Definitly Red set for Charlie Hall defence

Definitly Red looks set to start his season in next month's Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby.
Definitly Red looks set to start his season in next month's Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby.

Definitly Red has been one of the most consistent animals in training over the past few years, and the Brian Ellison-trained jumper is set to make his seasonal debut at a familiar venue.

The ten-year-old, who was rated as high as 167 following a sixth-placed finish in the 2018 Cheltenham Gold Cup, is still going strong, and is set to make his reappearance in the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby. The popular chaser finished third in the Grade 2 contest contest in 2017 before going one place better in impressive style last year, and Ellison sounds in a confident mood following a racecourse gallop.

He said: "It wasn't a hard piece of work, but he had a nice run round and he seems to have come out of it well. He's in good form."

Definitly Red has often proven to be just a notch below top-class standard as a staying chaser, but his CV remains a glittering one, with his success in the Many Clouds Chase at Aintree last term offering further proof of his class at Grade 2 level. 

It was a frustrating end to last season for connections, though, suffering defeat as a 6/1-on favourite in a match race at Kelso in February, before being brought down in the Cheltenham Gold Cup a month later, and finishing fifth in the Punchestown equivalent in May. 

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A racecourse gallop at this stage of the season certainly indicates that the trainer is looking to have his stable star spot on the Charlie Hall Chase, which is unlikely to be the case for his opponents on the day at the start of next month.

Old foe Bristol De Mai is likely to head back to Wetherby Races as a prep run for his annual assault on the Betfair Chase at Haydock, meaning he will surely improve for the test, while other possible runners include top mare La Bague Au Roi, who is heading towards the King George VI Chase at Kempton, and Lostintranslation, who ended last season as a Grade One-winning novice chaser at Aintree.

Definitly Red may not be the "sexiest" horse in training, but he is a rock-solid performer at this level, and don't be surprised if he once again comes out on top one of the biggest early season races on the calendar. Bigger targets lie ahead of course - a potential return to the Festival in the spring is likely to be on the agenda - and don't rule out another crack at the Grand National if the rain comes, too, for a horse who is more than capable of adding more big race wins to his roll of honour.

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