Ellison: ‘I think he’ll win the National’
Definitly Red absolutely bolts up in the Premier Chase @KelsoRacecourse 🔥
— Odds Watch (@Odds_Watch) February 29, 2020
Brian Ellison was pulling absolutely no punches after watching Definitly Red score at Kelso on Saturday.
The trainer is confident looking ahead to Aintree, with Ellison suggesting he believes Definitly Red will topple Tiger Roll’s bid for the Randox Health Grand National.
Ready success in Scotland
Ellison sent Definitly Red to the Premier Chase at Kelso on Saturday, opting to swerve a possible run in the Grimthorpe Chase at Doncaster where his charge also held an entry.
Having gone in early markets as an odds-on favourite, Definitly Red eventually went off the even-money favourite after market support for the Paul Nicholls-trained Saint Xavier, a French import also holding a Grand National entry.
With the fences in the home straight omitted, Danny Cook allowed Definitly Red to take up the running at what was the final jumping test.
Kauto Riko and Brian Hughes looked the main threat, but they had no answer and Ellison’s charge came home with the best part of 15-lengths in hand.
He had finished second in the same contest last year.
Next Stop Aintree
Ellison’s charge was pulled up in the 2017 National having gone off second-favourite, as One For Arthur scored.
He’s set to carry 10st 10lb this time around in his second attempt at the famous race.
He’s already a dual winner around the Merseyside layout and this season he ran a pleasing fourth over the National fences in the Becher Chase behind Walk In The Mill.
Ellison isn’t shy in suggesting Definitely Red can halt Tiger Roll’s hat-trick attempt next month.
“I think he’ll win the National,” Ellison said. “I’ve always thought he would. Tiger Roll won’t give us a stone, no chance.
“You need luck, don’t you? But he jumped brilliantly when he finished fourth in the Becher Chase, he’s a great stayer, he’s on 10st 10lb and he has everything going for him. All I need is good to soft ground, not bottomless. [This] was not his ground, it’s not his track, so that was grand.
“The main thing now is to get him there. He’ll have an easy time for a week and he’s not a horse that needs a lot of galloping.”
Cook hopeful on big Aintree run
Danny Cook was thrilled with Definitly Red’s final dress rehearsal, while the jockey suggested the omission of the fences in the home straight owing to the low sun should ensure his performance commands maximum respect.
“The fences being out in the home straight didn’t help because he was having a good look around,” Cook said. “I was struggling to get him to run for me because he had nothing to keep him going forward.
“But that will have put him spot on and is a nice stepping stone to Aintree. He’s a good honest horse, he’s been brilliant for me, the owner Phil Martin and for Brian and he’s a proper, good horse – I hope we’ll have another good day with him in April.”
Cook was on board in 2017 when Definitly Red suffered a luckless passage on his first attempt at the Grand National.
He was badly hampered jumping the sixth fence, causing Cook to lose his irons. That left them with an impossible task and Definitly Red was pulled up at Valentines (ninth fence).
Ellison clearly expects much, much more this time around, if luck shines on Definitly Red.