A classy meeting at Haydock tomorrow (Saturday 18th January) sees the card jam-packed with four Grade 2’s, and we spoke to Brian Ellison – one of Britain’s leading dual-purpose trainers.
The 67-year-old said: “Haydock is a lovely track, it’s very fair and we’ve had quite a lot of luck there. We’ve had plenty of fond memories round there.”
Ellison’s Haydock contingent consists of Windsor Avenue, Snookered and Definitly Red.
When asked on his best chance of a winner on Merseyside, the Newcastle-born trainer sided with Windsor Avenue in the Patrick Coyle Memorial Altcar Novices’ Chase (1:30).
He exuded confidence, stating: “He’s back in good form, he definitely stayed last time, he won’t mind the ground, and we’re hoping for a good run.
“If he wins tomorrow, he’ll be going to Cheltenham. He’s in the Marsh Novices’ Chase at the moment.”
Ellison’s bullish attitude towards Windsor Avenue running in this Grade 1 at Cheltenham shows he’s not afraid to mix it with the big boys like the current antepost favourite and the horse of a generation, Faugheen.
In the Sky Bet Supreme Trial Rossington Main Novices’ Hurdle (2:05), Snookered is the outsider of the field and runs at a current price of 25/1, and is owned by the Brian Ellison Racing Club.
“The [Brian Ellison] Racing Club is going well. We have about 115 members; we’ve had 30 winners in the last two years.
“Basically, there’s been a few racing syndicates in the yard before and we own a few horses, so we decided to put them in a club and its cheap to get into, its only £250 a year.”
More information on how to get involved with the Brian Ellison Racing Club, can be found here.
In the marquee race at Haydock on Saturday, Definitly Red runs in the Peter Marsh Handicap Chase (2:40). He carries top weight and is currently hovering around the top of the betting market.
Ellison still fancies his chances, despite being wary of the conditions, “He probably has [still got what it takes to win on Saturday], whether the ground will be too heavy is another thing.
“He doesn’t mind heavy ground; he just likes to get through it but for me he’s always been at his best on good to soft, and he’s obviously got a lot of weight tomorrow.”
The dual-purpose trainer goes on to laud his stable star – “Definitly Red has been class, he’s won everything. He’s won bumpers, a Grade 2 round Haydock over fences, won at Cheltenham, Aintree twice, Many Clouds’ race twice, he’s done everything for me.”
As well as running at Haydock tomorrow, Definitly Red is set to run in the world’s most renowned horse race – The Randox Health Grand National at Aintree, Merseyside’s other local track.
The team from Spring Cottage Stables are campaigning the 11-year-old differently to years previous. Ellison said: “This year, we’ve had a different plan now. We’re going to go for the Grand National, so tomorrow is a stepping stone to the National really.”
All images are courtesy of brianellisonracing.co.uk