There’s something to be said for a trainer who has absolute full confidence in his runners. No caginess or underplaying their chances. Just a definitive “I think Definitly Red will win the National”. That’s a quote from Brian Ellison, trainer of Definitly Red. And it’s not all pie in the sky because he has a lot to be encouraged by.
Following his win at Kelso on February 29th, the 11-year-old boosted his claims for the 2020 Grand National. Odds plummeted from a general 33/1 to as low as 14/1 with Paddy Power. A clearly delighted Ellison said:
“I think Definitly Red will win the National.”
“I’ve always thought he would. Tiger Roll won’t give us a stone, no chance.
“I’m not a big gambler, I just have £20 or £30 on, but I backed him at 33-1. 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 12lb and he has everything going for him. All I need is good to soft ground, not bottomless.
“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. This wasn’t his ground or his track so that was grand.”
Definitly Red Chance
Definitly Red may be on stellar form this season but it would be foolish to dismiss his past endeavors at Aintree.
Over the moon with Definitly Red winning @KelsoRacecourse @CookDannyJockey @robbo1107 yesterday. Next stop @grandnational @AintreeRaces all being well. photos courtesy @grossickphoto 😍 pic.twitter.com/U3DYbfnJ9Y
— Brian Ellison Racing (@BERacingLtd) March 1, 2020
He ran in the 2017 National (also on 10-12) but was very badly hampered at the 6th fence and at had to be pulled up. The following year connections opted for the Aintree Bowl but he blundered and unseated his rider.
2019 wasn’t any luckier as Definitly Red headed for the Cheltenham Gold Cup but was brought down when tracking the leaders. That ruled out another trip to Aintree. So while Ellison knows you need a bit of luck, it seems Definitely Red doesn’t have much of it when it comes to the big races.
This season has gone better for him. Devoid of any major incidents, he has run incredibly well. He started with a nice run at Wetherby in the Charlie Hall Chase, finishing fourth. Then it was over the Grand National fences for another fourth place in the Becher Chase before another really solid second place in the Peter Marsh Chase at Haydock.
✅ See you at @AintreeRaces in April!
— Racing TV (@RacingTV) February 29, 2020
And that brings us to our fourth race of the season – Kelso at the weekend, which he won. Admittedly it was a much shorter distance and on terrible ground, neither of which would ordinarily suit him. However, despite this, he ran a superb race. He tracked the leader the whole way around, jumped into the lead at the last fence and romped home a full 14L ahead of his nearest rival.
Fellow 2020 Grand National contender, Saint Xavier, ran in the same race. He was a long way off the pace and even though he finished third, it was a whopping 52L behind Definitly Red. That’s why his odds have gone from around 50/1 to 66/1 today.