Tom Dascombe approached to take over Manchester United player Michael Owen's yard
23 July 2009 07:05
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On Wednesday Owen sacked Nicky Vaughan, who has sent out 27 winners since the yard opened two years ago. The news was given to the trainer by the footballer's mother, Jeanette, while the player was touring the far east with his new club.
Dascombe, 35, who began training in 2005 and doubled the size of his yard at Oneway, Lambourn, by taking a lease on the neighbouring yard on the Folly Road at the end of last season, has made a sensational start to his career.
Last year he won his first two Group races, the July and Superlative Stakes, on consecutive days and this season he has already sent out 39 winners at an extremely respectable strike rate of 17 per cent. He looks destined for the top and has already been linked with moves to bigger premises, including Churn and Kingsdown.
He answered all questions about the offer with a "no comment" on Thursday. Contrary to speculation that a trainer was already in place to take over within a fortnight, it is believed that Dascombe has yet to decide on whether he will take up the offer.
Owen, who owns the vast majority of horses at Manor House Stables, in which he has invested a huge amount of money, might, when he has scored his last goal, join Mick Channon and Micky Quinn as former footballers among the ranks of racehorse trainers.
As an owner, however, he has yet to taste the success enjoyed by his new manager Sir Alex Ferguson, who won the 2,000 Guineas and several other Group Ones with Rock Of Gibraltar, although not everyone lived happily ever after at the end of that colt's racing career.
This summer Owen was guest of the Queen at Royal Ascot, arriving at the course in the Royal Procession, and his wife Louise was the "face" of Sandown's Eclipse meeting. He is also a regular at his local track Chester, where he takes a box.
Vaughan, whose horses have been struck down with a virus this season, is not alone. More successful salaried trainers than him have had the chop.
Last month Carl Llewellyn, not long after winning the Bet365 Gold Cup, was sacked by Malcolm Denmark.
A Group One sprint could not save Tim Pitt from football agent Willie McKay's axe and, of course, among the number is Michael Dickinson, one of the greatest jump trainers of all time. He was moved on swiftly from Manton by Robert Sangster.