Peter Fahey is targeting the Cheltenham Festival with The Big Doyen following an encouraging performance at the track during the November Meeting.
The six-year-old has banked plenty of experience over hurdles and has been an improver since stepping up in trip in his most recent starts, winning at Galway in the summer before placing at both Limerick in October and when outstayed by two useful prospects in a Grade Two at Prestbury Park last time out.
His handler has taken plenty of positives from that raiding mission and is now eyeing a return to Gloucestershire in the spring for a tilt at one of the Festival handicaps, with a drop back in trip for the County Hurdle a plausible option.
“He ran a very good race (at Cheltenham) and what I really liked was how well he settled,” said Fahey.
“He settled really well and it looked like he was just outstayed in the race.
“He took the travelling over there really well and hopefully we can aim him back at one of the handicaps there during the Festival.”
The trainer went on: “Even the County Hurdle (would be an option) because even though he was very keen in all his races (previously) over two miles, the way he jumped and travelled the last day, at two miles I think he was going best of all.
“He definitely had more pace than his rivals that day and just didn’t get home.
“I think definitely over there when it is a true run race, I think two miles might be as far as he wants.
“He will have plenty of options and he will definitely have an entry in the Martin Pipe as well, and we will see what happens.”
In the immediate future, Fahey is considering a tilt at the Grade One Paddy Power Future Champions Novice Hurdle at Leopardstown on December 27 and although he could face a stern test, it is a race that could allow The Big Doyen to add to his prize-money haul.
“At the moment, we have done an entry and we’re just looking at how things are between now and then,” continued Fahey.
“There is a good chance he will run there and he has a good bit of experience and it isn’t usually the biggest of fields. So, if he could get himself placed, he could pick up a good lump of prize-money and that would be great.
“But I do think the future for him would be in those good handicaps.”