Horse Racing News – Monday 29th January 2018

Red Definitly A Gold Cup Contender, Frost Is At It Again And Gun Grabs Gold

Red Ends Ellison Cheltenham Hoodoo

Cheltenham hasn’t exactly been a lucky venue for trainer Brian Ellison over the years, Latalomne’s back to back falls at the second last when going well in the Champion Chase spring immediately to mind, with winners continuing to elude the northern handler over the years. That all changed on Saturday though, and in some style too. Ellison stated in the build-up that Definitly Red was the best horse he had ever taken to Prestbury Park, and the nine year old put up a display that fully lived up to that assertion.

With hot favourite Bristol De Mai making hard work of his jumping, and seemingly toiling a long way from home, the race looked to be between the smooth travelling American from the Harry Fry yard, and Ellison’s stable star. When push came to shove turning for home though, the contest seemed to be over in a flash as Definitly Red quickened right away for an eight length success.

It’s full steam ahead for the Cheltenham Gold Cup now, with Betfair cutting the son of Definite Article in to 16/1 from 25/1 for the Cheltenham Festival showpiece. The emergence of Definitly Red boosts what is already looking like being one of the strongest Northern teams for the festival in years, with the likes of Sam Spinner and Waiting Patiently already on many a punters shortlist.

Frost Steers Fro To Handicap Romp

It wouldn’t be a Saturday without a big race success for the brilliant Bryony Frost, and the pocket rocket was at it again aboard the similarly diminutive Frodon in the Crest Nicholson Handicap Chase. Doubts were raised about this ones ability to see out this 2m5f trip in heavy ground, but it can often pay to trust the judgement of master trainer Paul Nicholls when it comes to these matters. Bryony certainly believed as she exuded confidence throughout before plotting a course up the inside to win by an easy eight lengths.

Possessing a most admirable attitude and still only six years old, we may not have seen the best of Frodon yet. The Ryanair Chase looks set to be his Festival target, a race in which he certainly wont be out of place. Betfair go 12/1 from 25/1 for that contest on the back of this impressive display.

With the filly Apple’s Shakira rubber stamping her Triumph Hurdle claims when extending her unbeaten record in the opener, and Lizzie Kelly driving Agrapart to victory in the Cleeve Hurdle, this was certainly a good day for the girls at Cheltenham.

Gun Too Good At Gulfstream

The action on home soil may have been firmly focussed on the jumps, but stateside it was the flat which grabbed the limelight with the second edition of the richest race in the world: The Pegasus World Cup Invitational Stakes at Gulfstream Park.

Headed into this on the back of a four race Grade 1 winning streak, including a famous success in the Breeders Cup Classic at Del Mar, it was the Steve Asmussen trained, Gun Runner, who was sent of the 11/10 market leader. Quickly overcoming his wide draw and obtaining a prominent position, the signs for his rivals looked ominous from about the 3f pole as the five year old travelled sweetly in the hands of Florent Geroux.

Pushed clear turning for home, West Coast briefly looked threatening but couldn’t live with the tough and talented winner.  A career at stud now beckons for the son of Candy Ride, with this £5 million+ winner’s cheque a fitting way to sign off his illustrious career.