Winning the Randox Health Grand National was just a distant dream when One For Arthur battled through the mud to claim his first career success, a modest novices’ hurdle chase at Haydock Park.
And Lucinda Russell, who became only the fourth woman to train the winner, following Jenny Pitman in 1983 and 1985, Venetia Williams and Sue Smith, never forgot that icy January afternoon in the North West.
“One For Arthur had gone close in his previous four races, finishing in the frame each time, but that winter’s day at Haydock Park will live long in my memory,” said Russell.
“Although it was only a three-runner race over two miles and four furlongs, One For Arthur did it really well and that set him going.
“He won his next two races, and everything seemed to click for him after Haydock Park.
“I always enjoy bringing my horses to Haydock Park, it is a fair course with good, safe ground.
“Over the years it has always proved a lucky track for us.”
Russell picked up £3,899 for winning the ‘Lynk FM Fixed Brush Novices’ Hurdle’ at Haydock Park in January 2015, but banked a cool half-a-million when One For Arthur crossed the line in first place, making headlines across the world at Aintree earlier this month.
“Even now, it seems like a dream, winning the Grand National,” added Russell.
“The past two weeks has been like a whirlwind of emotion.
“I am still in awe of One For Arthur and Derek Fox (winning jockey) and our team behind them, including the wonderful owners Golf Widows.”
Haydock Park will stage their first Flat Turf fixture of the campaign next Saturday, April 29, featuring DJ Scott Mills live after racing.
For details contact 0344 579 3006 or haydock.thejockeyclub.co.uk.