Freewheeling Dylan, right, in the closing stages as Three Musketeers, red and black cap, challenges up the inner
© Photo Healy Racing
Freewheelin Dylan was a very game winner of a thrilling AXA Farm Insurance Midlands National Handicap Chase in Kilbeggan.
Ricky Doyle set out to make all on the eight-year-old gelding who jumped from fence to fence with aplomb.
The 11/1 chance was in the firing line, and ridden, as no less than five horses were within striking distance of him racing to the 14th and final fence.
He still held a narrow advantage upon landing, but edged left in the closing stages as Three Musketeers went for a run up his inner.
In a driving finish he just held on by a nose from Three Musketeers and Davy Russell who, on the camera angle, looked by many to have got up.
Gordon Elliott had the second and third as Swingbridge (50/1) was a length and a quarter further away.
“I'm delighted. It was his first run back and he's done it well,” said trainer Dermot McLoughlin.
“He ground it out and Ricky said he kept going and that his jumping kept him in it.
“His jumping was savage and he's gaining at fences all the time. It wasn't actually the plan to make the running as I thought there would be a lot more pace.
“It's a girl at home in the yard that owns him, so I'm delighted for her. We'll have a chat in the morning about plans, hopefully she makes it in!
“Today was the target anyway.”
The Stewards enquired into possible interference in the closing stages of this race involving Freewheelin Dylan, ridden by R.A. Doyle, placed first, Three Musketeers, ridden by D.N. Russell, placed second and The Big Lense, ridden by L.P. Dempsey, placed fifth, where it appeared that The Big Lense got tight for room on the rails and checked. Evidence was heard from the riders concerned. Having viewed the recording of the race and considered the evidence, the Stewards made no alteration to the Judge's placings, however they were of the opinion that D.N. Russell was in breach of Rule 214 in that he had ridden carelessly. Having considered his previous record in this regard, the Stewards suspended D.N. Russell for two race days.
Additional reporting by Gary Carson