Grand National 2017 Fact Files
Definitly Red (IRE) 8-10-11
Breeding: 8 ch g Definite Article – The Red Wench (Aahsaylad)
Breeder: James Keegan
Born: March 5, 2009
Owner: Phil Martin
Trainer: Brian Ellison
Jockey: Danny Cook
*Definitly Red warmed up for Aintree with an impressive 14-length victory over last year’s Grand National runner-up The Last Samuri in Grimthorpe Handicap Chase at Doncaster on March 4, 2017, after the weights for the £1-million Aintree race had been published the month before.
*Previously successful this season in G3 Rowland Meyrick Handicap Chase at Wetherby on Boxing Day.
*Also a Listed winner at Ayr in April, 2016, successful at G2 level and twice successful at Listed level in bumpers.
*Went into training with Steve Gollings and won three races before being transferred to Brian Ellison in December, 2014.
*Winning Irish point-to-pointer who was sold to owner Phil Martin for £110,000 at a sale a Cheltenham in November, 2013.
*The spelling of his name is down to it being written that way by his point-to-point handler in Ireland, Bryan Marshall, at the time of registration. He is by Definite Article out of The Red Wench.
Jump race record: Starts: 19; Wins: 10; 2nd: 4; 3rd: 1; Win & Place Prize Money: £189,700
Sheffield-born Phil Martin (born May 23, 1952) is a retired businessman who lives at Tickhill, south of Doncaster. Having always promised himself a racehorse if he became successful in business, Martin first entered racehorse ownership in 2006 on selling his engine lubricant business. One of his first significant winners came at Aintree in 2008, when the Tom Tate-trained Honest John took the G2 Champion Bumper. Martin’s horses were primarily trained by Lincolnshire-based Steve Gollings before the pair parted company at the end of 2014. He and his wife Julie now have over 40 horses with Brian Ellison. They each have their own horses. In addition to Definitely Red, the Martins’ best horses have included G2 Old Roan Chase victor Conquisto and Forest Bihan, successful in the G2 Lightning Novices’ Chase at Doncaster this season. They have had 23 winners (up to March 29) this Jump season, following on from their best total of 37 in 2015/2016. On the Flat, their best total has been 12 winners in 2015.
No previous Randox Health Grand National runners
Brian Ellison (Malton, North Yorkshire)
Born: June 28, 1952, in Newcastle-upon-Tyne Background: One of eight children, his father was a Tyneside shipyard worker, while his mother worked as a cleaner in a Newcastle Hospital. Ellison has established himself as one of the country’s leading dual-purpose trainers, based at Spring Cottage Stables in Malton, North Yorkshire, which has grown over the years from 23 to 100 boxes. He bought the 30-box Highfield Stables across the road in 2013. His wife Claire plays a big part in the running of the business, helping Brian feed the horses and being in charge of the administration. Daughter Jessica assists and is responsible for the staff.Riding Career: After his hopes of becoming a professional footballer were dashed when he was told he was too short for the job, he decided to become a jockey, despite the fact that he had never ridden a horse. He left school aged 15 to join Harry Blackshaw’s stable and partnered his first winner at 17. One of the highlights of a 21-year career as a journeyman Jump jockey, from 1968 to 1989, came when riding Tex to defeat the mighty Tingle Creek in a Worcester handicap chase in 1976. Training Career: He ran a livery yard for a couple of years and was assistant trainer to Don Eddy and Nigel Tinkler. He began training with three horses in leased stables in County Durham in 1989 and his first Jump winner was Corbett’s Diamond that November at Hexham. He bought his present base in 2000, bringing 25 horses with him, and enjoyed his 1,000th winner on July 15, 2016, when Robero scored at Newmarket. He has a capacity for 130 horses in training. His best season over jumps came in 2015/2016 (48 winners), though he could beat that total this season with 40 (up to March 29), while on the Flat it was 62 in 2013. He has had runners in Australia and Dubai. Big-Race Wins – Flat: Ebor Handicap (2011 Moyenne Corniche), Superior Mile (2013 Top Notch Tonto, 2015 Balty Boys), Irish Cesarewitch (2013 Montefeltro). Jump: Finale Juvenile Hurdle (2011 Marsh Warbler), Rowland Meyrick Handicap Chase (2016 Definitly Red), Lightning Novices’ Chase (2017 Forest Bihan).
Randox Health Grand National Record: 2012 Neptune Equester (13th)
Born: June 18, 1983, in Romford, Essex. Background: Danny Cook gained an interest in horseracing by watching the sport on TV as a youngster. His father was a landscape gardener. After leaving school and working for his father, Cook considered an alternative career in the Army before enrolling at the Northern Racing College despite having no experience with horses. Riding Career: Cook’s first ride was as an amateur rider on Kafi at Bangor in August, 2001. A move to the Barry Leavy yard in May, 2004, brought some success and he then joined Jim Old. After a stop-start career, Cook came to the David Pipe yard where he really took off and in the 2008/09 season he finished runner-up to Oliver Greenall in the amateur riders’ championship with 21 winners. He turned professional as a conditional jockey ahead of the 2009/10 season and rode his first Cheltenham Festival winner in 2010 aboard Great Endeavour in what is now the Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate. He ended that Jump season with 25 successes. He subsequently made the move north to Yorkshire due to his connection with owner Dan Gilbert and now rides predominantly for Sue Smith (stable jockey) and Brian Ellison. His best total was 48 winners in 2015/2016 but he is about top that this season (47 up to March 29). Other Information: Cook was banned for six months in 2015 after testing positive for cocaine, an event he described as “a catastrophic error of judgment”. Arsenal fan Cook is due to marry his fiancé Kirsty in July, 2017. Big-Race Wins:Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate (2010 Great Endeavour), Peter Marsh Chase (2016 Cloudy Too, 2010 Our Vic), Altcar Novices’ Chase (2015 Wakanda)
Randox Health Grand National Record: 2010 Pablo Du Charmil (FELL 2nd)