ONE For Arthur will attempt to get his season back on track in the Peter Marsh Handicap Chase at Haydock today.
The 10-year-old came down at the third fence over Aintree’s conventional fences six weeks ago on his first start since his famous triumph in the 2017 Grand National.
However, trainer Lucinda Russell has been delighted with her stable star since that blip and believes a schooling session around Ayr racecourse recently under regular rider Derek Fox was just what he needed.
“I’m really pleased with him. I’m probably more pleased with him now than I was before Aintree,” said the Kinross handler.
“That school he had at Ayr was wonderful and we’re now going to Haydock. There was rain forecast, so hopefully that or sleet will soften up the ground. That would be fine.
“In a way it’s like his first time back at the track because he didn’t do very much last time. He has come on a lot since then and I’m sure he will improve again for Saturday’s run. I’m very happy with the way we have him.”
One For Arthur’s task was eased when French import Valtor was declared a non-runner by Nicky Henderson due to an unsatisfactory blood test result.
However, David Pipe believes the three-and-a-quarter mile race, a Cheltenham Gold Cup trial in the past, will play to the strengths of Daklondike, who won at the track four weeks ago under Tom Scudamore.
“This is a little bit further, which will help,” said Pipe. “The softer the ground the better for him. The visor worked a treat last time and hopefully he will put his best foot forward again on Saturday. It’s a hot race, but he’s seven and he’s a decent horse on his day.”
This will be the furthest Three Muskateers has ventured, but trainer Dan Skelton is hoping it will eke out improvement.
Colin Tizzard took this prize with The Dutchman 12 months ago and this year saddles Robinsfirth, who returns after a 400-day absence, while Sue Smith, successful with Cloudy Too in 2016, is represented by last season’s Sky Bet Chase scorer Wakanda.