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FREEWHEELIN DYLAN: Irish National winner set for Kilbeggan outing

Irish Grand National hero Freewheelin Dylan returns to the racetrack on Thursday afternoon



Jockey Ricky Doyle and Freewheelin Dylan celebrate winning The BoyleSports Irish Grand National Chase during the 2021 Fairyhouse Easter Festival at the Fairyhouse racecourse, Ireland. Picture date: Monday April 5, 2021.

In April, Freewheelin’ Dylan caused a major upset when winning the Irish Grand National at odds of 150-1 for Dermot McLoughlin under a blistering front-running ride at Fairyhouse.

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It was the longest-priced winner of the race since its inception in 1870 and was far more unsurprising than Minella Times’s Aintree success under Rachael Blackmore five days later.

Minella Times ridden by Rachael Blackmore clears the water during Grand National Day of the 2021 Randox Health Grand National Festival at Aintree Racecourse, Liverpool. Picture date: Saturday April 10, 2021.
Freewheelin Dylan’s triple-figure price was followed by a slightly more well-backed winner in the English National, Minella Times

However, off just a 2lb lower mark eight months earlier, the son of Curtain Time took home the Midlands National at Kilbeggan when holding off a late charge from Three Musketeers to win by a nose under Ricky Doyle.

Jockey Ricky Doyle and trainer Dermot A McLoughlin celebrate after Freewheelin Dylan won The BoyleSports Irish Grand National Chase during the 2021 Fairyhouse Easter Festival at the Fairyhouse

On Thursday, the 9-year-old will bid to land back-to-back wins in the contest in a hot-looking renewal in County Westmeath.

His handler told the Racing Post that he has some big plans for his stable-star, including a possible tilt on Merseyside for next season’s equivalent.

“Options are thin on the ground and, given he loves Kilbeggan, you kind of have to go back there. He will have to carry top weight in the Midlands National but we could always claim off him.

Many Clouds ridden by Leighton Aspell celebrates winning the Crabbie's Grand National Chase on Grand National Day of the Crabbies Grand National Festival at Aintree Racecourse, Liverpool.
Could Freewheelin Dylan feature at next year’s Aintree Grand National?

“Galway wouldn’t suit him so he won’t go for the Plate so it will more than likely be Kilbeggan and then we could even aim him at some of the cross-country races before heading to the Aintree Grand National.”

Enda Bolger’s Killarney National victor Shady Operator is set to feature on Thursday, while Roaring Bull is back down to his last winning mark.

Dominic Chapman is senior content writer at Low6 with a passion for horse racing. He provides a NAP and NB every day throughout the week on selected National Hunt and Flat cards in both Britain and Ireland. Additionally, he hosts the Paddock Picks Podcast with former Welsh Grand National-winning pilot, Charlie Poste - the pair interviewing and discussing current racing topics with a special guest every week.