Any Second Now came with a perfectly-time run to win the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Amateur Riders’ Handicap Chase at Cheltenham.
The concluding race on the third day of the Cheltenham Festival, saw 23 horses line-up for this 3 ¼ mile contest.
After another tiresome false start, the field went on their way with Arkwrisht, Crievehill and The Young Master among the early leaders.
Crievehill quickly went into a clear lead from The Young Master, with Captain Chaos, racing wide, in second and then Rogue Angel and The Young Master, with Arkwrisht next.
The leader took the fence at the top of the hill in front of Captain Chaos and Rogue Angel.
Racing back into the home straight, it was still Crievehill who led from Rogue Angel and Captain Chaos, while The Young Master was handy to the inside and next came Touch Kick and Kilfilum Cross.
That was the order as Crievehill took them out on their final circuit.
By the water jump, Crievehill had been joined by Captain Chaos and the latter led at the next.
Racing to the fifth last, Captain Chaos had the lead, while Touch Kick made a bad error.
Four out and Captain Chaos led Crievehill, further back, Speaker Connolly unseated.
Down the hill to the third last, Captain Chaos led but Arkwrisht fell.
On the home turn, Kilfulum Cross came to challenge and the grey led two out from Sky Pirate and Any Second Now.
Racing to the last, Kilfilum Cross was still there, but Any Second Now joined and passed the leader on the run-in to score for Derek O’Connor and Ted Walsh by three lengths.
Kilfilum Cross was a gallant second, with The Young Master third and then Crievehill, who ran on again.
Ted Walsh has always had a special affinity with the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Amateur Riders’ Handicap Chase after winning it as a jockey on Castleruddery in 1974 and Prolan in 1976, and he added a third win in the race, this time as a trainer, when Any Second Now beat Kilfilum Cross by three and three quarter lengths.
Walsh, father of the Festival’s leading rider Ruby, said: “You need all the help you can get here and Derek was marvellous on him all the way. It’s over 20 years since I won here with Commanche Court and over 40 since I rode Castleruddery and Prolan, and I love everything about it here.
“I only rode four winners here and I thought it was great, but Ruby can ride four winners in a day. That’s how different it is. But every year it seems to get better here. Some places lose their charm, but everything they have done here has improved it.
“It’s magnificent. It’s magic. I’ve been racing all over the world, but there’s nowhere like Cheltenham. This is on a planet of its own.”
O’Connor recording his fourth success at the Cheltenham Festival in total and his first win in the Kim Muir, commented: “”Any Second Now jumped and travelled very well. We had a great passage around and the only worry I had coming to the last was Kilfilum Cross, who is a horse I know well and stays very well. I did not know if I was going to get by him, but my fella was very game and galloped all the way to the line.
“Ted has done a wonderful job and gave me great confidence going out to ride him, as did Ruby and Katie. I had a chat with them before getting up on the horse and when you have people like that giving you confidence, it instils confidence and means you can ride them with loads of confidence. The Walsh family are an incredible family and they gave me that pleasure today.
“Any Second Now has done everything bar win. He has mixed it with all the good horses in graded races and has run real creditable races in good handicaps as well. I think we had him really, really right today and he loved that extra bit of a trip. The ground is a good bit drier than yesterday and he liked that too.
“Going forward, he could be a good staying horse, maybe for an Irish National or something like that.”
The gallant Kilfilum Cross was ridden by Alex Edwards and he commented: “Kilfilum Cross has run an absolute blinder. That was just his fourth start over fences – it was a pleasure to sit on that horse.
“I thought he was going to win jumping the last, but the winner was obviously well treated in this event, but I’m delighted with that.”
Neil Mulholland’s The Young Master was a further three and a half-lengths back in third and his amateur rider Sam Waley-Cohen commented: “The Young Master ran really well. He needs further, but he is a great jumper.
“We’re really pleased with him.”