The Big Dog pounced on a mistake at the last by Lifetime Ambition to follow up his Munster National success in the Bar One Racing Troytown Handicap Chase at Navan on Sunday – and leave Peter Fahey dreaming of Aintree with his ever-improving nine-year-old.
What a finish! ??— Navan Racecourse (@NavanRacecourse) November 27, 2022
?? The Big Dog denies Lifetime Ambition in a thrilling conclusion to the Bar One Racing Troytown Handicap Chase for Keith Donoghue and Peter Fahey ??@BarOneRacing @PeterRacing pic.twitter.com/Q5DPDdRK5C
Jessica Harrington’s runner-up had produced an exhibition of galloping and jumping in the hands of 7lb claimer Conor Smithers for the majority of the contest, leading the field along and still holding a length lead over his sole pursuer at the final obstacle.
However, with the petrol gauge flashing red, an untidy jump allowed Fahey’s 11/1 shot, who had been tracking the leader throughout, to storm clear on the run to the line in the hands of Keith Donoghue and defy the 8lb rise he received for winning at Limerick last month.
“I was telling the lads (Damien and Colin Kelly, owners) going to Limerick that he would improve a good bit from it but when he won, I was thinking how am I going to improve him from this,” said the winning trainer.
Who's a good boy? - The Big Dog gave his connections a day to remember in the Troytown at Navan on Sunday afternoon and could yet end up running in the most famous National Hunt race of them all. pic.twitter.com/HkUxFjAwzI— RTÉ Racing (@RTEracing) November 27, 2022
“He stepped up today and is a very lucky horse for me and the lads. It was a good performance today carrying the weight.
“The way he’s performing he could end up being a Grand National horse.”
Donoghue added: “I knew this lad stayed and I was glad to see a good pace in the race. He didn’t jump as well as he can today and the picture at the last won’t be great, but we got over it and I knew the finish here would suit.
“He’s a real stayer and was always going to keep finding for me. When he got to the front his ears were pricked, he’d loads left. It’s brilliant.”
The Davy Russell-ridden Death Duty finished best of the Gordon Elliott battalion in third, with stablemate Coko Beach in the hands of American champion jockey Parker Hendricks taking fourth.