Betbright Trial Cotswold Chase
|Grade 2, Cheltenham 14:25
3m 1f 56y, Class 1
|Saturday 27th January 2018
1 Definitly Red 7/1
Bristol De Mai 7/4F
8 ran Distances: 8l, 2¼l, ½l
Time: 6m 54.00s (slow by 39.00s)
Definitly Red puts down Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup marker
A fascinating renewal of the £100,000 G2 BetBright Trial Cotswold Chase saw success for 7/1 chance Definitly Red, owned by Phil Martin and James Keegan, trained by Brian Ellison in North Yorkshire and ridden by Danny Cook.
The improving nine-year-old chaser will now go straight to the G1 Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup on the fourth and final day of The Festival, Friday, March 16.
He won in good style by eight lengths from American (Harry Fry/Noel Fehily, 9/2), who does not have a Cheltenham Gold Cup entry but might be supplemented if the ground stays soft according to trainer Harry Fry.
Brian Ellison commented: "It has been ages since I had a winner here - Latalomne was the last one in 2001- but you have to have a good horse to come here and Definitly Red
is probably the best that I have ever trained. It's a good place to have a winner!
"Danny (Cook) gets on great with the horse and gave him a great ride - he is probably one of the best jockeys riding around.
"He had to use his head down the back, when he was sitting upsides American, who was jumping that bit better than us. Danny sat off him by two lengths and, when he had given Definitly Red a kick in the belly, he has gone.
"There was plenty of pace on and they never let up in this ground. He shows that he stays well and it's the Gold Cup now. He doesn't need this ground, he has won on good ground, and he just doesn't like it tacky because he is such a good-moving horse.
"He has got better every year and the plan this season was to keep him fresh. Today was the day when we decided whether to go for the Gold Cup, so we will go there now."
Danny Cook declared: "Definitly Red is a horse that always goes under the radar. You only have to look at his runs to wins ratio - he is now 12 wins from 23 races, so he is above 50 per cent.
"He is a fantastic horse for me to ride and I have been very lucky with very loyal owners and trainer. Hopefully, I can keep repaying their faith with winners.
"We have gone a good gallop. American has gone pretty keen and fresh, so we have followed him through when he came up the inside. I was quite glad for a bit of company to be honest because Definitly Red would have idled the whole way if I had got to the front.
"I got a nice tow and, when I have asked my horse turning in, he has really quickened up well. He has idled after the last but, if something was with me, he would have found more.
"He is not pretty to look and not overly big, but he is the one you all love to have. He does nothing quickly up the gallops and what you see is what you get. He performs on the racedays - he does no flash work but just keeps going.
"I will enjoy today and have a few drinks tonight because I don't get to ride these ones that much round here. What will be in the future will be and we will enjoy today for now.
"I'd like to dedicate it to my grandad, who is not very well and I don't know how much longer he has got. He asked if I could get a big one at Cheltenham and I am glad that I have."
Harry Fry said of American: "If you had told us at the start of the day that we would finish second, we would have taken all day long. For the first couple of fences, it looked like a repeat of Newbury - he wasn't really jumping, travelling or giving Noel much of a feel - but he warmed to it and really got into a rhythm.
"For a minute at the top of the hill, we were almost thinking that the impossible was going to happen. We came here today thinking that it possibly be his last run this season because he hasn't been showing us masses at home.
"Hopefully, today he has got his mojo back and he revelled in those conditions. We have just got to find the same conditions and I am delighted to have a horse back on our hands.
"He is not entered in any Cheltenham race at the moment and he needs these conditions. The likelihood of that at The Festival is slim, but we won't rule it out and we can always supplement if we need to. I would have thought that it was unlikely and there is a Listed chase at Kelso at the beginning of March, where he might get his ground."
Headed to Aintree for the Randox Health Grand National is the fourth home The Last Samuri
(Kim Bailey/David Bass 9/2), runner-up in the marathon in 2016, who nearly snatched third today.
His trainer Kim Bailey said: "I am delighted with The Last Samuri. He has never been to Cheltenham before and is a good ground horse, but he has tried his heart out and ran a proper race.
"It was a proper Grand National trial - all he was doing was staying at the end - and I think that he will go straight from here to Aintree where, fingers crossed, he will have a great chance.
"He has run in God knows how many races at Aintree and won and placed at Doncaster, but he has been running with top-weight every single time he runs. There was an idea that the Gold Cup was cutting up a bit and we had to have a try and see.
"If anything, he has proved today that he is not good enough to go and do it in the Gold Cup. He is still a very good horse and Aintree is more his course - he is such a fantastic jumper and I am delighted with him."
