Trainer Ted Walsh doesn’t enter too many Grand National runners but when he does you know they have a great chance. He saddled Seabass in 2012 to make history for Katie Walsh and this time around he plans on sending Any Second Now over the same Aintree fences.
Owned by JP McManus, Any Second Now is one of eight entries for the super owner. With Anibale Fly, Kimberlite Candy, Ok Corral and Regal Encore all likely to secure a spot, McManus could field at least five runners in this year’s race.
Anibale Fly has the best history in the race with a fourth place in 2018 and a fifth last year despite carrying top weight. But it’s Any Second Now that has the lowest odds of any of the McManus runners. Moving from a general 20/1 to the short priced 12/1 over the weekend, the eight-year-old is now the joint second-favorite with Burrows Saint, behind Tiger Roll.
But are these odds a real reflection of his chances in the 2020 Grand National?
Season Form So Far
Any Second Now has been properly racing for three years. Like all racehorses, he started off over hurdles before moving into chases in the 2017/18 season, placing in a couple of very good races. By March of last year, he was at Cheltenham and running the race of his life which resulted in a fantastic win in the Kim Muir Chase.
On the back of that, he headed to the Irish Grand National but fell at fence eight under jockey Mark Walsh. It was a disappointing end to the season but with more than six months break he was back again this season.
🗣 "He is one of the great horses"
🥊 Any Second Now vs Tiger Roll
🏆 @AintreeRaces, Grand National, Saturday, April 4
Great stuff from Ted Walsh here praising "The Tiger"
🥇 Grand National X2
🥇 Boyne Hurdle
🥇 Triumph Hurdle
🥇 Cross Country Chase X2
🥇 National Hunt Chase pic.twitter.com/nRvkKZUY3A
— Racing TV (@RacingTV) February 23, 2020
He started off at Cork and the performance was mediocre. But that led nicely to Punchestown which produced a better run and a second-place finish. Next up was the Paddy Power Chase at Leopardstown, a significant race and one that has a purse of more than £100K. Unfortunately, Any Second Now unseated but undeterred, he was back there again on February 2nd 2020 in a Grade A handicap chase.
That was a much better run and although it was only over 2m5f, Any Second Now never really troubled the leaders and had to settle for third place. And so we come to Nass and a Grade 3 that he won over the weekend. On the face of it, it’s hard to see why a 2m in heavy conditions would spark such a big drop in odds however, it was the company he was in that makes it impressive.
Rated at 150, Any Second Now was by no means the best horse in the race. In the field of just five runners, he was up against Hardline (160), Cadmium (159) and Castlegrace Paddy (152). It was a tight race with all five in the mix the whole way around. Any Second Now jumped well, except for a blunder at the last. When put under pressure on the run-in, he was more than capable of holding his own.
— Racing TV (@RacingTV) February 23, 2020
What the race demonstrated was that despite the heavy conditions, he wasn’t slowed down. He still had plenty in the tank to edge clear of his nearest rival to bag the win. More importantly, it’s also a race trainer Ted Walsh has previously won with Grand National winner Papillon and his Aintree third, Seabass.
After the race, Ted Walsh said: Walsh said: “He travelled well and jumped well, and if he runs as well as Seabass (at Aintree), I’ll be delighted.
“He was nicely treated with 11st 1lb on his back. The only fence he reached for was the last, and Mark was delighted with him.
“It’s a good prep for Aintree. Whether he’s good enough or not, only time will tell. He’s going there in a good frame of mind and he gets the trip. If you’re not in you can’t win!
“He won a Grade Two hurdle at Punchestown as a novice. He’s a classy enough horse, and the soft ground suited him as well.”
Any Second Now Grand National 2020
Even trainer Walsh admits that Aintree is a different ball game. Horses either love it or they don’t. If he takes to the fences as well as he did at Nass, then there is every chance Any Second Now will be able to run a big race.
However, as Walsh said, if he’s too careful and cautious then they’ll know after four or five fences that it’s not his race. With the Grand National 2020 less than six weeks away, Any Second Now will go straight to Liverpool.
How he performs on the day is anybody’s guess. But Ted Walsh is a fantastic trainer and if he thinks he has a chance then maybe we have a serious challenger to Tiger Roll.
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