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Tim Vaughan eyeing Festival Handicap Chase success at Cheltenham

Tim Vaughan has a trio of lively longshots ready to run in the Rewards4Racing Festival Handicap Chase at Cheltenham, with Ackertac, Bucking The Trend and Saint Are bidding to break the stable's Festival duck.

The Welsh yard has sent out big-race winners in the Scottish Grand National at Ayr, the Grade 1 Sefton Novices' Hurdle at Aintree and the Grade 1 Champion Novice Hurdle at Punchestown, with a major Prestbury Park prize now the number one target.

Ackertac blotted his copybook when pulled up at the course on New Year's Day, but conditions were atrocious that afternoon and he has some solid form at Cheltenham on his CV from past seasons.

The nine-year-old was sixth of 18 behind Bobs Worth in the 2011 Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle, fifth to Hunt Ball in the Novices' Handicap Chase a year later and second behind Rajdhani Express as a 66/1 shot in the same race last season.

"Ackertac holds entries in the 3m110y Grade 3 Festival Handicap Chase and the 2m4f Byrne Group Plate," said Vaughan. "He is likely to go for the former, unless the ground is very soft in which case the latter would certainly be considered. Now 4lbs lower than when finishing runner-up at Sandown Park on his first start of the season, he has some strong course form to his name, but I would certainly like to see the ground drying out for him."

Bucking The Trend was a 100/1 outsider when eighth behind At Fishers Cross in last year's Albert Bartlett but will return to Cheltenham in good heart after staying on strongly to score at Fontwell in December and then going down narrowly at Newcastle.

"Bucking The Trend went so close to winning a valuable novice chase at Newcastle at the weekend," added Vaughan on his personal website. "Having jumped well throughout the race, he just made a couple of mistakes up the home straight that looked to cost him victory, but it was an excellent run, especially considering it was just his third over fences. He also holds the Kim Muir entry."

Saint Are showed he is capable of springing a surprise when a 33/1 scorer in the 2011 Grade 1 Sefton Novices' Hurdle at Aintree and also won at Liverpool's Grand National meeting in 2012, while he was far from disgraced in a valuable contest at Haydock in November on his last outing.


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Tim Vaughan eyeing Festival Handicap Chase success at Cheltenham

Tim Vaughan has a trio of lively longshots ready to run in the Rewards4Racing Festival Handicap Chase at Cheltenham, with Ackertac, Bucking The Trend and Saint Are bidding to break the stable's Festival duck.

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