8/1 One For Arthur in tomorrow’s 2.05 at Aintree should be taken without hesitation (Betfair and Paddy Power). Will blog my workings later.
I’m astounded 8/1 is still available this evening as I write and I urge those who are undecided to take it.
The cash today has been for Definitly Red, a fine and consistent animal. But his schtick is out-jumping and outstaying the opposition, particularly in small fields like this.
That strategy might work against the likes of Black Corton and Cloudy Dream but he is not going to outstay One For Arthur. Nor will he outjump him (touch wood). I’m not saying he won’t be fitter than the 2017 National winner, but, all things being equal, Definitly Red’s jock will not be able to rely on what are arguably the strongest weapons in his armoury.
One For Arthur’s chasing career has been one of steady progress. His last season racing (2016/17) saw him win three of his four races. His sole defeat was in the 2016 Becher where he was beaten 3L by Vieux Lion Rouge finishing strongly after his rider detected a slight breathing problem.
Jockey Derek Fox (off injured at the moment – replaced on Saturday by Tom Scudamore) advised the fitting of a tongue tie to help with breathing, and it seemed to work wonderfully well when One For Arthur won the Betfred Classic Handicap Chase a month later at Warwick.
Badly hampered at the 2nd that day, he did what many horses fail to do, come from a long way back at Warwick in soft ground over 3m 5f. And he did it in the style of a fast improving horse. He impressed me greatly that day.
The unusual manner of his Warwick victory was mirrored in his Randox Health Grand National win three months later. He came from a long way back again at Aintree, Fox retaining the cool demeanour that can come from riding a horse travelling supremely well.
About 12th or 13th three out, by the time they swung in to face the 2nd last, One For Arthur loomed up on the outside going sweetly, took it up at the last and galloped on strongly.
The National, even this softer version, can finish horses. One For Arthur was the first one I can remember watching go up that run-in where I thought he had a fair bit more improvement in him.
Sadly, he did not get a chance to prove that in the following season. He suffered a tendon injury (it slipped off his hock) and was immediately declared out for the season.
But he’s back now and I’m very hopeful he can show he still has more to come. Trainer Lucinda Russell reports him in fine health and working well. She expects him to be ‘a bit rusty’ in this, his first race back, but that’s hardly unusual.
I don’t fear Double Shuffle or ACDC and I think Definitly Red will have a real battle trying to give away 6lbs to One For Arthur. The ground is going more One For Arthur’s way than Definitly Red’s. The latter has won on heavy but his trainer has said the horse is at his best on good ground. It’s soft at Aintree as I write, with more rain due overnight.
It’s a fine card all in all at Aintree. Here’s to a great day’s racing.