GRAND NATIONAL hero One For Arthur is “back to his best” according to trainer Lucinda Russell.
The Scottish handler can’t wait to run her stable star at Haydock on Saturday but has her fingers crossed the track gets some rain.
One For Arthur missed all of last season through a tendon injury and unseated Tom Scudamore shortly into his long-awaited comeback run at Aintree in December.
After a couple of failed attempts to get the ten-year-old back on the track due to the ground, it’s full steam ahead to the Grade 2 Peter Marsh Chase on Saturday following a racecourse gallop at Ayr.
Russell told Sun Racing: “He’s showing us he’s on his way back and the way he jumped around Ayr he looked like he’s back to his best.
“He just needed some race, match practice as it were.
“He’s still quite a young horse and has got plenty of time on his hands.
“In a way maybe having that year off after his big effort in the National has done him some good.”
Derek Fox, the jockey that partnered the horse to National glory, will be reunited with the star after he missed his comeback run through injury.
Russell continued: “Derek will ride and couldn’t have been happier with him at Ayr.
“We’ve had him entered in a couple of races since, but the ground didn’t come for him and it’s all on Haydock now.
“It’s good, good to soft at the moment and with a bit more rain he should be fine to run there.
“The Aintree race didn’t go to plan, but since then we were very lucky that Ayr let us have a racecourse gallop and that let him get his eye back in again.
“The aim of the race at Haydock is to get him ready for the National. I’m sure he’ll run a good race in it but it’s definitely to get him geared up for April.”
Like many, Russell has been frustrated with the unseasonably dry weather and it’s held up a couple of her other stable stars.
She added: “Big River is another one being frustrated by the ground.
“Him, One For Arthur as mentioned, and Forest des Aigles are all talented horses but have all been held up by the lack of rain.
“He (Big River) was due to run at Kelso yesterday, but on good ground we just couldn’t run him on that.
“He’ll go back to Kelso on Valentine’s Day where hopefully we can get him back on track.”