Skip to main content Skip to site footer


Press Release 15th March 2023 Cheltenham

The Grade One Weatherbys Champion Bumper brought Festival Wednesday to a close and saw 19 year old amateur jockey John Gleeson and 85 year old trainer John Kiely combine for a famous victory with A Dream To Share.

John Gleeson, the winning jockey of A Dream To Share, said: “I can’t believe how smoothly it went to be honest! That just happened - I can’t believe it! I kind of set out to keep it simple, the ground has been poached everywhere but we thought that perhaps the outside was slightly better and we decided to take our time as the ground was slightly holding. I can’t believe he did that, he did it so smooth and so well.

“To be honest I didn’t see (any of the interference), as I was just smooth sailing the whole way. I followed Patrick (Mullins, riding the 16-5 Favourite Fact To File) and it just worked out so perfectly. It’s like a dream and I can’t believe it. Even being at the Festival is just unreal.

“We just approached it the same as Leopardstown really. John Kiely has been so good to me and at his age he just keeps me so cool and there was no pressure. I have to thank Mr McManus as well for letting me keep the ride and giving me the opportunity, I’m so grateful. Mr McManus was very generous and said I’d definitely keep the ride today and he was great, there was no pressure from him.

“It’s very special as we’re a small team at home, but we try our best to get to the next stage and to win. I can’t believe it. I’ve been going to John’s with dad for as long as I can remember really, he’s 10 minutes up the road from us and I ride out this horse every day before going to school. He’s very special.

“My mum named the horse on Christmas Day a couple of years ago. It’s very special as they’re all here today and it’s great to be here. I’d say my dad will be one proud dad, he gets a real kick out of it all and he’s very good to me and gives me plenty of sport – so I’m thrilled for me. I’d say I’ve been a bit calmer than dad! He’s been very excited to come here with a horse, let alone a chance, so it’s great it has come off.

“We thought the horse would improve from the last day and we’ve always thought a lot of him, but you never know until you come here on the big stage. He did what we thought he might do. It’s a privilege to ride in these colours and I’m very grateful to Mr McManus for the opportunity.

“I’ve never had to take so many selfies! I’ll have to put my head down next week now though (at school) and carry on like normal, but we’ll enjoy this first. It’s special and great to get a winner here. I’m back at school on Monday – as it’s St Patrick’s Day on Friday. The school were really supportive and they were happy for me to take a couple of days off.

“I’m not too sure what I’ll do, though I’ve got the racing bug for sure! I need to get my Leavers exams out of the way and we’ll go from there. My sisters and a couple of cousins and friends have come over – so I’m not the only one to take some time off school!

“It’s all surreal and it hasn’t sunk in.”

Brian Gleeson, the jockey’s father, added: “It’s tremendous and it means so much. It’s the Cheltenham Festival, my son is riding and he’s in those colours and the horse is trained by a maestro in John Kiely. It’s nearly a book.

“The horse was named by my wife Claire. Everything in life is worth sharing and we always thought that this horse was good, on Christmas Day Claire said she would call this horse A Dream To Share, trained by John Kiely. The dream was to win at the Cheltenham Festival.

“Everyone loves John Kiely. If you speak to Alastair Down or Brough Scott they’ll say it. This man is 86 in May and he’s had second and third placed finishes at Cheltenham and now he’s had a winner with JP McManus. It’s JP’s 70th Festival winner and John Gleeson’s first – it’s fairy tale stuff.

“The ride John gave the horse is down to John Kiely. He’s taught him patience and patience and the old owner was pretty wise too!”

John Kiely said: “I was always happy with the horse and he looked to be a nice horse from day one. I was concerned about the ground today to be honest but the horse came here tip top and I’m delighted with how it worked out. The ground was not his ideal and I was worried he got there too soon but it was great. He is fantastic (John Gleeson). He has come in every morning since I started with the horse to ride him. He will muck out and do everything. I hope he keeps his feet on the ground. I was here first in 1976 and we (me and my brother Paddy) had the winner of the Stayers’ Hurdle in 1993 (Shuil Ar Aghaidh).

“I’m 86 in May and I only gave up riding three years ago. It is brilliant to achieve this in the hallowed spot. The horse is named well and they named him on Christmas Day as a family and they named him A Dream To Share. It is lovely as they are a united family. We take every horse the same until they prove themselves. He seemed to do things easy. I think there is more to come and he seems a nice horse.”

Paul Nicholls, trainer of third placed Captain Teague: "Obviously that was a very pleasing performance to finish third and he is potentially a very smart horse for the future. But that's it for this season as he will be turned away before going novice hurdling in the autumn."

5.30pm Weatherbys Champion Bumper (Grade 1) 2m½f
1. A Dream To Share 7-2
2. Fact To File 16-5F
3. Captain Teague 40-1

21 ran
Distances: 1¼, 1¼, 3
Time: 3m 59.83s

1st winner at The Festival for jockey John Gleeson
1st winner at The Festival for trainer John Kiely
70th winner at The Festival for owner J P McManus


Cookie Policy

We use “cookies” to help enhance your experience and improve the functionality of our website. You can find out more in our cookie policy. We also serve cookies, some with chocolate chips, on our racecourses.