Definitly Red completed his Grand National preparations with a dour staying performance in the William Hill Leading Racecourse Bookmaker Premier Chase at Kelso.
Brian Ellison gave his stable star two options on the day by also declaring him for the Grimthorpe Chase at Doncaster, but he was far better suited by the conditions of the race at the Borders track.
However, that looked the case last season, when Definitly Red was beaten as a short-priced favourite at Kelso, and despite looking the one to beat again, he perhaps went off a bigger price than might have been expected at even money.
Dimple gave him a lead for most of the way, but when that one cried enough after Definitly Red headed him at what was the final fence due to the omission of the fences in the home straight, the race was effectively over.
Kauto Riko was nursed into contention by Brian Hughes, but he was running on empty close home, allowing Definitly Red to come home a 14-length winner under Danny Cook.
Betfair cut his Grand National odds to 14-1 from 20s.
Ellison told Racing TV: “I’m glad that’s out of the way.
“I’ve backed him for the National, despite not being a big gambler, but I’ve always thought the race would suit him as he’s a proper stayer.
“He’s got plenty going for him, he’s got a nice weight, 10st 12lb, but you need luck in the National.
“He hated that ground today, it was tacky. The track doesn’t suit really, and taking the fences out didn’t help him, but he still won well.
“He ran in the Becher and didn’t school over a National fence, but he’ll probably have a pop over the ones in Malton.
“He ran in the National a couple of years ago, but got brought down when a horse fell in front of him. There’s no such thing as a free pass in the National, but I think he’s got a massive chance.
“He’s a better horse now, he’s got stronger and he stays better – I think he’s got everything going for him.”
He added: “I hope we can spoil the Tiger Roll party! You can’t take anything away from Tiger Roll, though, he’s been fantastic, he’s won four times at Cheltenham as well as two Grand Nationals – a fantastic horse.”
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