Following a stint in the Cheltenham Gold Cup where he finished in sixth place behind the winner Native River, it has now been declared that Definitly Red will not run in the 2018 Grand National.
Trainer Brian Ellison has taken Definitly Red out of the Grand National at Aintree on April 14th and instead plans to run him in the Betway Bowl at the same festival two days earlier.
Ellison said: “That’s the plan at the moment. He had a hard race in the Gold Cup. He’s not the biggest horse in the world and he hated that ground.
“He’s come out of the race grand and he’s eaten up and everything.
“It was the plan to go for that (Betway Bowl) before the Gold Cup so I imagine that’s where we’ll go.”
The nine-year-old competed in the National last season but his saddle slipped and he was pulled up by Danny Cook. He has since had an excellent season finishing third in the Charlie Hall Chase before notching up two back-to-back wins at Aintree and Cheltenham in December and January respectively.
That caught the eye of the BHA Handicapper who made Definitly Red the top weight contender for this year’s renewal on 11-10. Now that he has been taken out of proceedings, all subsequent potential runners will see their weight increase by 1lb as Edwulf, from trainer Joseph Patrick O’Brien, becomes the number one horse in the race.
It also looks like Sizing Codelco from Colin Tizzard’s yard has also been withdrawn following his run in the Ultima Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival. Despite hoping that a wind operation in February would improve his chances, he was still pulled up by jockey Robbie Power.
That leaves 88 potential runners still in contention with the second scratchings deadline tomorrow, March 20th. The next stage is the five-day confirmations on April 9th with final declarations at 10am on April 12th with a maximum field of 40 plus four reserves.