All roads lead to another crack at the Randox Health Grand National for One For Arthur after he delighted connections with a highly-encouraging run in the Becher Chase at Aintree on Saturday.
The 2017 National hero was a staying-on fifth to Walk In The Mill over the famous obstacles, to strengthen trainer Lucinda Russell’s resolve at aiming him at the big race in April.
The Kinross handler wanted to see if One For Arthur, who was sixth to Tiger Roll last season, still relished jumping the big fences – and he left no one in any doubt that he did.
“We checked him this morning and he’s absolutely perfect. He’s come out of it really well. I was delighted with him,” said Russell on Sunday.
“It was just really good to get him back on track. We had a fair idea he would get outpaced, which he was. I think he just loved jumping the fences.
“I was worried he might not be sure about jumping around Aintree again. He absolutely loved it, so it’s reinforced my opinion he should be going back for the National.”
Russell will now work back from the National and intends to give him one run, possibly two, before the 2020 renewal.
“I’ll speak to the owners. We will probably race him again, maybe once or maybe twice, just to get a bit more mileage into him, and then get him to the National,” she said.
“It’s all about timing really. I don’t want to run him too close to the race. I’ll see what there is coming up.”