By Jon Lees
USA: Two months after sending out his last runner in Britain, Ed Vaughan has restarted his training career in the United States, where he will have the continued support of owners Phoenix Thoroughbreds.
Vaughan, 47, announced in July that he would be winding up his stable in Newmarket after 16 years, declaring that rising costs and declining prize-money levels were making running a training business increasingly unviable.
The 47-year-old signed off when his final runner, Hackness Harry, won at Kempton – but, in an interview with The Owner Breeder, revealed he has set up a new base at Keeneland in Lexington. He hopes to have his first runners in the new year on the Tapeta all-weather surface at Turfway Park in northern Kentucky.
Among a team that could reach a dozen are three horses he was training for the controversial Phoenix Thoroughbreds team, who had separately announced they were quitting Britain amid intense media scrutiny over the organisation’s funding sources.
“Moving to the US had been on my mind for a long time,” Vaughan told Owner Breeder magazine. “I just needed to work the logistics out. Fortunately some horses that I trained in England have come over to Kentucky.
“It’s obviously very exciting,” he went on. “It’s a new chapter and it’s like I’m starting all over again. I’m definitely not worried though. I’ve had good support from the right people and the move makes sense.
“With prize-money the way it is in Britain, it just became increasingly difficult to continue training. We’ll be racing for some proper prize-money in Kentucky.”
Vaughan trained more than 200 winners in Britain, landing his biggest success this year when Dame Malliot won the G2 Princess Of Wales’s Stakes in July.
His was one of 11 British stables to train for big-spending Phoenix, the self-styled “world’s first regulated thoroughbred fund” which launched in 2017 with strings in the US and Australia as well as Europe.
However, by the time Vaughan handed in his licence, Phoenix had been barred from having runners in France and Britain over concerns about its funding which stemmed from allegations made in a New York court that CEO and founder Amer Abdulaziz was a key money-launderer for a fake $4 billion cryptocurrency scam. Abdulaziz has categorically denied the claims.
Phoenix said three-year-old maiden War Cross, a $200,000 son of War Front, unraced Kingman filly Lady De Peron, a 275,000gns buy, and Miss Chess, owned by the affiliated Phoenix Ladies Syndicate, had been shipped to the US from Newmarket. Other horses could follow.
Abdulaziz said: “We are delighted that Ed will remain part of the Phoenix team. He is an extremely talented trainer and valued advisor who we are sure will be a success in the US. It’s doubly pleasing that we can give him some talented horses to work with that he already knows so well. We are very excited for Ed as he embarks on this next chapter of his career.”