FEW present at the November 2013 point-to-point at Lingstown in County Wexford could have envisaged the future high-profile horses they were viewing when One For Arthur won a four-year-old maiden in which Blaklion finished third. Now both are major contenders for today’s Randox Health Grand National.
Trained by dual National winner Nigel Twiston-Davies, the pocket-sized Blaklion won Wetherby’s Towton Novices Chase and Cheltenham’s Grade One RSA Chase last year and veteran jockey Noel Fehily is a consummate horseman.
Hopes are high for One For Arthur, too. Trained by Lucinda Russell and former champion jockey Peter Scudamore, he is attempting to become the second Scottish-trained winner after Rubstic win in 1979.
One For Arthur arrives on the back of a three-mile-five-furlong Betfred Classic Chase win at Warwick in January under jockey Derek Fox who will be riding in the race for the first time.
Fox was only passed fit this week after being treated for a broken wrist and collarbone at Malton’s Jack Berry House and former point-to-point handler Liam Kenny, who trained the two horses, sides with One For Arthur.
The County Wexford-based trainer said: “He was a bit slow starting and he took a few runs before he won for me. He was unlucky, though, as he made an awful mistake the first day he ran up in Largy. He was second after that in Tattersalls beside Fairyhouse racecourse.
“He seemed to have lots of pace when we had him and he was a good horse to jump.
“The ground the day he won was very good – it was fast. We were even considering not running him on the day but we let him take his chance in the end.”