Wednesday, March 15, 2023

John Gleeson on the John Kiely trained A Dream To Share return to a great reception in the winners’ enclosure after their win in the Champion Bumper at the Cheltenham Festival. Photos: Inpho. 

The second-day of the Cheltenham Festival ended with a Waterford double as Maskada trained by Henry de Bromhead and A Dream to Share trained by Dungarvan’s John Kiely won the final two races on a “dream” ending to a fairytale story in the Champion Bumper.
After Maskada secured Team de Bromhead with their second win of the week after Honeysuckle’s win in the Mares’ hurdle when scoring under Darragh O’Keeffe in the Johnny Henderson Grand Annual, there was bigger joy just under an hour later when A Dream to Share won the bumper for Kiely and young jockey John Gleeson.
Bred and formerly owned by Brian Gleeson and his wife Claire, the horse, who won the bumper on day one of the Dublin Racing Festival, was sold onto owner JP MacManus, and given a confident ride by the Gleeson’s only son John (17), the 7/2 second favourite outstayed Willie Mullins’ Fact to File to land a famed triumph.

A delighted trainer John Kiely (85) said: “I’m thrilled. To win any kind of a race at Cheltenham and especially for owner JP MacManus is amazing. It couldn’t be better.
“John (Gleeson) has been very capable always. He is with me now four years or maybe longer. When he came, he was interested, and he is still interested. I hope he stays with me. He is doing his leaving.
“It gives me great pleasure to help juniors as jockeys since when I started. You look at jockeys like Denis Coakley and Niall Houlihan now. They all learned a bit from me, and I hope that they continue.
“This is a really lovely game. It was proven yesterday with the reception that Honeysuckle got. Everybody to a man was behind Henry and their outfit. I can tell you that whatever happens in life, you can ups and downs. John Gleeson is an only son like that. I’m sure Henry’s son Jack would have gone the same way. I believe that.
“It’s wonderful that this stage in my life. My brother trained the winner of the stayers hurdle in 1993. That was a big thrill and we all walked together. It’s the family element that makes it extra special. It’s great.
“The horse always seemed to do things easy. We don’t over ask them at all. When he first ran in Tipperary, we were running him with all the allowances. He had an easy race and as a result he improved from there. He improved since after the Dublin Racing Festival, and we’re just delighted.”


Darragh O’Keeffe celebrates on Maskada after winning the Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Challenge Cup Handicap Chase for Henry de Bromhead.

After the success of Honeysuckle in the Mares hurdle at day one of the Cheltenham Festival, Waterford trainer Henry de Bromhead picked up his second winner of the week as the 22/1 shot Maskada landed the Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Handicap Chase.
Speaking after the race, the winning trainer said: “I’m delighted for everybody. The Mariga’s are great supporters of ours. They have a fantastic broodmare brand, and I’m delighted for them as they put a lot into the game. I’m delighted for Darragh O’Keeffe as it is his first winner at Cheltenham. It’s a brilliant day for him.
“She is a lovely mare and she loves the soft ground. I must give a shout out to Paul Roche back home as well, who suggested we buy her. There’s a lot of people involved so we’re delighted. When the rain came we thought that she would have a good chance.
“We were hoping that the ground would suit her and Darragh said that she loved it. She won at Limerick at Christmas and the horse that she beat Rebel Gold has done very well since so the form was strong. She was a bit disappointing at Leopardstown, but the ground went against her.
“Her jumping today was deadly. It’s brilliant and amazing. She is a really good mare and we’re delighted to have her. I’m delighted for everybody.”

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