The Big Dog Grand National Wins
The Big Dog has never won the Grand National.
Their best finish to date was in 2023 where they came 5th. They were ridden by Aidan Coleman and trained by Peter Fahey.
The Big Dog may have started his career slowly over hurdles, but chasing has really brought out the best of him. He made his way through the handicap, which eventually took him to the 2023 Grand National, but before that, he was able to lant three big handicap chase races in Ireland, a remarkable record.
Foaled in 2013, the horse is trained by Peter Fahey in Ireland, where he has run most of his races. Staying has always been a strong point for the horse, the further he goes, the better he looks, making him tailor-made for a race like the Grand National at Aintree.
The Big Dog’s Early Years
At the start of his career, it wasn’t apparent that The Big Dog would go on to run at the top level and have success. He started running in Irish point-to-point races, where he finished second on debut, a very promising start, but on his second start, he fell, and that would be his last point run before going under rules.
He made his debut for Peter Fahey under rules in December 2017, running in a national hunt flat race at Leopardstown, where he finished fourth. On his second start, he won a minor event before being off the track for almost a year due to injury problems, which did seem to halt his progress in the earlier years.
His first run back would be a fourth-placed finish in a Grade Three hurdle before finishing second in a minor event and then winning another minor event. He would end his season at Leopardstown in a Grade One but would finish towards the back of the field.
Chasing would come next, but the horse would fail to win his first four starts before finally getting his head in front on his fifth start over fences. This would also be his first big race win.
The Big Dog’s Big Race Wins
The first time we saw The Big Don in the winner’s enclosure of a big race was during his novice chase season. It was his fifth start, his final start of that season, coming in February 2021. He went to Punchestown, and it was also the first time we got a glimpse of how much better this horse could be over a longer trip.
He won the 2021 Grand National Trial race at Punchestown, a win off a mark of 136, by half a length. As a second-season chaser, he struggled, but during his third season, the horse came to life and won another two big races.
First up, in October 2022, he won the Munster National at Limerick, beating Ain’t That A Shame by a head. This win came off a mark of 140, which would take him up in the weights again.
Following on from that, he would land another big race just a month later. This time it was the Troytown Handicap Chase at Navan, another big handicap, and that came off a mark of 148, and it came to be a winning distance of three and a half lengths. The horse would go up by 10 lbs in the weights as a result of that, showing just how successful the season was.
He would finish third in the Welsh Grand National, which was a great effort, before falling in the Irish Gold Cup on his last start before the Aintree Grand National. In this race, he would finish fifth in his first attempt, a strong effort where he stayed on strongly and put up a good account of himself, running off a career-high mark of 160.