Grand National hero at his Sunday best
Trainer Lucinda Russell reports One For Arthur in 'brilliant' order the morning after his historic triumph in the Randox Health Grand National.
The eight-year-old became the first Scottish-trained winner of the Aintree spectacular since Rubstic struck gold in 1979 after producing a tremendous display under an ice-cool Derek Fox.
Russell and her partner Peter Scudamore, the eight-times champion jockey who never won the National during his illustrious riding career, partied long into the night back at their Kinross base.
“It still gives me goosebumps. What a fantastic day we had, it’s just amazing,” said Russell.
“The horse is absolutely brilliant. We’re very lucky we’ve got some fantastic vets that work for us. One of them was up here celebrating here last night so at 1.30am they had a quick check of him when he arrived back in the yard.
“Scu and I both woke up this morning saying ‘I think we won the National yesterday’. It is just incredible.
“It has sunk in. We drove back from Aintree and discussed the race the whole way back, in between trying to reply to text messages and lovely people with good wishes.
“I’m just so delighted for everyone. The world goes on and the lads are riding out this morning. It’s just such a boost for everyone in the yard.”
Blaklion appeared to have stolen a march on his rivals after going clear four fences from the finish, but Fox did not panic and produced One For Arthur to lead before the last before going on to score comfortably by four and a half lengths.
Russell admits she was confident some way from home that it could be their year.
She said: “It’s a good thing he’s got that big white face as I could still see him at the back (of the field).
“We were a little bit cocky but when he crossed the Melling Road we started shouting ‘he’s going to win, he’s going to win’.”
One For Arthur holds an entry in the Scottish Grand National at Ayr in a fortnight’s time, but Russell all but ruled out bidding for a double last achieved by the mighty Red Rum in 1974.
“We put an entry in just in case anything untoward happened at Aintree, but I think he deserves a big field now,” the trainer told At The Races.
“He’s never been a horse that’s been able to run too many times, so I think the ideal thing for him now is a few supermarket openings and then a nice field of grass!”
Russell revealed Struan Douglas, the son of the owner of Rubstic, had been part of the celebrations on Saturday evening, adding: “It was lovely. Struan was there with us and we have photographs of him drinking champagne out of the trophy last night.
“There’s a nice connection there with Rubstic and I’m very proud for Scotland, but most of all, I’m proud for everyone here.”