Racing UK ambassador Aidan Coleman gives us the inside track on his Saturday rides plus his views on jockeys sticking to the rules so close to Cheltenham.
By Aidan Coleman
Go Conquer is always a horse I look forward to riding and he’s got a good chance in the big race of the day, the Betdaq Handicap Chase at Kempton Park.
He ran a great race to finish fifth in the Ultima Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, and then maintained that level of form with a good win at Fontwell followed by a personal best when winning the Sodexo Gold Cup at Ascot in November.
He then reappeared at Ascot before Christmas but we were always on the back foot after a bad mistake, which put paid to his chance, before we actually parted company three out.
You have to expect these handicappers to make mistakes. He’s not a bad jumper and I schooled him last week and he seemed in very good form.
Watch Go Conquer and Aidan win at Ascot this season
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It’s a very competitive race, but you look through his form and you’ll see he normally runs his race and I wouldn’t put anyone off backing him. He'll be in with a real shout.
His owners, Paul and Clare Rooney, are also represented by Master Dee, who is a horse I think will run a big race. He comes here on the back of an excellent second at Aintree in November.
The Rooneys clearly hold a very strong hand in the race and they could enjoy a very satisfying day.
Django Django would be my other good chance on the day, the Back Or Lay On Betdaq Handicap Hurdle.
I rode him on his first three starts this season, but the penny looks to have definitely dropped, judging by his next two starts, a second at Doncaster followed by a win at Huntingdon. He’s improving all the time and he won’t be far away.
I was encouraged by his last run at Newbury and he should give a good account of himself, as should his stablemate, Fourth Act, who runs in the Betdaq 2% Commission Exchange Handicap Chase. He’s a horse I have never ridden but usually runs a sold, consistent race.
Sticking to the rules:
We’re approaching a period now where a suspension could rule you out of some or all of the Cheltenham Festival.
I know a lot is made of it and there is a bit of chat about it in the weighing room. However, I really don’t think it makes a difference to how most of the jockeys ride.
No one wants a suspension, whether it’s in March or mid-summer, and it’s not a question of thinking more about how you ride than you would at any other time of the year.
I don’t want to tempt fate but I think my disciplinary record is pretty good given the number of rides I have per season and, thinking about it, I can’t think of many of the top jockeys receiving too many suspensions in recent seasons.
It would be interesting to see how the number of bans compares to years gone by. But you look at the likes of Richard Johnson, Noel Fehily, Sam Twiston-Davies and Brian Hughes; they just don’t appear to fall foul of the rules. Hopefully, I haven’t put the mockers on any of us now!
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