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2017 Grand National winner One For Arthur primed for return to Aintree

One For Arthur impressed in a schooling session at Carlisle Racecourse on Sunday and as such he remains firmly on track to make an appearance in the 2019 Grand National. The Lucinda Russell runner became only the second ever Scottish-based horse to win the famous race when triumphing in 2017 although he was unable to defend his crown the following year due to an injury which kept him out of action for the entire season. Since then he has unseated the rider in each of his two starts, however Russell is of the opinion that the ten-year-old is back at his best following his successful jumps session at Carlisle last weekend.

She said: “We were really delighted with him. Obviously this season hasn’t gone smoothly, and we went to Carlisle for a confidence booster – probably more for us than Arthur, to be honest.

“He jumped fantastically well, and Derek (Fox) was delighted – we were all bubbling afterwards.

“It’s great to get him back on track. It’s taken us until two weeks before Aintree, but we’ve got there in the end.

“He has another bit of work to do on Wednesday, and then it will just be a case of freshening him up.

“Only 12 more sleeps!”

Russell also has hopes on Big River who she will possibly be aiming at the Scottish National following a fourth-placed finish in the Ultima Handicap Chase at Cheltenham Festival earlier this month. She said: “There have been a few bumps in the road this season for him as well, but he ran a great race at Cheltenham.

“The Scottish Grand National has been the plan for him all year. There’s also the Irish National if it looked like the ground was going to come up too quick at Ayr, but that’s where we’re aiming.”