Definitly Red trainer bullish about Grand National bid after impressive Kelso win

Definitly Red boosted trainer Brian Ellison’s confidence for a bold bid in next month’s Randox Health Grand National as he posted a wide-margin win in the William Hill Leading Racecourse Bookmaker Premier Chase at Kelso.

Definitly Red has been cut from 20-1 to 14-1 in the betting for next month's Grand National. Picture: Alan Crowhurst/Getty
Definitly Red has been cut from 20-1 to 14-1 in the betting for next month's Grand National. Picture: Alan Crowhurst/Getty

Ellison’s stable star was a long odds-on loser on his only previous visit to the track, in a match race last year, but the even-money favourite made no mistake this time under Danny Cook en route to a 14-length success from Kauto Riko.

Saturday’s racing calendar served up contrasting highlights under different codes, and Maximum Security’s victory in the inaugural running of the Saudi Cup – the world’s most valuable race, in Riyadh – took place both several thousand miles, and figuratively a world away from the Scottish mud.

Definitly Red was king of the weekend’s domestic scene, though – to the delight of 
Ellison. After the 11-year-old had sealed the deal in Listed company, and had his National odds cut from 20-1 to 14-1 by Betfair, the winning trainer told Racing TV: “I’m glad that’s out of the way.

“I’ve backed him for the National, despite not being a big gambler, but I’ve always thought the race would suit him – because he’s a proper stayer.

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“He’s got plenty going for him – he’s got a nice weight, 10st 12lb – but you need luck in the National.”

Definitly Red had a most unfortunate experience on his previous attempt in the Aintree spectacular – when he was very badly hampered and had to pull up in 2017.

In his absence there for the past two years, Tiger Roll’s back-to-back wins have made him an Aintree great – irrespective of whether he completes his hat-trick.

Ellison, above, added: “I hope we can spoil the Tiger Roll party! You can’t take anything away from Tiger Roll, though. He’s been fantastic, he’s won four times at Cheltenham as well as two Grand Nationals – a fantastic horse.”

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As for Definitly Red, he said: “He ran in the National a couple of years ago, but got brought down when a horse fell in front of him. There’s no such thing as a free pass in the National, but I think he’s got a massive chance.

“He’s a better horse now, he’s got stronger and he stays better – I think he’s got everything going for him.”

The Grade Two honours on Kelso’s card went to Clondaw Caitlin, in the William Hill Premier Novices’ Hurdle. Ruth Jefferson’s mare won by five lengths under title-chasing jockey Brian Hughes.

Conditions could not have been more different, of course, in Riyadh – where Maximum Security scooped almost 
$10 million for winning an epic first edition of the Saudi Cup.

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The horse, formerly best known as the first ever to be disqualified from first place for interference in the Kentucky Derby, will keep the glory as well as the riches this time after surging late under Luis Saez and holding fellow American challenger Midnight Bisou by three-quarters of a length – with globe-trotting British hope Benbatl in an honourable third.

Trainer Jason Servis reported yesterday that Maximum Security, installed as the 2-1 favourite for the Dubai World Cup by RaceBets, may need a break and therefore will not necessarily bid for that lucrative double at the end of this month.

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