Aidan Coleman set for big weekend on Paisley Park and Ok Corral
Aidan Coleman, already relishing the ride on Paisley Park at Newbury on Friday, could be in line for a dream 24 hours in Berkshire after it emerged he would likely partner the Nicky Henderson-trained Ok Corral, 6-1 favourite for Saturday's £250,000 Ladbrokes Trophy.
The 31-year-old has come into the equation as owner JP McManus's principal jockey Barry Geraghty will be at Newcastle to ride dual Champion Hurdle winner Buveur D'Air in the Betfair Fighting Fifth Hurdle.
Coleman said: "Buveur D'Air will probably run at Newcastle, so if that's the case Ok Corral is a great ride to pick up. Hopefully, it works out like that. I've schooled him plenty and won a novice hurdle on him at Kempton a couple of years ago, so I know him quite well.
"I schooled him last week and he was good. He was fancied for the National Hunt Chase at Cheltenham, but that wasn't to be. He was progressive before that, winning well at Warwick."
Coleman, who recorded his 1,000th winner in the summer and is fifth in the jockeys' championship, suggested on Tuesday he was nearing his peak as a rider and said he was determined to underline that point with his two big-race assignments this weekend.
"Things have been good," he said. "I'm effectively freelance, so it's all about keeping the ball rolling and I'm having a good autumn with plenty of winners and a couple of nice ones among them.
"If you keep getting these rides, you need to make sure they hit the board – getting on them is only one part of the story, producing the goods is the next.
"I suppose the age I am seems the one for jump jockeys; it's experience basically. I've been around a while now and had a couple of bigger winners last season, while I'm riding for top trainers and owners as well – it all kind of adds up. I'm very happy with how it's going and it's all about keeping it going."
First up is Friday's Ladbrokes Long Distance Hurdle on the Emma Lavelle-trained Paisley Park, who provided the Cork native with his top-level breakthrough in last season's Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot before an even sweeter success in the Stayers' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.
"All he did was improve last year and he did well over the summer," added Coleman, who schooled Andrew Gemmell's star on Tuesday morning before a rare afternoon off.
"I've schooled him and sat on him a couple of times recently and he feels great, so it's all systems go for Friday.
"It's his first run of the season and this time last year he'd had two runs already, but it's great to be associated with him and I'm really looking forward to getting on him again in a race.
"As long as Emma and her husband Barry [Fenton], who knows him better than anyone, are happy, I'm happy."
Henderson and McManus are also due to team up at Newbury this weekend with the exciting Champ, who is entered in Friday's Ladbrokes Where The Nation Plays Novices' Chase and the Ladbrokes John Francome Novices' Chase on Saturday.
"He'll run on one of the days, but we're just looking at both of the races," the leading owner's racing manager Frank Berry said on Tuesday morning.
Ladbrokes to back Punchestown Gold Cup
The €300,000 Punchestown Gold Cup, which last year saw Kemboy beat Al Boum Photo after a thrilling tussle, will be sponsored by Ladbrokes in 2020.
Ladbrokes, who have been title sponsors on the Thursday of the Punchestown festival for many years courtesy of the Champion Stayers Hurdle, will now also take centre stage on the second day.
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