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Saturday 29 April 2017

Injury could have ended the dream

It was like a dream come true according to Sligo jockey Derek Fox who's on top of the World this week after winning the most famous jump race, the Aintree Grand National.

But his participation in the race was in doubt in the lead up. He broke his wrist and dislocated his collarbone on March 9 but he was given every chance to get fit and that faith in the 24-year-old duly paid off and he was on the receiving end of much praise following his charge to victory on the 14-1shot.

He was declared fit for the race with just three days to spare.

Fox told Press Association Sport: "I still can't believe it, to be honest. I'm over the moon.

"I stayed in Aintree on Saturday with the owners and had a great night.

"I went back home Sunday morning, but I was late enough getting up, so I missed most of the press day back in the yard.

"I had a bit of a sore head and because I had to do 10st at Kelso, I couldn't even have much to eat."

"I kind of had an idea going out that we'd be far enough back," added the jockey, who was out of luck from four rides on his return to action at Kelso on Monday.

"He's the type of horse that warms into a race - that's just his style of running - so I was half prepared for it.

"I couldn't believe how fast the first circuit went in my head. We seemed to get round so quick and then when we jumped the water we were rolling.

"His jumping was second to none on the day. I was making lengths at every fence and once we started to pass one or two he was really enjoying it.

"It was a bit of a surreal feeling. It felt like we were accelerating, which you couldn't believe at the end of a four-mile race.

"I was starting to get excited at that stage, but you have to try and keep a level head and stay cool, which isn't as easy as it sounds.

"He jumped a shade to the left at the second-last and we had a bit of a collision with Blacklion, so that was a brief scare, but it didn't slow him down and he's done it very well in the end.

"I think he showed a lot of class on the day as we were worried enough whether he'd have enough pace on the drying ground."

One For Arthur struggled to go the strong pace for the first mile but he finished like a train.

At one stage he was 20 lengths back behind the pace-setting Rogue Angel but he steadily crept into the contest helped by some superb jumping.

Fox sent One For Arthur to the front a few strides out from the last. There, another superb leap gave him just the head start he wanted over Cause of Causes, ridden by the outstanding Irish amateur jockey Jamie Codd.

From there on up the two furlong run-in One For Arthur, driven out by Fox, never looked like surrendering his lead and he came home to collect the £560,000 first prize four and a half lengths ahead of Cause of Causes to become only the second ever Scottish winner of the race. The first was Rubstic in 1979.

Sligo Champion

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