ANY Second Now confirmed his status as a leading contender for the Randox Health Grand National with a fine victory at Naas.
The JP McManus-owned eight-year-old was a well supported 3/1 chance for the Grade 3 WhatOddsPaddy? Chase, a race trainer Ted Walsh had previously won with subsequent Grand National winner Papillon and his Aintree third, Seabass.
Bidding for his first victory since landing the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir at the 2019 Cheltenham Festival, Any Second Now was positioned in the slipstream of last year’s winner Cadmium for much of the two-mile journey, before taking over the lead in the home straight.
With the front-running Cadmium weakening tamely out of contention, 5/2 favourite Articulum emerged as the biggest threat to Walsh’s runner, who dug deep in the testing conditions to score by a length and a quarter in the hands of Mark Walsh.
Sky Bet cut the winner to 10/1 for Aintree, making him their second-favourite behind the remarkable dual winner Tiger Roll at 4/1.
A tough performance from @RandoxHealth Grand National entrant & former Kim Muir scorer Any Second Now, who plunders Grade Three honours for Ted Walsh under rider Mark Walsh at @NaasRacecourse— Racing TV (@RacingTV) February 23, 2020
Results ? https://t.co/glajGV55GR pic.twitter.com/nxYafS69yq
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 2 hurdle at Punchestown as a novice. He’s a classy enough horse, and the soft ground suited him as well.”