Definitly heading for Haydock this weekend

Ellison has long-term target at Aintree.

Top-weight Definitly Red  is set to take his chance in the Peter Marsh Chase at Haydock on Saturday.

DEFINITLY RED winning the BetBright Trial Cotswold Steeple Chase at Cheltenham in England.
DEFINITLY RED winning the BetBright Trial Cotswold Steeple Chase at Cheltenham in England. Picture: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images

A classy operator at his best, the 11-year-old has won two Many Clouds Chases at Aintree, the Cotswold Chase at Cheltenham and Charlie Hall at Wetherby.

This season Brian Ellison has his sights fixed on the Grand National – in which he unfortunately got badly hampered at Becher's Brook on the first circuit in 2017 – and the plan is to give him one more run after this weekend.

Trainer: BRIAN ELLISON Picture: Pat Healy Photography

"He runs at Haydock at the moment," said Ellison.

"When the ground is heavy and sloppy that's fine for him, he gets through that no problem – when he tends to struggle is when the ground is tacky.

"They tend to get through the ground at Haydock when it's heavy – well – hopefully he will.

"He's in good form and we're using it as a prep for the Grand National. After this he might go to Kelso at the end of February."

Sandy Thomson believes the stamina test of the Peter Marsh Chase will be perfect for Geronimo.

The lightly-raced nine-year-old proved his liking for marathon distances when winning over almost three and a half miles at Ayr last season.

Geronimo was pulled up in the Scottish National on a sound surface in April, but scored on his return to action at Newcastle last month over just two and a half miles – with heavy ground no issue.

Thomson is therefore hoping for a big run over just short of three and a quarter on Saturday.

The Berwickshire trainer said: "Geronimo is in good nick, and the Peter Marsh Chase is the target.

"He has come out of Newcastle really well, and this race has been the plan since.

"It was great to win over a trip that some people said would be too short for him last time.

"But we are looking forward to the Peter Marsh Chase and hope the ground, coupled with the distance, will really suit."

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