Betbright Trial Cotswold Chase
£100,000 added, 5yo plus, 3m 1f 56y, Class 1
||Definitly Red (IRE) 7/1
||American (FR) 9/2
||N D Fehily
||Bristol De Mai (FR) 7/4f
||D A Jacob
|N A Twiston-Davies
||The Last Samuri (IRE) 9/2
|K C Bailey
||Perfect Candidate (IRE) 33/1
||P J Brennan
||Theatre Guide (IRE) 33/1
|C L Tizzard
||Tea For Two 17/2
||A P Heskin
|T R George
BETBRIGHT CUP CHASE - Past Results
Year Horse Owner Trainer Weight Jockey SP
1980 Raffi Nelson Mrs P Fry Nicky Henderson 7-11-06 Steve Smith Eccles 5/2
1981 Little Owl R Wilson Peter Easterby 7-11-12 Mr Jim Wilson 8/11f
1982 Lesley Ann B Gaule David Elsworth 8-11-12 Colin Brown 5/2
1983 Combs Ditch Jim Tory David Elsworth 7-11-08 Colin Brown 6/1
1984 Everett Kilian Hennessy Fulke Walwyn 9-11-08 Stuart Shilston 15/8f
1985 West Tip Peter Luff Michael Oliver 8-11-06 Richard Dunwoody 5/2
1986 Misty Spirit Mrs E Dixon Donald Lee 7-11-06 Steve Smith Eccles 9/1
1988* Twin Oaks John Moreton David Murray-Smith 8-11-06 Paul Croucher 6/1
1989 Deep Moment Mrs M Curtis Mercy Rimell 7-11-03 Dermot Browne 12/1
1990 Toby Tobias Elizabeth Hitchins Jenny Pitman 8-11-06 Mark Pitman 5/4
1991 Celtic Shot D E H Horton Charlie Brooks 9-11-12 Peter Scudamore 8/11f
1993 Sibton Abbey Geoff Hubbard Ferdy Murphy 8-11-12 Steve Smith Eccles 16/1
1994 Dubacilla Veronica Cole Henry Cole 8-10-12 Dean Gallagher 8/1
1995 Master Oats Paul Matthews Kim Bailey 9-11-06 Norman Williamson 6/4f
1997 One Man John Hales Gordon Richards 9-11-12 Richard Dunwoody 2/5f
1998 See More Business John Keighley/Paul Barber Paul Nicholls 8-11-06 Timmy Murphy 9/4f
1999 Cyfor Malta David Johnson Martin Pipe 6-11-06 A P McCoy 10/11f
2000 Looks Like Trouble Tim Collins Noel Chance 8-11-06 Norman Williamson 100/30
2001 See More Business Paul Barber/Robert Ogden Paul Nicholls 11-11-10 Mick Fitzgerald 9/4
2002 Rince Ri Frank Moriarty Ted Walsh IRE 9-11-10 Ruby Walsh 9/2
2003 Behrajan The Behrajan Partnership Henry Daly 8-11-06 Richard Johnson 9/2
2004 Jair Du Cochet Miriam Montauban Guillaume Macaire FR 7-11-10 Jacques Ricou 11/4
2005 Grey Abbey The Roper Family/Norman Furness Howard Johnson 11-11-10 Graham Lee 100/30
2006** See You Sometime J Meaden Seamus Mullins 11-11-05 Andrew Thornton 18/1
2007 Exotic Dancer Sir Robert Ogden Jonjo O’Neill 7-11-06 A P McCoy 6/1
2008 Knowhere Raymond Mould Nigel Twiston-Davies 10-11-04 Paddy Brennan 16/1
2009 Joe Lively Richard Dimond Colin Tizzard 10-11-06 Joe Tizzard 11/1
2010 Taranis Angela Yeoman Paul Nicholls 9-11-00 Nick Scholfield 16/1
2011 Neptune Collonges John Hales Paul Nicholls 10-11-00 A P McCoy 11/2
2012 Midnight Chase Lady Clarke Neil Mulholland 10-11-06 Dougie Costello 11/2
2013 Cape Tribulation David Abell Malcolm Jefferson 9-11-06 Denis O’Regan 7/1
2014 The Giant Bolster Simon Hunt & Gary Lambton David Bridgwater 9-11-00 Tom Scudamore 6/1
2015 Many Clouds Trevor Hemmings Oliver Sherwood 8-11-10 Leighton Aspell 4/1
2016 Smad Place Trish Andrews Alan King 9-11-06 Richard Johnson 9/2
2017 Many Clouds Trevor Hemmings Oliver Sherwood 10-11-10 Leighton Aspell 8/1
* Cavvies Clown was first past the post in 1988, but subsequently failed a dope test ** Staged at Wincanton