One For Arthur set for another Grand National bid
Lucinda Russell became the first Scottish-based trainer to win the Grand National since 1979 when One For Arthur prevailed in the world’s most famous steeplechase in 2017, and she will once again fly the flag for Scotland in April as a repeat big looks on the cards with the horse.
The 10-year-old has had five attempts to add to his tally since his National success but has been unable to do so. His run in the Becher Chase at Aintree last time though, was much better which suggests he could be returning to some of his old form.
When he was successful in 2017, One for Arthur jumped the last in front and he stayed on strongly in the closing stages to come home four-and-a-half-lengths clear of the rest of the field which was headed by Cause Of Causes.
The popular gelding was well-backed at 14/1 to come out on top in 2017 and was on the back and front pages of many newspapers in Scotland for his triumph.
Injuries have piled up with the horse over the last few years
One For Arthur was forced to miss the 2018 Grand National through injury but he did return to the scene of his triumph in 2019 where he ran respectably well to finish sixth of 40 runners.
He was held at the rear end of the field by Derek Fox for the majority of the contest before making good headway with three fences to go.
That National performance was much better than his two outings prior to that. He unseated his rider in the Many Clouds Chase on his first run since his Aintree success, while he also ejected Fox from the saddle at Haydock just weeks later in the Grade Two Peter Marsh Chase.
Kelso run helped shake off the cobwebs
Russell’s stablestar made his reappearance after the summer break up in Scotland at Kelso. He was fourth of seven in a handicap race where he looked a little rusty and in need of the run. Russell indicated she was very happy with that performance after the race.
The son of Milan then lined up in the Becher Chase over the Grand National fences. He was staying on when many others had cried enough to pass tired horse to finish fifth in the race won once again by Walk In The Mill.
At the age of 10 now, the gelding proved he still had the appetite for jumping the bigger fences at the Merseyside track and that his experience of the course can still be used to good effect.
The Becher run was enough for the bookmaker to trim his odds into 33-1 (from 40-1) to prevail in the Grand National in April where he is sure to be a popular selection, not just with punters north of the border.
Arthur bidding to match what Red Rum did in 1977.
One For Arthur will be looking to become the first horse since Red Rum in 1977 to regain his Grand National crown. The popular three-time winner, who is widely regarded as the greatest National horse in history, claimed his hat-trick of victories in the race three years after his successful defence in 1974.
Russell has indicated that her horse may run just once or twice before the Grand National in April. Before winning the 4m2½f race in 2017, he scored in the Betfred Classic Handicap Chase at Warwick three months prior to Aintree and that contest could be a possibility again.