2017 Grand National hero, One For Arthur, looks to bounce back to form in the Peter Marsh Handicap Chase at Haydock on Saturday.
One For Athur fell at the third fence over Aintree’s conventional fences six weeks ago in the (Grade 2) Many Clouds Chase, on his first start after being out through injury since his famous triumph in the 2017 Randox Health Grand National.
WATCH: One For Arthur takes the National for Scotland! pic.twitter.com/LVpGMGZkBP
— Aintree Racecourse (@AintreeRaces) April 8, 2017
However, trainer Lucinda Russell has been delighted with her 10-year-old stable star since that injury – and believes a schooling session around Ayr racecourse recently was just what he needed.
“I’m really pleased with him. I’m probably more pleased with him now than I was before Aintree,” said the Kinross handler.
“That school he had at Ayr was wonderful and we’re now going to Haydock. There was rain forecast, so hopefully that or sleet will soften up the ground. That would be fine.
“I’m looking forward to it. In a way it’s like his first time back at the track, because he didn’t do very much last time.
“He has come on a lot since then and I’m sure he will improve again for Saturday’s run. I’m very happy with the way we have him.“
Valtor made an emphatic start to his career this side of the English Channel when lifting the listed Silver Cup Handicap Chase at Ascot by eight lengths four weeks ago, on his first start for Nicky Henderson.
Previously trained in France by Eric Leray, the 10-year-old was bought by owners Simon Munir and Isaac Souede with this season’s National in mind.
“Valtor was very impressive at Ascot and jumped very well,” said Henderson.
“He was at the bottom of the handicap at Ascot and will now have to carry top-weight in the Peter Marsh Chase.
“He was a horse we were looking at the Grand National with. He was well handicapped, but we threw him in first time out at Ascot and he has gone up 12lb!
“He had not won a race for over two years in France before he won at Ascot.”
Trainer David Pipe feels the extra two and a half furlongs will play to Daklondike’s strengths.
“He put up a good performance at Haydock last time. This is a little bit further, which will help,” said the Nicholashayne handler.
“He disappointed at Cheltenham in November, but battled well last time to beat Ballyarthur close home.
“The softer the ground the better for him. The visor worked a treat last time and hopefully he will put his best foot forward again on Saturday.
“It’s a hot race, but he’s seven and he’s a decent horse on his day.“
This will be the furthest distance that Three Muskateers has been tasked with, but trainer Dan Skelton is hoping it will bring about some further improvement.
“I think the trip will suit him. I could give him some sort of chance but it’s just been a while since he had any real form which tempers my enthusiasm a fraction,” said Skelton.
Colin Tizzard took this prize with The Dutchman 12 months ago and this year saddles Robinsfirth, who returns after a 400-day absence, while Sue Smith, successful with Cloudy Too in 2016, is represented by last season’s Sky Bet Chase scorer Wakanda.
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Published at 13:20 18/01/19