BRIAN ELLISON is hopeful stable star Definitly Red can defy a six- pound penalty and win Aintree’s Many Clouds Chase for a second successive year.
The nine-year-old has gone up in the ratings after a fine victory in Wetherby’s Charlie Hall Chase last month under regular rider Danny Cook.
Owned by Phil and Julie Martin, Definitly Red will be conceding weight to Tom George’s Double Shuffle who was a first fence faller at Wetherby.
However Malton-based Ellison is hopeful of a big run – provided the rain-softened ground doesn’t become too tacky for this diminutive horse who was good enough to be sixth in last season’s Cheltenham Gold Cup.
“At home he’s been in great form, but obviously he’s got the 6lb penalty to carry this time,” said the trainer.
The select four-runner field is completed by Billingham trainer Chris Grant’s Acdc and One For Arthur who will be running for the first time since winning the 2017 Grand National at Aintree.
Trainer Lucinda Russell has nursed the horse back to full fitness, and he will now return to the scene of his greatest triumph – albeit over regulation fences rather than the famous birch of the National course.
She said: “It will be good to get him him back on track. The aim is to get him a bit of match practice, get him back on the course and work towards the Grand National in April.
“The plan would be to run him on Saturday and then one run in January before the National, but obviously we will have to see what happens. I’m not sure it’s any more nerve-racking with him than any other horse really – we feel the same about them all.”
With jockey Derek Fox injured, Tom Scudamore takes over in the saddle.