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Any Second Now defeat leaves Walsh with mixed emotions

Any Second Now put in a brave performance when staying on strongly to take second at FairyhouseAny Second Now put in a brave performance when staying on strongly to take second at Fairyhouse
© Photo Healy Racing

Ted Walsh admitted to having mixed emotions after his stable stalwart Any Second Now roared back to form to fill the runner-up spot in the BoyleSports Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse.

It is five years since the JP McManus-owned veteran claimed Cheltenham Festival glory in the Kim Muir and he was a leading contender for that season’s Irish National when falling at the eighth fence.

As well as winning twice at Grade Two and Grade Three level, Any Second Now has since placed twice in the Grand National at Aintree, finishing third behind the Rachael Blackmore-ridden Minella Times on his first attempt in 2021 before picking up the silver medal behind Noble Yeats 12 months later.

The 12-year-old was pulled up when bidding to make it third time lucky on Merseyside last April and has largely struggled since, but showed his true colours when finishing best of the rest behind the six years younger Intense Raffles on Easter Monday, leaving his trainer delighted but disappointed.

Walsh said: “He’s come out of the race 100 per cent, I’m delighted with the way he ran but gutted that he got beat!

“We have no plans at the moment, Punchestown is only a month away and he won’t be going there. He’ll go to Martinstown (McManus’ stud), we’ll have a look at him and see what happens after that.

“I’m proud of how he ran, but at the same time we were beaten. We played a great game but the other team won!”