Any Second Now is a steeplechaser, owned by John P. McManus and trained by Ted Walsh, in Co. Kildare, who was placed in the Grand National in 2021 and 2022. In 2021, fresh from what was arguably a career-best effort in the Grade 2 Webster Cup at Navan, Any Second Now lined up at Aintree under 10st 9lb, which Walsh described as ‘a grand weight’. Any Second Now was backed accordingly, and started 15/2 second favourite, behind only Cloth Cap. Like those on https://www.robinroo.org/en , some felt they were onto a sure thing.
Having been badly hampered when Double Shuffle fell at the twelfth fence, he dropped to the rear of the field, but recovered steadily. By the time the field turned for home, he was disputing fourth place; he took third place at the final fence, he could make no further progress and was beaten 6½ lengths and 1¾ lengths by Minella Times and Balko Des Flos.
Any Second Now was not seen again in public until the start of the 2021/22 National Hunt season. After two quiet outings over hurdles in December and January, he won his preparatory race for the Grand National, the Bobbyjo Chase at Fairyhouse in late February, albeit by the minimum margin, from Escaria Ten. Any Second Now was subsequently sent off clear favourite, at 15/2, for the Grand National; he led over the final fence, but could no extra in the closing stages and eventually finished second, beaten 2¼ lengths, behind Noble Yeats, who was receiving 12lb.
Twice a winner over hurdles in his native Ireland early in his career, Any Second Now first attracted wider attention when staying on well to win the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup at the 2019 Cheltenham Festival. He has essentially been touted as a potential Grand National ever since but, still only a 10-year-old, may yet fulfil that potential. In the online casino gaming world, people learn to bide their time, and in sporting terms the same situation may well be anning out here.
For the uninitiated, Noble Yeats is a 7-year-old gelding, owned by Robert Waley-Cohen and trained by Emmet Mullins in Bagenalstown, Co. Carlow, who won the Grand National in 2022. Noble Yeats is bred to be a champion steeplechaser, being by one outstanding National Hunt sire, Yeats, out of a mare by another, Flemensfirth. However, he did not jump a regulation fence until October, 2021 and had the distinction of being the first 7-year-old to win the National since Bogskar in 1940. The gambling arena was a different world then, no online casinos to speak of, no daily televised racing either.
Narrowly beaten on his sole point-to-point start, Noble Yeats was subsequently sold for £75,000 at the Tattersalls Cheltenham Sale and made his racecourse debut, in the colours of Paul Byrne, in a Limerick ‘bumper’ on December 30, 2020. He was beaten favourite on that occasion but, stepped up in distance, kept on strongly to win a similar contest at Thurles by 19 lengths on his second start. He also won easily on his hurdling debut at Navan two starts later. Even leroijohnny casino en linge lovers would be able to appreciate this sporting talent.
Sent straight over fences at the start of the 2021/22 season, Noble Yeats won, albeit narrowly, on his debut, but didn’t trouble the judge again until finishing second, beaten 5½ lengths, behind impressive winner Ahoy Senor in the Grade 2 Towton Novices’ Chase at Wetherby in February. After that race, Noble Yeats was bought privately by Robert Waley-Cohen and made his first start for his new connections in the Ultima Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, in which he finished unplaced. Consequently, he lined up at Aintee as a largely unconsidered 50/1 chance. However, sporting first-time cheekpieces, he battled on to regain the lead from the favourite, Any Second Now, on the run-in and win by 2¼ lengths, with 20 lengths back to the third horse, Delta Work.
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