Innishannon ace Coleman delivers again on Paisley Park

Innishannon ace Coleman delivers again on Paisley Park
Jockey Aidan Coleman celebrates as he crosses the line. Picture: Seb Daly/Sportsfile

PAISLEY PARK and Aidan Coleman survived a last-flight blunder to justify their favourite’s tag and record a fairytale success in the Sun Racing Stayers’ Hurdle yesterday.

This day will live long in the memory for Innishannon native Coleman, who came from another parish on the winner of the feature race.

“This is magic and to win one of the championship races around here is something else,” Coleman said. “We met the last all wrong, but we got there in the end.”

Emma Lavelle’s seven-year-old — whose owner Andrew Gemmell has been blind from birth — had enjoyed a perfect season to date with four impressive victories which saw punters send him off at 11-8.

The story of his owner has been well told in the build-up, and after Bryony Frost brought the house down aboard Frodon in the Ryanair Chase, the Cheltenham crowd welcomed home another popular winner.

“It’s wonderful — fantastic. I can’t believe it’s happening,” Andrew Gemmell said. “He isn’t big, but he’s in the Baracouda mould. He hits that flat spot and then comes again.”

Lavelle said: “I’m thrilled. He was a bit further back than I expected, but Aidan knew what he was doing.

“There are so many people behind this horse and I think they just blew him up the hill.

“I think it’s probably unlikely he’ll go chasing (next season).

“He’s good, so let’s enjoy him over hurdles and he’s only seven. I’m just delighted he’s done it and he’s a young horse going forward.”

Aidan Coleman. Picture: INPHO/Dan Sheridan
Aidan Coleman. Picture: INPHO/Dan Sheridan

Coleman currently has more than 800 career winners but the victory was Coleman's first at the Festival since steering Kayf Aramis to victory in the Pertemps Final in 2009.

His first ever Grade 1 win came in December when he partnered Paisley Park to a win at Ascot.

Meanwhile, fellow West Cork rider Noel Fehily announced that he will retire at the end of the season.

On another dramatic day at Cheltenham, Barry Geraghty rode a double, while RTÉ pundit Ted Walsh trained the winner of the last, Any Second Now.

There were also victories for Bryony Frost and Lizzie Kelly, with the former making history by becoming the first female to ride a Grade 1 victory at Cheltenham.

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