Horses To Follow » Definitly Red

Definitly Red

Definitly Red put up a really good performance to win the Rowland Meyrick Chase at Wetherby on St Stephen’s Day. Henry Brooke always had him prominent, his jumping was good, and he travelled like the most likely winner from a long way out. Moving to the front at the fourth last fence, he jumped the last three fences well and drew nicely clear from Wakanda, with last year’s RSA Chase winner Blaklion back in third and the front three clear.

This was much more like it from Brian Ellison’s horse, after he was beaten when favourite for the Rehearsal Chase at Newcastle on his previous run. The ground was probably just softer than ideal for him that day, and he still stayed on bravely at the end to finish a close-up third behind two talented horses. He seemed to be much happier on the better ground at Wetherby, he travelled better and his jumping was better. He stays well though, he stays this three miles well and he should get further.

He is progressive too, he has just turned eight and this was just his seventh run over fences. The fact that it was a career-best augurs well for the future. The handicapper raised him 6lb to a mark of 147 for this, and that is fair, he has the potential to be better than a 147-rated horse. He did win a bumper at Cheltenham’s November meeting when he was with Steve Gollings, but he has disappointed on his two runs over obstacles there: once in the Albert Bartlett Hurdle in 2015, when the soft ground may have been the reason more than the track, and once in the National Hunt Chase last March. The balance of his form suggests that he is at his best on flat tracks. His best form is at Wetherby, Warwick and Haydock, all flat left-handed tracks. He will be of interest wherever he goes next, but interest will be heightened if it is at a flat left-handed track. The Sky Bet Chase or the Grimthorpe Chase at Doncaster – a track at which the ground is usually not too bad even during the depths of winter – or the Peter Marsh Chase at Haydock would be legitimate targets.

26th December 2016