Will Any Second Now take the next step at the Grand National?

Published 2022/03/29

Will Any Second Now take the next step at the Grand National?

Any Second Now came close to ending Ted Walsh’s drought at the Grand National in the 2021 iteration of the race as he finished in third place. The pace of Minella Times and Rachael Blackmore down the stretch overwhelmed the Irish thoroughbred as he was unable to match Henry de Bromhead’s charge.

Any Second Now has had time to retune his form for a second attempt at the National, and has been installed as the favourite in the best tips for Grand National at odds of 8/1 to win the event. The 10-year-old has rounded into form during the season and now faces the ultimate challenge as it could be his final chance given his age.

The last six winners of the National have all been under the age of 10, and the last winner over 10 years old was Pineau de Re in 2014. Delta Work is another favourite of the bookies, being backed at the same price as Any Second Now, fresh off his victory at the Cross Country Chase at Cheltenham Festival where he beat out his stable-mate and the Grand National legend Tiger Roll.

Gordon Elliott has a strong record at the National, dating back to his maiden triumph with Silver Birch in 2007. In the modern era, no trainer has been more successful than the Irishman, and he will be looking for Delta Work to continue that trend.

That is the challenge ahead of Any Second Now to beat out the French thoroughbred and the other 38 competitors for the crown. He did not make a great start to the 2021/22 campaign when he was beaten at the Tara Handicap Hurdle at Navan, placing down all the way in ninth place even though Blackmore was in the saddle.

Walsh’s charge was not expected to make an impression in the John Mulhern Galmoy Hurdle at Gowran Park in January as he was out of his comfort zone over three miles, and against elite horses such as Klassical Dream. He put forward a decent effort to place in sixth, despite being well off the pace of the winner Royal Kahala.

Whereas other horses headed for Cheltenham Festival, Walsh prepared his charge for the Grand National alongside his potential rivals for the title at Fairyhouse in the Bobbyjo Chase. He faced a talented field, including two Elliott horses (Escaria Ten and Coko Beach) along with Willie Mullins’ best long-distance competitor Burrows Saint.

However, it was Any Second Now who prevailed over the three miles and one furlong of the event as the race went down to the wire. He just had enough pace when it mattered the most to beat Escaria Ten, displaying a burst of speed to edge out his rival by a nose.

The 10-year-old has all the attributes required to win the Grand National but will have to put forward a flawless performance to beat out the increased level of talent that will feature in the race, none more so than Delta Work, who appears to be the heir apparent to the great Tiger Roll.