Malton trainer Brian Ellison has not enjoyed the best of luck at the Cheltenham Festival over the years. In 2002 his stable star Latalomne, a 14-1 chance against the likes of Flagship Uberalles and Edredon Bleu in the Queen Mother Champion Chase, was bowling along in the lead when crashing out at the second-last fence in the hands of Vinnie Keane. Twelve months later it was a case of Deja Vu as the combination once again approached the penultimate fence at the head of the chasing pack only for fate to produce the exact same result, the race eventually going to Moscow Flyer on this occasion.
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Without a winner at Prestbury Park since November 2001 Ellison finally broke his duck in some style on Saturday afternoon when Definitly Red provided him when a genuine Gold Cup contender with a convincing victory in the Grade 2 BetBright Trial Cotswold Chase. Sent off a generous 7-1 chance based on a couple of below-par efforts over fences at the course, the son of Definite Article proved he could handle the unique undulations prevalent at the home of national hunt racing, staying on too strongly for eight length runner-up American and 7-4 favourite Bristol De Mai in the closing stages under regular pilot Danny Cook.
An impressive round of jumping from Definitly Red (7-1) who wins the BetBright Trial Cotswold Chase for trainer Brian Ellison and jockey Danny Cook. pic.twitter.com/t3Q1LgG7mb— CheltenhamRacecourse (@CheltenhamRaces) January 27, 2018
The nine-year-old has now won six of his thirteen starts over fences and is “ the best horse I have ever trained “ according to the master of Spring Cottage Stables who went on to say: “ He’s class. Danny gave him a great ride, used his head down the back to sit beside American and then, as American was jumping better, sat two lengths off him. Then when he gave him a kick in the belly he has gone. He never let up in the ground and shows he stays well. It’s the Gold Cup now.”
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Brian Ellison reflects on the success of Definitly Red in the BetBright Trial Cotswold Chase and says the nine-year-old is "probably the best horse I've ever trained." The Timico Gold Cup at #TheFestival is now the aim. pic.twitter.com/yWTkQmIZDp— CheltenhamRacecourse (@CheltenhamRaces) January 27, 2018
On the back of big race victories for the north recently courtesy of One For Arthur, Simply Red, Guitar Pete and Waiting Patiently, the south’s poor relation is currently enjoying something of a resurgence and Definitly Red can be backed at a best price 25-1 with Ladbrokes and Coral to continue the trend in the Gold Cup on Friday 16th March for which the now disappointing Bristol De Mai is a general 33-1 chance behind 7-2 ante-post favourite Might Bite.