The Big Dog is on schedule for the Grand National task.
Following his fall in the Irish Gold Cup at Leopardstown, trainer Peter Fahey reports that the Big Dog is healthy and ready to compete in the Randox Grand National on April 15.
On his first start of the season, he won the Munster National. In November, he won the Troytown Handicap Chase at Navan, a victory that made connections want to go to Aintree in the spring.
After that, he continued his successful campaign by finishing third in the Welsh Grand National against the best weight before receiving a Grade One assignment earlier this month at the Dublin Racing Festival.
The 10-year-old horse was tasked with taking on favorites Galopin Des Champs and Stattler for the Cheltenham Gold Cup. He did a great job of holding his own, and even though he had traveled well throughout, he was well in the shake up when he lost at the second last.
However, he is unharmed by that fall, and everything now points to the Merseyside marathon, where The Big Dog is a 25-1 shot to maintain the Irish-trained horses’ dominance.
“It looked like he was going to run a big race when he came down. Where his finishing position would have been I don’t know, but the one thing he was always going to do was stay on from the back of the second-last,” said Fahey.
“We were thrilled with his run and although he had a bad fall, he has come out of it well. We will just build up his confidence now with a bit of jumping and the main aim will be to go to Aintree.
“He’s back working away and exercising away and everything seems fine and all going well, we’ll be at Aintree.
“At the moment we’re not looking at running him again, but we still need to get him back jumping and schooling. If he hasn’t lost his confidence too much, we’d definitely not think about running again. If I think he needs a run to get his confidence back then we will give him one, but I would be leaning towards not running him.”
He went on: “He’s had a busy enough season and we know he goes well fresh. I think he’s done enough and if his jumping is OK after his fall, we’ll head straight to Aintree.
“If all things went well the last day, I think he would have run above his mark again which would have been a big performance and I think he proved he appreciated a bit of nicer ground as well, so there are definitely a few plusses to take out of his run in the Irish Gold Cup.”
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