Sport Horse Racing

Monday 19 February 2018

Ellison to give his big 'Red' hope a taste of Aintree fences

“Definitly Red is fine and is in great form. He has done nothing wrong all season,” said Ellison. Photo: Getty
“Definitly Red is fine and is in great form. He has done nothing wrong all season,” said Ellison. Photo: Getty

Graham Clark

Brian Ellison intends to give his big Grand National hope Definitly Red a spin over Aintree-style fences ahead of his tilt at next month's showpiece.

The Yorkshire handler is keen for the eight-year-old to step up his preparations for the great race on April 8 with an outing over some replicas of the famous birch on gallops near to his yard in Malton.

After winning the Rowland Meyrick at Wetherby in December, the Phil Martin-owned gelding, which is as short as 12/1 to win the world's most famous steeplechase, bounced back from a fall in the Peter Marsh at Haydock with victory in the Grimthorpe at Doncaster last time out.

"Definitly Red is fine and is in great form. He has done nothing wrong all season," said Ellison (right). "He is 10lb 'well in' in the Grand National and hopefully if he takes to the fences we are very hopeful of a good run.

"They are building a couple of Aintree fences in Malton and the plan is to give him a pop over them beforehand."

All roads lead to Aintree for Raz De Maree following his return to action at Thurles last week, where the Cork Grand National winner was runner-up in a handicap hurdle.

Trainer Gavin Cromwell was pleased with that effort, his first since finishing runner-up to Native River in the Welsh Grand National.

Cromwell will now prepare the 12-year-old for the National, with Raz De Maree just needing a handful of horses to come out for him to make the cut for the 40-runner field.

"He's very good. That's him done now. He won't run again before Aintree," said the Meath handler. "The way he travelled was good and it's the Grand National next for him."

Elsewhere, one of the most prolific stallions of the modern era, Danehill Dancer, has had to be put down at the age of 24.

Purchased privately by Demi O'Byrne as a yearling, the son of Danehill was trained for Michael Tabor by Neville Callaghan to win both the Phoenix Stakes and the National Stakes as a two-year-old.

As a sire he made an immediate impact and his stud fee rose from just 3,500 Irish Guineas in 2000 to a high of €115,000 in 2007.

Danehill Dancer became champion sire on both sides of the Irish Sea in 2009 and was champion juvenile sire on three occasions. As a broodmare sire he enjoyed a stellar year in 2016 being responsible for multiple group 1 winners The Gurkha, Minding, and Alice Springs.

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