'I backed him at 66-1, 100-1 and 150-1' – owner confident bookies had it wrong

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Sheila Mangan: "I couldn’t believe when they came to the fourth-last he was still hacking"

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Sheila Mangan: “I couldn’t believe when they came to the fourth-last he was still hacking”

The owner of shock Irish Grand National winner Freewheelin Dylan revealed she kept backing the 150-1 winner the bigger the price went.

You can hear Jerry Hannon’s commentaries from trainer Dermot McLoughlin’s yard four miles down the road from Fairyhouse and Freewheelin Dylan’s shock success was a local victory in every sense of the word given the horse is owned by the handler’s head groom Sheila Mangan.

Freewheelin Dylan may have been sent off a 150-1 outsider for the most valuable jumps race in Ireland but Mangan’s confidence belied such odds.


Freewheelin Dylan becomes biggest-priced Irish National winner ever at 150-1


Speaking from her base in Garritstown, County Dublin, the jubilant owner said: “I backed him at 66-1 and I thought that was a hell of a price. Then he went out to 100-1 and I thought, ‘What is wrong with people?’

“Then he went 150-1 and I said, ‘Ah for feck sake, I have to have a bit of that as well’. So I backed him at 66-1, 100-1 and 150-1. We got a nice few quid and it will pay for a party when we can have one.”

What did Mangan see that the rest of us didn’t? 

“I was so confident in our chances when I knew that Ricky [Doyle] was going to be riding him because he looked after the horse on days the ground was against us,” she explained. 

“He knew today that everything was coming right. It didn’t matter that he hadn’t run in a while because Dermot can get them ready first time up – he’s a class trainer.

“When Vics Canvas was third in the Aintree National, I’ll never forget Dermot told me that Freewheelin Dylan was his next National horse. He was dead right. Please God, he might go to Aintree next year.”

Mangan is a former whipper-in to the Ward Union Hunt, and it was the Ward Union’s huntsmen Pat Coyle and Darren Campbell who accompanied her winner back in on Monday.

And while Mangan may be the official owner of Freewheelin Dylan, she was keen to stress that the victory belonged just as much to every one of McLoughlin’s small and loyal bunch of stable staff.

She said: “I haven’t come back down to earth and I don’t plan on it any time soon either. I’d be inclined to celebrate these kind of things because they only happen once in a blue moon.”

Mangan added: “I’ll be back to welcome the horse to the yard and there will be a glass or two of champagne. I couldn’t believe when they came to the fourth-last he was still hacking.

“I said to myself that he would be placed at worst. He was still in his comfort zone. I kept saying to Dermot that he would stay. I had great belief in him. I’m just delighted for everyone in the yard. It’s as much their win as it is mine.”


Read more:

Madgwick ‘over the moon’ with 100-1 winner – and 125-1 shot scores at Wincanton

‘I can’t believe it’s just happened’ – jockey in shock after 300-1 Guineas win

Winning jockey taken aback as ‘out of sorts’ 80-1 shot springs major surprise

‘It’s a total shock to the system’ – 80-1 Rasen winner stuns trainer and punters

125-1 and 100-1! Massive-priced Boxing Day winners stun festive punters


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FIRST PUBLISHED 7:13PM, APR 5 2021