Racing UK

Aidan Coleman

AP’s retirement isn’t all bad - there are 250 spare winners next season!

24 April 2015

They say that you should never meet your heroes, as you’ll only be disappointed.

Well I can say that’s certainly not the case with AP McCoy who, not only have I met, I’ve worked alongside all my professional life.

AP’s presence on a racecourse is all I’ve ever known. It’s been a pleasure and privilege to share the weighing room with him – and it will be strange after Saturday. There will be a massive hole which no-one will ever fill.

He has always been fantastic to me and it’s been a real honour to ride in the same era. I feel lucky. I am sorry to see him retiring, but in another sense it means there are 250 winners and 700 rides going spare each season now, and I would love to take a share of that!

His retirement means it is now not impossible to be champion jockey. Of course I would love to be champion, and if I do get the call from JP McManus I would obviously jump at the chance. Who wouldn’t?

But in all seriousness, I will be trying just as hard as I have done every season. I don’t think I can try any harder. I have always had the attitude of trying to ride as many winners as I can – so nothing will change there.

As I said, there will be some spare winners and hopefully I can finally crack the century next year. At the time of writing, I am on 82 winners which is a satisfactory return.

I was slightly on the back foot after being injured in the summer, but luckily I stayed injury free during the season-proper and November, December and January was a really fruitful period. Things have picked up again recently and hopefully I can end on a winner at Sandown.

The big race is the Bet365 Gold Cup, in which I ride the Charlie Longsdon-trained Grandads Horse. I am not going to be very helpful here as I don’t know an awful lot about him, but his form is consistent and shouldn’t be too far away. I also ride Wilberdragon in the Bet365 Handicap Hurdle for Charlie, who looks unexposed and might be well-handicapped.

Pepite Rose is, however, a horse I know very well. She was disappointing last time and perhaps Cheltenham just didn’t suit her. You could usually set your watch by her as she’s so reliable. She arguably ran a career best on this day last year, when she was second in the Celebration Chase, and I think she could get into the places again in the Bet365 Oaksey Chase.

My final ride of the season is on Aqalim in the Bet365 Select Hurdle. I rode him to victory last week at Cheltenham, where he was quite impressive. He has a bit to find at the weights, but always runs well and is a very admirable horse.

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