The Big Dog is 25/1 for the Grand National at Aintree in April after winning Sunday's Troytown Handicap Chase at Navan; trainer Peter Fahey looking at Coral Welsh National at Chepstow, live on Sky Sports Racing on December 27
Wednesday 30 November 2022 15:37, UK
The Coral Welsh National, live on Sky Sports Racing, could be the next stop for Aintree hopeful The Big Dog, who took Navan's biggest prize with a convincing round of jumping in the Bar One Racing Troytown Handicap Chase on Sunday.
With a Munster National and a Grand National Trail at Punchestown already inked on his impressive CV, trainer Peter Fahey hopes he can build on career earnings that tally over £175,000 as he plots a path to the Grand National in April.
The nine-year-old looked tailor-made for last season's Welsh National only to be pulled up after a race-ending mistake on very soft ground.
Don't miss Welsh racing's seasonal highlight with the Welsh Grand National from Chepstow on December 27, live on Sky Sports Racing.
However, a return to Chepstow for some unfinished business may be on the cards for the Damien and Colin Kelly-owned stayer.
Following Keith Donoghue's supremely-timed delivery that saw him go on to record a three-and-a-half-length success at Navan, a step back up to an extended three and three-quarter miles on December 27 seems possible.
Fahey said: "It was brilliant - a great race. I don't know if we will go back over hurdles now, though. He is in the Welsh National and has a 4lb penalty for winning a handicap, so we will consider that first.
"The Grand National is the ultimate aim. I think he has the right credentials for it. As long as the ground is safe, that is definitely our end-of-season target. I think the trip and everything would be ideal.
"We will see how he comes out of the Navan race. It isn't long until the Welsh National, but if he is in good nick, we would consider going there. Then we will plan around Aintree after that.
"It was pretty soft at Chepstow last year and it didn't work out for him there, so fingers crossed we get a clean run with him."
Meanwhile, the versatile Peregrine Run, who won two decent handicap chases in England for the Monasterevin yard, and who finished runner-up in the Ulster Cesarewitch at Down Royal in between, will not be seen out again until after Christmas.
The 12-year-old, who has amassed over £330,000, winning 20 of his 64 career starts, remains a stable stalwart and retains all his enthusiasm, according to Fahey.
"He is out in the field at the moment," said the handler. "He is having a bit of a break and we will bring him back in the New Year.
"We will probably start him off in a handicap hurdle at Punchestown, something like that, and see how he goes from there.
"He is getting on in years, but we had a great run with him last year and we are looking forward to getting him back again.
Watch the Long Walk Hurdle from Ascot featuring Champ, Paisley Park and more on Saturday 17 December, live on Sky Sports Racing
"We will look at all the similar chases he was in last year and we will target him in England a bit again. It suits him there with nice ground.
"He had a brilliant run on the Flat at Down Royal. He just needs good ground and if he is as enthusiastic as he was last season, going into next year, we will be delighted."