July 23, 2009 at 15:06 #12142jinnyjMember
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From the Daily Mail:
Michael Owen, the Manchester United and former England striker, is searching for a new trainer at his multi-million pound stables in Cheshire after terminating the contract of Nicky Vaughan, who has run the Manor House yard near Malpas since March 2007. Vaughan said that Owen’s decision had "come out of the blue", and that staff at the yard had been told that a new trainer will be installed within "the next 10 to 12 days".
Vaughan, a former assistant to John Gosden, met Owen through the former England footballer David Platt, who is married to Vaughan’s sister.
Platt, an owner at Gosden’s yard, introduced Owen to racing and it has since developed into the 29-year-old United forward’s principal interest beyond football, both as an owner and breeder. In his autobiography, published in 2004, he described racing as "a world I want to dive into after football".
Manor House Stables, which is estimated to have cost at least £4m to develop to date, was a major step along that path, and while Vaughan had no previous experience as a licence-holder before taking charge, his experience and connections with Gosden and Owen made him appear a natural choice.
Results have been disappointing, however, with only two turf winners emerging from the yard during the current Flat season, and just five in all during 2009. Vaughan’s strike rate has barely passed 5% and, in all, his string has won less than £30,000 in prize money this year.
"It’s the case that I’m finishing here, and the staff were notified by Mrs Owen today," Vaughan said. "I’m having another meeting with them on Friday, and then I should think that that will be that.
"It’s basically come out of the blue, but these things happen. When you are a salaried trainer, it’s just one of those things that is always going to happen at some time. It’s a bit of a shame because the horses have had a virus. We’ve been closed down since the end of May and the horses are just starting to come right now.
"I’ve really enjoyed training [at Manor House], it’s a wonderful spot. It’s a shame to end like this, and I’d have liked a full year this year, but that’s not the case so there’s not a lot I can do about it. I’ll just have to shake myself down and get on with things."
The only horse in Vaughan’s yard to have won two races this year is Mr Macattack, in minor events on the all-weather at Wolverhampton in February and March. He races under the banner of Owen Promotions Ltd, has since contested some valuable races on turf, finishing 12th in the Buckingham Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot and fourth when co-favourite for a Class Two handicap at Doncaster in May.
Unlike many yards, where the trainer is the figurehead who sets out to find new owners, the glamour of a famous footballer’s involvement with Manor House Stables can be an important selling point for anyone considering sending a horse to be trained there. One of Owen’s intentions when setting up the complex was also to attract fellow footballers to send horses to the yard.
However, while the names of Nicky Butt and Paul Scholes feature among Vaughan’s list of owners, and Andrew Black, the multi-millionaire founder of the Betfair betting exchange, also has horses at the yard, Vaughan has saddled only 33 different horses in 2009, suggesting that many of the boxes at the yard are standing empty.
After such a significant investment in training facilities, the pressure was on Vaughan to produce results as swiftly as possible. That pressure will now pass to the next trainer at Manor HouseJuly 23, 2009 at 15:14 #240564robnorthParticipant
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Like it or not, he who pays the piper…..July 23, 2009 at 15:18 #240565% MANParticipant
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Well if you don’t deliver the goods you cannot expect to keep the job – as Michael Owen himself knows first hand.
Not every assistant trainer is able to make the transition to the main job.
Interesting that Owen apparently sent his Mrs to break the news though.July 23, 2009 at 15:34 #240568Irish StampMember
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Owen is on a pre-season tour of Asia with Manchester United Paul.July 23, 2009 at 15:45 #240571% MANParticipant
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Owen is on a pre-season tour of Asia with Manchester United Paul.
That’s a good enough excuse I supposeJuly 23, 2009 at 16:07 #240574davidjohnsonMember
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Smart move by Owen, Vaughan’s results have been pathetic.July 23, 2009 at 16:32 #240584Black Sam BellamyParticipant
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They’ve not exactly been paying top dollar for yearlings though davidjohnson.July 24, 2009 at 00:48 #240630AnonymousInactive
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Maybe not, BSB, but it’s surely a ‘don’t trust the binman with your Ferrari’ situation – why would you put up the capital for a string of high-price purchases when Vaughan is about as capable a trainer as a one-legged monkey is a drummer?
Hopefully Mr Macattack will benefit from the change and bag a decent race.July 24, 2009 at 01:24 #240635Ken(West Derby)Member
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Me thinks that perhaps part of the deal for signing on at United is that Sir Alex will share his wealth of racing knowledge and possibly planted the seed for this parting of the ways. No doubt the new incumbent needs to be aware of crockery and shoes possibly heading in his direction.
Owen’s horses are perhaps a fair reflection of himself, i.e. injury prone, disloyal, devoid of personality and only concerned about his own self-interests. I think many L.F.C. and Newcastle supporters will share my sentiments.
His horses tend to perform, not unlike himself; over-the-hill, devoid of speed and passionless.
Do I sound as if I don’t like the guy? Too right, he’s a has-been, declining footballer picking up his pension fund from United.
(Sorry to return to the forum in such a FOUL mood but I might as well start the way I mean to go on. I’m assuming the new Fist of Fury role in my new incarnation. By the way, my move down South has gone okay. Perhaps that’s why I’ve lost my soft, warm-hearted Northerness. The boy is back and bouncing.
KenJuly 24, 2009 at 01:49 #240640moehatParticipant
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I’ve no opinion of Michael Owen as a footballer these days, although I was totally in awe of him when he first started out. What I don’t understand is why people think that because they have lots of money and an interest in the sport they can have successful training establishments. You can start learning about horses from the minute you are born and carry on till the day you die and still not know everything.Surely it takes more than a big bank balance.July 29, 2009 at 18:33 #241572TomMember
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"Vaughan’s results have been pathetic."
maybe because the animals he has been given are not as good as the owner thinks?July 29, 2009 at 19:43 #241606DroneParticipant
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Never mind Vaughan’s ability or lack of, being appointed private trainer to a wealthy footballer who enjoys a punt is something of a poisoned chalice methinks. Or being a private trainer full stop: Sangster-Dickinson springs to mind.
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