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Spurs fan Aidan all set for Cheltenham

Posted on 10 March 2014  - 18:55

Aidan Coleman is ready for the famous roar that greets the start of the Cheltenham Festival on Tuesday - and hopes it's repeated at the Lane later this week.

Aidan ColemanAidan, left, takes on Daryl Jacob and champion jockey Tony McCoy in a recent race at Newbury

The Spurs fan from Cork is seen as one of the top young jockeys in the business and now prepares for the biggest week in his sport.

The Festival is seen as the Olympics and World Cup of National Hunt racing all rolled into one - four days of top-class racing played out in front of approaching 250,000 fans packed into an idyllic setting in the Cotswolds.

But while his sole focus is on Cheltenham, Aidan will take a break for 90 minutes on Thursday night when he’ll return to his home near the racecourse and settle down to watch our Europa League Round of 16, first leg against Benfica.

Aidan’s love of Spurs comes via a familiar family route - his father, Pat, led the way and Pat’s four children have all followed in his footsteps.

“My dad has supported Spurs from a young age,” explained Aidan. “I’m the third of four children and we were all introduced to Spurs early on. We’re all die-hard Spurs fans, every single one of us.

“He used to travel over to White Hart Lane two or three times a year and he would always take one of us over every time.

“My sister lives in London and rarely misses a home game. I’d love to go more but I rarely get the chance because the winter is our busiest time. If it was in the summer I’d go every week!”

Aidan is enjoying a fine season - he goes into Cheltenham on 88 winners so far - and would love to add a second Festival winner to his CV this week, his first Kayf Aramis in 2009.

“It’s been a brilliant season, it’s gone really well so far, I’m delighted with it,” said Aidan, who rides mainly for top trainer Venetia Williams.

“I’m hoping to get to 100, that would be a great achievement and it would be great to add to that at Cheltenham but it’s a tough week. As long as you get one on the board it’s an amazing feeling.

“Cheltenham is intense, high-pressure. We’re all there to enjoy it, but we’re also there to do an important job. You have to be top-class throughout the week.You can’t let your guard down. The whole week is so special, there is never a dull moment!”

Aidan selected Baradari (Fred Winter, 4.40pm, Wednesday) and Katenko (Gold Cup, 3.20pm, Friday) as his rides to keep an eye on.

Look out for the full interview with Aidan in our official matchday programme for Benfica on Thursday.

The Cheltenham Festival is 11-14th March and is shown live each day on Channel 4.