It was only a few months ago when it looked like One For Arthur would make another bid for the Grand National. Hopes were high and connections were optimistic that the 11-year-old could put in another great race. But with all of the disruption in 2020, the race never happened and trainer Lucinda Russell was left to consider her options.
One For Arthur became the first Grand National winner trained in Scotland since Rustic in 1979, when he won at Aintree in 2017. Owned by The Two Golf Widows, Belinda Mclung and Deborah Thomson, the chaser was bought for a mere £60,000. He has since gone on to earn over £670,000, winning or placing in eight of his 17 chase starts.
He ran and placed 6th in the 2019 Grand National before heading back to Aintree for the Becher Chase in December where he finished fifth. Last seen running at Haydock in February 2020, under jockey Derek Fox, unfortunately he had to be pulled up.
Grand National Plans
Despite his lack of sparkling prep runs, Russell was confident that One For Arthur could perform well in the Grand National again. 2020 would have been his third crack at the race and Russell said:
“The worst feeling we had with him really was when we heard the National this year had been cancelled.
“Of course, you need to have a sense of perspective about these things, but we had him just right and really thought he was going to return to something like his best in the spring.”
With his experience around the course and his favourable weight, it was a distinct possibility that he could have given the rest of the field a run for their money.
However, it was not to be, and since then Russell has announced that One For Arthur has been retired.
One For Arthur Retirement
It was clearly a very difficult decision for all involved. Lucinda Russell made the announcement on her website.
“When you make a decision like this you almost feel sorry for yourself because you are not going to be able to keep training a horse that’s become a big part of your life.
End of an Era – what a privilege to own such an amazing horse with my great friend @BelMcClung thank you @lucindavrussell @petescu for giving us our best days racing with our legend #OneForArthur happy retirement @chamberlinsport @olibellracing @itvracing https://t.co/R1UY8nmXJG
— Deborah Thomson (@debsyjane) November 6, 2020
“However, when you turn it round it’s brilliant. He’s going out sound and happy. We’ve got to make the decision without having the decision made for us. It’s been fantastic from that point of view.
“We’re still not sure what exactly he’s going to do next but, whatever it is, I know it will be very active and that he’ll be superb at whatever comes next.
“But I’ll miss him, that’s for sure.”
What Next For The Sporting Icon?
All good things must come to an end. And while it will be sad not to see One For Arthur take his Grand National chances again, he is fit and healthy and deserves his retirement.
Russell’s much loved warrior will continue to lead an active life and we wish him a happy and long retirement.
Owner Deborah Thomson said: “Arthur has taken us on an incredible journey, one that we will forever be grateful to him for.
“He is a once in a lifetime horse with great presence and we are so pleased that he can look forward to a relaxing and enjoyable time post racing.”
No doubt he will make appearances at racecourses around the country and may even pop in to wow the crowds at Aintree – once we’re allowed back in that is!