DEFINITLY Red pleased connections in a racecourse gallop after racing at Doncaster on Saturday.
Brian Ellison’s Gold Cup hope was ridden in the mile-and-a-half exercise by Brian Hughes because the 10-year-old’s regular partner Danny Cook was in action at Cheltenham.
Definitly Red worked with an Ellison-trained bumper horse, trotting down to the mile-and-a-half start to begin the work.
“Brian rode him about two years ago and said he was a different horse. He pulled all the way round,” said Malton-based Ellison.
“We were to have gone to Sedgefield, but there was frost about, and racing there had been in doubt.
“I asked Doncaster, and they said okay, and Phil (Martin, owner) lives in Doncaster.
“We’ll take him to Wetherby on the 19th of next month for another bit of work.”
Ellison has already stated Definitly Red will not run again en route to the Cheltenham Festival, having twice won in Grade Two company before Christmas.
Also Cheltenham-bound is Dynamite Dollars, who won the Grade Two Lightning Novices Chase for trainer Paul Nicholls and jockey Harry Cobden.
Though Cobden was forced to make the pace in this four-runner race, he hopes the extra experience will benefit the novice chaser ahead of the Arkle Trophy.
Meanwhile, Go Conquer will be entered in the Grand National – declarations close this week – after winning the Sky Bet Chase for trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies and jockey Tom Bellamy.
Monbeg River and Go Conquer were vying for the lead almost throughout, with Martin Todhunter’s runner-up mostly shading that contest until the winner took over in the straight and stayed on impressively over this three-mile trip.
Grade One winner Sam Spinner returned to form when finishing fourth in Cheltenham’s Cleeve Hurdle behind Paisley Park.
The horse, trained at Leyburn by Jedd O’Keeffe, had failed to compete in two starts this season. The final finisher was Sue Smith’s Midnight Shadow, who was well-beaten when making a bad mistake at the last.