Familiar foes helping Red challenge

03 March 2018 06:41:43 EST

Trainer Brian Ellison admits the help of his neighbours has allowed him to keep Definitly Red's Cheltenham Gold Cup hopes alive.

The inclement weather has limited the action in Malton and with under a fortnight to go, Ellison was understandably reluctant to take any risks.

It meant the nine-year-old could have missed out on some important preparation, however, help has been forthcoming from some of his rivals in around north Yorkshire.

Neighbour Tim Etherington twice opened the doors of his indoor school, while Definitly Red was also allowed out at Richard Fahey's Musley Bank base.

The hype has been building following his win in last year's Grimthorpe Stakes and after triumphing at Aintree in December, victory in the recent Cotswold Stakes shows he has the measure of Prestbury Park.

Definitly Red is flying, he's in great form.

Brian Ellison

Definitly Red is Ellison's first runner in steeplechasing's most prestigious race and the Malton-handler was keen to give him every chance to shine.

The help from his neighbours has clearly delighted the trainer and he believes the variations in scenery could even help his charge going into the Festival.

"It's great that everyone is pulling together," Ellison told The Yorkshire Post. "Definitly Red is flying, he's in great form. Obviously we've got less than two weeks to go.

"We're taking him to Richard's gallop again for a bit of work, just to break it up a bit because he's fit, he's well and everything.

"After that, we'll just keep him ticking over. You just wish it was now really. He'll run well and whether he wins or not, he'll still run a big race."

Definitly Red is 11/1 to claim the Gold Cup, with Nicky Henderson's Might Bite 4/1, Colin Tizzard's Native River 5/1, and the Jessica Harrington pair of Sizing John and Our Duke 666/1 and 9/2 respectivly.

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