Sport Horse Racing

Sunday 19 November 2017

Coleman lands top job with Ferguson team

Aidan Coleman has secured a new position as the retained rider for John Ferguson, whose stable contains many choicely-bred ex-Flat horses
Aidan Coleman has secured a new position as the retained rider for John Ferguson, whose stable contains many choicely-bred ex-Flat horses Newsdesk Newsdesk

Cork native Aidan Coleman has landed a plum job after being appointed retained rider to Newmarket trainer John Ferguson.

The pair have teamed up to great effect so far this season, with the jockey having 24 winners for Ferguson's Bloomfields operation, which predominantly houses horses that have run either in the colours of Sheikh Mohammed or Godolphin on the Flat.

The new arrangement means Coleman will have first pick of Ferguson's 50-strong string.

The Innishannon, Co Cork native has made a great start to the new jumps season, with 33 winners in the current campaign, and is currently in second place in the title race behind runaway leader Richard Johnson.

Coleman will also continue to ride for Venetia Williams, who has supplied him with 179 winners over the last five years.

"I am delighted to be retained by John, who is enjoying a tremendous start to the season. We've already teamed up with great success and look forward to carrying on in the same vein in the future," Coleman explained.

"I will still continue my association with Venetia and hopefully there won't be too many clashes between her and John's horses.

"I have been with Venetia for eight years and hopefully will still ride plenty of winners for her this season.

"Obviously with no AP McCoy in the weighing room this year, the Stobart Jockeys' Championship has been opened up and I have made a really good start - but Richard Johnson will be extremely difficult to catch. I'll give it my best shot though."

Ferguson, a key bloodstock adviser in the Sheikh's Flat operation, is pleased to have secured Coleman's services on a permanent basis.

He said: "All of Bloomfields have enjoyed the association with Aidan. With the number of quality horses increasing, it was only natural that we would look for a quality rider who would be available on the big days.

Elsewhere, Pat Smullen's trip to Munich proved fruitless as his intended mount after Air Pilot had to be withdrawn prior to the start of the Grosser Dallmayr-Preis-Bayerisches.

Winner of the International Stakes at the Curragh a month ago, the six-year-old sidestepped an engagement in Saturday's York Stakes to instead bid for Group One glory in Germany.

Having been supplemented for the 10-furlong contest, the six-year-old was set to go off a hot favourite in the hands of Smullen, but became upset in the starting stalls and had to be taken out of the race.

Beckett explained: ""He has a bad puncture wound above his knee and that's the worst of it. The starting gate didn't open, but he managed to get both legs through it - thankfully, Pat is fine."

Victory in the race went to Guiliani, trained by Jean-Pierre Carvalho and ridden by Filip Minarik.

In France, Richard Hannon and Frankie Dettori combined for big-race success in France as Gutaifan claimed top honours in a British-dominated finish to the Prix Robert Papin at Maisons-Laffitte.

The Al Shaqab Racing-owned juvenile went for the Group Two contest on the back of victories in his last two starts at Salisbury and Chester.

Dettori rode a positive race down the centre of the track, with William Haggas' York scorer Ajaya also prominently ridden in the hands of Christophe Soumillon against the rail.

The pair kicked clear in the closing stages of the five-and-a-half-furlong heat and after a thrilling duel, it was Gutaifan which won by a head.

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