Trainer Brian Ellison believes Definitly Red has “a great chance” of winning next weekend’s Grand National at Aintree and punters appear to agree.
There has been a surge of support behind Definitly Red’s bid for Aintree glory in recent days and he is now the 11/1 joint-second favourite for jumps racing’s most iconic contest.
It will be just the second time that trainer Ellison has saddled a Grand National runner, with his previous entrant, Neptune Equester, having completed the course to finish 13th at odds of 100/1 in 2012.
He’s got the taste of the unique National experience before but the trainer freely admits that this time around it will be something completely different considering he firmly believes his charge deserves his place close to the top of the market.
“I won’t feel any extra pressure if he goes off favourite. I’d much rather have the favourite than a 50-1 shot. I love the horse and think he has a great chance, although you do need a lot of luck in the National,” Ellison said.
“We had Neptune Equester finish 13th but this is a different ballgame and a different horse who is different class.”
Definitly Red goes into the Aintree contest in cracking form. The winner of four of his nine starts over fences, he has finished out of the money on just two occasions so far.
He warmed up for the National at Doncaster early this month with a straightforward success in the Grimthorpe Chase over 3m2f.
That he had last year’s Grand National runner-up The Last Samuri some 14-lengths behind in second place hasn’t been lost on punters and Ellison feels that run on Town Moor was the perfect preparation for Merseyside.
He also claimed the scalp of another leading Aintree contender in Blaklion when winning the Rowland Meyrick at Wetherby on Boxing Day.
“Based on his run at Doncaster I think he probably does deserve to be favourite,” said Ellison.
“He was very impressive in the Grimthorpe and before that we beat Blaklion at Wetherby, so he’s surrounded by good form.
“His schooling couldn’t have gone any better, he worked well on Tuesday and he’s scoped 100 per cent clean.
“When you look at his Doncaster win you couldn’t say he won’t stay. That was over three-miles-and-two-furlongs, and he definitely wasn’t stopping.”
The Nigel Twiston-Davies trainer Blaklion sits alongside Definitly Red at 11/1 for Grand National success while The Last Samuri is priced at 14/1 to go one better than last year’s runner-up placing behind Rule The World.
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