It may only be the opening throes of the new National Hunt season but the ante-post favourite for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, A Dream To Share, runs at Punchestown on Wednesday.
The John and Thomas Kiely-trained five-year-old has already created his own little piece of history having won five bumpers last season, which included popular successes at Cheltenham and Punchestown.
He was ridden to all of those by amateur jockey John Gleeson, as his family bred and previously owned him. Bought by JP McManus after his victory at the Dublin Racing Festival, Mark Walsh takes over in the BetVictor Predictor Maiden Hurdle.
“It’s nothing really to do with the ground, John is just happy with him and said he’s happy to start off and it looks a nice starting point,” said McManus’ racing manager Frank Berry.
“He’s in good form but he’ll naturally improve for the run.
“It’s very rare for a horse to do what he did, winning five bumpers and two Grade Ones, it doesn’t happen too often.
“He was very good and John did a great job with him. We’re looking forward to seeing what he can do over hurdles now.
“John has been happy with his schooling, obviously he’ll learn from the run but he’s happy to start him off and touch wood all will go well.”
McManus also has the favourite in the BetVictor Proud Sponsors Of Irish Racing Novice Chase in the Willie Mullins-trained Hercule Du Seuil.
The winner of four of his five runs over fences, he is already rated as high as 150.
“He’s taken to jumping very well and has done everything that has been asked of him so far. We’ll just see how he gets on on Wednesday and take it from there,” said Berry.
“He’s won on good ground, he’s won on heavy ground but I think the big thing with him is that he’s learned how to settle. He’s certainly going the right way.
“The handicappers tend to give the summer horses very high marks now. Sometimes they can get a bit lost when the better horses come out so let’s see how he gets on.”