Grand National: One For Arthur 'boost for Scots racing', says Musselburgh chief

By Phil GoodladBBC Scotland
One For Arthur and jockey Derek Fox win the Grand National
One For Arthur, with jockey Derek Fox, won the Grand National on Saturday

Horse racing in Scotland is preparing for a boost in popularity after a first Scottish-trained Grand National winner for nearly 40 years.

Musselburgh Racecourse chief executive Bill Farnsworth expects new people to attend meetings after witnessing One For Arthur's win on Saturday.

"We do expect some people who haven't been racing before and watched One for Arthur win the Grand National on Saturday might think they want to go along and enjoy a day at the races," he told BBC Scotland.

The 170th edition of the Grand National at Aintree witnessed only a second Scottish-trained winner of the National, with Lucinda Russell the fourth woman to train the victor.

"In terms of going racing, it's very easy to go to your local racecourse," Farnsworth told BBC Scotland. "We have five great courses in Scotland.

"Attendances in Scotland have been very, very good over the last 10 years and continue to go up.

"It's the second most popular spectator sport in Scotland, so it's doing very, very well."

One For Arthur and trainer Lucinda Russell
One For Arthur is trained by Lucinda Russell

The Grand National was again subject to campaigns from animal rights groups complaining about the dangers of the fences to horses.

Animal Aid's Race Horse Death Watch claims that 51 horses have died at British racecourses since the turn of the year.

However, there were no serious injuries to horses from 317 runners in 21 races at the three-day Grand National meeting.

Farnsworth insisted that racing is being seen in a new light after receiving negative headlines in recent years because of such deaths during or after races, as well as serious injuries to jockeys.

"Horse welfare is taken very, very seriously," he said. "It is a risk sport like most sports are.

"There will be injuries and, occasionally, unfortunately there are fatalities, but the care and attention bestowed on these horses is absolutely second to none and in Britain we do it better than anywhere else."

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