The BoyleSports Irish Grand National’s continued ability to produce a fairytale was shown in all its glory when Freewheelin’ Dylan became the longest-priced winner in the history of the race, first run in 1870.
Giving 27-year-old jockey Ricky Doyle a win on his first ride in the race, the 150-1 chance is trained just three miles from the track by Dermot McLoughlin, whose father rode the winner of the race 59 years ago, and is owned by Sheila Mangan, who works in the yard.
Doyle, who is based with Conor O’Dwyer, set out in front over the three-mile-five-furlong trip and his mount gave the boldest of sights as he attacked each fence with relish. It seemed fanciful to believe one of the rank outsiders could hold his 27 rivals at bay, but as the race developed, it became increasingly likely.
Steadily, he got his rivals out of their comfort zones, but the well-fancied Run Wild Fred looked likely to prevail when he mounted his late effort.
However, the winner was the better of the two over the last couple of fences and responded ever so generously to complete his all-the-way success.
Enjoy D’allen ran his heart out to take third place, one spot ahead of top weight Latest Exhibtion, who lost nothing in defeat under his relative welter burden.
“It is a race I always wanted to have runners in, let alone try to win it, because my father rode the winner in 1962 so I was always trying to follow suit,” said McLoughlin. “I was fairly relaxed about it until we turned in, when I got a bit (excited).
“But it went to plan. I just said to Ricky that he likes to bowl along in front and jumping is his forte, so use him up. I was a bit concerned about not getting a run into him (since October) but it went to plan.
“I said to the lads that we better start shouting for turning into the straight because I knew he’d stay going. It was nice to see a horse winging fences like that and enjoying himself as well. It was great.”