Chris Kiely savoring the moment with July Cup hope Rohaan | Race News
After thinking he made a huge mistake, Chris Kiely now has arguably the hottest property sprinting on his hands at Rohaan.
The three-year-old, coached by David Evans, will be completed for the Darley July Cup on Monday after a strong performance in the Wokingham Stakes at Royal Ascot.
However, taking on older, seasoned performers in one of the hottest handicaps on the calendar hadn’t been the plan.
When the racehorse owner and professional player bought the horse, bringing in his friend, Crystal Palace defender James Tomkins, the intention was to compete in the Commonwealth Cup at the Royal Reunion, only to be told that ‘he was not eligible because he was a gelding.
“We bought the horse to go to the Commonwealth. After winning the Pavilion Stakes I told James he would go straight for Ascot Group 1.
“About six weeks after I bought it, on the Sunday night before the first stage for Wokingham and the deadline for Sandy Lane, a friend of mine told me the horse couldn’t race in the Commonwealth.
“I didn’t believe it, but we checked and realized. Then I turn around. What did I do?
“For the first time in my life, I panicked for a few hours – I made a mistake spending all that money and there’s nowhere to run it. Back then, we didn’t want to racing it against older horses.The July Cup wasn’t even on our radar.
“If we hadn’t found out, we would be sitting here with no wins under our belt.”
Rohaan won Sandy Lane at Haydock, beating Dragon Symbol, who ironically was first after the post, demoted to second, in the Commonwealth.
After this race, Kiely knew Rohaan must have a big chance at Wokingham.
“The only time I got confident all week was when Dragon Symbol moved past the Commonwealth job and I started to get a little excited. It made me realize that we have a serious horse and that we might have a chance in the big handicap.
“Then the draw bias and the rain came in our favor.”
Rohaan went from last to first under a brilliant run from Shane Kelly to take top honors from Wokingham and give Kiely a day he will never forget.
“Just being a part of it was surreal and Dave (Evans) told me ‘savor the moment’,” Kiely said.
“Having a winner there, I can honestly say it will be a day that I will never forget. I have probably watched the replay 300 times. The memory you receive, I can pass it on to future generations. an incredible experience.
“Once he’s got the idea now, it’s trying to do it again.”
After this superb performance, the July Cup, part of this year’s Qipco British Champions Series, was the inevitable next stop.
“We didn’t expect him to perform as well as he did in his last two runs and we didn’t want to face the older horses, but now with the numbers he produced at Ascot , we no longer have a choice. We have to go and face them, ”said Kiely.
“We think we could get the land we need. We probably wouldn’t be running it if there was a farm in the land description.
“The horse is in the shape of his life, he’s taking his race incredibly well. It’s a race where we’ll never get another stab and it’s a group one luck.
“The horse is on an upward curve and I think we’re going there with incredible luck and if it rains ahead we would almost go as a favorite. It’s an incredibly hot race and it’s nice to be a part of it. .
“If all goes well in the July Cup, we could opt for Maurice de Gheest four weeks later. He takes his shopping so well. As long as the iron is hot, we must strike, then we will complete it and pray for rain. “
Kiely recalled how lucky he had bought Rohaan after the horse won the Pavilion Stakes at Ascot in April.
“Dave had the horse for an owner based in Ireland. The horse won the flag, but the owner just couldn’t make it to England. He was basically stuck in Ireland because of Covid,” he said. he explains.
“Because he couldn’t pass, there was an offer on the Hong Kong table. Once I found out he was sold Dave told me the money involved. I had bought 15-20 horsepower over the past two years hasn’t really worked out so why not spend a little more money and try to get one and one that could stay in Dave’s backyard.
“I bought it with my friend James for a lot of money, but it worked out well. He had two points and two wins.
“It’s an amazing story and I’m just happy to be a part of it.”