Red Definitly on target for Grand National
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 gave an upbeat bulletin on his stable star Definitly Red this week announcing the eleven-year-old to be in fine form and on target for ‘the people’s race’.
“We’re busy planning for the National,” the Malton-based trainer told The Yorkshire Post. “He ran very well in the Becher – he jumped like a cat and stayed on at the end.
“He had 11st 10lb while the winner Walk In The Mill, whose a good horse, had 10st 8lb. I don’t have any qualms about him getting the four-and-a-quarter-mile trip in the big race.”
Hurdles likely next for Red
Ellison stated that Definitly Red would probably have two runs before the National with a race over hurdles likely to be next in order to protect his perceived workable handicap mark. Indeed Definitly Red is now rated 156 over fences, some 11lb lower than he was when winning the Grade 2 Cotswold Chase over 3m1½f at Cheltenham in 2018.
Although now exposed as a few lbs short of the very best, Definitly Red is still a four-time Grade 2 winner who has won twice at Aintree over the Mildmay course.
When tackling the National for the only previous time in 2017, he was pulled up but through no fault of his own. Badly hampered at Bechers Brook first time round, jockey Danny Cook’s saddle slipped leaving him no option but to end their race.
Promising Becher effort
Back over the National Fences for the first time since in the Becher Chase last month, he ran with great promise in finishing fourth to Walk In The Mill, who was fourth in the 2019 Grand National. Previous National winner One For Arthur was behind him in fifth that day and given the winner was receiving 16lb from Definitly Red there were certainly plenty of positives.
Although unproven over this sort of trip, Definitly Red has always stayed well over trips of 3m plus and he was noted staying on in the Becher, having lost his place before the turn in. With the slower tempo and greater stamina test of the Grand National expected to suit much better, Definitly Red looks a live contender who might just relish a real marathon; Ellison certainly seems pretty confident the 4m2f trip will be within range.
The North has a really good record in the race although Irish-trained runners have dominated the last two renewals. Since 2000 Yorkshire trainers Richard Mason (Red Marauder) and Sue Smith (Auroras Encore), Cheshire trainers Ginger McCain (Amberleigh House) and son Donald (Ballabriggs) as well as Scottish trainer Lucinda Russell (One For Arthur) have all kept the lion’s share of the now £1 million prize away from the main training havens of the West Country and Cotswolds.
Definitly Red is currently priced at 33/1* with most bookmakers for National glory and with the race his confirmed target, that looks pretty decent value.
*Odds subject to change.