ON SUNDAY, I joined hundreds of well-wishers to welcome 2017 Grand National winner One For Arthur home from Aintree to his Kinross-based yard.

One For Arthur is trained by Lucinda Russell and she is only the fourth woman to train a Grand National winner.

The win was all the more momentous because the two owners are local: one half of ‘The Golf Widows’ team is from East Lothian and the other the Scottish Borders.

The win is significant, too, because last time a Scottish-trained horse won the Grand National was in 1979.

Scottish trainers like Lucinda Russell contribute to keeping alive our five fabulous Scottish racecourses: Ayr, Hamilton, Kelso, Perth and, on our doorstep, Musselburgh.

Like all businesses, they contribute to the local economy – racing yards employ local people, support the farrier, the feed merchant, the vet and local shops, pubs and restaurants. Scottish racing is thought to contribute £200 million to the Scottish economy.

Last week’s news that the Scottish economy contracted by 0.2 per cent in the last quarter of 2016, at a time when the UK economy grew by 0.7 per cent, prompted fears that Scotland may enter recession.

I’m speaking to many business owners and they tell me that uncertainty caused by the threat of a second independence referendum is cause for concern. None more so than those businesses connected to Scottish racing.

Using One For Arthur as an example, he began his racing career on the amateur point-to-point circuit in Ireland, he was sold to the Two Golf Widows in the ring at Cheltenham and is trained at a Scottish yard.

Arthur has raced at Newcastle, Kelso, Haydock, Ayr and Warwick before successfully winning at Aintree.

My point is that Scottish racing thrives as part of a wider UK network and its success is reliant on investment from levy payments generated by betting turnover.

Horseracing and breeding horses to export and import for the sport play a key role in Scotland and make a multi-million pound contribution to the economy by creating jobs and adding value to tourism, sport, events and festivals.

IndyRef2 discussions are detrimental to inward investment and the SNP should take it off the table.

Last October, Tracey Crouch, Conservative Minister for Sport, Tourism and Heritage, announced a replacement to the horseracing betty levy. Changes are expected to show a £30 million uplift in funding – this will be truly transformation to grassroots racing and many communities across Scotland.

I am delighted that the new levy will generate improved prize money at race meetings, attracting trainers from small and large yards, north and south of the Border.

In turn, bigger spectator crowds will be drawn to our wonderful racecourses.

One For Arthur has put Scottish racing on the map.