The Big Dog (Mahler) Wins The Punchestown Grand National Trial

Son Of Mahler Lands Punchestown National Trial

The Big Dog (8g Mahler - Saddlers Leader, by Saddlers’ Hall) leapt into contention for the Irish Grand National when landing the valuable Punchestown Grand National Trial on Sunday.

Having been placed on all but one of his previous starts over fences, Peter Fahey’s charge was sent off favourite for the Grade B contest, which saw him step up to three and a half miles for the first time. He chased the leaders under Jamie Codd, improving into second from five out and gained the advantage a fence later. Pushed along from the penultimate fence, he was briefly headed at the last, but ran on well to regain the advantage close home, winning by half a length on the line.

“His jumping was brilliant today until he took it up,” the winning trainer said after the race. “He hasn't been overrated and hopefully he can improve. He'll stay going in those good staying handicap chases as long as the ground is good and heavy. If it came up heavy he could run in the Irish Grand National. He'll definitely get an entry.”

The Big Dog earned €47,200 for owners Damien and Colin Kelly on Sunday, adding to a bumper and maiden hurdle win, as well as finishing second in a valuable hurdle race at the track as a four-year-old.

The son of Beeches Stud sire Mahler was bred by Kevin Neville and is a half-brother to Grade 3 winner Saddlers Encore.