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Cheltenham Festival: My Rides | Aidan Coleman

Three-time Festival winning jockey previews five of his top rides for the 2021 edition in two weeks’ time

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Aidan Coleman celebrates after Paisley Park wins the Stayers' Hurdle at the 2019 Cheltenham Festival

With two Cheltenham Festival winners to his name in the last two seasons – both of which were Grade One’s, Aidan Coleman heads to Prestbury Park in two weeks seeking more glory.

The Irishman has struck up partnerships with Emma Lavelle’s Paisley Park and the Henry de Bromhead trained Put The Kettle On, with the pair both set to return to Gloucestershire to become dual Festival winners.

Across the average National Hunt campaign, he will be seen to be riding for an array of trainers, including Nicky Henderson, Olly Murphy, Tom Symonds and Anthony Honeyball.

Coleman’s first success at the National Hunt Olympics, however, arrived for Venetia Williams back in 2009, when Kayf Aramis landed the Pertemps Final. And the jockey, who has over 1,000 career successes to his name, bids for a third victory in a row at the March showcase later this month.

Kayf Aramis saunters clear in the Pertemps Final at the Cheltenham Festival in 2009

It will unquestionably be a Festival like no other, with the stands set to be without the usual quarter-of-a-million racegoers across its four day spell.

But there is still a buzz and high level of anticipation as to which 28 successors will reign supreme up the famous Cheltenham Hill, with millions of eyes glued to televisions up and down the country on the infamous track encapsulated below Cleeve Hill.

Britain versus Ireland once again for the Prestbury Cup. It’s about to go down.

Aidan spoke to us about five of his potential rides for the 2021 edition of the greatest race meeting of them all.

Epatante | Unibet Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy (Grade 1)

“She was very impressive at Newcastle in the Fighting Fifth and it was obviously disappointing that she got beat at Kempton next time. She won this race last year with a similar preparation and Nicky Henderson has a great record in the race. Honeysuckle and Goshen, amongst the others, make it a red hot race but she has a great chance.”

Epatante roared to champion hurdle glory in 2020 for nicky henderson and jp mcmanus [Racing tv]
Thomas Darby | Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3)

“He’s had two good runs this season and he won a decent handicap at Ascot last season. He won at Cheltenham as a novice and then finished second in the Supreme two years ago, so his course form is strong. It’s obviously a hugely competitive race but a strong pace can hopefully bring the best out of him.”

Put The Kettle On | Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase (Grade 1)

“She jumped brilliantly in the Arkle last year and kept on improving with every run. She showed a good attitude in the Shloer Chase and ran well at Leopardstown behind Chacun Pour Soi after Christmas. The likes of him, Altior and Politolouge will be tough to beat again even getting 7lbs, but she is a three-time course-and-distance winner so deserves her place here.”

foot perfect! put the kettle on saw off allcomers in the arkle at the 2020 cheltenham festival [racing tv]
Paisley Park | Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle (Grade 1)

“He’s had two great runs this season and was brilliant in this two years ago. We had to give Thyme Hill 3lbs at Newbury in November but he reversed the form off level weights in the Long Walk before Christmas. It was disappointing that the Cleeve was abandoned on Trials Day but he goes well fresh and if he runs to his best, he is the one they all have to beat.”

return of the king? paisley park bids to recapture his stayers’ crown in two weeks time, having won the race in 2019 [racing tv]
Santini | WellChild Cheltenham Gold Cup Chase (Grade 1)

“It was good to get a feel for him at Sandown in the Cotswold but I think he’ll be better suited with a return to Cheltenham over a stiffer track and test. His course form there is very strong and he finished second in this race by a neck last season so with a repeat of that, fingers crossed he will go close.”

Santini just failed in last season’s Gold Cup as Al Boum Photo recorded a second successive win in the race

You can keep up to speed with all of Aidan’s thoughts on his confirmed rides for the Festival over on his website.

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