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Aidan Coleman: Jockey announces retirement following long-term knee injury

Aidan Coleman rode the likes of Put The Kettle On to Champion Chase victory as well as Epatante to two Fighting Fifth Hurdle successes; he also took several rides on Nicky Henderson's star Jonbon; he has struggled to make his return from a knee injury

Aidan Coleman celebrates on Put The Kettle On
Image: Aidan Coleman celebrates on Put The Kettle On

Jockey Aidan Coleman has announced his retirement from the saddle having failed to recover from a knee injury.

The 35-year-old suffered a fall at Worcester in June and has been battling to return ever since, undergoing several surgeries on his knee and a shattered tibia.

Coleman, who will possibly be best remembered for his association with the recently-retired Paisley Park, has undergone a lengthy rehabilitation process but has conceded he will not recover sufficiently to resume his riding career.

Paisley Park ridden by Aidan Coleman
Image: Paisley Park ridden by Aidan Coleman

"The prognosis early was quite bleak about returning to ride," he told Racing TV's Luck On Sunday.

"But around September when the rehab was early I was kidding myself that I could get back from this. In early December I had another operation and since that the progress has really plateaued.

"The gym is good because it's a stable surface but I can't run or jump. I can't ride a horse really. A lot of people would say I couldn't anyway so what's the difference!

"Since Christmas, every time I've tried to ride a horse it's not really gone well and I just can't really do it and I definitely wouldn't be able to ride in a race or anything like that.

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Aidan Coleman celebrates after Epatante's victory in the Aintree Hurdle
Image: Aidan Coleman celebrates after Epatante's victory in the Aintree Hurdle

"Speaking to Jerry Hill (the BHA's chief medical adviser) and my surgeon, my chances of improving are negative now, so that's it. My knee won't stand the demands of being a jockey or get anywhere near it, so that's it."

Coleman enjoyed a successful association early in his career with Venetia Williams but overlooked her 100-1 Grand National winner Mon Mome in favour of stablemate Stan.

There were many good days in a stellar career, though, with Emma Lavelle's Paisley Park winning the Long Walk Hurdle three times and the Stayers' Hurdle in 2019.

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Coleman also picked up the rides on Epatante, winning an Aintree Hurdle and two Fighting Fifths, and Jonbon, on whom he won multiple Grade Ones.

"I think the last few years I've been at my happiest, riding horses like Paisley Park has been a mainstay since 2019, we picked up Epatante, Jonbon, winning the Champion Chase on Put The Kettle On. I would have a good army of behind me when I got to September and they hit the board regularly," said Coleman.

"I kind of gave up the idea of being champion jockey and being a slave to the game, that just wasn't for me. I enjoyed the good horses so much I just wanted to focus on them rather than the numbers and since I did that I think I rode better."

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