Tag Archive for: Definitly Red

Danny Cook brings curtain down on riding career

Danny Cook has been forced into retirement following the horrible fall he suffered last year that threatened his eyesight.

Cook, one of the leading riders on the northern National Hunt circuit, initially required 60 stitches in his face after the incident at Market Rasen in October.

He did return to action in November, but had a fall from one of his favourite horses, Definitly Red, in the Rehearsal Chase at Newcastle and gave up his rides the following day. Cook has not ridden since.

“I tried to give it as much time as I could, but it’s been going on a year now and it just isn’t getting any better,” said Cook.

“I’ve had to face reality and base the decision on going forward.

“The problem arises when I bend over and tilt my head back. When I rotate my eye to go horizontal, I just lose vision and can’t see.”

Regarding the immediate future, Cook is set to join up with his family in the landscaping business – but he hopes to return to the racing industry at some stage.

“My family are all landscape gardeners so I’ll probably go into that for a bit just to get some money in,” said Cook, 38.

“I would like to get back into racing, but at the moment there’s a bit more money in the landscaping game just to tide me over until I get sorted.”

Cook had some memorable days in the saddle, including a Cheltenham Festival win on Great Endeavour. But one stands out above others.

“I’d have to say my favourite was winning the Cotswold Chase at Cheltenham on Definitly Red. That was the best one for me,” said Cook.

“I got some great support when I moved up north, Brian Ellison stuck by me and then I built up a great relationship with Sue Smith.

“Things were all going well and my best years were probably still to come, so it’s a shame the injury came when it did.”

Brian Ellison announces retirement of stable stalwart Definitly Red

Brian Ellison has announced the retirement of stable star Definitly Red after being pulled up in the Randox Grand National at Aintree.

The 12-year-old was running in the world’s most famous steeplechase for a second time, after being badly hampered when still going well in the 2017 renewal.

Definitly Red won 15 of his 38 career starts, including the Many Clouds Chase at Aintree twice, the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby and the Cotswold Chase at Cheltenham.

Ellison posted on his Facebook page: “The decision has been made to retire Definitly Red after his run in yesterday’s Grand National. He pulled up two fences before the finish when getting tired, but delighted to report that he came home safe and sound.

“We, along with owners Phil and Julie Martin, have been honoured to have had such a wonderful horse. He has given us all so much pleasure and owes us nothing.

“We would like to thank everyone who has supported and followed ‘Red’ throughout his career.”

Definitly Red heads Ellison’s powerful weekend squad

Brian Ellison has the three best National Hunt horses in his care entered this weekend – with Definitly Red topping the bill in the bet365 Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby.

A previous winner of the Grade Two race in 2018, Definitly Red could only finish fourth behind Ballyoptic 12 months ago.

He was being prepared for a crack at the Grand National last season, which of course never happened, but Ellison feels the long break may have done him some good.

Winning connections with Definitly Red after his Charlie Hall win two years ago
Winning connections with Definitly Red after his Charlie Hall win two years ago (Richard Sellers/PA)

“He’s very well and seems in great form,” said the Malton trainer.

“Because of what happened last spring, he didn’t get to go for the National, so he’s had a good holiday.

“He’s never been a horse we’ve over-raced, though – we’ve always looked after him.”

Definitly Red has been partnered for the majority of his career by Danny Cook – but Henry Brooke will be in the plate on Saturday, with Cook sidelined by an eye injury.

“I spoke to Danny on Monday night, and he’s gutted he can’t ride, but Henry’s ridden him before – so we’re not worried on that score,” said Ellison.

Ellison also has Forest Bihan, last seen beating Kalashnikov in the Old Roan Chase just over a year ago, and Windsor Avenue entered at Carlisle on Sunday.

“Forest Bihan might not go to Carlisle – he might just wait for Cheltenham and the Shloer Chase,” he added.

“There’s a lot of rain forecast at Carlisle, and that wouldn’t suit him.

“Windsor Avenue definitely runs (in the Colin Parker Memorial).

“He’s had his wind looked at since he last ran, his soft palate looked at. His wind was affecting him. He’s been hobdayed, too.

“We had it looked at early on, but we’ve finally had it done. He’s absolutely flying at home and is still unexposed – he’s a very good horse.”