Definitly Red gears up for repeat Aintree assault
Such a shame that the Malcolm Jefferson Memorial chase has just the two runners, deserves better. #DefinitlyRed will pick up just under 16k for what will amount to a schooling session. Not bad work if you can get it. 🙃 pic.twitter.com/OtKErDiJp7
— Rob Chadwick (@RobChadwick8) 13 February 2019
Brian Ellison is planning on some fine-tuning before hopefully launching a second assault on the Randox Health Grand National with Definitly Red.
The Malton hander knows that his charge handles Aintree well as he is already a dual winner of the Many Clouds Chase at Merseyside circuit, and will be keeping his fingers crossed for better fortune after a luckless assault on the Grand National in 2017.
Definitly got Aintree previous
Back then, Definitly Red went off second-favourite at 10/1 to win the world’s most famous steeplechase in the hands of Danny Cook.
Rated 149 at the time, Ellison’s charge had found his way into the Aintree spectacular off a seemingly favourable mark having readily won at Doncaster a month earlier after the National weights were confirmed.
He was effectively 10lb ‘well-in’ going to Aintree and the market reflected his strong claims.
Things were going to plan for Cook on the first circuit, with Definitly Red racing up with the pace and in a comfortable position but he was badly hampered by a falling horse at Becher’s Brook on the first circuit, resulting in Cook losing his irons and, with them, any chance in the race.
It was a bitter pill to swallow for connections at the time but Ellison is aiming to get back for another Grand National tilt in 2020.
That was Definitly Red’s first spin around Aintree and, in four outings at the track since, he has become a dual winner of the Many Clouds Chase over three miles and a furlong while on his most recent start in December he finished a promising fourth behind Walk In The Mill over the National Course in the Becher Chase.
Now aged 11, Definitly Red will be viewed by many as holding a near-perfect blend of experience with which to come back and tackle the Grand National a second time. As history shows, experience of running in the race without prior success is often a valuable trait.
His Becher Chase run came off a mark of 157 in December and Ellison is going to be an interested observer next month when the BHA confirm the weights for the Grand National.
Two more runs the target
Definitly Red is set to carry top-weight in the Peter Marsh Chase at Doncaster this coming weekend, with his trainer keen on getting one more run into his charge before Aintree.
That is likely to come in Scotland after the National weights are confirmed.
“He runs at Haydock at the moment,” said Ellison of his Peter Marsh plans.
“They tend to get through the ground at Haydock when it’s heavy – well – hopefully he will. He’s in good form and we’re using it as a prep for the Grand National. After this he might go to Kelso at the end of February.”
His 2017 victory in the Grimthorpe Handicap Chase remains Definitly Red’s only previous start at the Town Moor track, with Saturday’s race set to be run over a half-furlong shorter trip.
With regular rider Cook likely to partner Sue Smith’s Vintage Clouds, Ellison has booked Henry Brooke for Saturday’s Doncaster assignment.
Brooke has ridden Definitly Red in three of his 22 starts over fences previously, including last month’s Becher at Aintree. They landed the Rowland Meyrick Handicap Chase at Wetherby on Boxing Day 2016 together.