Aintree hopes high for 2017 Grand National hero One for Arthur

One For Arthur and groom Mark Ellwood at Kelso after the 2017 triumph. Picture: Toby Williams
One For Arthur and groom Mark Ellwood at Kelso after the 2017 triumph. Picture: Toby Williams
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Despite his unconvincing return to racing, trainer Lucinda Russell hopes One for Arthur will line up in the Randox Health Grand National.

The 2017 winner, who became only the second winner of the Aintree spectacular to be trained in Scotland after Rubstic (1979), he missed the whole of last season through injury and has failed to complete on either of his two starts since returning to action.

However, Russell said: “One For Arthur is in good form. He has been fine since the Peter Marsh at Haydock and he will either run again at Haydock in the Grand National Trial (16 February) or go to Kelso. We are yet to make a decision. Obviously, the long-term plan is to return to Aintree in April.”

The other Scottish-trained entry is Nick Alexander’s Lake View Lad , who has registered impressive successes this season in the Rehearsal Chase at Newcastle and the Rowland Meyrick at Wetherby.

Entries with proven form over the Grand National fences include Robert Walford’s Becher Chase winner Walk In The Mill and the Colin Tizzard-trained Ultragold, who has won Aintree’s Topham Chase in each of the last two years.

Tizzard has five entries in total, with his quintet also including Welsh Grand National victor Elegant Escape, who is disputing favouritism.

Weights for the Grand National are unveiled at the Cunard Building in Liverpool on Tuesday, 12 February.

Last year’s winner, Tiger Roll is one of 112 initial entries.

l Ayr Racecourse is one of three Scottish Racecourses to be awarded five stars for raceday experience by VisitScotland – the most prestigious accolade given by the tourist board, as part of the Racecourse Association’s Quality Assured Racecourse Scheme.

David Brown, Ayr’s managing director, said: “We are absolutely delighted to have been awarded five stars from VisitScotland again.This is an accolade we’ve been hoping to win for some time and it’s a real testimony to the commitment and hard work of all our staff to not only deliver, but consistently maintain, the very highest standards in everything they do.

Musselburgh and Hamilton Park are the other Scottish racecourses to have been awarded five stars.