Definitly Red ends long wait for home win as Frost shines in remarkable recovery
Even though he is a proud Geordie, Brian Ellison is an adopted son of Yorkshire and he masterminded an overdue victory for the county in Wetherby's prestigious chase with Definitly Red.
The top dual-purpose trainer had to savour the win – a first for Yorkshire since Peter Easterby's Cybrandian in 1987 – from afar as he was in Louisville, having been attracted to the bright lights of the Breeders' Cup with Juvenile Fillies Turf sixth The Mackem Bullet.
Definitly Red, the second highest-rated chaser in the north last season, might be able to do the business without his trainer but it is debatable he could do likewise without his jockey.
Danny Cook was eclipsed in the riding stakes by Bryony Frost after her miraculous recovery on runner-up Black Corton – a gravity-defying act that drew gasps from the crowd during the race and warm applause in the winner's enclosure afterwards – but he was the one celebrating after driving out the willing Definitly Red to a two-length success.
"What a legend, I can't praise him enough," said the Essex-born rider, whose career has been revitalised since moving north. "He suits my style of riding really well, he finds loads for pressure. He's quite laid back but I know when I give him a kick that he finds loads."
A cast of four contested the race and that soon become three with the first-fence fall of Double Shuffle. It allowed Definitly Red to again show his liking for small fields, just as he did with two Grade 2 strikes last season in the Many Clouds Chase at Aintree and Cotswold Chase at Cheltenham.
Owner Phil Martin said: "He seems to get bullied around the good horses in big fields but when he gets his own way he's a fantastic jumper.
"It was too much of a grind for him in the Gold Cup and he's probably seven to ten pounds short of top class but he's been a pleasure to own and this has been a race I've always wanted to win."
Martin added Definitly Red, who was quoted at 25-1 for the Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup and 33-1 for the Randox Health Grand National with Paddy Power, is likely to defend his crown in next month's Many Clouds Chase.
Frost was left to reflect on what might have been after clinging on to Black Corton following a mistake at the third fence before remarkably regaining her reins, irons and composure.
Reliving the drama of her near-fall, she said: "He did amazingly to stay straight for me. It can't be easy for a little horse to have me bouncing around on his neck. I clung on for grim death.
"He had every chance. We met the last two a little bit slow and Definitly Red is a good horse. My little lad is starting to play with the big boys. He has run great, he's fresh and he's happy and we're all in one piece."
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