Returning hero: Grand National ace One For Arthur to reappear this weekend
One For Arthur, the 2017 Grand National hero, will make his seasonal reappearance at either Kelso or Aintree this weekend.
The ten-year-old has the option of the Paxtons Exclusively Kverneland Chase at the Borders track on Saturday (3.00) or the Play Casino At Virgin Bet Veterans’ Handicap Chase on Merseyside (1.50) the following afternoon.
Trainer Lucinda Russell said: “Kelso is first preference, but we’ve not made a firm decision yet. He’ll definitely run in one of those two races, though.”
Since beating Cause Of Causes to become only the second horse trained in Scotland to win the National, One For Arthur has been generally plagued by misfortune, but he returned to Aintree in April to finish a highly creditable sixth to Tiger Roll.
That came after a preparation which included two runs in which he failed to complete the course, and Russell added: “I was proud of him, and also of my team who got him ready for the race. If we had managed to get an extra run under his belt he may have finished closer.”
One For Arthur has returned to training in great heart. “He seems really well at the moment,” Russell said. “He came back in early. He’s happy and is moving well. I think he has enjoyed his two light seasons since winning the National!
“All being well, his route to Aintree next spring will be Kelso or Aintree, then the Becher and something after Christmas. That’s the plan.”
Stuart Coltherd is also considering the same two races this weekend for the return of his stable star Captain Redbeard.
The ten-year-old didn’t appear to stay the 4m2f of the National in April, and is unlikely to run in the world’s most famous steeplechase again.
Coltherd said: “I’m not sure which race Captain Redbeard will run in over the weekend just yet. I’ll wait until nearer the time and pick what I feel is the easier option.
“He loves Kelso and it’s just down the road, but we might go to Aintree; the race there could be easier.
“The horse is well. I rode him myself this morning and he seems as good as ever.”
He added: “The National is not the long-term plan this season. He didn’t stay in the race last term. There are plenty of other nice races for him. The Veterans’ Series Chase final seems a good option.”
Bigmartre, last seen in action when bolting up at Perth in April, is on course to reappear in the Virgin Bet Monet’s Garden Old Roan Limited Handicap Chase at Aintree (3.00).
Trainer Harry Whittington said: “He is in good shape and I could not be happier with his preparation for this race.
"He seems to be more of a flat-track horse and the configuration of the Mildmay Course looks ideal for him.”
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