Definitly Red Gets Schooled Over Aintree Fences

The eyes of the racing world may be firmly on Cheltenham this week but that doesn't mean that our potential Grand National 2017 runners have been forgotten. In fact, National preparations for Definitly Red are well under way with the eight year old getting a spin over some Aintree-style fences later this week.

Trainer Brian Ellison plans to give Definitly Red the opportunity to test himself over some Aintree-style fences which are situated near the Yorkshire handler's yard in Malton. These fences have been prepped by Aintree staff at various locations around the UK and Ireland so that trainers have a chance to get their runners adequately schooled over them.

Ellison said: “Definitly Red is fine and is in great form. He has done nothing wrong all season.

“He is 10lb ‘well-in' in the Grand National and hopefully if he takes to the fences we are very hopeful of a good run.

“They are building a couple of Aintree fences in Malton and the plan is to give him a pop over them beforehand.”

The fences in question are available for any trainer to use for schooling horses who are possible runners in the three races at the Randox Health Grand National Festival at Aintree that are run over the Grand National fences.

Those races are the Randox Health Grand National on Saturday April 8th, the Randox Health Topham Chase on Friday 7th April and the Randox Health Foxhunters’ Chase on Thursday 6th April.

The Grand National style fences are situated at David Pipe’s yard on the Devon/Somerset border, at The Jockey Club’s Lambourn Gallops, at the Malton Schooling Grounds and at the Curragh Training Grounds in Ireland.

The schooling fences at David Pipe’s yard, Lambourn and Malton will be up and running from Wednesday 15th March, with the facility at the Curragh available from Wednesday 22nd March.

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In other Grand National news Perfect Candidate will bypass this week's Cheltenham Gold Cup and head straight for a crack at the Grand National for which he is currently around 20/1 in the ante-post odds.

His trainer, Fergal O'Brien, said “Perfect Candidate will probably be going straight to the Randox Health Grand National. He holds an entry in the Cheltenham Gold Cup but is very unlikely to run there.

“The horse is in great form. He needed to win at Exeter last time to persuade us to go to Aintree. He is the right age for Aintree and has the right profile.

“He is slightly higher in the handicap than we would have liked. He is 156 whereas we would have preferred to be on 150.

“If he takes to Aintree, fingers crossed, hopefully he will give us a run for our money. We will just keep him fresh and maybe look at giving him a racecourse gallop before Aintree, which we did with Alvarado.”