A ‘surreal experience’: find out what it’s like to win the Grand National

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  • On 8 April 2017, One For Arthur won the 170th running of the Grand National at Aintree Racecourse. He was ridden by Derek Fox, who had only just returned to the saddle after breaking his wrist and dislocating his collarbone on 9 March. The Lucinda Russell-trained gelding won by four-and-a-half lengths.

    Lucinda, and her partner Peter Scudamore, who was eight-time champion jockey and now works alongside Lucinda as her assistant trainer, remembers the day One For Arthur – who died last month – galloped to victory at Aintree in episode 134 of The Horse & Hound Podcast.

    “It was quite a surreal and wonderful thing,” says Lucinda of the day One For Arthur won the most famous race on the calendar. “I always said beforehand that winning the Grand National wouldn’t change my life, but I was absolutely wrong – it did change my life.”

    Of One For Arthur’s preparation, Peter says: “He had been training well and the preparation had gone so well. When people asked me whether he was going to win, I said I didn’t know, but that he was in the form of his life, and that if he didn’t win that time, he would never win a Grand National as he wouldn’t have been good enough. But with some luck and the form he was going into the race in, we knew he stood a very good chance.”

    When asked how they watched the race in 2017, Peter explains that it was slightly different for him, as his son Tom Scudamore also had a ride in the race.

    “To start with, my son was in front and Arthur was behind and then, somewhere around the Canal Turn, they swapped and Arthur came through and I went from hoping my son was alright to cheering Arthur home – we watched him all the way.”

    Tom’s children were watching too and asked their grandfather Peter, a very intriguing question.

    “They were about eight and 10 years old at the time and they said ‘grumpy granddad’, because that’s what they call Peter,” laughs Lucinda, “‘…if Tom or Arthur wins, please can we have a pony?’ So we said of course, and we did end up buying them a pony!”

    Peter says it was a “surreal experience” watching One For Arthur win the Grand National, and he made a slight social faux pas in the aftermath.

    “I’m surprised some people still speak to me as I stupidly went up to one of the leading owners, who’s an absolute gentleman, and said to him ‘we won, we won, we won!’. He said ‘I know, I was second’,” laughs Peter.

    Lucinda and Peter have another good chance of victory in the form of their 2023 Grand National runner Corach Rambler, who is fresh from scoring victory in the valuable Ultima Handicap Chase at Cheltenham Festival last month.

    “Winning with Arthur in 2017 was a brilliant and I’ll never forget it,” says Lucinda. “The whole wind up to it, arriving there, everything – it was just wonderful. I hope we can do the same again this year with Corach Rambler.”

    To hear Lucinda and Peter talking more about the Grand National, One For Arthur and their Cheltenham Festival success in 2023, tune in to episode 134 of The Horse & Hound Podcast – listen here or search “The Horse & Hound Podcast” in your favourite podcast app.

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