Aidan Coleman column: appreciate the Gesture at Sandown

By Aidan Coleman
Fri 9 Mar 2018

The Racing UK-sponsored jockey discusses his rides at Sandown on Saturday, the chances of Saint Calvados and My Tent Or Yours at Cheltenham next week and skiing with fellow jockeys.

By Aidan Coleman

It’s been a quiet and frustrating time with the freezing and wet weather playing havoc with the fixture list, but it did allow me to get away and go skiing for a few days There were around 10 of us and, while we’d all be rather riding, it was great fun and there was plenty of good, hard skiing.

The Twiston-Davies brothers set a very high standard when it comes to ability on the slopes, although Josh Moore and Tom Cannon aren’t too far behind, but we’re not competitive – honestly – and it was a chance to have a nice break and enjoy some excellent skiing and scenery, although the conditions were absolutely bitter.

The focus is very much back on riding now, and it would be nice to go into the Cheltenham Festival next week with a winner on the board. I have three decent chances at Sandown on Saturday, probably headed by Duhallow Gesture in the EBF Stallions/TBA Mares' Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race.

She came across from Ireland last year, having won a Tipperary bumper. She won on her first start for Anthony Honeyball, in what was a Listed bumper at Huntingdon on Boxing Day and hasn’t run since.

I was meant to be riding her that day, but I had to reschedule to another track and Richie McLernon guided her to a convincing enough win.

All eight of her rivals have won before, but she has won at this level before and looks to have as good a chance as any. I’m looking forward to getting on her.

Royale Zanzibar is a horse I really do like and he runs in the Matchbook Betting Exchange Juvenile Handicap Hurdle.

I won on him at Hereford in January and he is a very, very nice horse. I was really impressed with him. However, and here’s the cliché alert, he will be a much better horse next season, and anything he does this season really is a bonus. He’s definitely one for the future.

I rode Movie Legend, who runs in the Commission Free Racing At Matchbook Handicap Chase, at Doncaster in January.

He was sixth but didn’t run too bad a race; they just didn’t go quick enough for him. He was since second at Sandown and he’s now being upped in trip, which will suit him better. If there’s a good pace set, then he’ll be very competitive.

Saint Calvados looks like being my best ride at the Cheltenham Festival and he couldn’t be in better shape as the Racing Post Arkle Chase on Tuesday approaches.

I schooled him on Friday over a full set of fences at Lambourn. He looked great and jumped very well. Harry Whittington is very happy and there was a good fun mood at the yard and I had a fun time with Sean Bowen and Harry Bannister, who were also schooling. If there are nerves, they weren’t obvious to me.

The ground will be to his liking – although I reckon he’ll go just as well on better ground – and he has got to have a very good chance.

I am also on My Tent Or Yours, who has been second at four Festivals, including three Unibet Champion Hurdles. He will line up in that race again on Tuesday

He showed he was no spent force when beating The New One at Cheltenham in December. Given he’s 11 now, I think the soft ground could work in his favour as he might not have that same speed he once had, and could blunt his rivals’ pace too. Buveur D’Air will be very, very hard to beat, but mine is a single-figure price for good reason.

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