Onwards and upwards, says Phil Kirby, after owner Darren Yates removes horses, including Blaklion

NORTH Yorkshire trainer Phil Kirby admitted his disappointment after high-profile owners Darren and Annaley Yates decided to remove their horses from his yard.

TOP MARKS: Ryan Hatch and Blaklion win The RSA Steeple Chase at Cheltenham in March 2016. Picture: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images

Kirby has saddled a handful of runners in the Yates’ colours without success on the level so far this year, but it is in the National Hunt division he will most feel their departure.

Blaklion, a £360,000 recruit in February before suffering an injury prior to the Grand National, was one of the high-profile runners for Yates in Kirby’s care near Catterick.

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The former Cheltenham Festival winner, who also won Aintree’s Becher Chase over the iconic National fences, leaves the yard without ever having run for the Kirby team.

Former Becher Chase winner Blaklion has left the Phil Kirby yard - without ever running for the trainer.

Other departures also include former Cheltenham Festival winner Don Poli, an impetuous purchase completed less than 48 hours before the National, and the exciting Interconnected, who cost £620,000 at Goffs in May after finishing second on his sole hurdles start in March.

Interconnected, formerly trained by Nicky Henderson, was part of the dispersal sale of owners Mike Grech and Stuart Parkin and his price tag was an unprecedented one for a National Hunt horse in training.

Meanwhile South Seas, an expensive Flat acquistion, has not raced since finishing last in Doncaster’s season-opening Lincoln handicap.

Yates, who runs a property business in the North West and who also won £550,000 when Frankie Dettori landed his ‘maginifcent seven’ at Ascot in 1996, was unavailable for comment.

Trainer Phil Kirby.

However Kirby was philosophical. “It’s just one of those things.

“Things haven’t quite worked out as hoped and Darren has decided to move the horses on. There’s been no fall out, nothing like that at all – they are Darren’s horses and it’s his choice,” said the dual-purpose trianer.

“It is disappointing for us, but it’s not world-ending and we will survive. They had six horses with us, and they were nice horses, but it’s not going to change the world for us. We still have some lovely horses and it is onwards and upwards from here.”

A statement on Kirby’s website added: “Racing is an expensive sport and due to a lack of results with their Flat runners they have taken the decision to move them all to a new trainer.

“It’s a major blow to lose the exciting Interconnected the hugely talented Blaklion, along with their other lovely horses, but we will continue to look forward to what we hope will be another significant National Hunt winter for us after our best ever season in 2018-19.”

Meanwhile, Ivan Furtado hopes Hector’s Here will continue his fine run of form when he lines up at Beverley tonight. The three-year-old colt won at Hamilton last time out and the trainer is hopeful ahead of the Gemma Platten Memorial Handicap.

The Nottinghamshire-based handler said: “He won well at Hamilton last time and is ready to run again.”

Enable will face seven rivals as she makes her seasonal bow in the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown this weekend.

John Gosden’s superstar filly has been off the track since winning the Breeders’ Cup Turf at Churchill Downs last November.

The five-year-old’s ultimate target is a third victory in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in October. Enable will not have it all her own way in tomorrow’s 10-furlong Group One, with Magical the pick of two runners for Aidan O’Brien, the season’s leading trainer.