Darren and Annaley Yates remove horses from Phil Kirby

Don Poli ridden by Bryan Cooper races clear to win the RSA Chase on Ladies Day during the Cheltenham Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse.
Image: Don Poli

Trainer Phil Kirby admitted his disappointment after owners Darren and Annaley Yates decided to remove their horses from his North Yorkshire yard.

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 big-money recruit in February ahead of an abortive Grand National run, was one of the high-profile runners for Yates in Kirby's care, along with £170,000 purchase Don Poli 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.

East Appleton-based Kirby said: "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're Darren's horses and it's his choice.

"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.

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"We still have some lovely horses and it is onwards and upwards from here."

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