Derek Fox is thrilled to be making his competitive comeback at Carlisle just three days before taking the ride on One For Arthur in the Randox Health Grand National.
Fox, who took over as stable jockey at trainer Lucinda Russell’s Milnathort yard after the retirement of Peter Buchanan, has been in the saddle for One For Arthur’s two wins this season, with the pair most recently winning in the Classic Chase at Warwick in January.
The young rider has been sidelined by injury since suffering a fall at Carlisle on 9 March, but returns with two rides [Rising Marienbard and Dr Hooves] today. He said: “It’s great to be back and all going well the plan is to have four rides before the National.
“I’ve two rides at Carlisle and then I’m riding Imjoeking in the Topham over the National fences on Friday. I’ve also got a ride for Mark McNiff in the race before the National on Saturday, which is great.”
Fox admits it did cross his mind that he might miss the ride on One For Arthur, who is a best-priced 14-1 for the National. But, after returning to work over the weekend, he was reunited with big-race mount for a schooling session on Tuesday morning.
“I suppose for the first two weeks after the fall you’re a little bit worried as you’re not sure how quickly you’re going to heal,” said the jockey.
“After two weeks I kind of knew it was going well as the soreness had gone, but it is a little bit nerve-wracking as at the end of the day the doctor has the final say. He passed me no bother. I’m 100 per cent sound and I’m just looking forward to getting back now.
“I schooled One For Arthur and he went really well. Lucinda was delighted with him. He definitely goes there with a big chance and you hope you get a bit of luck on the day and everything goes well. It would be incredible to win it.”
Shah Of Armaan was thoroughly disappointing last time but should be given a chance to redeem himself in the sunbets.co.uk Handicap at Wolverhampton.
The four-year-old was not without his supporters at Southwell last month but he put up no kind of show, backpedalling apace in the closing stages to finish last of 12.
The Southwell Fibresand is not be for every horse, though, and it is heartening that Kevin Ryan’s charge has shown much better form on Tapeta, running with credit at both Wolverhampton and Newcastle. He is perhaps much better judged on his third in a competitive Newcastle event on his penultimate start or his maiden win at Wolverhampton in January when he looked quite smart in victory.