— The Jockey Club (@TheJockeyClub) March 24, 2019
One For Arthur made history by becoming the first horse trained in Scotland to win the Grand National when he triumphed out of Lucinda Russell’s yard in 2017. The bay gelding missed out on the opportunity to defend his crown last season when he was forced to miss the event at Aintree due to injury.
Red Rum is the only horse since the end of the Second World War to have won the prestigious race on multiple occasions. Ginger McCain’s charge won back-to-back events in 1973 and 1974 before winning the final of his crowns in 1977. There are have been horses that have been close since, but no one has been able to claim the title for a second time.
The 10-year-old, trained in Russell’s yard an hour away from Paisley in Kinross, has displayed the pedigree to thrive at Aintree, although it will take a special effort to triumph. One For Arthur is backed at 25/1 among the Grand National runners, placing him in the middle of the pack, although a long way behind the leading contender for the crown – the defending champion Tiger Roll.
The Irish-bred horse has not been in great form since his return from injury. He has unseated his jockey in his two races this term in the Many Clouds Chase and again at the Peter Marsh Handicap Chase. However, he could be a horse that simply rises to the occasion at the Grand National, thriving on the rigours of the four-mile course and 30 fences. There have been others before him that have excelled and almost broken into the company of Red Rum.
Michael Oliver’s charge was made to race in the National, although his first experience did not go to plan, falling in his debut outing in 1985 at Becher’s Brook. However, he bounced back in the following season to take his place in the winners’ enclosure with a brilliant run.
Richard Dunwoody at the reins got a perfect performance out of his charge to win the event by two lengths with a surge down the stretch. The following season, West Tip was in the running, although he lacked the speed to close on Maori Venture, settling for a fourth-place finish.
It was the same story in 1988 with an identical placing. However, he rolled back the years in 1989 with another fine display, battling Little Polveir down the stretch, but he failed to close on his rival and lost out by seven lengths. There have been closer calls, although no horse has been as consistent as Oliver’s charge since Red Rum.
For the day that’s in it……#Throwback to when @WillieMullinsNH Hedgehunter won 158th official running of #GrandNational @AintreeRaces
🔴9 April 2005
🔴Won by 14 lengths
🔴9 minutes 21 sec
🔴2nd 40/1 shot Royal Auclair #FeedYourDesireToWin pic.twitter.com/uk5dUZg0xI
— Connolly’s RED MILLS (@REDMILLSHorse) April 14, 2018
The horse was responsible for Willie Mullins’ breakthrough at the National, becoming the trainer’s first and only triumph in the prestigious meet to date. Hedgehunter fell at the final fence in 2004, handing the crown to Amberleigh House after he appeared to be closing in on the win. However, he responded with a brilliant performance in 2005, finishing 14 lengths ahead of the field.
Mullins’ charge returned for the defence of his crown in 2006 as the joint-favourite for the win alongside Clan Royal. In a tight race, Hedgehunter battled down the stretch with Numbersixvalverde, although the latter managed to forge ahead with a fine jump at the last fence. Numbersixvalverde was able to see out the victory by six lengths ahead of Mullins’ horse. No horse since has been able to come close to a second win, highlighted the challenge ahead of One For Arthur.