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Phil Kirby setting sights on Grand National with Blaklion

Phil Kirby now has his sights firmly fixed on this year’s Grand National following the confirmation that Blaklion will move to his Richmond yard. The runner has made 30 rules-outings under Nigel Twiston-Davies with wins in the RSA Chase at Cheltenham in 2016 and the Becher Chase at Aintree the following year.

Blaklion finished in fourth position at the 2017 Grand National but he was brought down at the first fence in the 2018 renewal of the famous steeplechase. After a deal was agreed earlier this week, Blaklion will sport the colours of new owner Darren Yates and a return to Aintree will be foremost in trainer Kirby’s mind.

The Richmond handler 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 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 currently priced at 50/1 to win the 2019 Grand National