INNISHANNON jockey Aidan Coleman was seen at his absolute best when he booted home the 16/1 chance Put The Kettle On in the £175,000 G1 Racing Post Arkle Novices’ Chase on the opening day of the Festival.
Trained by Henry De Bromhead, the six-year-old, one of two mares in the contest, jumped for fun throughout the two-mile race and ran on strongly in the closing stages to record a length and a half victory, becoming the first mare to come home in front in the contest since Anaglogs Daughter in 1980.
Joseph O’s Fakir Doudairie was second, with a further 18 lengths back to the Harry Whittington-trained Rouge Vif, ridden by Dunmanway’s Gavin Sheehan, in third.
Put The Kettle On is now unbeaten in two contests at Cheltenham having landed the G2 Racing Post Arkle Trophy Trial at The November Meeting in 2019.
Coleman was recording his third victory in total at The Festival.
“She won the Arkle Trial so I suppose she came in here as a bit of a dark horse. Put The Kettle on has been expertly trained by Henry as she has not run since November.
“She went through that ground very well and she jumped exceptionally out of the ground for quite a small mare. It’s super to win the race.
“The whole way, I was absolutely having some craic. Turning in, I was going to be sick if I had got beaten because she is a good mare.”
The successful Cork rider is in high demand by the sports leading trainers on both side of the Irish Sea, the personable jockey described the closing stages:
“Turning off the bend, I gave her a kick down to the second last because that is what I did in November and she absolutely lengthened into the middle of it. I thought ‘brilliant, we are away now’ and then I was praying because, if she got beat, she would have been very unlucky.
“I had faith that this mare was a good mare and I was travelling. If you are riding for Henry de Bromhead, they keep going and I wasn’t going that slow — I was picking up. Her jumping is a joy to behold and it was just brilliant.”
Her trainer is no stranger to big-race success, the Waterford handler was delighted with the way his mare won.
“I’m delighted, especially for the Dermody family, and Mary Dermody who is such a good owner. Aidan Coleman rode her brilliantly and said she attacked every fence, and she had the course-and-distance form from last year, she won the G2 Racing Post Arkle Trial at The November Meeting so wasn’t to be underestimated.”
De Bromhead’s other runner in the race was the more fancied of his duo.
“Notebook was our more favoured runner, but this mare keeps improving. For a mare that won a beginners’ chase at Kilbeggan she’s come a long way.
“She had been busy all last summer and then topped it off with victory here in November, so we said we would back off her, give her a break and then come here.
“She seems to handle any ground and Aidan said she loved this ground.”
Coleman keeps improving season by season since he moved across the channel. Coleman rode 100-plus winners in pony races in Ireland before working for Henrietta Knight in England.
He rode the Mon Mome in the 2008 Grand National at the age of 19, which made him one of the youngest riders ever to line-up in the Aintree Grand National.
The following year the self-confessed Spurs fan won the conditional jockeys’ championship, ensuring that his name made the headlines across Britain which in turn helped to increase his profile among the bigger stables. He was quickly snapped up by Venetia Williams and, as they say, the rest is history.
This week at The Festival Coleman proved again just how good a horseman he really is, he rarely makes mistakes and is always in the right place at the right time during a race.
The future is bright for Coleman and if he can stay in one piece, I have no doubt that he will be crowned champion jockey.