One For Arthur wins Grand National for the 'Two Golf Widows'

David Mullins and Rule The World clear one of the famous birch fences en route to victory in the 2016 Grand National

David Mullins and Rule The World clear one of the famous birch fences en route to victory in the 2016 Grand National Laurence Griffiths

By any standards Derek Fox's return 3½ weeks after breaking his left wrist and right collar bone in a fall at Carlisle, was quick but, as he drove out One For Arthur up the run-in at the end of Saturday's Randox Health Grand National, you would never have known.

WITH 40 horses taking to the Aintree turf for today's Grand National, it's a hard task to pick the victor.

The Lucinda Russell-trained gelding enjoyed a thrilling sprint down the home stretch, having battled with Cause Of Causes over the final few fences.

Looking back at the likes of Rag Trade in 1976, Mr Frisk in 1990 and most recently Don't Push It in 2010, horses winning the Grand National have worn the number six saddlecloth a total of seven times in the last 50 years - that's a winning percentage of 14%! "He went through gaps, jumped around horses and got bumped and bashed but just kept going". Miss Russell is only the fourth woman to train a Grand National victor, while One For Arthur is owned by two women.

"That was awesome, I'm tearful but it is incredible", Russell, whose partner and assistant at their Arlary House Stables in the Kinross countryside, is former champion jockey Peter Scudamore.

"He's fantastic. He's improved every time".

"It's tricky to win a National if that happens as you need more things to go your way but he jumped so well. I don't often get a chance to ride a horse as good as that".

"It's brilliant for Scotland".

To add to the female influence on the world's toughest and most famous steeplechase, the eight-year- old chaser is owned by the "Two Golf Widows", Belinda McClung and Deborah Thomson, who first met at pony club.

They have purchased Le Mercurey and Highland Lodge, who would give jockey Henry Brooke a fairytale win after a crashing fall saw him placed in an induced coma earlier this year, while their son Richard has bought Just A Par.

"After we'd gone one circuit, I was thinking, 'I can't be going as well as I am, '" Fox said.

Definitly Red's jockey Danny Cook has been ordered by the horse's trainer Brian Ellison "to keep calm".

The word "team" is heard nearly as much as "Arthur" (as everyone calls him), and Russell stresses how important that ethos is, saying: "I'm getting all this publicity and I've got a nice new jacket that says winning trainer on it".

"It was amusing, but everything has just gone so smoothly including winning the race". He was unbelievable and took me everywhere.

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