King Arthur rules supreme at Aintree

One For Arthur came from a long way back to score a famous victory for Scotland in the Randox Health Grand National at Aintree toda, writes STEVE SIMPSON.

Saturday, 8th April 2017, 6:10 pm
Updated Saturday, 8th April 2017, 10:19 pm
One For Arthur ridden by Derek Fox crosses the line to win the Randox Health Grand National
One For Arthur ridden by Derek Fox crosses the line to win the Randox Health Grand National

It was a notable triumph by the Lucinda Russell-trained stayer, the first Scottish winner since Rubstic in 1979. T

The 14-1 winner was ridden by Derek Fox, who was only passed fit to ride in the race on Wednesday, winning on his first-ever National ride.

As the field came back on to the racecourse, it looked as though Blaklion had pulled into a decisive lead, but the 8-1 favourite faded.

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Meantime, One For Arthur made steady progress, threading his way through the field, taking it up at the last and prevailing from Cause Of Causes.

Fox said: “It’s unbelievable. I can’t believe it. He just jumped so well, even though he was a long way back. He never missed a fence, within reason. He was unbelievable.

“I was lucky to get back in time - I want to thank Jack Berry House. Without them I wouldn’t have got back in time and I wouldn’t have been as fit as I am.”

Russell, whose partner and assistant is former champion jockey Peter Scudamore, said: “What a day! We have a fantastic team behind us and I’m just so pleased.

“He’s amazing. He’s improved very time. I kept thinking barring accidents, he would win the National and he has!

“Together (Peter and I) we have had good and bad times but the horses are all back in form now.

“It’s brilliant for Scotland. I said it’s for Scotland, but it’s really for the team and the yard.”

There was the usual drama in the race and the National got under way at the third time of asking.

One of the first casualties was the Trevor Hemmings-owned Vicente at the first.

The Young Master went at Bechers on the first circuit and he hampered the well-fancied Defintly Red who was pulled up shortly afterwards.

Roi Des Francs led passing the stands but was nearly carried out by a loose horse.

He continued to dispute the running with Rogue Angel, while Blaklion was creeping ever ever closer.

Blaklion took the lead at the 27th and suddenly took five lengths out of the field after crossing the Melling Road for the second time.

However, by the final fence, it was One For Arthur, who claimed the lead, staying on stoutly from The Elbow after a race run in warm, spring weather.

One For Arthur carries the colours of The Golf Widows.

One For Arthur is owned by the Two Golf Widows, Deborah Thomson and Belinda McClung, and they were left in disbelief after watching their horse triumph by four and a half lengths.

Thomson said: “I just can’t believe it. It’s been an absolutely amazing day. Arthur just cruised that race, Derek rode so well and I’m just a bit lost for words really.

“I just can’t believe we’ve won the Grand National - it’s fantastic.“He’s given us a fantastic journey.”

McClung added: “I thought this morning, it’s baking hot so there’s no pressure now, he’s not going to win on that ground but I have to say he’s just shown his class today.

“He’s amazing and he got a great ride.”

Paddy Power bookmakers’ spokesman Paul Binfield said: “One For Arthur was well backed as punters sizzled in the sun and as we paid six places popular Vieux Lion Rouge filling that berth meant it was a pretty evenly split result in the National.”