Kildare County manager Peter Fahey is aiming for a Grand National brace with The Big Dog, provided it rains enough.
The eight-year-old, who currently has a 10-1 chance with sponsors of Coral Welsh National in Chepstow on December 27, signed last season with victory in the € 80,000 Punchestown Grand National Trial.
Having proven that endurance tests are his forte, Fahey is confident that Damien and Colin Kelly’s owned Mahler gelding will take advantage of his score of 147.
“I know he was fairly beaten on his return to Wexford, but he never really enjoyed running in small fields,” he said.
“He has a lot of weight and the hope is that there will be a lot of rain down there, and all the better for him.
“Everything is fine with him. He will go to school a week before leaving, but with him everything is fine”.
Amateur top Jamie Codd, who teamed up with The Big Dog for success in Punchestown, will not be available to race at Chepstow due to the suspension.
“It’s a shame Jamie isn’t available, because he knows the horse so well and suits him,” said Fahey.
“While nothing is finalized yet, we hope to have Johnny Burke aboard. He has never sat on him before, but he drove some winners for me and I hope he will sit on him early. It will be a great ride for anyone. is in the race. “
The win marked a memorable year for the Cloneygath stable, with county hero Hurdle Belfast Banter providing a first hit at the Cheltenham Festival and a grade one win at Aintree.
And Fahey doesn’t rule out the possibility of The Big Dog racing in the Grand National itself.
“He loves the hustle and bustle of these great handicaps and they are tailor made for him so please God he will go slow in the Welsh National.
“I wouldn’t rule out the Grand National itself – it’s an obvious goal – but we’ll get Chepstow out of the way before we make plans. I’m very happy with him right now and can’t wait for him to arrive.”