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‘He’s a legend’: Grand National winner One For Arthur retires

The 2017 Grand National winner One For Arthur has retired from racing at the “top of his game”, with a second career ahead of him.

On Friday (6 November) trainer Lucinda Russell announced the retirement of the 11-year-old gelding, who started on the amateur point-to-point circuit and went on to become only the second horse trained in Scotland to win the iconic Aintree race with jockey Derek Fox.

Following his victory Arthur, who is owned by Deborah Thomson and Belinda McClung of the Two Golf Widows partnership, was later ruled out for more than a year owing to a tendon injury but returned to run the 2019 Grand National, in which he came sixth.

Lucinda told H&H the plan had been to run the gelding in the Grand National this year had it not been for the pandemic.

“We were delighted with him in 2019, and everything was being aimed at the National this year – we had him really buzzing and ready to go,” she said. “I suppose it had been in the back of our minds if he’d run a good race this year we probably would have retired him after that. He’s done everything for us, he owes us nothing and to retire him now while he’s at the top of his game and looking fit and well, was our decision.

“He’s got a second career in front of him and can go on to do something else now rather than risk having a disappointment on the track later. The owners and I felt a huge responsibility because he is a very well known horse; he’s a legend, he’s a horse everyone in Scotland really adores, and that pressure was very well felt. We couldn’t make a mistake with him – that was a big thing.”

Lucinda said they have received some “fantastic” offers for Arthur from some “super” people, but the decision on his new career will be made by Deborah and Belinda

“We spoke about it at the weekend and we’d love to see him hunting, he’d be fantastic to jump some big hedges on. I know whatever he does he’ll be an absolutely awesome horse to have,” she said.

“The most important thing is for him to go into a home where he’s going to be given something active to do because it can be very hard for these horses – he’s not ready yet just to spend his time in a field. He’s never really enjoyed mooching – even in the summer we’d have to get him in sharpish as he’d start to lose weight doing nothing despite being on great grass. He’s been a horse we’ve always had to carefully handle through his career and I don’t think a retirement just wandering around is going to be up his street.”

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Lucinda added the gelding will remain with her at the moment while he is gradually let down.

“He likes his routine with us so we’ll keep him in that for a little bit longer and then make a decision. There’s nothing that needs to be rushed, he’s got many years ahead of him,” she said.

“He’s very soft in the stable and he’s got his favourite people he recognises which is lovely to see. It will be very emotional when he does leave us.”

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