Big Fella Thanks is likely to have one more run before a third crack at the John Smith’s Grand National at Aintree
Trainer Ferdy Murphy was delighted with the nine-year-old’s fourth place behind Riverside Theatre in the Ascot Chase on Saturday and plans to give him an outing at Newbury on Saturday week.
"We were absolutely over the moon with Big Fella Thanks on Saturday – he ran an absolute blinder," said Murphy.
"Even better, he has come out of the race incredible. He was a handful on Monday morning – really fresh and really well – so we are delighted with him.
"We could have done without the rain at Ascot and even with that he was close to being third in a Grade One. We are really pleased with him and we’ll take him to Newbury on March 5. He was a bit fresh the other day and we just need another run to get the freshness off him. He will go straight on to Aintree from there, he won’t go to Cheltenham."
Character Building, seventh in 2010, is another National hope set to have one more prep run.
"He will definitely have a run before the Grand National," said trainer John Quinn.
"We sent him to Ffos Las last time for the good ground but unfortunately it teemed down with rain on the Friday night and Saturday morning, so the ground ended up being too soft. He still didn’t run too badly – he finished sixth and it was another competitive handicap chase.
"He has run OK this year. He is having a lot better prep than he was last year – he only had two runs to get him ready for last year’s National. He goes on good to soft or soft ground but when it gets very soft or heavy, he’s not as good. The ground is important for him."