Phil Kirby swoops for Aintree regular Blaklion

National bid ‘main aim’ for 10-year-old former Festival winner

  • Monday 18 February
  • News
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Phil Kirby has his sights firmly set on a crack at the Randox Health Grand National with Blaklion after confirming the 10-year-old will be switching to his North Yorkshire yard.

The 10-year-old has been trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies for each of his 30 outings under rules, posting landmark efforts when winning the 2016 RSA Chase at Cheltenham and the 2017 Becher Chase at Aintree.

Blaklion finished fourth in the 2017 Grand National, but he got no further than the first fence last year when he was brought down.

A return to Aintree is uppermost in North Yorkshire-based Kirby’s mind, and he will be sporting the colours of owner Darren Yates after a deal was agreed on Monday.

Kirby said: “He’s been bought by an existing owner, Darren Yates, who is trying to build a nice team to go to the nice races and have some good days racing – and obviously this horse is a great start.

“It’s very exciting to have a horse like him join the yard as the aim for us is to get the better horses and in turn go for the better races.

“The deal was only finalised this morning so I’ll be picking him up tonight or tomorrow.

“The main aim is definitely to run in the Grand National, but we’ll have to see where we go in between. Nigel Twiston-Davies knows the horse much better than me so I’m hoping he will give me a hand and tell me where he would have gone with him.

“We’re really looking forward to him joining the team.”

Blaklion is a general 50-1 shot for the National on April 6.

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