Tim Vaughan, a former chartered surveyor and, perhaps more pertinently, a former champion point-to-point rider, made a sluggish start to his training career. He saddled his first winner, Lonesome Man, in a novices’ handicap chase at Aintree in June, 2005 but, by the end of the 2006/07, his second season, had managed just two wins from 44 runners. In 2017, he gave an inkling of the shape of things to come by saddling 14 winners, but it wasn’t until he moved to Pant Wilkin Stables in Aberthin, near Cowbridge, Vale of Glamorgan in 2008 that he began his meteoric rise through the training ranks.
Vaughan saddled his first major winner, Helens Vision, in the Gerry Feilden Hurdle at Newbury in November that year, finishing the 2008/09 season with 55 winners and nearly £327,000 in total prize money. Remarkably, he fared better still in 2009/10, saddling 88 winners and earning nearly £448,000 in total prize money. In 2010/11, he exceeded £500,000 in total prize for the first time and did so again in 2011/12. In fact, in 2011/12, Vaughan saddled 102 winners and, at the age of 32, became the youngest of the current crop of National Hunt trainers to record 100 winners in a season.
He saddled his first Grade 1 winner, Saint Are, in the John Smith’s Sefton Novices’ Hurdle at Aintree in April, 2011 and within a month had saddled his second, Spirit Of Adjisa, in the Cathal Ryan Memorial Champion Novice Hurdle at Punchestown. In between times, he also won the Coral Scottish Grand National, worth over £100,000 to the winner, with Beshabar.
More recently, Vaughan has adopted a more patient approach, investing heavily in traditional National Hunt store horses or, in other words, young, untested horses bred specifically for jumping. He started to see the fruits of his labours in 2016/17, when he saddled 71 National Hunt winners and earned just over £478,000 in total prize money, over £200,000 more than the previous season.
One notable omission from his impressive CV until fairly recently was a winner, of any kind, at Cheltenham. Thankfully, he finally laid that bogey to rest with the victory of Master Dancer in a handicap hurdle on the Old Course in October, 2017. He said afterwards, “Knowing my record at Cheltenham it’s a bit of a surprise! It’s long overdue, but I’m delighted and it’s great for the staff at home as well.”