HEREFORDSHIRE trainer Tom Lacey hinted that an outing at the Randox Grand National Festival at Aintree next month could be on the agenda for Dibble Decker, who enhanced his reputation as a course specialist Huntingdon on Sunday with victory the John Bigg “Oxo” Handicap Chase.

Having landed the two and a half mile feature 12 months ago with Nocte Volatus the Woolhope handler saw the £27,000 contest head back to his yard for the second season running following the seven year-old’s latest success at the track.

Ridden patiently early on by Stan Shepard the 9-4 favourite worked his way into contention before hitting the front on the approach to the final fence, where he was quickly pursued by eventual runner-up Dom Of Mary.

Despite being pressed all the way up the run in Dibble Decker did just enough to score by a nose to set up a possible appearance at the Merseyside track in the Freebooter Handicap Chase, which Lacey claimed back in 2018 with Thomas Patrick.

Following the race, which was a third win from as many starts at the track for Dibble Decker, connections were presented with the trophy by Odette Claydon, daughter of Willie Stephenson, who trained the 1959 Grand National winner Oxo.

Lacey said: “He has to be very patiently ridden going right-handed. We run around Chepstow earlier in the season thinking we didn’t want to be a one trick pony but going right handed on a flat track is what seems to suit him. 

“I was standing on the line and I thought he had got it but seeing the replay I questioned myself and everyone around me questioned me and it gave me doubts. 

“This is a race we targeted and it is nice when a plan comes off. The cheekpieces make a big difference as he is now going through his races better.

“We are probably going to have to go up in trip with him as the handicapper will have another say. It would be nice to think he improves going up in trip as he does jump well.

“He might get into the race that Thomas Patrick won on Grand National day a few years back.”

With the Cheltenham Festival fast approaching Lacey intends to send a small team to this year’s meeting headed up Tea Clipper, who will bid to go three places better than 12 months ago in the Ultima Handicap Chase.

He added: “We won’t be takin too many to the Cheltenham Festival. Tea Clipper will go for the Ultima again and Glory And Fortune is likely to go for the County (Handicap) Hurdle.

“Luttrell Lad could also go for the County as it all went wrong for him at Kelso on Saturday when his saddled slipped mid race.

“Tea Clipper would be our best chance but he is higher in the weights for the Ultima than he was in last year’s race.”