Leaving Cert Student in Disbelief After Win in First Ever Cheltenham Race
| Last updated
What were you doing three months before your leaving cert? If you’re John Gleeson, you were causing a major upset at the Cheltenham Festival by winning the Weatherbys Champion Bumper against all the odds.
The 18-year-old from Waterford was riding A Dream to Share to a stunning victory beating Patrick Mullins’ 16/5 strong favourite Fact to File on day two of one of the most important racing festivals on the calendar.
Gleeson was in disbelief after crossing the line and was swarmed by family and spectators alike. “Did that just happen? I can’t believe it,” the champion jockey exclaimed in the winners enclosure.
Speaking after the race, the jockey said, “All the lads and everyone in school were watching so they’ll all get a good kick out of that.”
“I got the week off. Thankfully the school are very supportive and they’re watching now, so it’s great.” Adding, “I’ve the bug now, for sure. I’ll get the Leaving Cert out of the way and take it from there.”
The race was watched by Gleeson’s very emotional and proud dad, Brian, who said “it’s tremendous. The Cheltenham Festival, your son riding in those colours and trained by a maestro in John Kiely. It doesn’t get any better.”
A Dream to Share is trained by 85-year-old family friend John Kiely and gave its owner JP McManus his 70th festival win after he bought the five-year-old from jockey John’s father and RTÉ presenter Brian Gleeson.
Gleeson rode A Dream to Share at trainer Kiely’s stable before school at St Augustine’s College in Waterford every day in the run-up to the festival. He said “I’ve been going to John Kiely for as long as I can remember. I ride this horse every day before school, so it is very special.”
He also paid tribute to JP McManus and was honoured to wear JP’s iconic green and yellow stripes for his first festival win.
He said: “It’s a privilege, Mr McManus let me keep the ride and I’m very grateful to him for that. It’s great to get the opportunity here at Cheltenham, there’s nothing like it.”
Featured Image Credit: Sportsfile
Topics: Ireland, Sport, Daily Ladness