SOME 19 years after he won the first running of the race, Ted Walsh stuck again in the Grade 3 Tote Bobbyjo Chase as Any Second Now limbered up for another Grand National bid.
The former Cheltenham Festival hero ran a splendid race to take third in last year’s National. As he switched back to fences for the first time this season, the J.P. McManus-owned 10-year-old faced a stiff test as he had to concede 8lb to two of his four rivals.
One of those opponents was the well-backed Escaria Ten and he struck for home at the third last and seemed to be keeping his rivals at bay for much of the straight.
Mark Walsh yet again judged things to perfection as he produced the patiently ridden Any Second Now (6/1) with his effort after the last.
The winner responded to nail Escaria Ten on the line and score by a nose. There was a gap of some 42 lengths back to the favourite and former Irish Grand National hero Burrows Saint.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better prep,” confirmed Walsh. “He was a little bit unlucky at Aintree last year. He’s going back there in good nick.”
Elliott expressed himself pleased with the effort of last season’s National Hunt Chase third Escaria Ten who will head straight to Aintree.
Any Second Now was the second leg of a Grade 3 double for Mark Walsh and J.P. McManus after the Willie Mullins-trained Icare Allen bagged the Norman Colfer Winning Fair Juvenile Hurdle. The 4/9 favourite made a few mistakes but his showing in a Grade 1 at Leopardstown last month put him on a different footing to these opponents.
He came clear of his rivals from the second last (where Man O Work fell when running a big race) and won in a canter, eventually crossing the line seven and a half lengths clear of Prairie Dancer.
“He jumped better and was just a lot better here today than at Leopardstown. He’s in the Boodles and he’s in the Triumph and we just haven’t made up our minds which race we will go for yet,” reported the trainer.
Carrig Sam looks decent prospect
DONAGH Meyler ended the day with a double which he completed on Carrig Sam (3/1) who is starting to look like quite a prospect for Arthur Moore as he made it two wins from as many starts on the track in the Tommy Carberry Handicap Hurdle.
In this display he overcame a lack of experience and an opening rating of 126 in the manner of an old hand.
The Over The Sticks Syndicate-owned son of Shantou was allowed to dictate the tempo throughout but he jumped superbly and raised his effort in good style in the straight to come home a length and a half ahead of Ten Ten who was filling the runner-up spot for the second year in succession.
“He’s going to be a really lovely chaser and we might give him one more run this season, possibly in the two-and-three-quarter-mile handicap hurdle here at Easter,” stated Moore.
Meyler then followed up on Karl Thornton’s progressive six-year-old Where’s Frankie in the 80-109 rated handicap hurdle over just short of three miles.
Victories in handicap hurdles and chases here on his last two starts saw this Derby Bar Syndicate-owned gelding head the market at 4/5 and he looked to have this race in safe keeping once the improving Memory Of Youth was beaten between the last two flights.
Grey Habit came home well to close to within a length and a quarter of the winner at the line, but there could easily be more to come from Where’s Frankie who is set to return here early next month for a handicap chase.
Third season success for Regina Dracones
THE Tom Gibney-trained Regina Dracones enhanced her fine track record in the rated novice chase over an extended three miles where she was recording her third success of the season.
A dual course winner over hurdles, the Shawshank Syndicate-owned mare looked as though she might have compromised her chances when clouting the third last.
However, the 116-rated 15/8 favourite soon got back an even keel for Jack Foley and led between the final two fences before then holding off the late effort of Recite A Prayer by a length and a quarter.
Pat Doyle introduced a nice type in the Ian Smith Memorial (Pro/Am) INH Flat Race where Mister Bo (9/1) made a winning debut under Ben Harvey.
This six-year-old son of Getaway, who is owned by the trainer’s wife Mary and is a half-brother to the Thyestes Chase winner Monbeg Notorious, travelled nicely through the race.
He slipped through on the inner to dispute the lead with over a furlong to run and steadily gained the upper hand to see off fellow newcomer Banjaxed by three-quarters of a length.
The odds-on Kansas City Star travelled well but could only manage fourth and the fifth-placed What Path looked decidedly green and whipped around when the tapes went up which cost him plenty of ground.
Stuart Crawford and J.J. Slevin combined to land the Red Mills EBF Auction Maiden Hurdle with Peaceful Sunday (11/2) who progressed on an encouraging fourth in a bumper won by Heiko Conti here in January.
This Simon Munir and Isaac Souede-owned gelding didn’t look a likely winner for much of the straight and was still a hard driven fourth before the last. He seized upon a last flight blunder by the odds-on John Cannon to carry the day by a length and a half.
The winner coped with this two-mile trip but appeals as being able to do appreciably better over further.