Bowen happy with Noble Yeats’ Aintree prep

Last Updated 5 Apr 2023 | By Enda McElhinney | Commercial content | 18+ | Play Responsibly | T&C Apply | Wagering

Image via @JamesStevens180 on Twitter

Sean Bowen is counting down with enthusiasm to the Grand National at Aintree next month following a pleasing fourth from Noble Yeats in the Gold Cup at Cheltenham.

The Emmet Mullins-trained eight-year-old is no bigger than 9/1 to repeat last season’s heroics despite a 19lb rise in the weights this time.

He was ridden last April by Sam Waley-Cohen, son of owner Robert, on the final ride of his distinguished career as one of the most decorated amateurs of all time.

Bowen has taken mantle this season and is relishing the chance to head for Merseyside to defend the crown.

Meanwhile, Ted Walsh was thrilled to see Any Second Now win his final prep race en route for another tilt at the big one in Aintree, though keen to play down chances of his horse carrying top-weight to victory next month.

Cheltenham run pleases Bowen

Bowen has been on board for Noble Yeats’ last four starts, including his fourth behind Galopin Des Champs, Bravemansgame and Conflated at Cheltenham.

Though he typically got outpaced in the Gold Cup, Noble Yeats kept on admirably up the straight to snatch fourth from Protektorat and was only a length and a quarter off third-placed Conflated at the line.

“It was a great run. He was a bit outclassed in the Gold Cup and was flat out, but he kept going well,” said Bowen.

“He’s won a Grand National and it seems like he stays very well. I can’t complain, he ran very well against some very good horses at Cheltenham and it looks like great form.”

Bowen has yet to go close in the Grand National but he does have some good memories of the Merseyside track.

He won the Topham with Mac Tottie last season over the National fences, while he broke his Grade 1 duck aboard If The Cap Fits at Aintree when landing the Liverpool Hurdle in 2019.

Walsh pleased but plays down Aintree dreams

Any Second Now won a second Webster Cup at Navan on Monday afternoon for trainer Ted Walsh and, in doing so, teed himself up for Aintree next month.

He won the same race in 2021 in impressive fashion before his luckless third to Minella Times at Aintree soon after.

He ran another blinder last spring behind Noble Yeats, this time taking the silver medal.

Though he warmed up in fine style over the 2m4f trip he was entitled to win on ratings and Walsh, who won the National with Papillon together with son Ruby in 2000, is playing down hopes of another big run come April 15.

“I’m happy with him now,” said the trainer. “Any time he has gone to Aintree he has gone with a win, in this race twice and the Bobbyjo last year. He’s been a model of consistency. I’m glad they got this meeting on. It’s a month to Aintree now and that should be grand.

“He has a big task at Aintree. He is up 8lb from last year. He wasn’t unlucky last year, a horse on the improve beat him. He will need absolutely everything to fall right for him and for a few of the fancied ones to run into trouble. But it’s great to have him.”

Enda McElhinney

Enda McElhinney is a racing writer with a growing portfolio of work on both British and Irish racing, with a particular fondness for National Hunt racing. While he acknowledges there have been many great runners; there has only ever been one Denman.

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