Grand National Runners, Riders & Latest Odds
Any Second Now primed for 2021 Randox Grand National
Katie Walsh is of the opinion that some comparisons can be made between Any Second Now and her father’s previous Grand National flag bearers Seabass and Papillon. The recent Navan winner is in preparations for his first try at the famous Grand National fences on 10th April and the nine-year-old looked in excellent fettle when winning the Grade 2 Webster Cup a few weeks ago. He looks set to head to the Aintree Grand National festival as 10/1 second-favourite in the betting behind fancied Cloth Cap.
The win at Navan was his first since landing the Paddy Power Newlands Chase at Naas last year, a contest that has been won by Seabass and Papillon in past years.
Talking at a recent virtual press event, Katie Walsh said: “The great thing about Papillon and Seabass was that neither of them were slow and could win over two miles.
“Dad isn’t afraid of running them over shorter trips and loves smartening them up that way. It would have been a question of whether or not they would get the trip beforehand
“I think as the National has changed over the last few years that you need to be able to travel easy within yourself for the first mile and a half, then everything starts to change a bit. In that regard, Any Second Now is a strong traveller and can run – and win – over two miles in competitive races.
“They’re different types of horses but he’d be quite lairy and spooky, more like Papillon. There are definitely similarities among the three of them in that they can travel well early.”
As far as Ruby Walsh is concerned, his victory in the Grand National on board Papillon was his most cherished day in his racing career although while he would be more than happy to ride Any Second Now were he still part of the weighing room, he firmly believes that Cloth Cap has a huge chance this year.
He said: “In theory, he’s so far ahead of the handicapper,” he said. “If I was sitting down right now as a jockey and waiting for the phone to ring, I’d be delighted if Jonjo [O’Neill] or my dad rang, or Willie Mullins for Burrows Saint or Paul Nolan for Discorama – I most certainly wouldn’t say no.”
Walsh is still a major part of the Willie Mullins’ operation and he is of the opinion that Burrows Saint will be at his very best on a good surface.
“He’s definitely a better horse on better ground,” said the jockey who guided Hedgehunter to victory in the 2005 Grand National for Willie Mullins.
“He was aimed at the Grand National last year but obviously Covid came and in 2020 it didn’t exist. That’s where he’s been aimed again. He’s had three runs this season and ran better in the Bobbyjo Chase than his previous two runs. He’s going in the right direction.”
When asked whether he believed that the Irish would dominate on Merseyside next week as much as they did at Cheltenham last month, Ruby said: “Probably not, but maybe in the Grand National.
“There are plenty of Irish-trained horses with chances; the likes of Any Second Now, Burrows Saint, Minella Times, Magic Of Light, The Storyteller, Anibale Fly, Acapella Bourgeois and Discorama.
“At the top of the betting there’s plenty of Irish horses, but I don’t think you’ll see that all across the meeting. I don’t think as many Irish horses will even go to Aintree.”