MELISSA JONES: Former Grand National hope Beshabar to enjoy active retirement
7:00am Saturday 29th March 2014 in Sport
AS the Grand National looms a Welsh horse who never made it to the world's famous race is about to embark on a new life.
Beshabar, Scottish National hero of 2011, had his career curtailed by injury and was retired in January 2014.
Trainer Tim Vaughan spent some time mulling over where the handsome 12-year-old, once an ante-post favourite for Aintree, should spend his golden years.
The reins are being handed to Charlotte Mills, a contact at the yard, who will retrain the stayer for a career in the show ring.
Once into the swing of things it's likely he will be competing for rosettes in racehorse to riding horse classes.
It was with a heavy heart that Vaughan drew stumps on Beshabar's career as he was prepared for a tilt at the 2014 Foxhunters Chase.
He's been unable to source an immediate replacement of his quality, instead ploughing time into nurturing young stock.
But his Fayette County was one of a number to catch the eye during Chepstow's card on Tuesday, poking his nose in front right on the line in race one.
Described by Vaughan as a "big baby", he can do nothing but improve and the stable are hopeful he will continue to blossom over fences next season.
Chepstow invariably throws up a decent sort- the likes of Sire de Grugy and Deputy Dan have won there in the past year and the way Minella Present scooted clear in the last was mightily impressive.
He glided through the soft ground and returned into the paddock with a look as if to say 'what is all the fuss about?'
A grand stamp of a horse owned by the Clarke family, I'd be surprised in time if he doesn't turn out to be of the same quality as Neil Mullholland's Midnight Chase.
Over the coming weeks most of the younger horses will be put away for a summer at grass to strengthen up.
That leaves the way for the Flat season to take precedence.
It's the Lincoln this weekend but I feel it's a little bit early to run a big handicap the week before the National.
It's a bit of a lottery as you can't tell which horses are 100% tuned up- Mezzotint would be the one for me each-way.
In the Lincoln consolation race, I've got my eye on Born To Surprise.
He was held up too far off the pace last time and his shrewd trainer knows how to revive out of form horses.
He definitely should have an each any chance.
Maureen hasn't quite lived up to expectations in her four years but it seems she may have been made to run over too far a distance.
Back sprinting, she may be too sharp first time out for the favourite Jack Dexter.
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