Saturday, May 21, 2022

Any Second Now Establishes Himself as Grand National Favorite

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Irish National Hunt trainer Ted Walsh won the world’s most famous steeplechase, the Grand National, in 2000. He saddled Papillon to success in the race, in what was a family victory for the Walsh’s, as Ted’s son Ruby rode the horse to victory.

Walsh will be optimistic about another Grand National win in 2022, as he has the ante-post favorite for the marathon contest in Any Second Now. As the racing results show, the 10-year-old finished third in the race in 2021, so he will be very familiar with the course and challenge the Aintree contest offers.

Any Second Now is set to take on the defending champion Minella Times again this year, but the horse who finished second last April, Balko Des Flos, does not have an entry. The 2022 contest will also be without dual-winner Tiger Roll. He is set to appear in the Cross Country Chase instead, where he has Cheltenham top runner odds of 7/4 for the Cheltenham Festival race.

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Walsh has opted against running at the Festival with Any Second Now. The Ultima Handicap Chase and Cross Country Chase both would have been considered, but the Irishman wants his horse to be fresh for Aintree.

Fairyhouse Victory Shows Walsh’s Chaser is in Good Form

The Irish horse had his final appearance before the Grand National at Fairyhouse where he won the Grade Three Bobbyjo Chase. In what is a trial for the race in Liverpool, Any Second Now was held up in the early stages by jockey Mark Walsh. He stayed on strongly in the last couple of furlongs.

Any Second Now came up against fellow Grand National contenders Escaria Ten, Burrows Saint and Coko Beach. He got the better of Escaria Ten by a nose in a close tussle between the two horses. The pair were a long way clear of the other contenders when they crossed the finish line.

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Walsh will now be hoping to replicate what Hedgehunter did in 2005. He won the Bobboyjo Chase before scoring in the Grand National later in the season. The Irishman will also be buoyed by the excellent record Irish horses have over the last few years at Aintree.

Higher Weight Than 2021

The Grand National handicapper has handed Any Second Now an allocation of 11st 2lb for this year’s race. It means the chaser will need to carry 7lb more on his back for his second shot at the 4m2½f contest.

Walsh’s runner is now rated as high as 159 in the official ratings. If the weights were released following the Fairyhouse run, he would almost certainly have more than 11st 2lb, so his connections will feel he has an allocation that gives him a great chance.

There are eight horses above Any Second Now in the Grand National weights. They include Conflated and Galvin, two horses from Ireland who have strong Cheltenham Gold Cup claims.

Defending champion Minella Times must carry 11st 4lb (15lb higher than 2021), as he bids to match what Tiger Roll did in 2019 by winning back-to-back renewals of the race.

This year’s Grand National is the 174th in the race’s history. It dates all the way back to 1839, and remains popular as ever around the world.

Read: Top 5 football players with the highest number of European Golden Shoe awards of all time

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Rahul Roy
Rahul Roy
I am a computer guy by profession and a sports fanatic by choice.

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