Gigginstown horses to be divided among five yards
Noel Meade: One of the five trainers who will receive Gigginstown horses
PICTURE: Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos) Five yards to recieve Gigginstown horses
By tony mcfadden 1:00pM 28 SEP 2016
GIGGINSTOWN HOUSE STUD have removed around 60 horses from Willie Mullins after a disagreement about the Irish champion trainer raising his fees.
What is a significant blow to Mullins, is a boon for five other trainers, as it was confirmed that Gordon Elliott, Mouse Morris, Henry de Bromhead, Joseph O'Brien and Noel Meade would be the five recipients of the 60 horses.
Confirming the split with Gigginstown, founded by Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary, Mullins said on At The Races: "Yes, we are parting company. It is basically over fees. I put my fees up for the first time in ten years. Gigginstown chose not to pay them.
"I'm not willing to try to maintain the standards I have [without putting the fees up], so that's the way it is."
Mullins admitted that the loss of such a large amount of horses, including Grade 1 winners such as Apple's Jade and Don Poli, will be a blow but was magnanimous and wished Gigginstown the best.
"They will be very hard horses to replace. I don't know where they're going to go," Mullins said. "They [Gigginstown] have been great to us with some fantastic horses and we wish them all the best, but we move on."
In reaction to the news, Paddy Power have pushed Mullins out to 3-1 from 6-4 to win the British champion trainers' title. Defending champion Paul Nicholls was slashed to 1-5 (from 4-7) by the firm.
The decision to remove the horses from Mullins was taken "with condsiderable regret", according to a statement Gigginstown issued to RTÉ Sport.
It read: "As Gigginstown House Stud has been unable to reach agreement with Willie Mullins on an increase in training fees, we have agreed – with considerable regret – to move the Gigginstown horses to alternative trainers for the coming 2016-17 season.
"Gigginstown wishes to sincerely thank Willie and all the team at Closutton for the many Grade 1 races we have won together over the past seven years."
The chance of a reunion between the two parties down the line was not ruled out, as the statement added: "We hope that an agreement can be reached at some time in the future which will allow Willie to resume buying and training more graded winners for us."
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