LAST weekend’s racing took something of a back seat next to the announcement on Sunday from Aidan Coleman that he will not be returning to the saddle following a complex knee injury.

The 35-year-old suffered a fall at Worcester last June and had been battling to return ever since, undergoing several surgeries on his knee and a shattered tibia, but he has come to the conclusion that his injuries would never heal well enough to allow him to return to the saddle.

Coleman is best known for his association with crowd favourite Paisley Park, hero of the 2019 Stayers’ Hurdle and a three-time winner of both the Cleeve Hurdle and the Long Walk with Coleman on board.

The younger brother of former jockey Kevin Coleman, he enjoyed considerable success on the pony racing circuit in Ireland before joining Henrietta Knight in Berkshire.

Household name

It was Sarah Humphrey who provided him with his first winner under rules when Tashkandi landed a lowly selling hurdle at Uttoxeter in October 2007, but his link-up with Venetia Williams made him a household name, and the Herefordshire handler gave him the vast majority of his wins in his first few seasons, including a Cheltenham Festival success with Kayf Aramis.

The best-known horse he rode for Williams was Mon Mome and the partnership finished third in the 2010 Gold Cup, but Coleman rode stable companion Stan in the 2009 Grand National, leaving the late Liam Treadwell free to ride 100/1 shot Mon Mome to immortality in that contest.

In more recent years, Coleman has teamed up to good effect with J.P. McManus and focused more on quality rather than trying to become champion jockey, for which he was widely touted.

He won four times at the top level on Jonbon and three times on Epatante in the McManus colours, while another career highlight came when riding Henry de Bromhead’s Put The Kettle On in the 2021 Champion Chase.