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Freewheelin Dylan on the road to Aintree

Dermot McLoughlin has expressed his delight at the Grand National weight allocated to his Irish National hero Freewheelin Dylan.

The gelding was a surprise winner of the Fairyhouse staying contest last April, triumphing as the outsider having started the race at 150-1.

The Aintree equivalent has been pencilled into his calendar ever since, with McLoughlin working backwards from the world’s greatest steeplechase in an attempt to ensure his bay will be ready and eligible to take his chance over the famous Liverpool fences.

Rated 147 by the British handicapper, Freewheelin Dylan was allocated a burden of 10st 4lb when the National weights were officially revealed.

“That’s great, we’d be very happy with that,” McLoughlin said.

“It’s absolutely ideal really, spot on for him so long as he gets in.

“I can’t wait for the race, all we need now is the ground to come good for Aintree and we’re away.”

Freewheelin Dylan’s Irish National win came on yielding ground, something that McLoughlin considers essential to his success as he is not as effective on testing going throughout the winter months.

So far this season the 10-year-old has unseated his rider in the cross-country chase at Cheltenham in November and pulled up on soft ground when running over hurdles at Fairyhouse last month.

“He’s not a winter horse and he wants top of the ground,” said McLoughlin.

“When spring comes round he’s a different horse altogether and that’s a great weight to be going in off.”

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