Former winner Arthur cleared for Aintree
Former Randox Health Grand National winner One For Arthur has been given the all-clear for a return to Aintree in April after a heart scare.
The Lucinda Russell-trained 11-year-old was pulled up in last month’s Haydock National Trial and was found to have a fibrillating heart; though medics have now cleared him to run.
Worries after Haydock no-show
The 2017 Aintree Grand National winner, who finished sixth last year behind Tiger Roll, returned with a pleasing run at Kelso in October and then finished fifth over the National fences in the Becher Chase at Aintree in December.
That was more than enough to have him on course for an Aintree return this spring.
He went to Haydock last month for a National Trial, with his trainer reaching for a pair of first-time cheekpieces.
However, One For Arthur showed next to nothing in that race and he was pulled up by Derek Fox before things got serious.
His trainer is thrilled to report he has been given a clean bill of health.
“It’s hugely good news that we haven’t found any problems,” said Russell. “He had atrial fibrillation and was arrhythmic but by the next morning it had come back and all the vets had said to me that if it comes back quicker it’s less likely to happen again.”
Pre-Aintree tests planned
One For Arthur can be backed at 40/1* to reclaim the Grand National mantle this season. Russell says he’ll be monitored very closely in the lead-in to April 4th, though she’s not expecting any further concerns.
“Everything is absolutely perfect with his heart. All the valves are tight and everything is great. He’s had a resting ECG and that was perfect, there were no drop beats,” she added.
“He’s had an exercise ECG and we’re going to do another one about three weeks before Aintree and we’ll continue to keep testing him but it’s so far so good.”
All systems appear to be go once more for One For Arthur to have a third tilt at this great race come the first Saturday in April.
One For Scotland
Russell’s stable star became only the second Scottish-trained winner of the world’s greatest steeplechase back in 2017.
Jockey Fox put him in the lead at the final jump and he stayed the course strongly on the run to the line, holding off the Gordon Elliott-trained Cause Of Causes in second spot by more than four lengths.
Like many Aintree victors before him, the win took a toll and he missed more than 600 days afterwards and, while winless since, has certainly shown enough spark this season to suggest he retains plenty of ability.
His owners Belinda McClung and Debs Thomson – aka the ‘Two Golf Widows’ syndicate – made for a fine story having formed their small syndicate together as their respective husbands were often on the golf course at weekends, leaving their wives to focus on their racehorses.
According to his trainer, One For Arthur took his name from the great Irish brewer Arthur Guinness.
*Odds subject to change.