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Kieran Burke ends Hunt Ball association

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Hunt Ball: Tops Cheltenham weights

Hunt Ball: Tops Cheltenham weights

Hunt Ball: Tops Cheltenham weights

Colourful owner Anthony Knott is seeking a new trainer for Hunt Ball after Keiran Burke asked him to remove the horse from his yard.

Burke guided the horse as he completed a meteoric rise through the ranks, starting life rated 69 back in November 2011 before embarking on a eight-race winning spree that saw him rise to his current rating of 162.

However, Hunt Ball's campaign did not work out quite as planned last term, with the gelding pulled up on his return in the Paddy Power Gold Cup before trying an extended three miles and a furlong in the Argento Chase in the hope he would be able to take up a Cheltenham Gold Cup entry.

He failed to stay on that occasion and Knott decided to run him in the Byrne Group Plate at the Festival rather than supplementing him for the Ryanair Chase.

In contravention of British Horseracing Authority rules, Hunt Ball sported an advert for bookmakers Paddy Power on his hindquarters that day, resulting in a BHA hearing for both Knott and Burke.

Burke said: "I asked Mr Knott to take Hunt Ball away and he has just gone today.

"It was a very hard decision as he's the best horse I've trained and possibly the best I will ever train, but I've got to look after myself and think of my career.

"I wish the horse all the best and I hope someone else will have a lot of fun with him because he's a good horse and he deserves to be running in the right races for him."

PA Media