Published: Thu, April 13, 2017
Sport | By Noel Norman

Grand National hero at his Sunday best

Grand National hero at his Sunday best

Lucinda Russell can become the fourth woman trainer to win the world's greatest steeplechase The Grand National on Saturday with her runner One For Arthur and give Scotland their first victor since Rubstic in 1979.

The last amateur to ride the victor of the world's most famous steeplechase was Marcus Armytage aboard Mr Frisk in 1990.

Over the final few fences, the horse had battled with Cause Of Causes - the 16-1 prospect finished second.

The Cause of Causes, Saint Are, and Blacklion turned out to be second, third, and fourth in the race.

Russell's long-time partner and assistant trainer, Peter Scudamore, was champion jockey eight times but, famously, never managed to emulate his father, Michael, by winning the National. It's been an absolutely awesome day.

Owned by friends Belinda McClung and Debs Thomson, who dub themselves "The Two Golf Widows", it is only the second time a Scottish horse has won the National.

"I just can't believe we've won the Grand National - it's fantastic".

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The early evening sun, with the race, for the first time going off 5.15 didn't affect either fans or horses with the late start, as the race went off without any problem.

"I'm getting all of this publicity just now but in truth it's not really about me, it's about everyone behind you, They're the ones that look after all these horses and do all the hard work for all of us".

Only Scotland's second ever National victor, there was a party atmosphere at Kelso as One For Arthur was paraded as Fox - who says he wouldn't have recovered from wrist and collarbone injuries without the support of Malton's Jack Berry House - talked about the waiting game that he played.

I'm going to try and calm myself down. After a pre-race pep talk from Scudamore, Fox kept One For Arthur at the back of the 40-horse field for much of a typically chaotic race that had just 19 finishers.

"The tack slipped round his belly and there was nothing else I could do from there", said Cook, who during the incident had done well to remain on the horse. If you had said to me an hour before the race you can take him home now as the ground is too fast I would have put him in the lorry.

"This is the best feeling I have ever had, or ever will have", Fox said.

On 9 March he broke his collarbone and wrist, giving him little chance of recovering to take the ride, but against all odds he was back in the saddle less than a month later. Arthur just cruised that race, Derek rode so well and I'm just a bit lost for words really. Barry (Geraghty) said he gave him a great ride round there, but he just didn't get home.

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