The 2017 Grand National winner, One For Arthur, has had a tough time of it recently. Following his first piece of post-race work, in 2017, he was deemed to be suffering from disrupted fibres in his right fore superficial flexor tendon. As a result, he was he was out for the remainder the 2017/2018 season.
Even then, connections were aware that defence of his Grand National title was not an option. Instead, the focus would be on getting him back to full health for the 2019 Grand National.
Sidelined for more than 600 days, he made his seasonal return at Aintree on December 8th, 2018. Unfortunately, he blundered badly and unseated his jockey, Tom Scudamore.
Undeterred, trainer Lucinda Russell regrouped and decided to run him at Haydock on January 19th, 2019 in the Peter Marsh Handicap Chase. But, not only did he unseat jockey Derek Fox, he hadn’t been running well up to that point anyway. Trailing from the back from the off, he was always chasing the leaders.
He consistently jumped so far to the left that Fox had to keep over correcting him to get him back on track. From five out he was all but running out of steam, despite the best efforts of his jockey to keep him in contention. A serious blunder four out, when he just crashed straight the fence, led to another unseating.
Clearly, this was a disappointing run but Russell remains upbeat saying “I’m not too worried about the fact he’s unseated a couple of times. I think we can get him and Derek (Fox) in the best possible form for Aintree. We did it last time so we will try again this time.”
One For Artur was then due to head to Kelso on March 2nd for the Belhaven Brewery Premier Chase. He would face off against fellow National contenders Black Corton and Captain Redbeard. However, the ground wasn’t to Russell’s liking and she withdrew him on the day.
— Jaimie (@jaimieduff80) March 2, 2019
She said “It’s beautiful ground here and Kelso have tried their absolute hardest. We had a little dream that it might rain through the night and be a bit softer when we got here, but sadly not.
“We will take him home now and just prep him for Aintree.
“We’ve got a plan for between now and April, so that’s what will be going on.”
Can One For Arthur make a glittering comeback in the 2019 Grand National? Fans will hope so. And if Lucinda Russell and her team can get him back in form, there is every chance he will relish the opportunity to regain his crown. His odds currently stand around 25/1 with most bookmakers.