Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Legendary trainer John Kiely (right) has a huge chance of winning Wednesday’s Champion Bumper with A Dream to Share. Photo: Noel Browne. 

This year marks thirty years since the famed success of the John Kiely-trained Shuil Ar Aghaidh at Cheltenham having captured the 1993 Stayers’ Hurdle.
All those years later, and at 85-years-young, the Dungarvan handler is plotting another raid on Prestbury Park with Champion Bumper favourite, A Dream To Share.
A Dream To Share, first owned by the Gleeson family from Ardmore, recently changed hands to JP McManus for a fee of over €300,000.
The son of Muhaarar made a striking winning debut at Tipperary last May at 8/1, before following up at 2/9 in a winners’ bumper at Roscommon the following month. He was returning from a 235-day absence in the Grade 2 Bumper at the Dublin Racing Festival at Leopardstown in February, but bolted away in an eye-catching fashion, to see off another McManus horse in Fact To File by two and three-quarter lengths.
Kiely admits that despite his pass successes with the likes of Carlingford Lough and company, he would never have thought a day would come when he would be travelling over to Cheltenham with a live chance come crunch time.
“It’s a shock”, said the veteran trainer. “I didn’t think we’d ever again have a horse worthy of going there. This fella has surprised us, he’s unbeaten so far. We have to take our chance.”
McManus and Kiely have previously proved a successful partnership winning two Irish Gold Cups and a Galway Plate, and Kiely says he couldn’t recommend A Dream To Share enough to his lifelong friend.
“I’m delighted that JP bought him, because he always likes to have a good horse and I would’ve had no hesitation in recommending this fella. I’m happy to say that I’d be glad to keep him and I hope he does well for him.”
Kiely has no worries about sending A Dream To Share across the sea, as he is often unphased and takes most things in his stride.
“He has a very good temperament for travelling. He has a very good attitude”, said Kiely. “He’s a very cool horse that seems to take everything in his stride.”
The 85-year-old himself is somewhat more reluctant at the thought of the trip, but admits that he feels compelled to make the journey given the quality of his runner.
“I wouldn’t say that I’m as excited as ever heading over because I feel the pressure a bit now”, he admitted. It’s a young man’s game, especially when it comes to travelling. I’m not too keen on travelling, but I suppose I better go this time because we might not ever again have a horse like this.”
Victory is not imperative, as Kiely has learned throughout the course of his six decades of involvement in the jumps game. He believes his hope couldn’t be in better hands than those of leaving cert rider John Gleeson, and anything that happens from here on in is a bonus.
“We’ll take what happens and so will JP. It’s not the be all and end all. Bumpers can take a lot out of horses. He won’t be abused, because we have a rider that will look after him if he’s not good enough.”

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