One For Arthur springs another Grand National surprise

Source: ITV Racing via Twitter

One For Arthur put himself into the history books with an outstanding run to win the 2017 Grand National.

The bay gelding was considered among the leading contenders for the crown, but some way off the favourite for the race, Blaklion.

However, the Irish horse left his rivals in his dust down the stretch, as he displayed an excellent burst to claim the title and a victory for trainer Lucinda Russell.

Races such as the Cheltenham Gold Cup and the National are extremely hard to predict, and although One For Arthur’s victory wasn’t a stunner by any means, it was still a surprise to some pundits.

Therefore, when considering picking winners for Ascot and Prix de l’Arc later this summer, it could be worth considering the best new offers available from bookmakers to get value for your punt.

The bay gelding was backed at 16/1 at Aintree and was no stranger to securing victories, having notched six previous triumphs before his triumph, although success on the bigger stages had eluded him.

One For Arthur had humble beginnings and was thwarted in his first four attempts to achieve his first win, but finally made the breakthrough at Haydock Park in the Fixed Brush Novices’ Hurdle.

One victory quickly became two in his next outing at Ayr Racecourse as he came through the field to secure the win at the Svengali Stakes Novices’ Handicap Hurdle as a relative outsider.

The bay gelding won his third win on the bounce, but his debut at Aintree in the Novices’ Hurdle proved a harrowing experience as he pulled up with four fences remaining, while in the same race Blaklion finished fourth in a tough environment for all concerned.

One For Arthur rallied with a win at Kelso in the Novices’ Chase – the fourth triumph of his career – but that would be his last for a year.

The horse was unable to make an impact in races against quality opponents, who were either strong contenders for the National or who had performed well in the race in the past.

The eight-year-old finally got back to winning ways with a strong performance once again at Kelso to win the Handicap Chase, with a dominant performance to secure the victory by six lengths.

However, the taster for the National may have seen his odds tumble for the race four months later, as the bay gelding placed in fifth at the Becher Handicap Chase.

Vieux Lion Rouge, Highland Lodge, The Last Samuri and Ucello Conti all finished ahead of One For Arthur, highlighting the challenge ahead when they would meet again at the famous course.

Source: BBC Sport Scotland via Twitter

Jockey Derek Fox and the bay gelding were given a confidence boost in January in the horse’s final race before the Grand National.

The eight-year-old eased to victory in Warwick in the Classic Chase, and although the odds shortened on a potential triumph at Aintree, it would still require a special ride to achieve victory.

After remaining in the middle of the pack for the majority of the race, Fox allowed the field to thin before making the move with One For Arthur down the final stretch, beating out high-calibre horses – Cause of Causes, Vieux Lion Rouge and Blaklion – to take the crown.

On previous form, few would have predicted a triumph for the bay gelding, but the unpredictability of the race ultimately reared its head once again. As a result, it’s always worth looking beyond the favourite for the biggest meets, especially the Grand National, which always likes to spring a surprise or two.