Ellison ponders Definitly Red options

Choice of Sandown or Punchestown for top chaser

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Brian Ellison will wait before deciding whether to let Definitly Red line up in the bet365 Oaksey Chase at Sandown or head for next week’s Coral Punchestown Gold Cup.

The 10-year-old was brought down by the ill-fated Invitation Only during his second appearance in the Cheltenham Gold Cup last month – having finished sixth in the blue riband 12 months earlier.

After Definitly Red missed Aintree’s Grand National meeting, Ellison is keen to give him another outing before his summer break.

“We said we’d give him the entry at Sandown, and he’s also in at Punchestown next week,” said the Norton-based trainer.

“There is a bit of rain around, so we’ll see what the ground is looking like and go from there.

“He’s in good form. It was disappointing, what happened at Cheltenham, because he was travelling well at the time.

“He had to have stitches in his knee and missed Aintree, but at least he’s going into his next race as a fresh horse.”

Definitly Red is one of 12 entries for the Grade Two Oaksey Chase, with the Paul Nicholls-trained Cyrname the potential star attraction.

However, the highest-rated chaser in training also has the option of taking on Altior in the Celebration Chase on the same afternoon – and Nicholls has already insisted he will not run at all unless there is some ease in the ground.

Should Definitely Red instead travel to Ireland, he will be set to meet Al Boum Photo – who provided Willie Mullins with an elusive first Cheltenham Gold Cup last month – and his Betway Bowl-winning stablemate Kemboy.

Ellison added: “The race at Sandown is worth £55,000, and the Punchestown Gold Cup is worth 300,000 euros.

“I see Cyrname is in the Sandown race – and looking at Punchestown, I think the ones we’d have to beat are the first two in the betting (Al Boum Photo and Kemboy).”

Cyrname is one of four Nicholls-trained contenders in the Oaksey Chase – along with Adrien Du Pont, Black Corton and San Benedeto.

Outgoing champion trainer Nicky Henderson has three possibles in Gold Present, Janika and Josses Hill.

Kim Bailey’s Charbel, Dan Skelton’s Cobra De Mai, the Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained Go Conquer and Jane Williams’ stable star Tea For Two complete the field.

The other Grade Two on the end-of-season card is the bet365 Select Hurdle.

Henderson has Mister Fisher, On The Blind Side, Thomas Campbell and With Discretion in the mix – while Nicholls relies on Old Guard.

The Tom George-trained Black Op also features among the dozen entries.

Ellison ponders Definitly Red options
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