Definitly Red went into the Grand National in 2017 as one of the fancied runners to prevail in the world-famous steeplechase. Unfortunately, he was pulled up by jockey Danny Cook before the ninth fence as he was unable to recover from being hampered at Becher’s Brook in the early stages of the race.
Brian Ellison’s runner is now nine years old which, given that eight of the last ten winners of the Grand National have been nine or older, suggests he now has the experience to do well in the contest when he returns in April.
Definitly Red has already had two runs so far this season. He made his return to the track after his summer break at Wetherby in the Grade Two Charlie Hall Chase. The former French raider came home a respectable third place behind Bristol De Mai and Blaklion, respectively.
A victory then followed on his return to Aintree last month where he was the dominant winner of the Grade Two Many Clouds Chase. Under the hands of Cook, the pair made all in Merseyside to score by seven lengths on heavy ground in the 3m1 contest.
Definitly Red has Grand National odds of 33/1 for the 2018 renewal of the race, where he is worth another chance to prove he is one of the leading staying chasers in the UK and Ireland. Without the mistake at Becher’s Brook last year, his race could have ended much differently. Given his name, he is sure to be much shorter when the tape is released in April.
Unfortunately, the stats on horses who have run in the Grand National on their second appearance are not great. Only one of the last ten winners has won the Aintree race after failing to do so on their debut. Mon Mome came out on top in 2009 at odds of 100/1 after finishing tenth 12 months earlier but since then, all eight winners have had no previous experience in the race.
The stats are not great for repeat winners either as Red Rum in 1974 was the last horse to win the contest in back-to-back renewals. That wait for a repeat winner is set to continue as One For Arthur, who came out on top in 2017, will be unable to defend his crown later this year as he has been ruled out for the season with an injury.
Those put off by Definitly Red’s quote of 33/1 for the Grand National should bear in mind that only one horse in the last five years has won at odds smaller than 25/1. This race seems to produce more big-price winners than any other in the sport. In 2013, Auroras Encore was successful at odds of 66/1, while two years ago, Rule the World was 33/1 when he caused a surprise at Aintree.
With 40 runners set to line up in 2018, there is every chance that another outsider could spring an upset in the fantastic national hunt steeplechase.