Connections of the 2017 Aintree hero have earmarked the Rowland Meyrick Chase, or Haydock’s Tommy Whittle Chase the preceding Saturday, as potential targets.
Trainer Lucinda Russell and her assistant Peter Scudamore, the former champion jockey, are continuing to consider their options after One For Arthur came to grief in his long-awaited comeback race at Aintree on Saturday.
Foot perfect over the first two fences in the Grade Two Many Clouds Chase ultimately won by Brian Ellison’s top-class steeplechaser Definitly Red, the complexion of the race changed at the third when One For Arthur unseated Scudamore’s son, Tom, who was deputising for the injury-sidelined Derek Fox.
The horse’s first run following a season-long injury absence, the Russell team will be keen to give One For Arthur further opportunities before a second tilt at the National next April.
“He’s fine, perfect. We’ll just have to find out what we’re going to do with him now. We’ll probably go to either Haydock or Wetherby, but he’s in good form,” said Scudamore senior. “He was a bit fresh and he just wasn’t concentrating. He took off too soon.”
His view was shared by Russell who wrote on her stable’s blog: “Aintree did not quite go to plan as One For Arthur blundered at the third fence giving Thomas Scu no chance of staying in the saddle.
“Jumping a few more when loose before being caught at the bottom of the track, Arthur seems to have avoided injury, and the only stress was for poor Jaimie who led him home, not an easy task with a fresh bumptious horse.”
The last National winner to run in the Rowland Meyrick Chase was in 2013 when Sue and Harvey Smith’s Auroras Encore was a creditable fifth to stablemate Cloudy Too.
Meanwhile, Jimmy Moffatt is looking to send Highland Lodge and Just A Par back to Aintree in April after the pair had contrasting experiences in the Becher Chase over the National fences at the Merseyside track. Just A Par could have another try at the Grand National after delighting his trainer with an encouraging seventh place on his first start for Moffatt following a 588-day absence. The shorter Topham Chase could be on the agenda for Highland Lodge, who got loose beforehand – slithering towards the water jump at one stage – and only got as far as The Chair in the race itself. Highland Lodge lifted the Becher in 2015.
“He’s a bit sore, but he’ll be okay in a couple of days,” said the Cartmel trainer.
“The horse in front of him jumped across the him. Henry (Brooke) said that’s what happened.
“I didn’t see it, but when I watched the replay you can see the other horse has taken his air space and he’s landed sideways.
“You might have got away with it at a fence like the Foinavon, but you can’t do that at The Chair. I know he only jumped six fences, but he was obviously in good order with himself.
“The whole thing was very frustrating because the old horse was right.
“Chris Richardson (of owners Cheveley Park) was talking about the Topham Chase in April.
“He keeps getting older, but he has very little mileage on the clock.
“He’s only had six-and-a-half races in the last three years.”
William Buick intends to appeal against the severity of the six-week ban imposed by the stewards for his ride in Sunday’s Hong Kong Vase.
The jockey pleaded guilty to a charge of reckless riding after partnering the Tony Cruz-trained Pakistan Star to finish sixth in the Group One heat.
Buick was found to have caused interference to both Waldgeist and Red Verdon, with the Hong Kong Jockey Club stewards suspending him from December 17 to January 28.
Yet, while the Northern Racing College graduate was not expected to ride on the all-weather circuit, the ban would rule him out of a number of international commitments, most notably in his primary role as retained rider to Sheikh Mohammed’s Godolphin operation.
Popular mare Irish Roe could reappear at Doncaster this Saturday. Owned – and trained – by Northallerton’s Lucinda and Peter Atkinson, the horse holds an entry in this Saturday’s handicap hurdle at Doncaster. Winner of the corresponding race last year, Irish Roe suffered the first fall of her career in Cheltenham’s Greatwood Hurdle last month.