27/11/2022. International Horse Racing Post, Navan: ‘He absolutely loved it’ – The Big Dog strikes late to win the Troytown (stteple-chase)

Keith Donoghue celebrates after winning the Troytown on The Big Dog - Patrick McCann – By Liam Headd

Sunday: Bar One Racing Troytown Handicap Chase, Navan

The Peter Fahey-trained The Big Dog landed the Grade B Troytown Handicap Chase under Keith Donoghue after chasing down Lifetime Ambition on the run in.

The nine-year-old was making his second start of the season, having scored in the Ladbrokes Munster National at Limerick last month.

Speaking to RTE1, Donoghue said: “It was brilliant to win a big race here. I don’t get many chances in these big handicaps so it’s great.

“I knew this lad stays and it was great to see a good pace in the race. He didn’t jump as well as he could today, but I knew the finish here would suit him because he’s a real stayer.

“When I got left in front his ears were pricked and he absolutely loved it.”

Lifetime Ambition was leading the 3m contest approaching the final fence, but the seven-year-old made a mistake when landing and The Big Dog took full advantage.

Damien Kelly, who part-owns The Big Dog with his brother Colin, explained how emotional the victory was.

He said: “Our dad, who is no longer with us, gave us the love for horseracing and for days like this. We’ve been to Navan as young children.

“We had a point-to-point horse in 2014-15 and he gave us a bit of profit, so we invested in two horses. One turned out to The Big Dog and he means more to us than just a horse.”

Winning trainer Peter Fahey added: “I was telling the owners after Limerick that he’d improve a good bit, but he stepped up today.

“We had a stop-start season last year and things weren’t right the year before, but it’s great now. He’s a very lucky horse for us.”

Connections discussed the Grand National after the race, but Paddy Power have cut The Big Dog for a more immediate race. He is into 10-1 (from 16) for the Welsh Grand National at Chepstow next month.

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