Golden Horn for owner Anthony Oppenheimer, not to mention last year’s Fillies & Mares on Star Catcher, so he will no doubt be in pole position, but Doyle is in the picture too.

Vaughan said: “We haven’t discussed it yet and I expect John Gosden will have a runner, but if Frankie doesn’t ride I expect Hollie will.”

Vaughan announced in the summer that he would be handing in his licence at the end of the year, and while success on QIPCO British Champions Day would bring him immense satisfaction he says it would not change a thing.

He explained: “It would be a lovely way to go out, but opportunities in these races are few and far between for a trainer like me and at the bread and butter level at which I’m mostly dealing the costs are getting higher and higher.”

He does not rule out training abroad at some stage, but nothing has been firmed up yet. One way or another though, he will be starting a new chapter and he is excited by the prospect.

He said: “There are a few ideas kicking around, and I’ll be winding down after Ascot, but there are no firm plans. All I can say for sure is that I’m finishing here. My landlord Colin Murfitt has been absolutely brilliant with me throughout, and of course I wish him well.”