Ted Walsh's Any Second Now impresses at Punchestown

Mikael D’Haguenet, Vautour and Douvan all claimed prize on way to Cheltenham glory

Ted Walsh-trained Any Second Now won the Sky Bet Moscow Flyer Novice Hurdle at Punchestown. Photo: Inpho

Ted Walsh-trained Any Second Now won the Sky Bet Moscow Flyer Novice Hurdle at Punchestown. Photo: Inpho

 

Ted Walsh is in no rush to commit Any Second Now to future targets following his assured victory in the Sky Bet Moscow Flyer Novice Hurdle at Punchestown.

The Grade Two contest has a star-studded role of honour, with Willie Mullins having saddled six of the last eight winners.

Mikael D’Haguenet (2009), Vautour (2014) and Douvan (2015) all claimed this prize on their way to Cheltenham Festival glory, while last year’s winner Min found only Altior too strong in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at Prestbury Park.

The betting suggested Clonmel scorer Crack Mome was the latest Mullins superstar in waiting, with punters sending him off a heavily-backed 4-11 favourite.

Ruby Walsh moved the market leader to the lead before the home turn, but he was flat-footed at the final flight and was unable to resist the late charge of 6-1 shot Any Second Now, who got up to score by a length and a quarter.

The JP McManus-owned gelding was a 66-1 winner on his racecourse debut at Navan, but his trainer clearly holds him in high regard.

Walsh said: “It’s a pleasant surprise again, but not as big a surprise as the first day. I would have been disappointed if he didn’t run well.

“It’s a sharp two miles around here and I was worried about that, but his jumping was very good.

“It’s great to have him and the right man (JP McManus) has him, as he won’t be for sale. He could be a very good horse.”

RaceBets gave Any Second Now a quote of 12-1 for the Supreme at Cheltenham in March, but Walsh is refusing to get carried away.

“He’s a big, raw sort of a horse and I’ll leave plans to Frank (Berry) and JP. They have loads of ammunition and I’m sure they won’t be rushing him,” said the trainer.

“When Vautour won this you had no doubt he was a Cheltenham horse. The same with Min and Douvan.

“I would say if you were looking for a runner he’d run respectably, but for me to say he’d win at Cheltenham after that — to be honest I’d say you’d be clutching at straws.

“It’s nine weeks away and he’ll probably have another run in the meantime.

“We could maybe look at the Deloitte (Leopardstown, February 12).”

Any Second Now was one of two winners on the afternoon for McManus, with the Jospeh O’Brien-trained Edwulf (9-2) seeing off the highly-rated pair of Bachasson and Mall Dini in the opening sportinglife.com Beginners Chase.

O’Brien said: “He was entitled to win one of these. He’s a very good jumper but at the same time his jumping hasn’t been brilliant. I think he made one mistake today but he was fairly good all the way.

“I think he’s entitled to take his chance in a good race. We’ll see how he comes out of it and find a nice race for him in about three weeks’ time.

“I wouldn’t be against going for the two-mile-five race at Leopardstown (Grade One Flogas Novice Chase).

“Soft or heavy ground is good for him.”

Sandra Hughes-trained veteran Canaly (16-1) showed his rivals the way home in the Connollys RED MILLS Amateur National For The Conyngham Cup (Q.R.) Handicap Chase in the hands of top amateur Derek O’Connor.

Hughes said: “That’s great. He’s back in business — not bad for an old boy!

“Now that I know he stays three miles he has a lot more options.”

Gunnery Sergeant (13-8) belatedly opened his account over hurdles for Noel Meade and Gigginstown House Stud in the David Trundley Artist At Punchestown Maiden Hurdle.

“He deserved that. He got a nice lead and jumped very well,” said Meade.

Gordon Elliott and Katie O’Farrell combined to land the Visit www.punchestown.com Mares Handicap Hurdle with 20-1 shot Definite Ruby.

Tulpar was a 16-1 winner of the Martinstown Opportunity Handicap Chase on his first start for trainer Patrick Neville and the concluding Irish Stallion Farms E.B.F. Mares Flat Race went to the mother-daughter combination of Jessica and Kate Harrington with 3-1 chance Fintara.

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