Brian Lawless/PA Any Second Now came out on top at Fairyhouse.
Grand Plans

Any Second Now enjoys perfect National prep at Fairyhouse

Runner-up Escaria Ten also ran a big race with the Aintree Grand National in mind.

ANY SECOND NOW edged out Escaria Ten in a thrilling finish to the Tote Bobbyjo Chase at Fairyhouse.

Both are leading players for the Grand National at Aintree, with Any Second Now having finished third in the race last year while Escaria Ten was a general 16-1 shot before this race for the world famous marathon.

Any Second Now was conceding 8lb to his rival and it looked as though the extra weight might take its toll as Escaria Ten set sail at the turn for home, with favourite Burrows Saint dropping away very quickly when asked to up his effort.

However, the Ted Walsh-trained Any Second Now kept finding for pressure and Mark Walsh just got his head on front at the line to win by a nose, with 42 lengths back to the disappointing Burrows Saint.

Paddy Power make both Any Second Now and the Gordon Elliott-trained Escaria Ten 12-1 chances for National glory after their photo finish.

Walsh said: “He can win at two miles, or he can win at three miles, or he can win at three and a quarter miles. That’s what you need going to the National, a bit of luck. He’s in good old nick.

“Six weeks to go and he didn’t have that hard of a race, he got a couple of smacks at the back of the last. He’s 10 years of age.”

Mark Walsh and owner JP McManus were completing a big-race double after Icare Allen earlier galloped home a cosy winner of the Norman Colfer Winning Fair Juvenile Hurdle.

Betfair chopped Icare Allen to 20-1 from 33s for the Triumph Hurdle at Cheltenham, but trainer Willie Mullins is unsure if he will go for the Grade One contest or take a handicap alternative.

Gavan Casey is joined by Bernard Jackman and Murray Kinsella to look ahead to Italy, chat about the provinces’ latest signings, and remember ‘Inga the Winga’.

The42 Rugby Weekly / SoundCloud

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