Peter Fahey's Troytown and Munster National winner, The Big Dog, could have a Grand National success in him, despite now getting towards the back end of his jumping career.
The County Kildare trainer, who struck at Aintree with Top Novices' Hurdle winner Belfast Banter in 2021, will be hoping that The Big Dog can retrieve the world's most notable horse racing prize in 2024.
|Where||Aintree Racecourse, Liverpool|
|When||5.15, Saturday 13th April 2024|
|How to watch||bet365 live Sports Streaming Service, ITV and Racing TV|
|Odds||Corach Rambler 20/1, Noble Yeats 25/1, I Am Maximus 25/1, Vanillier 25/1, Mr Incredible 33/1, Delta Work 33/1|
The Big Dog headed to Aintree in 2023 as a 25/1 shot, but his form in handicap chases suggested Fahey's runner had a bigger chance than the antepost price.
Victories in two of Ireland's most competitive staying handicap chases, the Troytown Handicap Chase and Munster National, earmarked The Big Dog as a serious Grand National contender.
The winning run was snapped when the 10-year-old could finish only third in the Welsh National at Chepstow, but on the figures, that effort was at least on par with the Troytown victory.
The Big Dog did fall in the Grade 1 Irish Gold Cup at the 2023 Dublin Racing Festival. However, Fahey's charge was running a blinder at Leopardstown and progressed well in the build up to the Aintree showpiece.
Jockey Keith Donoghue had the Grand National on his mind when The Big Dog won the Troytown Handicap Chase at Navan in November 2022.
The rider, who was successful aboard Delta Work in the Cross Country Chase at the 2023 Cheltenham Festival, believed that Fahey's runner had what it takes to succeed over Aintree's famous fences.
It was Aidan Coleman though who was given the ride in the 2023 National, with Donoghue on board Gordon Elliott's Delta Work instead.
Having sat in midfield in the early stages of the 4m 2f race, Coleman and The Big Dog – who is 33/1 to win the Grand National in 2024 - started to make headway from the 10th fence.
The Fahey-charge moved into second when jumping Valentines second time around but was ridden after the penultimate fence. He stayed on well though until the final 100 yards and eventually finished fifth, 8¾-lengths behind the impressive winner, Corach Rambler.
The Big Dog is likely to return to Aintree in 2024 when he will be 11-years-old, an age at which there have been previous Grand National winners.
Pineau De Re was the last 12-year-old to win the big race, back in 2014, although the last eight winners have been either nine or younger.