Any Second Now firmly on course for third crack at the National
Any Second Now tuned up for this third attempt at the Randox Grand National by winning Navan’s Webster Cup for a second time.
Ted Walsh’s 11-year-old won the race by 10 lengths in 2021 before finishing third in his first crack at the Aintree marathon and having skipped Navan in favour of the Bobbyjo Chase 12 months ago, returned to the County Meath venue in top form – pulling seven lengths clear of fellow National candidate Velvet Elvis in the closing stages.
The Grade Two contest – which was originally scheduled for March 11 before being lost to the elements – is a well-used route to Liverpool by Walsh, who also won the Navan feature with Rince Ri 20 years ago and the Kill-based handler was full of praise for his stable stalwart who obliged as the 5-4 favourite.
He said: “He did it nicely, he didn’t do any more than he had to do. Denis (O’Regan) was happy with him.
“He popped away well. Got under the last a bit, the ground is very testing. When he grabbed a hold of him at the back of the last, he quickened up well.
“Each time he has gone to Aintree, his last run has been a win. It has been great to have him and he has been a model of consistency.”
Any Second Now is set to carry the top-weight of 11st 12lb in Merseyside on April 15, but despite his advancing years and that hefty weight burden off a mark 7lb higher than his current Irish figure, Walsh is happy for his veteran to take a third swing at the race having placed in the past two seasons.
He continued: “He has a month from last Saturday (until Aintree) which is grand.
He wasn't unlucky last year, a better horse on the day beat him - a horse on the improve
“As long as he stays sound and healthy, he will go there. He has a big task with the top weight on his back.
“He wasn’t unlucky last year, a better horse on the day beat him – a horse (Noble Yeats) on the improve. He was unlucky the year before and he’ll go back and run a good race again, but everything would want to fall right for you.
“It is seven years since he won his maiden hurdle here as a four-year-old.
“He’s grand and a straightforward horse, he’s a bus of a ride.”
Any Second Now was shortened to 16-1 from 20s for the Grand National by William Hill, while Paddy Power went 12s from 16-1.
Earlier on the card, Henry de Bromhead’s Senior Chief got the better of Gordon Elliott’s Landrake to land the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Novice Hurdle.
A winner over two and a half miles at Punchestown previously, the 6-4 favourite relished the extra two furlongs in testing conditions to set up a return to the Kildare venue for the Festival next month.
“I’m delighted with that, he’s a lovely horse,” said De Bromhead.
“I like the way he ground it out there. He’s still a baby, but he is improving all the time.
“He only needs to land there, you wouldn’t want to be getting there too soon.
“It does look like that (stay all day), but yet he has a gear as well, funny enough. He was only just beaten in a two mile maiden hurdle in Clonmel.
“He’s qualified for the Red Mills auction final at Punchestown, so he’s entitled to go there. We wanted to get him a bit more experience.”
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