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05th Apr 2021

“I was just looking forward to having a spin in it” – 150/1 shot lands the Irish National

Niall McIntyre

The money came for Latest Exhibition, the win went to Freewheelin Dylan.

At 150/1, the locally trained Freewheelin Dylan won the Irish Grand National for trainer Dermot McLoughlin and jockey Ricky Doyle on this Easter Monday. The nine-year-old made his way to the front early on and with his jumping slick and quick, was never headed before storming up the Ratoath run-in to win the second national of his career.

The 2020 Midlands National champion proved his ability yet again here, leaving highly rated horses such as Sempo and Latest Exhibition in his wake to take the €270,000 prize. It was the biggest win of trainer Dermot McLoughlin’s career, his father Liam having won this race as a jockey before him.

As for Kildare based jockey Ricky Doyle, this was the stuff of dreams. Riding in this race for the first time, the former flat jockey seized the day with a perfect ride and afterwards, the hard-working jockey was overjoyed.

“I can not believe it,” began the 27-year-old.

“I couldn’t wait for the race to come. I was just looking forward to having a spin in it.

“Turning in, I was thinking, there’s no way I’m going this well in an Irish National. I just couldn’t believe it. I’d dreamt about this and in my head, going to bed last night, I was thinking I’m going to ride him like I did when we won the Midlands National…I love all these nationals, this is what it’s all about.

“I’m around long enough. To only have my first ride in the race now, turning 27, it’s probably not ideal, but look I don’t care if I never ride another one. I’m absolutely delighted.

“I work hard. My career got off well on the flat, then it slowed up a good bit. Since I went to Conor O’Dwyer, he’s just had so much faith and trust in me. He’s brought me to this day.”

And if you thought Ricky Doyle did a good job on board, how about Dermot McLoughlin’s cousin Ollie watching on from home.