Betbright Grimthorpe Chase
|Handicap, Doncaster 15:35
3m 2f 1y, Class 2
|Saturday 4th March 2017|
1 Definitly Red 7/2
2 The Last Samuri 10/3f
3 Wakanda 10/1
7 ran Distances: 14l, 3½l, 8l
Time: 6m 39.40s
Definitly Red leaves Last Samuri trailing at Doncaster
An impressive winner of the Rowland Meyrick at Wetherby on Boxing Day before parting company with jockey Danny Cook in the Peter Marsh at Haydock, Brian Ellison's Definitly Red was a 7/2 chance for this recognised Grand National trial on Town Moor.
Three horses rounded the home turn in with a chance of victory, but it was clear Definitly Red had far more to give than Wakanda and Sego Success, who were being hard driven on either side of him.
Definitly Red jumped to the front with a bold leap four fences from the finish and soon put daylight between himself and his rivals.
Ellison's charge safely negotiated the remaining obstacles and came home with 14 lengths in hand over last year's Grand National runner-up The Last Samuri, who was the 100/30 favourite.
Cook said: "Hopefully now all roads lead to the National. I think he's a very good horse and the question is whether he can jump round there."
Sky Bet cut Definitly Red to 14/1 from 25/1 for the Randox Health Grand National and his trainer soon confirmed the Aintree spectacular as his intended target.
"All being well, that's the plan (National). He looked good there, he's a terrific jumper and Danny gets on well with him," said Ellison.
"In the National, you need a lot of luck and if we get lucky, he could go well."
Ellison added: "He travelled well, he jumped well. The plan wasn't to hit the front that early, but he was going so well that Danny couldn't wait.
"At Haydock things didn't go to plan. Henry (Brooke) asked him for a big one down the back and he took off and landed on the fence which unsettled him, but he would have finished second had he not unseated that day. He was staying on.
"He's won the Rowland Meyrick and now this, which is his best result so far.
"Providing he schools well over National-style fences, he'll go to Aintree. They are building two at Malton.
"I can't see why he won't take to them as he is such a good jumper.
"He's a lovely horse and has a great temperament. He's class."
Winning owner Phil Martin said: "That's my biggest win. I'm not a big fan of the National but I put him in. Brian wanted to give him a Gold Cup entry but I thought that was flying high.
"He was on 149 and he'll go up to about 160 after this and he might be a Charlie Hall horse next season.
"We'll go along with the National idea and see how it goes."
Connections of last year's winner The Last Samuri were proud of his effort in defeat.
Jason Maguire, racing manager for the owners Paul and Clare Rooney, said: "It was a good run and he kept on well. Obviously the National is the race we want to go for and it looked to be a good trial run.
"Obviously we'd have loved to win, but it's hard to give away all that weight.
"Even with a circuit to go, you could notice David (Bass) was pushing the button a little bit to try to keep up, but he jumped very well and stayed on up the straight, so we're very happy with him.
"He comes alive around Aintree and you're hoping he's a better horse over those fences. Over the National trip, good ground will be ideal."
Betbright Grimthorpe Chase (Handicap)
£55,000 added, 5yo plus, 3m 2f 1y, Class 2
|Pos||D||Horse SP||Jockey Weight||Trainer||Age|
|1st||Definitly Red (IRE) 7/2||Danny Cook
|2nd||14||The Last Samuri (IRE) 10/3f||D Bass
|K C Bailey||9|
|3rd||3½||Wakanda (IRE) 10/1||Sean Quinlan
|Mrs S J Smith||8|
|4th||8||Yala Enki (FR) 7/2||Charlie Deutsch (3)
|Miss V Williams||7|
|5th||nk||Sego Success (IRE) 6/1||Tom Cannon
|6th||19||Looking Well (IRE) 9/2||Ryan Day (5)
|N G Richards||8|
|PU||Vivaldi Collonges (FR) 14/1||Nick Scholfield
|P F Nicholls||8|