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Walsh content with Any Second Now's Leopardstown effort

Any Second Now  Any Second Now
© Photo Healy Racing

Any Second Now continued his preparation for the Randox Grand National with trainer Ted Walsh left neither “squealing or disappointed” by his run in the Paddy Power Irish Gold Cup.

The JP McManus-owned 11-year-old was beaten 15 lengths into fourth behind Galopin Des Champs at Leopardstown on Saturday.

Any Second Now was favourite when runner-up to Noble Yeats in the Grand National at Aintree last April, having finished third to Minella Times in the same race in 2021.

The 11-year-old has shown plenty of spark this term, beginning with a fine runner-up effort to Saint Sam over an extended two miles and three furlongs over hurdles on his seasonal debut on New Year’s Eve before his effort at the Dublin Racing Festival.

Walsh said: “He ran OK. I expected him to run as well as he ran — he ran to his rating.

“Look at the horses around him. He is a 162-rated horse. The horse that was third (Fury Road) was 158, the runner-up (Stattler) was 163, so he ran OK. He didn’t do anything I didn’t expect him to do.”

Any Second Now stayed on nicely despite being hampered by a faller at the second-last fence and will head to the Liverpool track in fine fettle. He is currently a general 16-1 second favourite for the National behind Noble Yeats.

Walsh dismissed the idea the run will have much effect on his weight for the extended four-and-a-quarter-mile Aintree spectacular, however.

“The handicapper won’t do anything,” he said. “The weight he has, he has. He is 162.

“The English handicapper might think he is a better horse around Liverpool and give him 2lb more, he might say he’s 11 years of age, so give him 2lb less, but that is all you are going to be talking about — a pound or two here or there. It is what it is.

“He’s in good nick and he’s happy. If he ran any worse than that, you’d be disappointed.

“The run was all right. I wasn’t coming away from Leopardstown squealing, but I wasn’t disappointed.

“I’d have been delighted altogether had he split the winner and the second. I’m a realist. I’m not an optimist or a pessimist — I’ve been at the game far too long for that.”