Top rider retires from the saddle with immediate effect on medical grounds

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  • Top National Hunt jockey Aidan Coleman has announced his retirement from the saddle on medical grounds with immediate effect.

    Aidan, 35, suffered a serious knee injury at Worcester Racecourse last June when his mount Ascension Day ran out and into the wing of a hurdle. The incident left him with a shattered tibia, and despite relentless rehabilitation, the injury has failed to repair sufficiently for him to return to a career as a jockey.

    “It is a decision that, unfortunately, was out of my hands. But one that I must respect and move on from,” said Aidan.

    “The prognosis early was quite bleak about returning to ride. Around September I was kidding myself that I could get back from this, then around Christmas I had another operation and the progress has really plateaued.

    “I can do the gym, but I can’t run or jump. I can’t ride a horse really – every time I’ve tried to ride a horse since Christmas, it’s not gone well.”

    Aidan explained that following conversations with Jerry Hill, the BHA’s chief medical advisor, and his surgeon, he has realised his chances of improving are “negative”.

    “The challenge I have is when in a race-riding position,” said Aidan. “My knee is at a particular angle that puts my weight directly on to the area of the joint that I damaged. This meant I would never get back to the required fitness levels necessary to ride, which would be unfair on owners, trainers, and indeed, myself.”

    The jockey said the career-ending injury was like “hitting a wall at 30 miles an hour”.

    Aidan is best-known for high-profile victories aboard Paisley Park, Jonbon, Put The Kettle On and Epatante, among others, notching 13 Grade One wins in the process. He won 1,251 races during his 17-year career in the saddle.

    The Co. Cork native, who moved to work in the UK in 2006, said that “rehab is still ongoing”.

    “As I try to lead as normal a life as possible with the injury, I like to express my sincere thanks to my physio Emma Edwards and PT Conor Shoemark, who have provided me with unending support,” he said.

    He added: “It’s been emotional as it’s my last week as a jockey, which is all I’ve ever wanted to be. What the future holds, well who knows? Horseracing has been my hobby, job and passion for the majority of my life. My hope is to stick around, finding my new place within the industry.”

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