One More, Arthur. Grand National 2019

Daily Mail (London), April 6, 2019 | Go to article overview

One More, Arthur. Grand National 2019


Byline: MARCUS TOWNEND Racing Correspondent

APPROPRIATELY, One For Arthur's journey back to the land of The Beatles has been down a long and winding road.

Littered with potholes and diversions, there were occasions when it seemed like the 2017 Randox Health Grand National winner would still be off-road when this afternoon's PS1million steeplechase was run.

But suddenly the gelding, trained in Scotland by Lucinda Russell, appears to have emerged from a tunnel into bright, Aintree light.

Russell admits that a little over a fortnight ago she felt the ten-year-old would be 'making up the numbers' this afternoon.

But after the horse known simply as Arthur put in a sparkling work-out at Carlisle racecourse under jockey Derek Fox, Russell is full of optimism. The trainer said: 'We started this season with Plan A and Plan B. I think we are now on Plan F. 'In 2017, everything was so smooth. This season we have been challenged all the time which is why we were so joyous he went so well at Carlisle. 'When Derek got off him and he is not a man who is exuberant he was bubbling. Derek does not flower things up, so for him to say that Arthur felt fantastic was quite a thing. 'We were hugging each other. It was like we had just won a race.' Problems for One For Arthur started in the autumn of his Grand National season. Lameness after a gallop prompted a precautionary scan which showed a small hole in a tendon in his right foreleg. His season was over and the chance of defending his title 12 months ago evaporated. Until One For Arthur's blossoming, this season had been more stop than start. He has failed to complete the course on both his runs, jumping awkwardly. Unseasonal fast ground has prevented other runs and, the week his Grand National weight was announced in February, in the midst of the equine flu outbreak, One For Arthur was denied the chance to run in Haydock's National Trial because his latest vaccination did not fall within dates imposed by the British Horseracing Authority.

Solving Arthur's wayward jumping meant curing some physical issues. Russell said: 'Gregor Knox, a good three-day event rider who works for us, has done a lot of work with Arthur, equine gymnastics and showjumping. …

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