Lucinda Russell is looking forward to seeing her 2017 Grand National hero One For Arthur return to action at Kelso on Saturday.
The 10-year-old is a dual winner from five starts at the Borders circuit, including a victory in this race three years ago – a triumph that kick-started a season that ended with him becoming only the second Scottish-trained winner of the world’s most famous steeplechase.
One For Arthur missed the following campaign through injury and did not make the best of starts to last season, unseating his rider on his first two starts.
However, he proved he is no back number when finishing sixth behind Tiger Roll in his second bid for National glory at Aintree in April and makes his first start since Paxtons Exclusively Kverneland Chase.
Russell said: “We’re really pleased with him and his preparation has been good – he hasn’t had any unseats yet!
“We declared him for Aintree on Sunday as well, just in case Kelso was too quick, but I think Kelso is a good place to start as he likes it round there and has jumped those fences well.
“He’ll only have two or three runs (before the Grand National). All being well, after this weekend we’ll look at the Becher Chase and then we’ll try to find him something after Christmas.”
One For Arthur faces seven rivals and is joined at the top of the weights by the Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained Blue Flight.
Sue Smith saddles Vintage Clouds – a first-fence faller in the Grand National before finishing sixth when favourite for the Scottish equivalent – as well as Sharp Response.
Kim Bailey’s Dandy Dan, the Keith Dalgleish-trained Amalfi Doug, Rose Dobbin’s Jonniesofa and Mysteree from Michael Scudamore’s yard complete the line-up.