Brian Ellison is looking forward to saddling Definitly Red in the £40,000 Grade Three 188BET Rowland Meyrick Handicap Chase (1.50pm), the feature at Wetherby on the first day of the Yorkshire Christmas Meeting, Boxing Day, Monday, December 26.
Definitly Red, one of 23 entries for three-mile contest, was beaten four and a half lengths into third by Otago Trail and Bristol De Mai on his latest start in the Listed Rehearsal Handicap Chase at Newcastle on November 26.
The seven-year-old already has experience over fences at Wetherby having finished second, beaten eight lengths, to subsequent RSA Chase hero Blaklion (Nigel Twiston-Davies) on heavy going in the three-mile G2 totepool Towton Novices’ Chase in February.
He ended last season with a deserved victory in a two and a half mile Listed handicap Chase at Ayr in April and started this campaign with a dominant success in a class two handicap hurdle over a similar distance at Carlisle on October 30.
North Yorkshire-based Ellison said today: “Definitly Red worked and schooled this morning and, at this moment in time, is an intended runner at Wetherby. He has been in really good form and I have been very happy with his preparation.
“Brian [Hughes, jockey] said he wasn’t enjoying the ground at Newcastle. It was dead and tacky, and so Brian decided to take him wide all the way to try and find better ground. It was probably a bit of a disadvantage but he still ran well and the handicapper dropped him a pound.
“Definitly Red is not slow and is very effective at two and a half miles, but you can’t say he didn’t stay at Newcastle because he went wide on testing ground and was still there at the finish. I think two miles and six furlongs is probably his absolute optimum.”
Definitly Red has been allocated 11st, with Blaklion the top-weight with 11st 12lb