Talking Horses: Freewheelin Dylan wins Irish Grand National at 150-1
Freewheelin Dylan wins Irish Grand National:- On Monday at Fairyhouse, Dylan made history when he won the Irish Grand National at 150-1, making him the longest-priced winner of the legendary event, which was first contested in 1870.
The total underdog, trained by Dermot McLoughlin and ridden by Ricky Doyle, led all the way to accomplish one of the greatest upsets in modern racing history.
“I couldn’t believe it – I felt everything was too fantastic to be true!” Doyle said afterward. His leaping is incredible, but the way he traveled and the rhythm he was in [were incredible].
“I could sense horses on me as I turned in, and I could feel him picking up. I was mentally doing the arithmetic and wondering to myself, “Did I leap last the first time?” I was completely immersed in a dream the entire time.
“He’s a proper summer ground horse,” says the rider. In the same way, I won a Midlands National on him. I couldn’t believe my eyes since I was overjoyed with everything. This means the world to me. I enjoy this sport and horses, so I wouldn’t mind if the winner got nothing. “I am overjoyed.”
McLoughlin, who trains locally, comes from a family of Irish National winners, with his father Liam winning the race with Kerforo in 1962. The famous Arkle, largely considered as the finest horse in jump racing history, was won for the first time by McLoughlin senior.
“It’s fantastic — everything went according to plan,” the trainer remarked. ‘He likes to bowl along in front, and leaping is his forte, so use him up,’ I told Ricky. I was a little worried about not running into him. Turning onto the straight, I remarked that we should start yelling since I knew he’d keep going.
“When he came in off the turf last year, we said we’d shoot for this in September. It was a race I’d always wanted to enter, let alone compete in. I was constantly striving to keep up with my father, who rode the winner.”
Runner-up: Thyestes Chaser Around the home bend, Run Wild Fred seemed a serious threat, but he couldn’t seem to catch up to Freewheelin Dylan, who galloped all the way to the finish for a one-and-a-quarter-length victory. Under the welter load of 11st 10lb, Run Wild Fred was a clear second, with Enjoy D’allen third and 9-2 favorite Latest Exhibition a creditable fourth.
Meanwhile, Paul Townend will visit a doctor later this week to assess the extent of a foot injury sustained on Sunday at Fairyhouse. Townend, who is set to ride second-favorite Burrows Saint in the Grand National at Aintree next Saturday, was riding Egality Mans for Willie Mullins in the Colm Quinn BMW Novice Hurdle when the stablemate Power Of Pause, ridden by Bryan Cooper, was brought down at the third-last.
Stormy Ireland won the Underwriting Exchange Hurdle on Monday, and Townend was replaced by Danny Mullins in the race. Townend started the week 10 wins clear (95-85) of Rachael Blackmore, with the championship due to end on the last day of the Punchestown Festival on 1 May..